DOCUMENTARY SHORT | AUSTRALIA | 29 MINUTES | English
‘The Alexander Ball’ is an observational documentary extravaganza celebrating Samoan-Māori-Australian trans woman of colour, Ella Ganza, and the Meanjin (Brisbane) ballroom scene, as the community prepares for one of biggest ballroom events of the year: The Alexander Ball.
Jessica Magro is a proud Samoan-Australian Meanjin (Brisbane, QLD) based producer and director. In 2021 she was named a ‘Ones to Watch’ producer by Screen Producers Australia (SPA) and this year named a ‘Rising Talent’ by IF Magazine.
She is currently working at Ludo Studio on the Emmy award winning animated children’s series ‘Bluey’ while developing her own slate of projects at Purple Carrot Entertainment, with a strong focus on Pasifika-Australian stories.
In 2018 Jessica produced short documentary ‘FEZ’ showcasing Samoan-Australian queer entertainer Fez Faanana and his trailblazing artistic journey. ‘FEZ’ was officially selected to screen at the St Kilda Film Festival in 2019, Pasifika Film Festival 2020 and had its debut in New Zealand at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival 2020.
Jessica currently has various Pasifika-Australian led series in development including ‘DIVA’ inspired by the real life journey of Western Sydney’s Jeyla Jey the Samoan Wrestling Diva, and ‘Bad Ancestors’ a comedy series created by Wendy Mocke.
This film isn’t asking audiences to accept trans women of colour and Pasifika excellence, it is demanding a standing ovation. Trans women of colour aren’t just surviving, they are thriving – I have seen it through all the phenomenal work my sister Ella Ganza continues to put out into the world and I want everyone to see it and take notes!
After learning about Ella’s performance and activism work and seeing the community she has built through Ballroom, I couldn’t help but feel impulsed to capture The Alexander Ball event for the world to see – such an important moment in Meanjin’s art & ballroom history, rather than it becoming a series of Instagram videos hidden away, and possibly forgotten about in future.
Ella’s work stands for everything mine has to date; increasing the representation of our Polynesian and BIPOC communities in spaces that have historically excluded us. Through our art, we can change perspectives and help shape the next generation of young BIPOC artists, empowering them to stand for what they believe in and encourage allies to fight for change.
Trans women of colour have next to no positive representation in the mainstream media and are still victims of hate crimes all around the world. Homosexuality is still outlawed across most of the Pacific including in our homeland of Samoa. Pasifika people are only portrayed in the media as Rugby players, warehouse workers and fruit pickers, and LGBTQIA+ Pasifika people don’t exist in the mainstream at all – where is their voice? These communities have been silenced for far too long.
Despite the downright bullshit, Ella and her inspiring family lead with love, empowering each other to own their identities and live freely and proudly as their true selves. Their essence is undeniably magnetic and contagious, their presence is unapologetic, and their energy is something you soon won’t want to live without. The time is now to amplify their voices, listen to their stories, share their message and demand the nation’s attention. Enough time has passed for society to “accept and understand” our trans family – audiences, it’s your turn to shut up, listen and learn.
March 1st – March 8th
Red Nation Television Network
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