Andrew (Nina West) is now internationally known as one of the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where he won Miss Congeniality and traveled the world with the RPDR. He is currently starring in the travelling Broadway revival of HAIRSPRAY as Edna, and also is seen on national commercials, as well as has released music albums. As a local celebrity in Columbus, he raised untold funds for charities, was a regular guest on the nightly news, headlined magazines — yet he was keeping his life a secret from his parents who hoped he would become a lawyer and Republican party member.
Becky (The Rev), a magnetic leader of the drag kings, works tirelessly to incorporate political awareness within fun, inclusive, celebratory shows.
Chris (Virginia West) is the ‘mother’ of the West Family drag troupe. He is terrific in the spotlight, and it would be hard to leave that and his best friends if he were to phase out his time-consuming performance schedule and stardom to start a family with his husband.
Liz (Cool Ethan) didn’t want to be a man but didn’t want her bust-size either. She has a strong vision of crossing over the traditional divide between queens and kings.
JAC (Midwest Gender Queer), a genderqueer individual who transcends gender (sometimes wearing dresses and dyes his hair bright pink), struggles on the one hand with confusion and incomprehension by some people who don’t ‘get’ it, and pressure on the other hand from some members of the trans community who say JAC’s ‘messing it up’ for the rest of them.
Erin (Akasha O’Hara Lordes)is a transgender woman engaged to a straight man. Unlike the other queens, she feels she is performing as she biologically was meant to be–as a woman. When she completes her final operation, she feels she will no longer need to perform drag.
Julia and Liv worked hard to have a child. Former heads of the drag king troupe, they don’t perform anymore, but serve as ‘drag granddaddies’ for younger kings, showing them new possibilities as a devoted, married couple and loving parents to their baby boy.
Sile Singleton doesn’t identify as a woman or a man, as gay or straight, as a queen or a king — but as all of these. A founder of Columbus’s International Drag King Extravaganza conference, she is thoughtful about politics, performance, and gender.
KINGS, QUEENS, & IN-BETWEENS is directed by Gabrielle Burton, produced with her four sisters Maria, Jennifer, Ursula, and Charity, and edited with Mike Yearling and Anita Kwan. FSP films and commercial work includes THE HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE (MTV/LOGO), LETTING GO OF GOD (Showtime), MANNA FROM HEAVEN (MGM/Sony/Starz), TEMPS (Netflix), JUST FRIENDS (AMC/We Channel, Netflix), SAGE & TIME (ESAV Toulouse), Your Stories documentary ad campaign for Ford Motor Company, Victoria’s Secret creative partner, “CAST” 8-minute doc on human trafficking + a campaign of spots against human trafficking & slavery with Julia Ormond. Current projects include “OLD GUY,” a comedy web series on agism in the media; THE MERCURY 13, a feature inspired by the true story of the 13 women tested to be astronauts in 1961; and a mini-doc on ALS disease and the MGH clinic. Click here to see other works by the sisters. See below for our bios. And click here for a few words from Gabrielle on KQIB (a fun video & the director’s statement).
Gabrielle C. Burton – director Gabrielle’s feature and short film credits include: MANNA FROM HEAVEN (MGM/Sony), TEMPS (Netflix), JUST FRIENDS (AMC/We Channel), THE HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE (MTV/Logo), LETTING GO OF GOD (Showtime), as well as nationally released commercials and PSAs. After Harvard/Radcliffe and an Isobel Briggs scholarship to Berklee College of Music, she won a Rotary Scholarship to study film in France at the Ecole Superieure d’Audio-Visuel. Gabrielle worked on the television program LAW & ORDER in their director training program. She was a guest at the Columbus Arts Festival with her poetry and is heavily involved in political grassroots activism. Recently, she won the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Award for ‘outstanding accomplishment in media arts.’ She also won the Thomas A. Wilhelmus award for best non-fiction for her story “East of East” about the giant turtles in Malaysia, and her poem “Warning” will appear in the upcoming LA Review.
Maria Burton – producer
Maria produced the award-winning THE HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE (MTV/LOGO) and Julia Sweeney’s LETTING GO OF GOD (Showtime). Her directing work includes the in-production A SORT OF HOMECOMING shooting in Louisiana, “Stephen Kanner: A Retrospective,” a short film about visionary architect Stephen Kanner for the Architecture+Design A+D Museum, commercials, the feature films JUST FRIENDS (AMC/WE), TEMPS (Netflix), MANNA FROM HEAVEN (MGM/Sony), and SIGN MY SNARLING MOVIE. (Trailers can be seen at http://www.fivesistersproductions.com/films/reel.htm + commercial work: http://www.fivesistersproductions.com/films/reel_commercials.htm) Maria is Co-Chair of the Board of The Alliance of Women Directors and on the Board of Global Girl Media, an organization which celebrates and connects the voices of young women around the world through new media technologies to support social change.
Jennifer Burton – producer
As a film and commercial producer, Jennifer is Professor of the Practice of Filmmaking at Tufts University. She brought MANNA FROM HEAVEN (shot with her sisters in their hometown of Buffalo, NY) to screen for the US Congress and be chosen by the Toronto Film Festival’s Circuit Series. While producing FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS’ previous film TEMPS, Jennifer completed her Ph.D. at Harvard in English and American Literature. She received a Mellon Grant for her dissertation on hope in American film and theater of the 1920s. As an undergraduate at Harvard/Radcliffe, she wrote, directed, and acted in the University’s first performance thesis. After graduation, she was awarded a Luce Fellowship to study Japanese Theater for a year in Tokyo. A Du Bois Fellow at Harvard, Norton recently published Jennifer’s book, “Call and Response: Key Debates in African American History,” co-edited with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Ursula Burton – producer
Ursula is a producer and actor whose award-winning comedy, THE HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE which won a Viewer’s Choice Award on MTV’s LOGO Channel and qualified for the Academy Awards. A Yale alum working in London and Los Angeles, Ursula has had recurring roles on THE OFFICE, THE WAR AT HOME, GREY’S ANATOMY, and the BBC hit MY FAMILY. Other credits include TWO BROKE GIRLS, UP ALL NIGHT, CRIMINAL MINDS, HAPPY ENDINGS, THE MIDDLE, GHOST WHISPERER, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS, THE ELLEN SHOW, THE PRACTICE, STRONG MEDICINE, SHAKE IT UP!, WHAT ABOUT BRIAN?, THE WEST WING, SGT. BILKO, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, MAFIA!, THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, DOCTOR WHO, DARK SHADOWS, and STARGATE.
Charity Burton – producer
Charity splits her time between teaching in the Los Angeles city schools and being a producer on all Five Sisters Productions commercials and films, and corporate creative workshops, including FSP’s creative partnership with VICTORIA’S SECRET. At Denison University, Charity studied dance and theater, as well as anthropology/sociology. She has performed in numerous productions including 1776, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, BABY, and THE RESTAURANT, and she wrote, produced, directed, and performed in the play VENUS ON THE HALFSHELL. Previously, Charity studied Bhratan Natyum dance in Malaysia while teaching at an Indian orphanage in Kuala Lumpur, as well as worked for Americorps, organizing and teaching literacy programs in New Orleans and in East LA.
Mike Yearling – editor & additional camera
Mike is an award-winning editor, creative director, producer and filmmaker with over 20 years of production experience in film, television and Fortune 500 communications including Victoria’s Secret, The Ohio State University football team, Procter and Gamble, Verizon, Bob Evans, Safelite and OhioHealth, The Discovery Channel, Visa, MasterCard, Pottery Barn, Guthy-Renker, Levi Strauss, and BMW. As an independent filmmaker, Mike co-wrote and edited the PBS documentary Alcatraz Is Not An Island, about the 1969 Native American occupation of Alcatraz, an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and was subsequently chosen for national broadcast on PBS.
Anita Kwan – editor
Anita is an editor at TRUE Studios, an award winning visual communications studio, with experience in producing commercial, educational, and event videos for clients, namely Cardinal Health, WNCI, J.P. Morgan, and many more. Her entrepreneurial spirit and love for Columbus, OH lead her to co-found ThisIsColumbus.com, a video review website. She has produced over 100 videos of local restaurants, events, and business owners and has been featured in (614) Magazine, Columbus Alive!, and OutLoud Magazine. She is currently producing a series of mini documentaries for The Lia Project, a project giving 7 well-deserving individuals who overcame personal adversities a day of pampering and celebration with complimentary hair and make-up, and an affirmation photo session.