Artist/Filmmaker Josué Pellot takes an Inside Look into the Puerto Rican Transgender Community in “I am the Queen”


“I the Queen,” a documentary directed and produced by Josué Pellot and Henrique Cirne-Lima, takes a look at the often unobserved life of Chicago’s Puerto Rican transgendered community.  In this film, Pellot and Cirne-Lima document the Cacique Pageant, the first annual transgendered pageant held in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community. The film exposes the restructuring of the family unit experienced by pageant participants who are often distanced from their biological family but who find kinship among those facing similar experiences in the Puerto Rican transgendered community.

La Voz: Why did you choose to name your
documentary “I am the Queen”?

Josue Pellot: The title comes from Ginger (The pageant coordinator). At some point during a meeting she had with the girls she says “I am the queen”.

La Voz:  What message do you want your viewers to get?

Josue Pellot: We didn’t aim towards a specific message. I do think there are a few things the viewer can take from the film.

La Voz:  Can you name some?

Josue Pellot: I wouldn’t assign a specific message to the film but do think it has a good message about family and community support. It also highlights Vida Sida’s beauty pageant as an event that promotes tolerance and helps shape the the community.

La Voz: What is your objective in creating this documentary?

Josue Pellot: The project began to develop when I found a flyer regarding the 2009 pageant. My first thought was “wow, we have a Puerto Rican, Transgendered, beauty pageant for Humboldt Park youths!?” It was so specific and progressive that I wanted to know more about it. So the objective was to make the film in a way that the viewers could get a sense of what we experienced making the documentary.

La Voz: As an artist, why is it important to cross borders?

Josue Pellot: More important than crossing borders is the differences between each side. I believe you should understand these differences before you go from one end to the other.

La Voz: What types of venues has “I am the Queen” been shown @ and when will the next showing be?

Josue Pellot: We’ve had one public showing at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. And will show at the Queer Film Festival in Puerto Rico, Oct. 8. Besides this we are waiting to hear back from a few film festivals and still applying to others.

Interview by Jonathan Rivera