Avant-Drag! offers an exhilarating look at ten Athenian drag performers who deconstruct gender, nationalism, belonging, identity, while facing police brutality, transphobia and racism. As entertaining as it is thought-provoking, Avant-Drag! challenges societal norms and reshapes perceptions about LGBTQ+ culture by capturing the intimate lives of a tightly-knit group of drag performers, proving that being othered never felt so familiar.
Police brutality and homophobic violence against LGBTQ+ individuals in Greece is on the rise, as evidenced by the high-profile murders of drag performers and activists Zak Kostopoulos (Zackie Oh) and Anna Ivankova. Avant-Drag! is an homage to Zackie who was a personal friend and collaborator of the film’s creative team.
The film captures the vibrancy of Athens’ underground drag scene and its role in pushing boundaries and expressing dissident identities. It goes beyond the mainstream representations of drag (and the Hollywoodian world of RuPaul) focusing on the more radical, explicitly political and raw performances.
Avant-Drag! is a love song to Athens; a city that can be as oppressive as it can be a refuge for art freaks and a hot-bed for creativity. The film examines the use of public space and street performance as acts of visibility and protest by the drag community — while also addressing the problem of gentrification that is increasingly a major challenge for underprivileged Athenians.
Avant-Drag! is influenced by the Greek “Weird Wave” cinema movement and adopts an avant-garde, hybrid cinematic language. It aims to be not just another ‘pride’ documentary of pensive talking heads but juxtaposes magical realism, political commentary and outrageous performances.
The film highlights issues of misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia in Greek society through the experiences of its diverse drag performer subjects. The film takes an intersectional approach that showcases different aspects of oppression in modern Greece — also showcasing the effects of more than a decade of austerity and extreme financial hardship.
Cast & CREW
Directed & Edited by
FYTA / Fil Ieropoulos
Featuring (in order of appearance)
Kangela Tromokratisch, Er Libido, Aurora Paola Morado, Parakatyanova, SerGay Parakatyanov, McMorait, Cotsos, Lala Kolopi, Veronique & Cruella Tromokratisch
Director of Photography
Christos Adrianopoulos & Spyros Patsouras (Sphoenix)
Spyros Patsouras (Sphoenix)
Angelos Charalambous, Nikos Manolis, Eleni Lazaridi, Nefeli Dakozoudi, Andreas Kleanthous, Christos Adrianopoulos
Giorgos Kravvaritis, Pantelis Pilavios, Christos Sakellariou
Gabriela Obiala, Soni Papadopoulos, Petros Antoniou, Katerina Koukoutsaki, Maritina Tselepi, Vasilis Papavarsamis, Nefeli Tsigkeli, Nikos Kostaras, Petros Touloudis, Alex Demetriou