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Workhorse Queen directed by Angela Washko official trailer and release date
Workhorse Queen directed by Angela Washko

Here is the official trailer for Workhorse Queen – an intimate exploration, through a tender mix of touching moments and wise-cracking humor, of the complexities of reality television’s impact on queer performance culture.

Directed by Angela Washko, the film arrives on DVD and VOD May 3, followed closely by the network premiere on Starz on June 1 for Pride Month.

After an unlikely casting onto a reality television show, 47-year old suburban telemarketer Ed Popil leaves his job to pursue a full-time entertainment industry career as his drag queen alter ego, 1960’s era housewife Mrs. Kasha Davis.

Told from the perspective of the overlooked yet beloved Queen Mrs. Kasha Davis, Workhorse Queen focuses on the growing divide between members of a small town drag community – those who have been on television, and those who have not.

Workhorse Queen world premiered at Slamdance, and went on to play numerous prestigious festivals, including ImageOut, where it won the coveted audience award, aGLIFF, Bentonville Film Festival, CinemaQ, Doc Edge, the American Film Festival where it took home Best Documentary, as well as the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival and the Buffalo International Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at both.

“In this cultural moment where drag queens are most visible in the competitive space of reality television, it’s important to remember that there are communities of drag queens doing meaningful, subversive, healing, and celebratory work in smaller towns – and that every drag queen who makes it to the television stage is a part of a longer lineage of queer activists and artists who paved the way for them”, said Washko. “This film celebrates generations of queer performers who have created space for drag in places that may have been otherwise unwelcoming to LGBTQ+ people. I am thankful that through distribution, the film will get to circulate widely – to the people in those small towns.”

Director Angela Washko’s directorial debut follows Mrs. Kasha Davis as she navigates the exciting highs and devastating lows of pursuing the fame promised by a reality television platform. With one foot inching toward Hollywood’s doorstep and the other cemented firmly within her beloved Rochester community, Mrs. Kasha Davis finds a surprising new audience at home as she works toward becoming the queer role model for children that Ed didn’t have and desperately wanted growing up.

“It has been an incredible journey documenting Ed Popil/Mrs. Kasha Davis, said Washko. “He stood out to me because it felt like there was so much more to his story and he represented a larger community of drag queens who don’t quite fit the mold of what reality television wants from its participants.”

In addition to Mrs. Kasha Davis, the film also includes the voices and perspectives of drag queen celebrities who have been on RuPaul’s Drag Race, such as superstar Bianca Del Rio, Darienne Lake, Tatianna, and Pandora Boxx, as well as leaders in subversive performance communities around the world, and drag queens who reject or who have been rejected by the reality tv platform.

By day, Ed Popil worked as a telemarketer in Rochester, New York for 18 years. By night, he transformed into drag queen Mrs. Kasha Davis, a 1960’s era housewife trying to liberate herself from domestic toil through performing at night in secret –an homage to Ed’s mother. After seven years of auditioning to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ed Popil was finally cast onto the tv show and thrust into a full-time entertainment career at the late age of 44. Workhorse Queen explores the complexities of reality television’s impact on queer performance culture by focusing on the growing divide between members of a small town drag community – those who have been on television, and those who have not.

Watch the official trailer for Workhorse Queen.

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