In her attempt to articulate the complex cultural category of “Camp,” Susan Sontag makes the observation that among other things Camp is “wholly aesthetic” and emphasizes detachment and exaggeration. That “Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It’s not a lamp, but a ‘lamp;’ not a woman, but a ‘woman.’” In camp, all facets of life and art become aspects of performance, denaturing explorations and celebrations of those objects for which we feel affection.
The campy films in Genre Bending offer playful and self-aware queer variations on familiar film genres: Musical (Distinguished Feelings), Science Fiction (The Tetrahedron), Western (Stinkhorn), and more. They are united in their whimsical and subversive humor which pays tribute to their cinematic forebears while also emphasizing some of the notably absurd and goofy features of the genre that fans know and love about them. They also reimagine conventionally heteronormative genre narratives to make space for queer stories in genre cinema. In Enby Enterrupted two nonbinary friends make a Broad City worthy trek across town to prepare for a Tinder date. In Eat the Rainbow, drag character, Cousin Wonderlette, teaches us about acceptance when she falls in love with her new, unconventionally Blue neighbor in a Pee-wee Herman style musical children’s show. Both gender and genre bending, these films are humorous, smartly satirical, with an oddball “midnight movie” feel and a campy flare.
—Peter Marra, Festival Judge