Minneapolis, MN, USA
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 (2017-2021) and The Naked I series (2018/2020) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Atlas still performs in Minneapolis.
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.
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. more...