During the four years following the filmmaker and artist Sara Jordenö kikirörelsen in New York, formed a subculture of LGBT youth in New York. Tomorrow is the theatrical release of the documentary film KIKI.
Kikirörelsen is a youth-based part of the Ballroom culture, a performance-like art form whose primary expression is vouging. The documentary filmmaker Sara Jordenö fell for this expressive culture was more or less a coincidence.
– I lived in New York and was working on another project in Harlem and met with the Twiggy Pucci Garcon and Chi Chi Mizrahi. It was impossible not to be drawn to these people, they have such a strong charisma. When they learned that I’m documentary filmmakers, they wanted a meeting to present kikirörelsen. All were drawn up and running very quickly, says Sara Jordenö.
Ballroom scene was born in Harlem for over a hundred years ago. It has been an active and creative underground culture that occasionally received attention, perhaps especially during the 90′s when Madonna picked up the dance form vouging.
– Kikiscenen is a new scene. The movement was founded and run by young people and for young people. The film portrays seven young people who all tell their story and how they ended up in kikirörelsen, says Sara Jordenö.
Jordenö come close to young people and get them to openly talk about personal and painful experience of living as a young LGBTQ person in New York. In addition to providing a picture of expressive culture is a clear political agenda Kiki. Twiggy, Chi Chi, Gia, Izana, Divo, Christopher and Symba tells of the fear to come out, homelessness, the chances of HIV and the need to know of oppression from the white heteronormativity.
Each month, organized the grandiose and extravagant balls where the different “houses” reputation is at stake. Utlevelsen in the dance can not be mistaken, and the desire to convey his unique style are strong.
– I have been in Kiki scene for more than four years. I am critical of myself except when I do vogue. I learned vogue at The Door. I saw girls dancing and then I was on Kiki-bal and watched. I had not come out, I was in the closet and found it overly feminine was comical. Now that I have started to accept myself it is not so. I started to like it and wanted to learn it. Now I love it, explains Divo Pink Lady in the movie.
The participants are very open and forthright, how did you create the confidence needed to achieve this?
– I was invited to make the film and has also been a great support of Twiggy Pucci Garcon, who coauthored the film. But with Chi Chi, it was only last year that we were filming the scenes where he talks about his drug problem. Those who are in the movie felt security to share their personal stories, which would otherwise never reach. The image spread of their culture are often prejudiced. To get close and create an intimate presence was an important prerequisite for creating intimacy and humanity, it is important to emphasize that everyone has different experiences, says Sara Jordenö.
The collaboration with Twiggy Pucci Garcon has been enormous important to the film’s end result, she says.
– Although I’m queer, there are so many differences between us. I’m fifteen years older, white, and from a small town in northern Sweden, while Twiggy grew up in the American South, he is black. But despite the differences, we found each other and were able to work together so well. He has introduced kikiscenen for me and made me understand all the nuances, says Jordenö.
What have you learned yourself at work?
– I have learned enormously. I have learned much about American society, things that you can learn about and think you understand, but I had real knowledge about by my new friends, says Sara Jordenö.
KIKI premiered at the prestigious Sundance Festival where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. It has also been shown at several festivals in the United States, South America, South Africa, Australia and Europe.
– The film was shown in fifteen countries. Now waiting for the Swedish theatrical release and we hope that it will also be shown in schools, says Jordenö, hoping that the film can generate political commitment.
– This is a movement that vil seen and who want to gain political power in society. The film is entertaining and shows the amazing dance, but I want the audience to also bring something else. The film wants to show that these marginalized people are wonderfully talented to speak for themselves and that they approach the political power, says Sara Jordenö.
Born: 1974 in Umeå
Current: With documentary film KIKI, premiered August 19. Participates in the autumn exhibition Societal machine at Malmö Art Museum.