Fox Maxy, Muzzles Off (still) (image courtesy the artist)

During the COVID-19 quarantine, Fox Maxy, like many artists, has kept on working. “It was a very unsettling time, like it was for most people, but I had just moved to LA and really didn’t know anyone or feel comfortable in the city at all,” shared Maxy, an Ipai Kumeyaay and Payómkawichum filmmaker, over email. “When quarantine hit, I moved back to my family’s reservation in Pauma Valley and I felt safe, finally.” There, Maxy started editing the film San Diego, which, among other things, looks at how tribes in Southern California have tried to continue their traditional gatherings during this challenging time.

This weekend, San Diego is screening as part of FILM at LACMA, a series curated by Adam Piron, the assistant curator for film at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The upcoming program will also feature three other films by Maxy, including Maat Means LandOne Big Selfie, and Muzzles Off, which collectively focus on “the identity of the land that is currently known as Southern California.”

Muzzles Off, for example, is a poignant conversation with Jade Kalikolehuaokalani (an Apache and Lakota artist), who talks about Two-Spirit identity within Native American culture. In Kalikolehuaokalani’s words, “Two-Spirit is our umbrella term for people who have both male and female spirits within them.” And while Two-Spirits once held “a strong and powerful place” within Native communities, today they are “looked down upon by a more aggressive, patriarchal mindset” inherited from colonialism.

Maxy’s films are often collages of various types of footage, from conversations with friends to archival imagery and social media videos. They feel like authentic collections of moments in life. “I try my hardest to recognize that filmmaking is just like every other aspect of being alive,” Maxy said over email. For that reason, they don’t like to follow any kinds of rules or “protocols” in their filmmaking: “It’s my time on this planet so I’ll do what I must.”

In addition to streaming the four films, you’ll also have the chance to watch a conversation between Maxy and Piron. When I asked Maxy what they plan on talking about, they said, “I hope to touch on how accessible film is an as art form. Anyone can make movies, even if you’re not artistic or have no experience, everyone is a storyteller in some way.”

When: Friday, August 28–Sunday, August 30, 12–10pm (available to stream any hour within this time frame)
Where: Vimeo

More info at LACMA 

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.