Tropest, the transgender hating film festival?

- December 9, 2013 2 MIN READ

Last night Perth based film maker Matt Hardie was celebrating his Tropfest win for his short film Bamboozled (above) – today however he has woken up to outrage from the Trans and Gay and Lesbian community, labelling his film as offensive and insensitive. On top of that now social media activists are berating the film for it’s glorification of rape culture.

The universe can be a real bitch sometimes, one moment you get the high fives, then you get the smack down.

The film centres around a male character that is approached by another male character at a bus stop, it turns out the other male character used to be an ex girlfriend called Helen who has recently had a sex change. The two hang out together in a drunken montage and catch up before we see them wake up in bed together the next morning. The twist then comes in when fake man Helen reveals that he is not really Helen, upon which a film crew burst into the bedroom revealing they are from a show called Bamboozled where people get to take revenge on their ex-partners. The real Helen is revealed and the main character is mortified.

There has been plenty of commentary around the film over the last 8 hours with critics, bloggers and the general media developing a pack mentality consensus that Matt Hardie is possibly the most offensive person in the world today. I disagree.

First of all it was the judges that chose the film to win, however in ALL the commentary not one of them are mentioned, perhaps that is because judge Bruna Papandrea is responsible for one of the biggest Hollywood gay activist movies of all time in MILK? That would not really suit the tale they are telling, right?

Plus the film whether intentionally or not does actually address some bigger issues in society around transphobia and homophobia. Hello we are all talking about it now.

The film does have transphobic / homophobic content within it, but just in case you are stupid, which many of the band wagon commentators are – they are actually cast as the arse hole characters in the film. Is it just me, or did nobody else feel sorry for the main character in the end, at no point in the film was he ever phobic, he was just curious and confused. I am glad that gay comedians like Josh Thomas see the characters from the same point of view I do.

Film makers and artists play an important role in holding up a mirror to society, and Hardie has done just that AND made an impact in doing it. One person may see this film as offensive but at the end of the day it is YOU who controls what you are offended by. If this was just a down and out anti-gay anti-trans comedy I doubt it would have made it to the final sixteen films.

I suggest all those band wagon offendee’s out there spend 7 minutes watching the film again and realise it’s actually a pretty bang on description of how society is at the moment, and I am glad Hardie had the guts to portray them as the bad guys.