Factory 25’s Queens of the Qing Dynasty, a queer coming-of-age film from Ashley McKenzie, is set to premiere at the Metrograph Theater in New York on May 5th. After its initial opening, the film is set to expand to select theaters. Written and directed by McKenzie, the film stars Sarah Walker and Ziyin Zheng. It’s produced by Britt Kirr, Nelson MacDonald, and McKenzie, with music by Cecile Believe and Yu Su and cinematography by Scott Moore.
Queens of the Qing Dynasty Synopsis:
In a remote small town, a neurodivergent teen forms an unlikely rapport with an international student from Shanghai volunteering at the hospital where they are a patient. Between the two, a bond forms, cemented by their candid conversations, nightly text messages, and exchange of their deepest secrets. The boundaries of their friendship quickly expand into something special, altering their inner alchemy.
Queens of the Qing Dynasty is a queer story that breaches the absurd and poetic, the platonic and the romantic. Both intimate and intense, it explores the intrinsic beauty and innate flaws of what it is to be human, the profundity of connection, and the vortex of mental illness. The electronic music score blurs between cinema foley and sound design to create a feeling of an alternate plane. Queens of the Qing Dynasty is an affectionate ode to women, asexuals, and neurodiverse and genderqueer individuals who exist beyond the norms of society by writer and director McKenzie.
About Filmmaker, Ashley McKenzie:
McKenzie (she/they) is a filmmaker based in Unama’ki–Cape Breton Island, Canada. She writes and directs films in collaboration with people in her community, compelled by the stories near her that may otherwise be overlooked. Casting locals and shooting on-location brings vitality to her work and visibility to the people and textures concealed in a remote place.
— Ashley McKenzie (@hivisfilm) April 21, 2023
Her debut feature, Werewolf, won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association in 2017, Canada’s most generously endowed film prize. It was theatrically released by Factory 25 in the US and Les Alchimistes in Europe. Film Comment called Werewolf “an austere, marvelously focused debut feature,” while The New Yorker named it on their Best Movies of 2018 list. Ashley’s films have been screened at the Berlinale, New York Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival and curated by the Criterion Channel, MUBI, and Anthology Film Archives. Queens of the Qing Dynasty, her latest feature, premiered in the Encounters Competition of the 2022 Berlinale.