Corpses, Fools and Monsters: The History and Future of Transness in Cinema  

Trans Film Festival, and author talk

by Lynette Charters Serembe

Olympia Timberland Library in downtown Olympia is a hub of community activity. They have been organizing multiple daily events of all kinds for decades, catering to all ages. One of their upcoming highlighted books, Corpses, Fools and Monsters: The History and Future of Transness in Cinema, is written by trans authors Willow Catelyn Maclay and Caden Mark Gardner. Zachary Havekost, the library’s public services specialist was inspired to request a Zoom meeting with them, and said they were all excited that Maclay and Gardner accepted. “It is a great honor to have such prominent authors meet remotely with our community. They are lauded as two of the best film writers working today, and their new book is poised to become a foundational text about cinema and queer history.”  

At the library event on July 13, Orca Books will sell copies of the book, along with curated suggestions. If you cannot attend in person, you can join the book event via Zoom. Also on sale will be specially priced tickets to the Trans Film Festival organized by Olympia Film Society. 

The library and the Olympia Film Society have been collaborating on events since at least 2016 and have had regular scheduled events since 2018 since Havekost started the Library Film Club. He said, “Library patrons watch a movie, usually one playing at OFS, then we meet to discuss it.  Additionally, each of the past three years, the Olympia library has sponsored a screening at OFS, with free ticket vouchers available for library cardholders”. It is because of this close relationship between the two organizations that The Trans Film Festival will be brought to the community. After booking the two authors, Havekost contacted Rob Patrick who is the director of programming at OFS, and the collaboration sparked into action.  

Trans film fest, still from Ginger Snaps

Both Olympia Film Society and downtown Olympia Timberland Library have been instrumental in offering opportunities to discover artists presenting new art from a lens different from the traditional viewpoint; bringing unique presentations to a community, which is historically interested and supportive. OFS seeks to bring repertory cinema accompanied by a new voice and perspective. 

Author-programmer Willow Catelyn Maclay

For the film event, Maclay and Gardner have especially curated six films, both old and new, to be screened two per day, which have been extensively explored in the book. These films will be introduced by Maclay and Gardner via video before each screening.  

The Trans Film Festival is described as: “Delving deep into the history of trans representation in cinema, the authors examine the earliest trans images in silent film, to the New Queer Cinema of the 1990s, the massive success of The Matrix, to a new era of trans-authored movies engaging audiences today.” 

Noted film historian Karina Longworth, speaks to some of the content in the book: 

“An invaluable tour through the history of trans images on film, ranging from international and underground landmarks to Oscar winners and beyond. The perfect gift for your well-meaning cis cinephile friends who have a lot to learn.” 

And a quote from the intro of Corpses, Fools, and Monsters

“In the history of cinema, trans people are usually murdered, made into a joke, or viewed as threats to the normal order — relegated to a lost highway of corpses, fools, and monsters.” 

Still from Maggots and Men

Trans Film Festival, and library Zoom with authors event.

Library Zoom event (Library): July 13th, 2-3:30pm  
Trans Film Festival (OFS): July 19-21 
Friday, 7/19, 4 p.m. – The Queen (1968) 
Friday, 7/19, 7 p.m. – Tokyo Godfathers (2003) 
Saturday, 7/20, 4 p.m. – Vera (1986) 
Saturday, 7/20, 7 p.m. – Crash (1996) 
Sunday, 7/21 4 p.m. – Maggots and Men (2009) 
Sunday, 7/21, 7 p.m. – Ginger Snaps (2000) 

Free Zoom presentation/discussion with the authors
Downtown Olympia Timberland Library
313 8th Ave SE, Olympia, 360 352-0595
Register for at home access to Zoom: 

Trans Film Festival, Capitol Theater 
5th Avenue SE , Olympia,  360 754-6670

Skip to content