El at xyz projects:
Collaborative filmmaking |
Community healthcare archiving


A trans+ film collective producing LGBTQI+ healthcare related films

The XYZ Care Network comprises of trans+ identifying filmmakers, NHS staff members, writers and researchers based between London and Birmingham. Our film work is centred on participatory filmmaking methods and community healthcare archive building. We strive to research and expose systematic healthcare inequalities, meanwhile archiving health-centered social histories surrounding LGBTQI+ communities. El Jones (they/them) and Dr. Ravi Piccus (he/they) are co-directors of the collective.

1. Dr. XYZ: A Medical Drag Transthology | 16mm | 15mins | BFI Network (2023)
Director, Editor, Producer (El Jones) | Writer, Producer (Raviv Piccus) http://www.vividprojects.org.uk/programme/dr-xyz/

As part of BFI Network’s and AHRC’s NHS Untold Stories inniative 2023
the XYZ Care Network presents a public healthcare service announcement.

Dr. XYZ is an exercise in queering the healthcare information film.
Collaborating with Birmingham’s trans+ community, the film weaves ethnographic
healthcare accounts with moments of drag-satire re-enactment to depict a
collective vision of the UK’s healthcare system. The participants, appearing in the
film as themselves, share some the pains, joys, exhaustions and optimisms this
community has felt trying to seek gender affirming care. Meanwhile, the narrative
follows our presenter, Dr. XYZ (played by drag artist, Don One); the collective voice of care
as they guide Dr. Mess (played by drag artist, Wet Mess) a clown-like gatekeeper
of essential care through a series of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of essential care
practices. Dr. XYZ previewed at BFI Southbank in November 2023
and will be available on BFI Player in 2024.

2. Dorothy Towers | 16mm | 31mins | Paul Hamlyn Foundation (2022)
                Archive Producer, Film Editor, Sound Recordist (El Jones)

Dorothy Towers is the story of the legendary Clydesdale and Cleveland Towers, two residential blocks in the centre of Birmingham, UK. Completed in 1971 as a social housing development and located adjacent to the city’s Gay Village, the towers’ proximity to the community means they have long been a haven for queer people.
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It features testimonials from residents and explores ideas of queer kinship and inheritance alongside experiences of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and ’90s.
The 16mm  film opens a space to reflect on the complex relationship between architecture, community and memory.

The film includes footage of interior architecture; archival materials, including newsprint and photographs; community members in celebratory mood; and sweeping shots of architectural reliefs and designs surrounding the towers. Dorothy Towers frames the buildings in a continuum of history that extends back to the city’s postwar redevelopment via its modernist underpasses and countless bars and nightclubs.

During the making of both the ‘Dorothy Towers’ and ‘Dr. XYZ’ focus groups and workshops were faciliated to encourage members of queer communities to share their experiences, which were recorded as oral histories and laid the foundation for the films. In 2024 XYZ Films will collaborate with LGBTQI+ NHS staff training networks on a series of creative health training programs.