Filmmaker Q&A with Director Anne Scheschonk

What motivated you to make this film?

When I first talked to Josephin, the mother of a very young transgender child, in October 2013, she told me about the challenges she was facing back then raising her daughter. I realized that most of the problems she and her child had to deal with resulted from a lack of knowledge, prejudices, and ignorance within our western society. We decided to make a film to make this issue – transgender kids – more visible. It’s a sensitive portrait of mother and child, no experts explaining, only their perspective on the last years’ struggle.


Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it.

Sony PXW-FS 7; no special equipment


Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story.

I wanted the film to be narrated in a rather quiet, gentle way. Without big excitement. We used a few slow motion sequences here and there, especially after the mother of the child had just told us her emotions, to create time for the audience to empathize and reflect.


How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

It’s much more intense than I thought it would be. At first, I was going to do the film all by myself because I didn’t receive any funding. I did crowdfunding then and was able to get a very professional and committed small team to do the film. Working together with that team, especially discussing images and story telling with the camera operator Markus Kloth and the film editor Marc Böhlhoff was a very creative process and made the film to what it is now.


Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this film.

Meeting transgender people, kids and adults alike, their friends, their parents – a very committed community that is not only trying to change things concerning rights of transgender people in Germany, but they DO change things. Their courage and their efforts are very inspiring.


What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Believe in your idea, in yourself and always take the time you need for making your film. Time will always work for you.


What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

I think that would be the editing process, when the footage becomes a story, a film.


What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why? 

A notebook.


Please share a personal story about your experience making this film.

I feel very blessed to have met Josephin and Nori who were so brave to tell their most intimate story to the world. I didn’t know much about trans when I first talked to them. I didn’t know that kids at age 2 already are very clear about who they are and what they are not. When I started the crowdfunding a lot of adult transgender women and men emailed me. Some of them became friends. They told me their stories: sad, shocking, unbelievable stories at times, of neglect, guilt, abuse, violence. It kept me thinking: All of them were little children, just like my 7 year old protagonist (who is very lucky because she has a strong mother fighting for her right, but I cannot even imagine what these children went through 20, 30, 40 years ago. It’s heartbreaking. My film is also for them.


Can you describe any obstacles you encountered in making your film and/or in your distribution/exhibition efforts?

I think the biggest obstacle in the making of the film, and later, in distributing was/ is that it is a no/low-budget production. I am very grateful that I received so much support from people and firms to finish the film.


What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

Acceptance that kids know best who they are. Hear them, not the teachers, doctors, or whoever wants to tell you what’s wrong with your child.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

– How can partents of transgender kids be supported?

– Dealing with trans kids at kindergarten & (pre)school


Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the film. How have things changed or not changed?

Developments differ from country to country. There are only a few countries in the world (e.g. Ireland, Danmark, Argentina), where Trans people (age 18+) are able to self-declare their gender by way of a statutory declaration. But in the rest of the world Trans people are not recognized, or they need a mental disorder diagnosis, or even sterilisation, before recognizing a trans person’s gender identity. Not speaking of the violence, social stigmatization, that they have to suffer. There is still a lot to do concerning LGBTI* rights.


What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

In every country/ regions they are organized people who fight for the rights of LGBTI* persons, so you should get information about groups close to you easily via the internet.



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