The documentary short film Jesse Jams directed by Trevor Anderson spotlights Indigenous trans frontman of mumble-punk band Jesse Jams and The Flams. The film was an Official Selection of Outfest Fusion 2020 and recently celebrated as part of Vimeo Staff Picks.
Jesse Jams profiles Jesse, a rock’n’roll survivor. He’s an Indigenous trans man who grew up in care and endured years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. He has a list of mental health diagnoses as long as your arm, but Jesse has developed his own way to cope with his day-to-day challenges: rock’n’roll.
The film follows Jesse for a week of his life, as he makes his way to recording sessions, rehearsals, sound checks, and finally a full set with his band at Edmonton’s summer music festival, Interstellar Rodeo. Jesse’s songs are the way into his story: there’s a whole life behind those lyrics.
Director Trevor Anderson is a writer-director whose short films have played at A-list and LGBTQ film festivals worldwide including three times at Sundance and twice at the Berlinale, where his musical The Man That Got Away (2012) won the D.A.A.D. short film prize. His science fiction horror Docking (2019) and his western The Little Deputy (2015) were both named to Canada’s Top Ten by the Toronto International Film Festival and nominated for Canadian Screen Awards. At Sundance 2020, Trevor’s feature film script Before I Change My Mind, co-written with Fish Griwkowsky, was named to The GLAAD List, a curated list of the ten most promising LGBTQ+inclusive screenplays in Hollywood as decided by GLAAD and The Black List. Before I Change My Mind has received production funding from Telefilm Canada’s regional fund and Trevor was scheduled to direct it just when the global pandemic hit – in the words of Werner Herzog, “Happy New Year, losers!”
Formed in 2015 around mumble punk pioneer Jesse Jams, The Flams have since coalesced into a core group comprised of upstart youngsters and grizzled rock and roll vets. Sporting four? (four!) guitarists, Jesse Jams and the Flams roll forth with furious abandon, mixing punk, art-rock and good old fashioned 70’s twang and swagger, all in service of Jesse’s street-savvy observations. High profile slots at Edmonton’s Interstellar Rodeo festival have launched the Jammerz as local underground faves. They have an EP and a digital 7” on Bandcamp with an LP due out whenever the apocalypse ends.
All songs written and performed by JESSE JAMS & THE FLAMS. Available on Bandcamp.