Sultan film wins Australian Jury Prize for best documentary short

GrahamZekeMTSU is on the map down under.

Graham and Zeke, a film produced and edited by Allie Sultan, assistant professor in the Department of Media Arts, recently won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short at the Perth International Queer Film Festival in Australia.

Sultan, who is a familiar face on the festival circuit (she won the grand jury prize for best short for her film Lift Like a Girl at the 2016 Nashville Film Festival) is quick to pass along the praise.

“[The film] was a 100 percent MTSU student crew,” says Sultan, who spent 2016-2017 producing, filming and editing the short with the Women in Film and Television student organization. She also serves as the group’s faculty adviser. “Our students are now award-winning filmmakers!” she says.

These students are Cheryl Monique Newsome, Destiny Chamberlin, Kailee Morris, Kaelin Michelle Bastin, Kyra Nicole Black, Bridget Shike, Nikki Annette, Mariah Woody, Sonia Williams, and Tony Pecorini.

Graham and Zeke tells the story of a transgender couple from Tennessee who share their insights surrounding love, gender and pet snakes. Sultan said that the purpose of the film was to give a voice to the trans community in the South.

“Graham and Zeke face a daily struggle in their pursuit of equal protection under the law,” she says. “From so-called ‘bathroom bills’ to laws restricting their ability to change their sex on legal documents, not to mention the personal and familial challenges as you transition, life is not easy nor fair for trans folk.”

With a running time of eight minutes, the documentary is enjoying a great international film festival run. The film has screened at nine festivals so far this year, including the Out & Loud Pune International Queer Film Festival in Pune, India; Visions Concordia Film Festival in Montreal, Canada; and the Nashville Film Festival. Showings are planned for the Reeling Chicago LGBT Film Festival and the Gender Reel Film Festival in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Incognitia logoThough she is thoroughly enjoying Graham and Zeke’s success, Sultan is hard at work on her next project, a musical web series entitled Incognita’s Infamous Adventures. The project is a joint venture with Sarah Bailey, an alumnus of MTSU’s Recording Arts and Technology Master of Fine Arts program.

“We wrapped production on season one [of Icongita] this July and are now editing,” she says. “This project has been a truly massive collaborative effort between MTSU [departments]. I think everyone is going to be really proud of it once it’s done.”

For more information on Incognita’s Infamous Adventures, click here.

For information on Graham and Zeke, click here.

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Categories: Faculty, News, Students

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