Escape Velocity is a creative project of films and performances made by and with young trans and gender non-conforming people in Melbourne as a response to the anxieties they faced in public spaces. Conceived in 2018 and concluding in 2021, eight diverse short films were produced to share on this website and across social media alongside a series of live events and performances.
Each of these films and live events and performances features a young person who was part of the group that developed Escape Velocity.
In August 2019, Escape Velocity released three films: Launch, Open the Door and Dive In, short fictions inspired by actual experiences. Each features a young person facing a challenge and on the cusp of a self-affirming choice, discovery or action.
For me, it’s about the fact that trans people exist in different contexts. we don’t stop being trans when we go to the doctor’s office. We are not just trans in queer spaces.
– Kian features in Launch set in a Doctor’s office
Cis people need to realize that going to public toilets is one of the most daunting experiences of a trans person’s life, even more so if you aren’t “cis-passing”. Whether it be dirty looks, or threats of violence, using the toilet as a trans person is always a test of courage. I hope this film reveals that trans people are people too and that everyone has the right to access a toilet without fear.
– Wolfie features in Open the Door, at a public bathroom
Coming out sometimes needs to be extravagant to actually get your point across. My hope is that we can get to a point where someone can come out and not make a big fuss, and it just be a conversation like any other. But that wouldn’t make for a good video would it.
– Alice features in Dive In, at a swimming pool with classmates
In November 2019, during Trans Awareness Week, we released a longer, chaptered film, featuring the young people of Escape Velocity speaking directly about their lived experiences of being trans and about navigating public space. The chapters: I Am Who I Am, It Turns, No Way To Stop It, and We Are No Different are self-contained and can be viewed separately.
Escape Velocity 2 – Chapter 1: I Am Who I Am
“I am trans and I am who I am.”
Escape Velocity 2 – Chapter 2: It Turns
“When I wake up in the morning, I think, do I look like a woman today?”
Escape Velocity 2 – Chapter 3: No Way To Stop It
“I asked them is there anything you can do to stop what’s happening.”
Escape Velocity 2 – Chapter 4: We Are No Different
“People like me exist in the world and that’s just something that’s true. Its a fact.”
In April 2021 Escape Velocity released its final film, also titled We Are Who We Are, a four-minute short film combining spoken-word performances, animation and original music composition created in response to the spoken word component. As per the original intentions of the entire Escape Velocity multidisciplinary project, the main theme being expressed is what it means to be seen and be present in public spaces as a trans or gender diverse person. This final film was created with trans and gender non-conforming artists in key creative roles alongside the young people.
Escape Velocity 3 – We Are Who We Are
“See our barriers crumble.”
In November 2021 all eight Escape Velocity films were screened at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival followed by a panel discussion with some of the participants.
With already over a million views online, the Escape Velocity films are available to be viewed and shared. All individual films are embedded separately below, or scroll to the end of the page for a compilation of the entire Escape Velocity collection of films in one single video.