Taj Paxton: Programming Diversity Docs at LOGO

 

By John Black

LGBTQ fans of the LOGO network already know they can tune in to find reruns of Absolutely Fabulous, catch up on the latest drama on RuPaul’s Drag Race and watch plenty of hot guys on the all-male bachelor-esque dating show, Finding Prince Charming.

Thanks to the work of the Taj Paxton, an award-winning producer, writer and filmmaker who currently is the head of Logo Documentary Films, they are also finding fascinating documentaries that truly celebrate (and sometimes investigate) the lives of people in their community. As one of few Black and openly LGBTQ film executives, Taj proudly stands on the front lines of diversity and representation.

“There are so many great documentary films being made these days, and many of them are focusing on the LGBTQ experience,’ Paxton said in an interview with Color Magazine. “Film is such a powerful medium and it’s my job to find ones that people not only can identify with on a personal level, but I want to find films that inspire people to discuss the issues in those films.”

So far, Paxton and LOGO have announced the releases of two exciting and groundbreaking documentaries this fall: The IF Project, premiering September 14, and Hungry, premiering this November.

The IF Project tells the story of openly LGBTQ Police Officer Kim Bogucki and the writing program she started seven years ago in a Seattle prison. Incarcerated women are asked if there was something someone could have said or done to change the path that led them to prison, and the answers lead the women to examine their pasts and create new futures.

“Officer Bogucki wasn’t asked to do any of this and she wasn’t paid to do it. Her job is to arrest criminals,” Paxton explained. “As a human being who sees what happens to people when they break the law, she was curious to find out how it all started for these women. Was there a moment in their lives where they could have made a different or a better decision and have things turn out differently? It’s certainly a question that needs to be talked about in a country where women are incarcerated at a rate four times that of men.””

Hungry, another long form dramatic documentary coming later this fall, tells the stories of three female chefs, revealing their passions, partners, and challenges of running demanding kitchens.

Along with discovering and programing movies for the LOGO audience, Paxton has a separate career as a filmmaker in her own right. Interested in expressing her own voice, she expanded into writing and captured top honors at NBC Universal’s Comedy Short Cuts Film Festival for her short film, A Fat Girl’s Guide to Yoga.

“I’ve been doing yoga for the past 14 years so I know that it can help you develop a rich inner life,” Paxton said, then laughed. “I also know what it’s like for people to take that first step through the door to take a class, especially if they’re not in good shape to begin with.

“The idea was never to make fun of a fat girl trying to do something to improve her life” she stressed. “If anything, the film pokes fun at the yoga fanatics in the classroom, but my main goal was to use humor to show her growing sense of empowerment, the sense of who she is. That’s what I want the audience to find.”