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Dir. by Elegance Bratton
USA | 2019 | Documentary | 85 min
On the Christopher Street Pier in New York City, homeless queer and trans youth of color forge friendships and chosen families, withstanding tremendous amounts of abuse while working to carve out autonomy in their lives. With intimate, immersive access to these fearless young people, Pier Kids highlights the precarity and resilience of a community many choose to ignore.
People died during the making of this film. People were gay bashed and assaulted by police. People also just plain disappeared. It is important that the world know their stories so that these injustices stop. I am making this film to honor the legacy of this historic safe space for black and brown queer people. I am also making this film as a way to help black families understand what happens to their queer children after they’ve been kicked out. Most importantly, I am making this film as a testament to the strength and resilience of black queer people.
It is an incredible achievement to survive family rejection and each day lived in the shadow of such trauma is a victory. I believe this film can change the tide of queer youth abandonment in the United States and I hope you will join me in my mission. Everyday all over the world LGBT kids are tossed aside in an attempt to make them modify their desire so that they can be more acceptable. This film revels in their difference and in so doing points out the shared humanity with the audience.
These kids do everything that I do, but under unimaginable duress. Ultimately, this film comes from a sense of gratitude. My life was impossible at times. Each one of the homeless queer people in the film reminds me of myself. I am proudly grateful to be alive to tell this story and it means the world to me that through the telling this film will save lives.
Virtual Live Q&A
11/4 8PM ET
Elegance Bratton (Director), Chester Algernal Gordon (Producer), and
Vanessa Visquerra (LGBTQ Services Coordinator, Pride for Youth) will join us for a virtual live Q&A.
Link to join the Q&A will be sent to ticketed audience.
Elegance Bratton (Pronouns: he/him) began making films as a US Marine after a decade spent homeless. Today, he holds a BS from Columbia University (2014) and MFA from NYU Tisch Graduate Film (2019). He wrote and will direct the feature, The Inspection, which is being produced by Gamechanger and A24. He is the creator and executive producer of the Viceland television series My House. Pier Kids, his feature documentary debut, has played at 50 film festivals worldwide and won many awards. His short film, Buck, premiered domestically in 2020 at Sundance and the London Film Festival (BFI), and is currently being developed into a television series by Bad Robot. He is one of Indiewire’s “25 LBGT Faces to Watch” (2019).
Chester Algernal Gordon (all pronouns) is an award winning and groundbreaking producer on the rise. With an eye for boundary pushing content, their work is consistently cutting edge and has been featured at more than 200 US-based and international film festivals. He has worked with Elegance Gratton on Pier Kids, The Inspection, Hell Fighter, My House, and more. Gordon was a winner of the Tribeca Film Institute’s 2019, TFI All Access Grant and TFI Pond5 Program, and was a 2019 Film Independent Producing Lab & Fast Track Lab fellow. Additionally, they are also an accomplished costume designer, and were the first gender non-binary, African American costume designer to compete in competition at the Cannes Film Festival with the film, Port Authority.
Vanessa Visquerra (Pronouns: she/her or they/them) is a LGBTQ Services Coordinator at Pride for Youth. Vanessa is of Puerto Rican and Guatemalan descent. Vanessa received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Long Island University Post Campus. She holds a degree in Mental Health Counseling with a certificate in LGBTQ competency from St John’s University and earned the Deans Convocation award for mental health counseling. Vanessa has a passion for working with the Latino community and advocates for racial equality among all populations. She continues to advocate for the importance of LGBTQ mental health. Vanessa continues to educate herself on how to continue to serve underserved populations.
Single Film Tickets
Streaming available from 10/29 - 11/4.
Including a virtual live Q&A (Date TBD).
Regular: $10.00 | Suggested: $15.00
ALL Access Pass
Access to watch all 10 virtual films from 10/29 - 11/18.
Including full access to all Q&As.
Regular: $40.00 | Suggested: $50.00
Paying the suggested amount helps us sustain the program. Thank you!
This film is co-presented with DCTV. Founded in 1972, DCTV is a renowned media arts center in New York City where community screenings and discussions, youth media and continuing education programs, and affordable filmmaking resources all exist side by side with DCTV’s own, award-winning documentary productions.
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