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Smears, Tears, and Thumbprints: Queer Coming of Age

Smears, Tears, and Thumbprints: Queer Coming of Age

Sunday December 4, 2022, 1:00 pm

At 2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 W. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90057

In person: Filmmakers James Holston and Mara Ramirez, with curator Sam Gurry

Tickets: $12 general, $8 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members


Masks are still required at Filmforum shows - N95 or KN95. 

Smears, Tears, and Thumbprints: Queer Coming of Age

What does it mean to have a body? Why does the concrete feel so soft under my fingers? Animation is uniquely positioned to examine the intangible and constructed. From here, above the peg bar, artists sketch a pysche imagined and a world redeemed.

The films in this programs contains a colorful, earnest languidity through a queer lens exploring family, the body, and the ebbings of the afternoon tide.

Utilizing the inherent reflexivity of animation, these films create spaces to inhabit both comfort and consolation. Featuring a variety of animation techniques, these films each live in different sections of the mind and body united in their explorations of comfort, hope, and satisfaction. 

Pre-recorded introduction of Torrey Pines by filmmaker, Clyde Peterson.

Q&A to follow with James Holston and Mara Ramirez, hosted by curator Sam Gurry.

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Torrey Pines, by Clyde Petersen

Torrey Pines


Directed by Clyde Peterson

Torrey Pines is an award-winning feature film based on a true story by transgender stop-motion animator Clyde Petersen. The film is a queer punk coming-of-age tale, taking place in Southern California in the early 1990’s. Raised by a schizophrenic mother, Petersen's life story unfolds in a series of baffling and hallucinated events. With a mother fueled by hallucinations of political conspiracy and family dysfunction, 12-year-old Petersen is taken on a cross-country adventure that will forever alter the family as they know it. Join Petersen as he takes you back to a time when MTV shaped teenage minds and a generation of nerds strengthening their thumbs on a Nintendo controller. Put on your swim trunks, grab your boogie board and come enjoy the view at Torrey Pines

Clyde Petersen (they/he) is a transgender Northwest artist, working in film, animation, music, installation, and fabulous spectacle. He re-creates lost worlds and documents queer culture that has been largely erased by AIDS, capitalism and gentrification. He works to offer alternate, more equitable realities and futures through the reexamination of overlooked histories of queer communities. His work is slow and patient, animating only a few seconds of film a day, gathering new oral histories and building scale-model worlds to tell stories in.

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Lemon Lime

Lemon Lime


Animation by Mara Ramirez, Music by AC Crowley

Lemon Lime is an experimental collaboration between sonic and visual loops, connecting inside the body. The short wordless film follows a nameless genderfluid character through their growth (both physical and emotional) following an interaction at the beginning of the film, where they feel misunderstood and unable to speak their truth in a conversation. A collaboration between both a nonbinary musician and animator, we give shape to the feelings of mistaken identity and the overwhelming experience of being unknowable.

Mara “Mars” Ramirez is an interdisciplinary artist & educator from the Bay Area, CA. They play with abstraction and the action of mark making as a means of distorting & clarifying their own experiences through the filter of emotion and memory.

AC Crowley is an artist and musician based in Oakland, CA. Their work is split up between a variety of mediums and genres, with this project focusing on multilayered, looping compositions and shifts in rhythm and texture.

Olive & Otis


Directed by James Leong Holston

A young man walks home in a storm and is confronted by a ghost from his past in a short animated horror film about dysphoria, gender transition, and the self.

James Leong Holston is a filmmaker and animator originally from Berkeley, CA, now living in Los Angeles.​ He studied Experimental Animation at the California Institute of the Arts and graduated in 2022.