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Atlas O Phoenix

Visionary, Auteur, Human Being Human

BIO

Atlas O Phoenix, they/them/theirs, is an award-winning director, writer, producer, and editor who creates films that are dark, powerful, and emotive. Additionally, they were an actor and performer for the legendary Dykes Do Drag (2017-2020) and The Naked I series (2018/2020) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Atlas still performs in Minneapolis.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. 

-Cesar A. Cruz

My films and artistic vision deliberately create something inconvenient and show the truth in its varying shades and textures.

 

I encourage viewers to move past their comfort zone to discover themselves in new ways. I aim to shift their world views, attitudes, and self-perceptions. If my art makes viewers uncomfortable, it’s working. There's infinite power in vulnerability.

 

A compliment I received that both troubled and relieved me was from a father who watched my film, Do I Qualify for Love? at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Deeply heartbroken, he said, “I’m not the same person after seeing your film. Everything I thought I knew about parenting completely shifted. I’m so sorry for what happened to you.”

 

He couldn't stand still as he spoke to me and struggled to make eye contact. He moved his arms, back, and hips. He walked towards me and moved back to collect more thoughts and moved forward again. It was like watching him wrestle with his spirit. For a moment, I felt bad for him; I had shown him something so awful he was struggling to reconcile it within himself.

 

Upon reflection, I see it as a teaching moment for both of us. I learned how powerfully my work can impact others. It summoned the truth he held to be true and replaced it with something tangible and visceral. I gave him a vision that made him challenge his views, his attitude, and the way he saw himself as a parent.

 

It was one of the most significant moments of my budding career. I’ll see more of this, in the future, with my experimental documentary, Beautiful Boi.

VISION

At this point in my filmmaking journey, I want to create films that explore the darkness of the soul and examine its flight to the light.

LGBPTNQIA2+ filmmakers are an enormous inspiration to me because these stories are about overcoming obscene social obstacles based on sexual orientation and gender expression. This includes a radical bias towards the color of one's skin.

 

Vigilance in regards to rejecting tropes, cliches, and tokenism is necessary so that LGBPTNQIA2+ cinema will continue to evolve into a powerful and inspiring force for good in the world. This planet needs all the good it can get.

Photo Credit: Evan Frost/MPR News

The Films

Selected Works

All works are written, produced, directed, and edited by Atlas O Phoenix.

(Available for rental. See Films section below.)

Emotional, provocative, and deeply introspective work, Atlas is interested in the light and dark areas of life and its lived experience. The questions explored are:

  • "What makes up our human experience?"

  • "What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind?"

Do I Qualify for Love? was featured at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival's Best of the Fest along with Questlove's Summer of Love. Do I qualify for Love? was also nominated for Best Short Documentary at this festival.

Little Men has won numerous awards. It was an official selection in places as far as Bucharest, London, and stateside in numerous festivals including the Seattle Black Film Festival, Worldfest Houston, and the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival in 2020.

Their newest film project is an experimental documentary, Beautiful Boi. The film is an anthropological study of their life, transition, and mental health journey of 40+ years.

 

They are currently shooting footage and writing monologues for the film. Beautiful Boi is set to premiere in 2025.

To support the making of Beautiful Boi, please rent Do I Qualify for Love? and Little Men. These rentals are $3.99 each and can be enjoyed for up to 72 hours.

For your donation, you will receive a Special Thanks screen credit. Thank you!