One. A protest in Berlin, where a presentation is being made on the 16th century physical punishments that religious institutions imposed on sexually “immoral” people.
Two. A conversation between two transgendered men living in Brazil.
Filmed in the form of interviews and group discussions, [SSEX BBOX] is a social justice film project that takes viewers on tour through the different understandings of gender and sexuality from around the globe. The documentary engages the ongoing conversation regarding the cultural, social, and even linguistic implications that are intertwined within sexuality. It will air 15 10-minute episodes bi-weekly from January to August 2012 -- but the Mon/30 screening will offer the chance to talk face-to-face with the team behind the project.
Priscilla Bertucci, the executive producer and director of [SSEX BBOX], holds that in an environment where something so primary as a noun is categorized as male or female, sexism and strict gendering become strongly embedded in cultural perceptions of sexuality. Looking back at the project, she commented to the Guardian in a recent phone interview:
SF and Berlin are pioneering cities in that there is a lot of sexual education and many years of work have been [put into those places towards] bringing about awareness. [Exploring sexuality] is definitely more difficult in Barcelona and Brazil where there are still a lot judgments. People perceive gender as male or female, straight or gay, and don’t really think of what may be outside of this divided box.
On location with [SSEX BBOX]. Photo by Danila Bustamante
When shooting in Sao Paulo, Bertucci encountered numerous individuals who had never been exposed to the idea of alternative sexual orientations. That lack of experience wasn’t a surprise to her -- she was raised there:
I grew up in Brazil and I experienced a gap in information first hand. In places like Sao Paulo, there is a huge lack of sex education in schools and sex educators in general. When I was very young, I was aware of the gay and lesbian community. But at some point, I started not fitting in the box because I would sometimes be attracted to men and I didn’t really identity as bisexual. But later, I became aware that I could identify as queer or gender queer. But it took me a long time and I had to go out and learn a lot of things on my own. A project like [SSEX BBOX] helps people understand that they don’t have to choose [from] a binary.
Bertucci’s film features interviews with sex activists, educators, psychotherapists, and average citizens from all over the spectrum of sexuality. The documentary was mostly edited here in San Francisco, but its crew was comprised of a globetrotting crew of directors and cinematographers traveling through Sao Paulo, Berlin, and Barcelona.
The international affair was made possible through efficient Skype meetings and Dropbox, and [SSEX BBOX] will continue to embrace the web as a way to distribute their films. The team also launched a pocket-size zine in fall of 2011 that included photography, personal narratives, cartoons, paintings, and writings on gender expression which you can order online in digital or paper form.
[SSEX BBOX] documentary premiere
Mon/30 7:30-11 p.m., free.
Center for Sex and Culture
1349 Mission, SF