Framing Agnes

Directed by Chase Joynt
Year: 2022
Country: U.S.
Language: English
English Closed Captions

The pseudonymous Agnes was a pioneering transgender woman who participated in an infamous gender health study conducted at UCLA in the 1960s. Her clever use of the study to gain access to gender-affirming healthcare led to her status as a fascinating and celebrated figure in trans history. In this innovative cinematic exercise that blends fiction and nonfiction, director Chase Joynt (No Ordinary Man) uses Agnes’s story, along with others unearthed in long-shelved case files, to widen the frame through which trans history is viewed. Through a collaborative practice of reimagination, an all-star cast of trans performers, artists, and thinkers – including Angelica Ross (Pose), Jen Richards (Mrs. Fletcher), and Zackary Drucker (Transparent) – take on vividly rendered, impeccably vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans history. This collective reclamation breaks down the myth of isolation among transgender history-makers, breathing new life into a lineage of collaborators and conspirators who have been forgotten for far too long.

“A film of quiet but decisive radicality.”

“Meta to the max. Dizzyingly prismatic yet unfailingly lucid in its examination of the many layers of gender, sexual and racial identity.”

“One of the most captivating documentaries I’ve seen... Exceptionally engaging.”

“Formally inventive and wonderfully collaborative. A brilliant and enlivening investigation into the role of trans history and the limits of visibility.”

“Richly heady, thoughtful… visually striking. Hosts a fascinating discussion about the transgender experience in a way that simultaneously engages with the past and present.”

“A lineup of trans stars take on vividly rendered, vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans healthcare.”

“A vital part of the historical record… uses vintage gender-study interviews as a prism through which to view modern transgender lives.”

“Weaves stories of trans people past and present to complicate understandings of transness, identity, history, and truth.”

Jules Gill-Peterson
Chase Joynt
Angelica Ross
Jen Richards
Zackary Drucker
Max Wolf Valerio
Silas Howard
Stephen Ira

Directed by Chase Joynt
Writers Chase Joynt and Morgan M Page