A Q&A With QYMP Instructor Janet Jensen

A Q&A With QYMP Instructor Janet Jensen

Janet Jensen HeadshotOne of our continually favorite aspects of the film fest is the Queer Youth Media Project hosted by the Austin School of Film. Students from all backgrounds and lifestyles participate in not only the shooting of a short film but also in the producing, casting, editing: the whole shebang. The aspiring young filmmakers trudge out in the Texas heat and shoot amazingly crafted scenes that are put together in ways we are ever-so-proud of! One such filmmaker last year crafted an outstanding short more focused on the B in LGBT, an area of the spectrum that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves (see it here!). Every year we’re constantly amazed by the creativity and standards these youths continue to raise and we are eagerly biting our nails with anticipation over what to view this year! To help celebrate our 28th year, we reached out and were incredibly lucky to land local Austinite Janet Jensen as our instructor for the camp. Janet is a film professional and pretty rad girl that isn’t afraid to do the heavy lifting on sets, show those boys who’s boss. I was absolutely thrilled to take some time to get to know Janet and I would be remiss if I didn’t share a little more about our instructor!

How did you first start getting involved in film?

I shot and directed a film with my friends right after graduating from UT.  The trailer from that movie got me a job at the Hallmark Channel in LA.

What was your first exposure to LGBT / Queer cinema?

The first queer movie I remember seeing was Personal Best with Mariel Hemingway.

You’re filmography is very impressive dude! What was one of your favorite sets to work on or people to work with?

My favorite set was definitely Tree of Life because of Terrance Malick’s unique approach to filmmaking. It was like no other set I’ve ever been on!

Does it bother you that the position is called best boy and not best girl?

I like that this best boy is a girl!

As we enter our 28th year, we want to ensure this year’s QYMP is absolutely awesome. What are you anticipating changing up, if anything, to make these kids really dig being involved in film?

I am going to focus on homemade/DIT/one-man-band sort of filmmaking. I think very often people don’t produce their ideas because of limited funds and resources, so I want to show the kids they can make great movies by themselves!

On a scale of 1 to throwing glitter in the air, how excited are you to be the instructor this year? ‘Cause we know we’re excited to have ya!

Super excited and looking greatly foreword to it!

I noticed you just wrapped on what appears to be your first big directing gig Formerly Known As. What inspired you to follow the transitions of several local Austinites and how was that experience getting to document so much emotion and change?

It was an amazing experience. I feel blessed that my subjects opened their lives and experiences up to me to document. I learned a lot and met some amazing and brave people.

And lastly, being from Austin I have to ask: favorite taco?

Migas on corn!

Spoken like a true Austinite Janet! We are beyond thrilled to have such a fun and qualified instructor and cannot wait to see the amazing work these kids do!

Our Way-Gay Singalong (thanks for Chering)

Our Way-Gay Singalong (thanks for Chering)

Last night we rocked the casbah with some of our favorite LGBT hits at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. Featuring some of our favorites like Wham!, Lady Gaga and the ever impeccable Britney Spears, this gaggle of gay anthems had us shaking our booties like the best of ’em. We had an amazing turn out and an even better VJ (for us old MTV types) that went on blastin’ tunes till our arms were tired from “yaaas”ing too much. Pre-show, we were delighted to showcase the drag horror film (a genre we really hope takes off) “Nasty” and man, were these queens shaking in their heels! Special thanks goes out to board member Craig Ries for organizing and executing a wonderfully good time!



As inspired by the show of LGBT pride, here are some classic anthems that still hold up!

Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

During the height of 70’s homophobia and disco, the ever androgynous Sylvester James Jr. released this classic upbeat jam that was blasting on dance floors all over the country. One of the biggest hits from an openly gay male, You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) is an anthem that celebrates openness and relief at finding a community that can make socially closeted men acknowledge their feelings and abandon any sort of shame. Sylvester fought hard to be himself and his soulful disco pop was such a great medium for celebration and otherworldly dance moves!

Eurythmics feat. Aretha Franklin – Sisters Are Doin’ it For Themselves

In a mind-blowing combination of vocal talent, Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves is a song celebrating feminism. Women don’t need no man and they certainly don’t need no patriarchal society. Sisters holds up incredibly well to modern ideas of feminism and the poppy elements still can be jammed when cruisin’ around town with the top down and the sun out. “Now there was a time where they used to say / that behind every great man there’s a great woman / but in these times of change you know it’s no longer true


The Ever A-peal-ing Tangerine

Orange you glad this film exists? We had the absolute pleasure of premiering Tangerine here in Texas on Wednesday! The Sundance Film Festival favorite has a limited release and we were thrilled to be one of the first few to lay our eyes on the hilarity that ensues from two over-the-top trans prostitutes working Hollywood. Directed by veteran Sean Baker (whose previous work includes Starlet and Four Letter Words), Tangerine’s been receiving buzz not only from the break-out performances but also the technical marvel of being shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. The visuals are stunning and the script is a non-stop ride with plenty of drama and chuckles to bear witness to. We packed the sold-out show and were ecstatic to bring such an underground gem to aGLIFF in celebration of our 28th year! Don’t forget to check out our July screening of Do I Sound Gay?a documentary exploring the scientific an cultural phenomenon of “sounding gay” on July 15th Tickets are on sale here!

Be sure to keep an eye out for the summer release of Tangerine in case you missed our screening! It’s an LGBT film you definitely need to experience!


AGLIFF’s on the air!

OutcastOur board president Charlie Ray sat down with the fine folks at OutCast on Austin’s local KOOP radio. He dishes on upcoming events, including our monthly film screenings and special fundraising extravaganzas! The group gets into an ever important discussion regarding PrEP and a scuffle over Charlie’s accent (in case you’ve ever wondered what our board president sounds like!). We’re excited about our 28th year and extend a warm thank you to Outcast for allowing us to get our excitement out there!

Check it out here!

OutCast is the only radio program of its kind for Austin’s LGBT community and airs live from Austin, TX every Tuesday from 6-7 PM Central on KOOP 91.7 FM and streaming live at www.koop.org