TOMBOi - Rainbow Warrior

Rainbow Warrior was a tremendously collaborative project between TOMBOi and director, Keagan Anfuso. Decidedly being produced at a time when our political climate is disheartening to many communities in their fight for equality and safe existence, a plan was devised for this video to be a reflection of those feelings in artistic respect.

Anfuso led into the project with the idea of correlating the treatment of traditional sideshow performers with the western societal perception of the queer community. Specifically, Anfuso wanted to depict the history of marginalized groups of people forced into entertainment as a means to gain acceptance of their identities and to ultimately survive. As a team of queer artists, all involved felt a connection with that storyline.

Based on that foundational idea, the concept was then pieced together to become a figurative representation of a marginalized group expressing their true identities in a safe space. The environment itself is intended to demonstrate an abandoned location that comes to life with inspiring theatrical amazement when all of the characters express their identities simultaneously.

Seven characters were developed to represent the colors of the rainbow spectrum. Each character was chosen to exemplify a marginalized community.

Bearded Lady & Mime: Male identified characters expressing their feminine traits.

Strong Black Woman & Young Black Male Fire Performer: The strong black woman opposing her ultimate oppressor and the young black male who has learned to control fire are depictions of the required resilience in facing adversity.

Escape Artist: Nonconforming individual breaking out of the societal binary restraints.

Mermaid and Aerial Silk Performer: Women with skill, strength and independence that is overshadowed by misogynist fantasy

During the pre-production phases of the video it was determined that the conclusion should be an image representational of the marginalized coming together as one in the fight for equality. The director of photography, Bernardo Santana, III, proposed a long-take shooting structure to further push the theme of oneness and unanimity. Anfuso and Santana agreed and the result became a one-shot video ending in a wide shot of all characters to symbolize inclusivity.

  • Keagan Anfuso
  • Shannon Rose Greene
  • Paige McMullen
  • Bernardo Santana III
    Director of Photography
  • Adam W. Hill
    Art Direction
  • Drew L. Brown
  • Project Type:
    Music Video, Short
  • Genres:
    Queer, LGBT, Music Video
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 29 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 20, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Keagan Anfuso

A prior student of the Art Institute of Jacksonville, Keagan Anfuso is an award winning queer female filmmaker based in Jacksonville, Florida.

Her music video work, primarily focused on the emerging indie-queer musician scene, has been featured in several online publications including Homoground, Rookie Magazine and NOISEY.

In 2016, her first directed horror-short, Wolf’s Museum of Mystery, was given the Florida Spotlight Award at Orlando’s Spooky Empire Film Festival.

In 2015, her documentary short-film pitch for, The Grey Area, received the Art Juror’s Award for start up funding and was also awarded Jacksonville’s most anticipated film project by VOID magazine. Currently in production, Anfuso is co-directing and the main subject of the film, which focuses on the perspective of a masculine female battling society’s oppressive expectations placed on women. recently described Anfuso as, “ a visionary film and video director doing stark explorations of alternative and emerging queer culture.”

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Director Statement

Having been a queer youth, I have a personal connection to “building your own family” storylines. With an assigned-at-birth female sex, I have always been more masculine than feminine and my gender expression has invited a lot of ridicule since childhood. I identify with the members of TOMBOi in their message and in their music. I consider my friendship with them to be a part of the family that I “built” to feel validated, understood and safe. That friendship between myself and them, combined with us all being dedicated to producing impactful artistic content, makes our creative relationship an empowering charge that we all seem to feel when we’re working together.

A lot of the brainstorming in this project involved myself and the band sitting together and discussing our personal experiences, opinions and feelings and then incorporating all of that into visuals. I pulled inspiration from the work of Australian singer and music video director, Sia. I have long admired the use of performers, the camera movement within a single location and conceptual depth within her videos. I wanted to evoke an emotional engagement similar to what I have experienced watching her content and this felt like the appropriate concept to apply that to.
When we were developing characters we were all devoted to including as much diversity as we could accomplish. Rather than developing a character because of cinematic vision, we prioritized exemplifying diversity and how then determined how we could make that cinematic. We also casted performers true to their characters so that the project itself was an act of celebrating the cast’s individual artistic expressions and skillsets. One of my favorite moments during production was walking through the shot for the first time and seeing the effortless naturalism coming off of the cast in each scene. I feel we accomplished fluidity and I’m very proud of that.

As a representational product for TOMBOi, my hope is that this video assists in extending their reach across the communities that are empowered and uplifted by their music and their message. As a director, I dedicate this project to all of those who are or have been marginalized and I hope it inspires the people it reaches to celebrate their strangeness and take pride in it.