DRAGGED (the films)
Dragged is a documentary folllowing a group of drag queens at different stages of their lives and careers.
We follow Maddelynn Hatter, Jada Valenciaga and Chaka Khanvict and their lives. Every week the three queens have their weekly show "Real Deal Wednesdays" at the Ritz Bar & Lounge in New York City.
This film is not just a look at their lives but an exploration of what New York is to queens today as well as in the past, we meet the drag queen that was there when it was illegal, the one who left it all when it became too much as well as one who achieved fame from RuPaul's Drag Race. Drag queens are political too and in this film we cover Sister Roma's figt against Facebook and the fight for a new location for the New York bar Boots & Saddles.
Are drag queens all gay? Find out in DRAGGED where we also celebrate those queens no longer with us.
From a review by Oaxaca Film Fest
“Dragged” is a very important piece of work that gets us closer into the LGBT community and the lives of drag-queens and transvestites and the many different levels of struggle they have to face on their daily lives. On the one front we have people who are either fearful or ignorant or simply aggressive towards them. Then, their pasts growing up and the different levels of reactions from their families. The very competitive world of NYC nightclubs, from shows to stand up shows and the very thick skin they have to develop in order to survive constant attacks from patrons and other drag queens.
Perhaps what truly sells the Documentary is just how much of a “New York Story” it is. For those that are familiar with life in the big apple, the everyday struggle to make it in the big city is both inspiring and heart wrenching. New York can make you stronger or kill you, and only those with the right stuff are fit to stay. Now, add to that a world where competitiveness is succeed or die and a metropolis that is well known for being both ruthless and hostile, and we have here a true story of fortitude against the biggest odds.
The subjects tell their stories and as much as they have developed a thick skin, we get to see the moments of vulnerability as they recount truly raw experiences of where they grew up, the levels of acceptance that society and their very families have towards them and it’s here where the documentary truly shines. Every Drag Queen has a two layers: the make-up they add on and the strong attitude that they must maintain at all times, always keeping their wards up. This is a test of fortitude, to be one true self in a world that mocks you or just doesn’t get you. Besides that, we also have an endlessly entertaining Documentary, there’s never a dull moment, every scene is full of discovery and every interview subject is interesting, fascinating and inspiring. It takes bravery to be a drag queen, especially in New York.
The Direcor's Statement
After watching RuPaul's Drag Race for several years it always puzzled me that noone seemed to have taken a closer look at the people - the REAL people - behind the drag and focus on them and what they had to say rather than them in a competitive environment designed for drama and enhanced situations.
After looking around I couldn't really find anything and that's pretty much how DRAGGED was born.
The project changed paths many times during filming and it wasn't till the editing room that it took the shape it has today.
I wanted to show drag queens as real people. People you can identify with, who have many of the same issues, problems, joys and challenges that everyone else has - they just happen to be doing the art of drag. An art that's also mysterious to many and it's often still left outside the realms of "real" art by many people. It's time we get closer to accepting drag for what it is: A truly fantastic artform and a masterful and exquisit exploration of gender, comedy and performance-art.
Christopher Birk (Director)
RuPaul, Divine, Dame Edna, Bianca Del Rio , Charles Pierce, Dorian Corey, Ivy Winters, Hedda Lettuce, Sherry Vine, Bob The Drag Queen, Maddelynn Hatter, Ariel Italic, Doris Fish, Jada Valenciaga, Maddox Madison, Jizzabella, Chaka Khanvict, Pusse Couture, Kim Andre, Sister Roma, Michael W. Burke, Daniel Logan, Holly Woodlawn, Chaz Bono, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Shangela, Marsha P. Johnson, Heklina, Erika Klash, Joshua Miller, Gabriel Holling, Lee Blackwell, Frostie Flakes, Miss Peppermint
Directed by Christopher Birk
Produced By Christopher Birk & Pedro Rangel
Sound by Mike Anzel, Jonathan Haigler, Daniel Hess, Cheryl MacDonald, Nahja Noon
Cinematography by Henrik A. Meyer
Camera by Michael Jes Buus, T. J. Collins, Daniel Hess, Steve Glassner, Abe Halpert, Brett MacDonald, Luis Solano