Cast: Mya Taylor, Sylvia Rivera, Eve Lindley, Grace Dunham
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARSHA! commemorates Black transgender activist and performer Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson and her role in instigating the 1969 anti-policing riots at the Stonewall Inn, a watershed event for the gay liberation movement. The film interweaves imagined scenes with found archival footage to counter the endemic erasure of trans women of color from narratives of political resistance.The film stars Independent Spirit Award Winner Mya Taylor as Johnson with cinematography by Sundance winner Arthur Jafa and an original score by Geo Wyeth.
Reina Gossett (Writer, Director, Producer) is a black trans woman who has been archiving and spotlighting the lives of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson throughout her work including membership director of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and as an artist and writer. While writing the script Reina drew from her relationships and interviews with those who knew Sylvia and Marsha best. Reina’s writing has been featured in Barnard College’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment & The Prison Industrial Complex, Post Post Script Press and Randy Magazine.
Sasha Wortzel (Writer, Director, Producer) Sasha Wortzel is an artist and filmmaker working primarily in time-based media. Sasha has recently presented work at the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Berlinale, DOC NYC, Outfest, UnionDocs, Tribeca Interactive, Leslie Lohman Museum, A.I.R. Gallery, and Cooper Gallery. Her work has been supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Art Matters, the Astraea Foundation’s Global Arts Fund and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). She was a 2012-2013 fellow of filmmaker Ira Sach’s Queer/Art/Mentorship and a 2016-2017 participant in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program. Her work has been featured by the New York Times, New York Magazine, Artforum, Art in America, and The Nation. Sasha received her MFA from Hunter College.
The nine short films in the OPENING NITE screening of the Nitehawk Shorts Festival address the dynamics of family, shining in the face of adversity, and attempting to make meaningful connections. New York stories punctuate.