A Conversation with B. Ruby Rich on New Queer Cinema:
Two decades ago, B. Ruby Rich coined the term “New Queer Cinema” in a Sight & Sound essay to describe the movement of emerging independent queer films at film festivals. This March, Rich released a new book entitled “New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut,” which chronicles queer films of the last twenty-one years. The work doesn’t shy away from criticisms yet invokes scholarly and contextualizing discussions on post-1980s LGBTQ cinema. It is Rich’s second book, following Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement.
Rich has had an extensive career around the film industry, writing for the Village Voice, The New York Times, The Chicago Reader and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She frequents film festivals including Sundance and Toronto, and still manages to find time to teach at UC Santa Cruz, including my Eyecandy Film Journal seminar. After working with Professor Rich for a quarter, I realized she is a walking encyclopedia of all things film; dropping the names of people that she has worked with or met along the way (“John Waters isn’t as weird as you may think”) and recommending the most underground film for whatever topic a student is working with. Even with the iconic nature of her name attached to her person, Professor Rich may be one of the most approachable professors at UCSC. I had the opportunity to speak with Professor Rich on her new book, as well as oppurtunities within the film industry and the changing structures of delivering film criticism. In this interview she also discusses her upcoming endeavors, and explains the draw to the Social Documentation program at UCSC.
The interview is available online through Soundcloud. Listen below by clicking the red play button.
“New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut” was released in March 2013 and is available through Duke University Press.