When a trans guy is faced with difficult life circumstances, he has to try to find new ways to express old and familiar feelings.
Interview with Director Amy Adler
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
When I learned that one of the side effects of taking testosterone is losing the ability to cry I felt compelled to tell the story. There are many side effects we know of like increased body hair, deepening of the voice, but there are many that are much more subtle and all are thought provoking.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I don't think we've gotten to see many of these stories yet- stories about trans guys with real life, every day problems. The film is not focused on his being trans per se but about his struggles with love and family and how his personal choices affect those around him. So I think the film leaves you with a lot to think about, hopefully. While the subject is emotional we also tried to pepper the film with some humor so it’s intense but a bit tongue in cheek as well.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Elliot faces problems many can relate to. In the story his mother struggles with memory loss due to Alzheimer's and his ex girlfriend has a new man and is pregnant. But he can't cry about any of it. I think feelings of how we cope with loss and change are both deeply personal and also universal .
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The most significant thing that happened between the script and the production was that Sam, the writer, decided to play the role of Elliot himself. Sam is not an actor but it was clear throughout the process that he was the best possible person to play the part. It is his story and all of it is very true. So Sam is playing out scenes from his own life in the film. As a director, this was very exciting revelation for me.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been interesting and very different depending on the audience. Queer friends understand every nuance of Elliot’s body language and dialogue which is familiar within the community. So far people who aren’t in the know about the trans community seem to appreciate seeing a story about something that they don't already know about. People ask a lot of good questions and I think it is ultimately great that the film creates a dialogue among different groups of people.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
There are different points of view within the trans community about personal experience, depending on generation and where people live. So it has been really interesting participating in a larger conversation about trans representation.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I appreciate the opportunity to let more people know about this story and deepen their understanding of what diverse lives we all live. How many blurred boundaries there are in human experience.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
It would be ideal to have the film screen nationally and internationally so we are hopeful that festival directors find out about us and want to screen the film. It would of course be great to have the film written about by journalists, I think there is a lot to say about this story on a few different levels.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
It would be great if this film could help to make stories about trans guys a more common part of our experience as film audiences so we can start to see more real characters engaging in real lives.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
The key question I suppose is about taking “T”. In the story Elliot takes it as part of his daily routine - as part of his transition - but we learn that it has side effects that cause him to question whether or not to continue. I think anyone taking medications regularly questions what would happen if they stopped, how would it affect them and the people in their lives. There are many trade offs, so what matters the most?
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Amy Adler (Director) is working on some new drawings and a feature screenplay, Sam Joans (Writer) is opening a new gym that caters to the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles called EVERYBODY and Anna M. Albelo (Producer) currently works as a writer for show creator Dmitry Lipkin (HBO's HUNG, The Riches), developing his new TV series for FOX TVS.
If you enjoyed reading about Tear Jerker we recommend This Kind of Love which follows Burmese human rights educator and LGBTIQ activist, Aung Myo Min, as he returns home after 24 years in exile.
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Director: Amy Adler
Producer: Anna Margarita Albelo
Writer: Sam Joans
About the writer, director and producer Sam Joans (writer) has worked for the past ten years in film and TV production. He is now working as a freelance writer and developer of a creative workspace in Los Angeles.
Amy Adler (director) is an artist with a 20 year exhibition history and Professor of Visual Art at the University of California, San Diego.
Cuban-American globetrotter, Anna Margarita Albelo (producer) has spent the past 15 years working as a writer-director-filmmaker in both Europe and the US.
Key cast: Sam Joans, Florence C.M. Klein, Pamela Mitchell, Akende Munalula and Lex Vaughn.
Looking for: producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Funders: University of California San Diego
Made in association with: Frogtown Films
Release date: April 2016
Where can I watch it? Our Los Angeles premiere was at Dances With Films on Sunday June 5th, 2:45 pm at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Next is Frameline on June 17. Please check our Facebook for upcoming screenings.