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How to make an "LGBTQI+ Home Movie Quilt"

Rahne Alexander and Jaimes Mayhew seek even broader horizons for their film project after participating in the Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media incubator
Posted October 9, 2016

Rahne Alexander's film and video art has appeared at festivals and galleries nationwide. Jaimes Mayhew's work has received awards from The Fulbright Commission and the Maryland State Arts Council. But their current joint project, "The LGBTQI+ Home Movie Quilt," will debut in their own backyard at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). They spoke with Rising about how their experience in the Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media incubator — as well as the development and production funding they have received through the program — has helped them dream up even bigger goals for their project.

What will the "LGBTQ Home Movie Quilt" look like?

Jaimes: It's a mix between documentary film and installation art. It's going to be a digitally projected video mix of several LGBTQ home movies stitched together. We're working with some LGBTQ elders in the area to help us gather footage from local families.

Rahne: To start, the quilt will be 72 inches square, and it'll have an album-quilt aesthetic — we're looking to trade on that history, because album quilts started here in Baltimore. We'll be installed in the BMA for a year, and in that time we're planning to add more video clips, creating a bigger, more informed project.

How has being part of the Zaentz incubator improved or advanced your project?

Jaimes: The mentorship aspect has been really helpful. One of our mentors has a lot of experience working in installation documentaries. She's helped us ask some important questions about the longevity of this project, such as, how are we going to archive our footage? These are things artists may not anticipate but are really important.

Rahne: We had a lot of discussions with mentors and with other fellows about our project. Just being able to figure out how to talk about the project in ways that would keep people's interest, to distill it down into an effective pitch, that skill was a major benefit I gained from the Zaentz program.

Why was this particular project important for you to pursue?

Rahne: One of the things that motivated us to do this in Baltimore was because we're both transplants, but we both came here very deliberately. There is a lot of queer history here that doesn't usually get talked about. I've lived in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and I've visited New York many times. These are big, obvious centers for the LGBTQ community, but significant things have happened here, in Baltimore, in the last century. Those things range from Johns Hopkins being the first academic medical center to conduct transgender surgeries, to the career of John Waters. And these parts of LGBTQ history don't get talked about enough.