Directed by Chase Joynt, the film closely and accurately depicts the journey of trans people past and present through reenactments of transcripts from a notable 1960s UCLA gender study. Based on a short by Joynt which premiered and nabbed awards at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, the project features a cast of trans performers and academics that includes Jules Gill-Peterson, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Zackary Drucker, Max Wolf Valerio, Silas Howard and Stephen Ira.
The film will make its New York premiere at NewFest on June 5, followed by a theatrical release from Kino Lorber in December. Joynt and Morgan M. Page wrote the script, produced by Joynt, Samantha Curley and Shant Joshi. Kino Lorber senior vice president Wendy Lidell negotiated on behalf of the label, with UTA Independent Film on behalf of filmmakers.
The titular Agnes was a pseudonym for a trans woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA. As a character, she has long stood as a figurehead of trans history. In this reimagination, a lineup of trans stars take on vividly rendered, vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans healthcare. Joynt previously co-directed “No Ordinary Man,” a documentary portrait of jazz musician and trans cultural icon Billy Tipton. This marks his first solo directorial effort.
“’Framing Agnes’ takes a novel and fascinating approach to exploring how trans people past and present are perceived and represented,” said Lidell. “By combining tropes of dramatic and documentary filmmaking, Chase enables the audience to see the trans community through fresh eyes, and in their own words. We believe it will make a huge contribution to the ongoing conversation around trans rights and look forward to sharing it far and wide.”
Joynt added that “as a long time fan and consumer of the innovative, agile and impactful titles curated and distributed by Kino Lorber, I couldn’t think of a better place and partner for our film.”