Past Film/Video | Visiting Filmmakers | Documentaries | Series & Festivals

Unorthodocs 2021 Shorts

Rasel Ahmed and Lydia Cornett in person

Ohio Premiere

A collage of four images from the Unorthodocs 21 program

This popular crash course in the contemporary documentary features short films from up-and-coming filmmakers and established artists working in a dizzying range of forms and tones.

Among this year’s highlights is the Ohio premiere of Columbus filmmaker and Ohio State MFA student Lydia Cornett’s Party Line, a portrait of the voters waiting at the Franklin County early voting station on Morse Road during the polarized 2020 election. The adventurous Who Killed Taniya? is a speculative remake of an underground queer drag show in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that saw the lead performer murdered by an Al Qaeda attack months later. Director Rasel Ahmed, a new hire in Ohio State’s Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts, imagines five drag performers getting ready for a similar event in 2050. Cornett and Ahmed are joining us for the program; stay after the screening for a Q&A. (program approx. 75 mins., DCP)

Program lineup

This Is An Address
(Sasha Wortzel, 2019, 18 mins.)

In this meditation on community, gentrification, and erasure, the late Stonewall veteran and trans activist Sylvia Rivera takes up residency on the Hudson River piers with a group of HIV-positive New Yorkers as cranes raze vacant buildings for a new skyline.

Party Line
(Lydia Cornett, 2021, 7 mins.)

At the early voting line in Franklin County, civic duty is made public.

The Beauty President
(Whitney Skauge, 2021, 9 mins.)

In 1992, drag queen Joan Jett Blakk made a historic bid for the White House as an openly queer write-in candidate. Today, Terence Smith, the man behind the persona, reflects back on his place in gay rights history at the height of the AIDS crisis.

Slap That Bass Zoomed
(Ian Garwood, 2020, 5:30 mins.)

In the 1937 film Shall We Dance, Fred Astaire performs a virtuoso routine in a ship's engine room in front of an impressed group of African American workers. This video takes Astaire out of the picture, replacing him with an array of performers who were denied the Hollywood spotlight.

The Rifleman
(Sierra Pettengill, 2021, 18 mins.)

Through meticulously assembled archival imagery, The Rifleman reveals the roots of the modern National Rifle Association, US Border Patrol, and the gun lobby’s unyielding influence on national politics.

Who Killed Taniya?
(Rasel Ahmed, 2020, 18:30 mins.)

Who Killed Taniya? is a story of broken relationships and trauma. Five drag performers gather in a makeup room to prepare for an underground community event in Dhaka in the year 2050. While getting ready, a melodramatic unpacking of past relationships transforms the metaphorical space of pleasure and freedom into a murder fantasy.

In 2015, five Bangladeshi drag performers took part in an underground queer drag show in Dhaka. Mahbub Tonoy, the lead performer of the show, was hacked to death by an Al Qaeda attack a few months later. Who Killed Taniya? is both an imaginary remaking of this event and an experimental murder mystery set in the future Bangladesh. In this retelling, murder offers a speculative lens to interrogate public/private queer rage and homofascism.

View the complete Unorthodocs 21 lineup

Five people in blue t-shirts hold up placards for election candidates in the foreground; dozens of voters waiting next to orange barricades frame the image

Party Line, image courtesy of the filmmaker

A full shot of the beige concrete exterior of the Franklin County Board of Elections with orange traffic cones remarking the path of entry

Party Line, image courtesy of the filmmaker

A bespectacled man in a blue suit with red tie and kerchief rests his chin on a ringed hand

The Beauty President, image courtesy of the filmmaker

A person in lipstick is shown from the neck up as hands hold up their head; the red text "Who Killed Taniya?" overlays the eyes

Who Killed Taniya, image courtesy of the filmmaker

Cardinal Health
Kaufman Development

Rohauer Collection Foundation

The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
L Brands Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease
Arlene and Michael Weiss

Carol and David Aronowitz
Michael and Paige Crane
Pete Scantland
Axium Packaging
Bocchi Laboratories
Fenwick & West LLP
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Nancy Kramer
M/I Homes
Voyant Beauty
Lisa Barton
Regina Miracle International Ltd.
Washington Prime Group
Alene Candles
Fuel Transport
Russell and Joyce Gertmenian
Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel
Matrix Psychological Services
Paramount Group, Inc.
Ron and Ann Pizzuti
Joyce and Chuck Shenk
Bruce and Joy Soll
Clark and Sandra Swanson
Business Furniture Installations
E.C. Provini Co, Inc.
Garlock Printing & Converting
Jones Day
New England Development
Our Country Home
Performance Team
Premier Candle Corporation
Steiner + Associates
Textile Printing
Andrew and Amanda Wise


Past Film/Video

Unorthodocs 2021 Shorts