While Claiming focused on the LGBT legal battles of the 1980s and the fight for the Gay Games to use the term “Olympics,” Lady Trojans documented the teenage drama, romance and bad fashion sense of an early 1990s girls basketball team. Both were welcome additions and offered fresh approaches to “jock drama.”
Also making the festival rounds was Training Rules, about former Penn State women’s basketball coach Rene Portland and her homophobic rules for the team: “no drugs, no drinking, no lesbians.”
Jen Harris, a talented star player, pursued legal action after being discriminated against by her coach. AfterEllen.com vloggers Michelle and Becca of “From the Cheap Seats” gave the film rave reviews, despite the fact that it angered them “more than Jesus Camp.”
2009 was a quietly important year for lesbian film. No, there were no huge mainstream releases with lesbian leads, but the queer indie scene was positively jumping with solid, interesting content. We’re finally getting beyond the bland clichés and seeing work that represents new ideas and empowers new voices.
It’s even more exciting when we consider what’s next. There are several projects slated for 2010 that have us primed for the upcoming year, the most prominent of which must be Angela Robinson’s retro-punk GirlTrash: All Night Long. Like a few of our 2009 trending flicks, this musical is based on Robinson’s excellent web series of the same name, and looks to be appropriately badass, with a film noir look and a campy, lesbian-chic feel.
Angela Robinson on the set of GirlTrash: All Night Long
We’re also looking forward to the big budget biopic The Runaways, based on the 70s teen girl band that made it big. With acclaimed music video director Floria Sigismondi writing and directing, and teen stars Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning headlining, it should be a girl-powered rock and roll trip.
Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning on the set of The Runaways
After the highlights, we’re also eagerly anticipating a continuation of 2009’s more promising trends. Web series are starting to get the respect (and movie/DVD distribution) that they deserve — and some genuinely interesting, creative work is coming from otherwise underrepresented voices.
The definition of “film” may be changing, but the increased inclusivity of these new formats can only be a good thing for traditionally underrepresented queer audiences.
It’s been a bit of a slow crawl, but even comparing the films of the early 2000s to today’s offerings yields impressive results. Lesbian cinema is finally forging its own path — and we’re very interested to see where the next decade brings us.