Farihah Zaman & Jeff Reichert
Brooklyn, New York
For sixty years, the Watermelon Thump Queen has been a symbol of pride for Luling, Texas—more people turn out to vote for the teenage girl who will represent the town for the next year than for any political election. As Luling’s demographic evolves but the faces of those in power do not, and as money coming in from the oil fields dwindles, the stakes of becoming Thump Queen intensify. As with any election, latent tensions around class, race, and gender are brought to the fore. This feature-length documentary captures what it means to be a young woman coming of age in Trump-era America and beyond, the unspooling of one year’s election cycle supported and complicated by the stories of their mothers, grandmothers, and a variety of Luling women across generations and identities. These stories will be woven into a complex but ultimately hopeful portrait of a town that, like so many around the country, must reconsider its identity in the face of great change.
Farihah Zaman is a queer, Bangladeshi-American filmmaker, critic, and curator. She recently produced the Sundance-award winning Netflix Original Ghosts of Sugar Land, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Academy Award. Zaman has supported fellow filmmakers like Garrett Bradley, Marshall Curry, Steve Maing, and Ramell Ross as the Production Manager for the Laura Poitras founded Field Vision, with equity driven collectives like Beyond Inclusion and Brown Girls Doc Mafia, and various teaching and mentoring roles at Bard College, SVA, NYU, Uniondocs, and others. Jeff Reichert is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and critic. His films have screened worldwide and been awarded the Film Independent Spirit Award, Gotham Award and Cinema Eye Honor, and been nominated for the BAFTA, Peabody and Dupont amongst other honors. He is also the co–founder and editor of the online film journal Reverse Shot (est. 2003), now a publication of Museum of the Moving Image. Their works as collaborators include the feature films Remote Area Medical (2013), This Time Next Year (2014), and Feast of the Epiphany (2018), and numerous short films. Reichert and Zaman are members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.