Canada/2020/Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt
On Demand from April 8 at 11:00 AM - April 20 at 11:59 PM
When American jazz musician Billy Tipton passed away in 1989, the tabloids didn’t explode with stories about his time as a multi-instrumentalist on the club circuit or the two records his self-titled trio cut in the 1950s. Instead the tabloids went with insensitive and defamatory narratives regarding his gender. To the surprise of all who knew him—including Billy’s wife and adopted sons—he was assigned female at birth and had been living as himself since 19. The resulting media frenzy scrutinized every aspect of his life and his family’s life, while his biographer insisted he was a woman posing as a man out of career ambition. However, there was a silver lining to Billy’s unfair outing: he was made a visible part of history. With the help of Tipton’s son, Billy Jr., directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s thoughtfully crafted NO ORDINARY MAN reframes Billy Tipton’s legacy through the performances of a diverse group of transmasculine artists as they reimagine key moments in the musician’s life. This unique portrait of trans expression goes beyond one man’s identity, allowing each actor to connect with the past as a means of claiming their own narrative.
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This event is sponsored by the 45th Cleveland International Film Festival.