Is the Tropfest Winning Film Offensive?

02-Bamboozled-670x376The short film ‘Bamboozled’ was awarded the top prize at Tropfest on Sunday night.

The film starts off with two old friends catching up at a bus stop. but one can’t remember the other. The reason – one of them has changed gender.

The film was written, directed and produced by Curtin University graduate Matt Hardie.

Western Australian advocate for trans* rights Jayne McFayden believes the film makes fun of the many challenges faced by trans* people.

“It portrays gender reassignment as something that you wake up and do one day, and ignores the years of angst that meany transsexual people go through. It also portrays the pretend F2M as predatory and I believe that in many states, pretending to be someone else in order to have sex with another can be considered sexual assault.”

“Matt Hardie has basically insulted the transsexual and the gay community for a cheap laugh”, said McFayden.

Media Educator Jonathan Brown from Melbourne youth radio station SYN has also shared his thoughts on the film. Writing on his personal blog Brown said that sex, gender and sexuality can serve as comedic material but ‘Bamboozled’ misses the mark.

“The trans experience is more than just a lazy punch line. It’s a real experience that real people in our community are going through.” Brown wrote.

Crikey’s TV critic Laurence Barber also saw the film as offensive. The critic tweeted, “Sorry heteros, #Tropfest win is indefensible. Queer ppl spend 2 much of our lives fearing that humiliation for it to exist as a joke for you [sic]”.

Speaking to the ABC Hardie said critics of the film were missing the point.

“The punchline really is a comment on media and how the world may have homophobia, but the lead character, and what I was saying, he was completely willing to go with either gender, he was in love with the person.” said Hardie.

Tropfest and Matt Hardie did not respond before OUTinPerth’s publication deadline when asked for comment.

Watch the film below and tell us what you think of it.

Update: This story was updated to include Matt Hardie’s comments to the ABC and the views of Crikey TV critic Laurence Barber.

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