Mala Mala (US/Puerto Rico, 90 min.)
Directed by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini
El Peligro / Killer Films / Moxie Pictures
This gorgeous and well-made documentary pulls its audience right into the heart and soul of the contemporary Puerto Rican trans* community, through intimate portrayals of nine of its members, including a diverse cast of genderbending drag performers, transgender sex workers, business owners and activists. Over a period of three years, filmmakers Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini turned the lens onto this diverse community, allowing for its performers and trans* citizens to tell their stories, using their own words and terminology. The cinematography is stunning, and the storytelling is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Toward the end of the film, this diverse community unites like it never had before to put pressure on the Puerto Rican government to pass employment non-discrimination. Mala Mala has been drawing comparisons to cult documentary Paris is Burning, and it’s assuredly going to attain similar cult status as an endearing portrayal of a contemporary trans community and their human condition.