Who’s Afraid of the Big Red Panda?

By Mihaela Mihailova

On paper, Pixar’s Turning Red, a film about a thirteen-year-old Chinese Canadian girl whose entry into puberty causes her to transform into a large red panda every time she feels a strong emotion, is not for (or about) me. I am not of Chinese descent. I did not grow up in Toronto (or in North America, for that matter). My parents are not immigrants (I am). I have yet to transform into a large beast, unless we count persistent pandemic weight gain. More importantly, I am not one of Oscar-winning director Domee Shi’s friends and immediate family members. 

TURNING RED

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I Didn’t See You There

By C.J. Hirschfield

April 27, 2022

A monument to circus showman P.T. Barnum stands in Reid Davenport’s hometown of Bethel, Connecticut. “He got a pedestal,” says the director of I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE, the new documentary at the 65th SFFILM Festival, while the disabled filmmaker’s perspective is from the sidewalk. The film, a meditative and personal feature that invites the viewer to see the world through his eyes—and at his level– often refers to the corrosive legacy of Barnum’s freak shows and how society relates to those who are different.

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American Justice on Trial

By C.J. Hirschfield

April 21, 2022 (updated April 23)

Just as the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary ATTICA effectively used historical footage and interviews with key participants to illustrate our country’s history of systemic racism, so too does the excellent new documentary AMERICAN JUSTICE ON TRIAL.

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The Inspiration for the Film “My Vote Registration Vanished in 2016” 

By Ashia Lance

It’s true – in 2016, I went to vote at the same polling place where I’d voted for a decade and had received a postcard in the mail confirming I was registered.  This time when I went to vote, I was told my name wasn’t on the voter rolls and was asked if I wanted a provisional ballot.  Reluctantly,  I voted with a provisional ballot because I knew a dirty little secret about us voting: provisional ballots do not have to be counted.  Whether a provisional ballot is counted varies according to county practices, and some practices can be biased.

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MAMA BEARS RISING

By C.J. Hirschfield

March 30, 2022

Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a letter calling on professionals, including teachers and doctors, to report parents who give their trans children gender-affirming care. And even though the ACLU says it’s not legally binding, it is just another in a long line of assaults on trans and LGBTQ rights in that state.

But look out, Abbott. Texas trans kindergartner Kai and her mom—actually, lots of moms like her—are uniting and fighting for the rights of their LGBTQ kids. And guess what? They’re all devout and conservative Christians whose Mama Bears network of private Facebook groups exist in every state, numbering over 30,000 members at last count. Continue reading