Date: September 30 2023
Venue: Burns Court Cinema
Duration: 13 min
Writer: Hannah Graf
Producer: Nicola Gregory
UK | 13 MIN | Short Film
When Tess learns of her estranged father’s death, she travels to the funeral hoping for nothing more than some closure and the chance to meet the woman who stole him from her. Immediately blindsided by the revelation that her father was a transgender woman, Tess starts to wonder what else has been kept from her, turning to her mother for answers. Realising that nothing is as it seems, Tess must challenge not only everything she has been told about her childhood but, most importantly, her understanding of what it meant to be a father.
SELECTED FOR IRIS PRIZE FESTIVAL ‘BEST OF BRITISH 2023’.
Jake Graf is an international award winning director, writer and actor based in London known for Dawn (2016), Chance (2015), The Danish Girl (2015), Colette (2018) and Dusk (2017).
Jake is an active and visible member of the transgender community, speaking internationally on trans issues, particularly in relation to film and media. He is a judge for the Iris Prize Film Festival, the European Diversity Awards, The Rainbow Honours and The National Diversity Awards and was heavily involved in Stonewall’s successful campaign to include the transgender community in their political lobbying and campaigning.
Jake aims to make change through the medium of film, giving representation to often under represented and marginalised characters and groups.
First film, XWHY, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, was nominated for The Iris Prize. He used his own transition to depict the physical changes of the fictional transman in the film, a cinematic first, and garnered much critical praise.
Brace, his second screenplay, deals with issues of homophobia, gang violence, gender identity and self-acceptance. Both Brace and XWHY have been used as educational tools in universities, media events, and hospitals UK wide.
His third film, Chance was one of 5 films selected to take part in the British Film Council’s pioneering project #FiveFilms4Freedom, in association with the BFI, to promote tolerance and understanding worldwide.
His fourth short ‘Dawn’ touched on themes of disability and transphobia, won multiple Best Short Film awards and was released on Peccadillo Pictures’ latest Boys On Film DVD, the only film in the collection with a female lead.
Jake’s latest film ‘Dusk’, starring Duncan James and Elliott Sailors, won 30 Best Short Film awards.
His first feature film ‘Lavender’ is currently in development with Ardimages (God’s Own Country).
Stone is inspired by the story of a close friend, a trans woman whom my wife Hannah and I met several years ago. At the time she hadn’t started her medical transition but over the course of a year of speaking with her she decided that it was the right thing for her to do. Her wife reacted terribly, throwing her out of their shared family home and attempting to turn their adult kids against her.
A few years later and now living happily and authentically, we met her for lunch in London and she brought her 20 something son. Several times that afternoon, he called her ‘Dad’. When I politely asked if she wouldn’t rather be referred to as ‘Mum’, she looked at me in puzzlement and very proudly said: “Absolutely not! I’ll always be their Dad. I may have changed, but there’s no reason why our relationship should.”
We spoke to several other trans women who had transitioned later in life, already parents, all of whom echoed the sentiment that their identity as ‘Dad’ didn’t in any way impact upon their womanhood. It struck me that this is a trans narrative that hadn’t been seen before and so I wanted to bring those stories to the screen. I think it speaks to the strength of these women, secure and comfortable in their femininity and happy to inhabit both the identities of ‘woman’ and ‘dad’ at the same time. For Hannah and I, it brought to life the question: “What is a mother or father?” Are they simply a parent who is female or male, or is it a more complex identity, related to the position or role you play in a child’s life? It was important to Hannah and I to make sure that we told these women’s stories authentically. We hope very much to have done them justice.
Burns Court Cinema Downtown Sarasota 506 Burns Ct, Sarasota, FL 34236
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