Trans filmmaker’s Joker parody removed from international festival lineups – GCN
A transgender version of the popular Joker movie titled The People’s Prankster was removed from the Toronto International Film Festival lineup after Warner Brothers Studios reportedly issued a cease and desist order.
The crowd-funded film was written by trans filmmaker Vera Drew who also directs and stars in the feature.
In The People’s PranksterDrew reimagines the infamous villain as a transgender comedian struggling to find his voice in an oppressive society.
The film’s synopsis reads: “After years of going numb with Smylex, an unfunny clown named Joker struggles with gender identity, first love, and a fascist caped crusader while founding a illegal comedy in Gotham City.”
After years of numbing himself to Smylex, an unfunny clown named Joker struggles with gender identity, first love, and a fascist caped crusader while founding an illegal comedy theater in Gotham City.
THE PEOPLE’S JOKER, a coming-of-age Joker origin tale. pic.twitter.com/SPy2ZPe11d
— Vera Drew (@VeraDrew22) September 9, 2022
Speaking about the film ahead of its premiere, Vera Drew said that “If these are our modern myths, and if the purpose of myth is to learn about the human experience and to grow and also to track your progress – the journey of heroes and all that – let’s do this seriously with these characters.
The feature itself is not licensed by Warner Brothers and DC Comics, something the filmmaker is well aware of and acknowledges in an opening title card.
Drew said the characters are used under the US Fair Trade Doctrine, which serves to protect the use of copyrighted material for certain purposes. The Supreme Court established that parody is protected by the First Amendment in 1988.
Despite this, Warner Brothers reportedly still issued a cease and desist order following the film’s first screening at the festival.
The later film festival issued a statement saying, “The filmmaker has pulled this film due to rights issues. Please accept our apologies for any issues.”
— Barry Hertz (@HertzBarry) September 14, 2022
Drew then took to Twitter saying, “I have no idea how today is going and my team wants me to say nothing of course so I’ll keep it vague…but whatever happens in the next few hours i want you to know…if you have i am waiting and can’t wait to watch our movie, you will get there soon.stay tuned and stay with me.need your help.
She is now begging fans to vote for The People’s Joker to win TIFF’s People’s Choice Award “We’re the only movie with ‘people’ in the title, so that’s only fair.”.
Fans also took to Twitter to voice their support for the #FREETHEPEOPLESJOKER trend as a result.
One user said, “THE PEOPLE’S JOKER removed from TIFF is more than just a copyright issue. Trans rights, capitalism and community. The weight of over 100 artists and a confirmed filmmaker @VeraDrew22 telling his story via parody of a beloved IP. You should be flattered, WB! #FREETHEPEOPLESJOKER”
THE PEOPLE’S JOKER removed from TIFF is more than just a copyright issue. Trans rights, capitalism and community. The weight of more than 100 artists and 1 confirmed filmmaker @VeraDrew22 telling his story via parody of a beloved IP address. You should be flattered, WB! #FREETHEPEOPLESJOKER
— KG (@554mariposa) September 14, 2022
Another user also weighed in on the situation and said, “I saw @VeraDrew22’s illegal Joker movie trend earlier. 💖 need to keep talking about it until The People’s Prankster plays in every major city in the world. Stop silencing @warnerbros trans women! #FREETHEPEOPLESJOKER”
Seen @VeraDrew22The Illegal Joker Movie Trends Earlier. 💖 keep talking about it until The People’s Joker plays in every major city in the world. Stop silencing trans women @Warner Bros. ! #FREETHEPEOPLESJOKER pic.twitter.com/eAvxR5b8MS
– micHELLe in a hand basket (@aMichelleStone) September 15, 2022
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