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The Queens

Saturday 15 June – 10.00
The Granville Theatre, Victoria Parade, Ramsgate CT11 8DG
£ 5.00


Part documentary classic “Paris is Burning,” part current FX hit drama “Pose,” part reality show phenom “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and part traditional beauty pageant like Miss America, “The Queens” explores the transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation. Along the way, this feature-length documentary delves into the rich history of Chicago’s iconic female illusion show lounge, The Baton (entering its 50th year in 2019 at the same location), and the club’s legendary offspring, the Miss Continental beauty pageant (an annual competition that has drawn transgender contestants from around the globe since 1980). The entertainers immersed in this fascinating close-knit community share the highs and lows of their lives as they compete for the coveted crown.

Director Biography: Max Saxenmeyer

Mark Saxenmeyer is the executive director of The Reporters Inc., a journalistic 501(c)(3) organization specializing in online journalism and documentaries. He’s also the director of “The Queens,” the nonprofit’s new documentary about the transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation. (It’s The Reporters Inc.’s first project to be featured here on FilmFreeway.) Mark also runs the for-profit SaxInTheCity Productions, a video production company that helps corporations and other organizations create visual stories that convey their vision in an authentically journalistic fashion.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Bachelor of Arts in Journalism), Mark reported and produced for ABC, FOX and CBS affiliates in Madison, Hartford, Sacramento, Minneapolis and Chicago for more than two decades (between 1987 and 2013).

Mark’s broadcast reports and documentary projects have been honored with numerous national awards, including an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and an Edward R. Murrow from the Radio Television Digital News Association. He’s also won national prizes from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the National Association of Black Journalists, the American Women in Radio and Television, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, among others. (Additionally, his work has garnered 32 regional Emmy awards, 17 regional Associated Press awards, and 17 regional Society of Professional Journalists awards.)

Mark’s documentary credits include “The Rites of Passage” (1993), “The Experiment in Black and White” (2002), “Experiment: Gay and Straight” (2004), and “The Queens” (2018). Mark served as writer, director, and executive producer on all of these projects. He also edited “The Queens.” The Reporters Inc. is currently in production on two additional documentaries, “The Innocent Convicts” (about wrongful convictions and criminal justice reform), and “Reaching for the Rainbow” (about race relations in South Africa post-apartheid). Details can be found here:

Mark is the recipient of the Leadership in Journalism Education award from Loyola University Chicago, he was presented the Young Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement And Distinguished Service from UW-Madison, and he was an inaugural inductee into his high school’s (Thomas Jefferson in Bloomington, MN) Hall of Fame.

Mark has been with his partner Adam Gower since 2005. They currently reside in the Minneapolis suburb of Richfield with their dog, a Havanese named Desi.

YEAR: 2018


  • Writer / Director: Mark Saxenmeyer
  • Producers: Adam Gower, Marin Kolev, Kari Iverson-Sechi
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