‘Kings, Queens’ film to close out spring’s ACE series at WCU

The final presentation of the 2015-16 Arts and Cultural Events series at Western Carolina University will be the Southern Circuit series film “Kings, Queens & In-Betweens,” a documentary about gender identity, on the lawn of the A.K. Hinds University Center at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 26.

Through the personal stories of eight drag performers and their troupes in Columbus, Ohio, the film seeks to make a complex subject approachable for mainstream audiences, inviting viewers into a conversation about the distinct and important differences between gender, sex and sexuality.

Virginia West makes an appearance -- and an entrance -- in "Kings, Queens and In-Betweens." (Photo courtesy Five Sisters Productions)

Virginia West makes an appearance — and an entrance — in “Kings, Queens and In-Betweens.” (Photo courtesy Five Sisters Productions)

“The topic is ever so pertinent to North Carolina right now,” said Francis Ann Ortiz-Pineda, assistant director for campus programs, referring to the recent passage of House Bill 2, dubbed “the bathroom bill.” The new law has stirred protest because of its provision requiring usage of gender-specific bathrooms according to the gender on the user’s birth certificate.

“The timing of all this is very coincidental since we’ve had this film booked since last May,” Ortiz-Pineda said. “As of now, I am curious to see what type of conversations this film will bring to the WCU community.”

Sister filmmakers Gabrielle Burton and Ursula Burton represent the family business – Five Sisters Productions – on the tour with their film. Ursula, an actress who has appeared on shows including “Silicon Valley” and “The Office,” produced “The Happiest Day of His Life” – which won a Viewer’s Choice Award on MTV’s LOGO Channel. Gabrielle, who recently won the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Award as a filmmaker, is a regular speaker on topics such as gender expression and identity.

The documentary screening is free and open to the public. Discussion on topic will take place after the film at 9:30 p.m. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. An alternate screening room in case of rain will be Illusions at the University Center.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of South Arts. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

More information about the film can be found at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/981223409/kings-queens-and-in-betweens-a-documentary-on-drag. For more information about the ACE series, visit ace.wcu.edu or contact Ortiz-Pineda, at 828-227-2612.