Contrast Film Festival's mission is to highlight presenting boundary-pushing, genre-defying, and forward-thinking film, music, and performance with an emphasis on female & queer artists. Our vision is to present a diversity of work from a diversity of voices at the bleeding edge of culture. We aim to create space for dialogue between artist and audience in an effort to encourage collaboration, community, and connection.
The festival will open with the Texas premiere of SHAKEDOWN, directed by Leilah Weinraub (who is also the CEO of fashion label HOOD BY AIR). A documentary chronicling a black lesbian strip club in Los Angeles over the course of 10+ years, SHAKEDOWN premiered to rave reviews after screening at the 2018 Whitney Biennial, the Teddy Award program at the Berlinale, and the Museum of Modern Art. Other programming highlights include Texas premieres of Bruce LaBruce’s THE MISANDRISTS, Jenna Bass’ HIGH FANTASY, and Reina Gossett & Sasha Wortzel’s HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARSHA!, all accompanied by short films drawn from hundreds of submissions. The program will also host the Texas debut of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy event YOURSELF, YOUR BODY that features video work curated by Mono No Aware’s Amanda Justice and is hosted by Los Angeles comedienne Casey Jane Ellison, who will also be showing her latest web series MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS WITH CASEY JANE ELLISON. The festival will round out with musical performances from experimental vogue troupe HOUSE OF KENZO and the “pro-abortion Shakira” VIVA RUIZ (who is also a star of THE MISANDRISTS), screenings of Sundance & SXSW selection NARCISSISTER ORGAN PLAYER, SNOWY BING BONGS (from the directors of SWISS ARMY MAN), and FEMALE, a pre-code film guest curated by filmmaker ANNA BILLER (THE LOVE WITCH). The event will also host the premiere of HYPERREAL FILM CLUB’s latest video zine, host video installations, local DJs, video artists, and more.
Contrast Film Festival is programmed and produced by Tisha Sparks & Jeremy von Stilb. Sparks & von Stilb have been active in the Austin, TX creative community for the last seven years. They have contributed both large-scale and small-scale music events, short films, the long-running Homo Arigato film series, and creative activism. Stilb has been selected as a 'Best of Austin' Critic's Pick three times, has been profiled in Vice Magazine for his work in the Austin dance music scene, and in Timeout and the Austin American Statesman for his LGBT activism. Sparks co-produced the 2014 & 2015 editions of the Stargayzer Music Festivals that featured over 150 artists and was one of the first and largest LGBTQ-focused music festivals in the world. Sparks & Stilb have also put their film degrees into practice (Antioch College & Loyola Marymount, respectively) by producing and directing short films that have screened at festivals across the country and have starred both local and internationally-recognized talent - including RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel.