VIFF: Framing Agnes

Exhuming transcripts from a 1950s UCLA study on transgender individuals, Chase Joynt and his cast employ re-enactments, reinvention, and personal reflections to examine the trans stories that are told and how—and by whom—they are authored.

Every bit as conceptually daring as VIFF 2020’s No Ordinary Man (which Joynt co-directed), Framing Agnes sees the director assume the role of vintage talk show host and administers clinical interrogations of the titular Agnes (Zackary Drucker) and dozens of other individuals (played by influential figures like Angelica Ross and Jen Richards) who transitioned in the mid-20th century. Further blurring fact and fiction, Joynt and his collaborators counterpoint their lived experiences with those of the women they’re portraying, while academic Jules Gill-Peterson offers historical context.

The result is an all-too-rare film that is in constant dialogue with itself. Both a historical excavation and bold deconstruction, Framing Agnes exists in a liminal space. And in sparking essential discourse about these trailblazers, it aspires to lay the groundwork for further social change.

Awards: Audience Award & NEXT Innovator Award, Sundance 2022


Monday, October 3
Doors 9:00 pm | Movie 9:30 pm
Advance tickets through here


Tickets for all Vancouver International Film Festival screenings at the Rio Theatre are managed through VIFF, and can be made in advance via their ticketing service at www.viff.orgTickets may also be purchased at the box office; or any VIFF venues subject to availability.

*Online sales for VIFF screenings end 60 minute prior to any given showtime. The VIFF box office will open 60 minutes before any given showtime.
*Unless otherwise noted, all patrons must be 19+ with valid ID or entry to all Vancouver International Film Festival events.

*Sorry, Rio Theatre Groupons and passes cannot be used for VIFF events.


VIFF memberships are now included in the cost of your tickets so no need to buy a separate membership.

If you have any questions about VIFF programming or ticketing, please call them at 604-683-3456, or email them directly <[email protected]>


Agnes, the pioneering, pseudonymized, transgender woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s, has long stood as a figurehead of trans history. In this rigorous cinematic exercise that blends fiction and nonfiction, director Chase Joynt explores where and how her platform has become a pigeonhole. Framing Agnes endeavors to widen the frame through which trans history is viewed — one that has remained too narrow to capture the multiplicity of experiences eclipsed by Agnes’. Through a collaborative practice of reimagination, an impressive lineup of trans stars (Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Max Wolf Valerio, Silas Howard, and Stephen Ira) take on vividly rendered, impeccably vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans healthcare.

About The Rio

Voted the #1 Independent Theatre in Vancouver, the Rio Theatre is a multimedia venue featuring arthouse, mainstream and cult-classic cinemas as well as live entertainment. Built in 1938, the Rio has been fully restored with a state of the art digital projector, surround sound, a huge stage and 420 luxurious seats.

1660 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Phone: 604.879.3456

Info Line: 604.878.3456

Email: [email protected]

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