Zach Hohenstein, E23 Staffer

Girl Hearted”, a short-form documentary directed by Ann Scheschonk, screened this last week at the Talking Horse Productions theater as part of the Citizen Jane Film Festival. Since the film tells the story of a young transgender girl, Nori, and the adversity she and her family faces, speakers before the screening promoted various counseling and human resource services available for transgender people. All of the women directors were named and recognized although none of them were in attendance at the screening.

Talking Horse Productions shortly before the screening of “Girl Hearted” for the 2018 Citizen Jane Film Festival. Photographed by Zach Hohenstein, E23 Staffer.

“Girl Hearted” is a fascinating depiction of how a mother tries to help her grade school transgender daughter live the life she wants. Scheschonk gives the audience a well-rounded view of what really goes into transitioning a person so providing viewers with the perspective of both the adult and the child. The fact that it is a German family on display gives U.S. audiences an even more unique story to experience. While its 37 minute runtime prevents it from immersing itself in detail, it doesn’t need it. “Girl Hearted” works because it doesn’t just show the struggles of a transgender girl and her mother; It succeeds because of how it shows the beautiful acceptance and joy that go with it.

The documentary was followed by multiple short films:

Bola Ogun’s “Are We Good Parents?”, a very funny husband and wife comedy that explores gender roles and whether or not parents are being progressive enough, Uncle Silas”, a heart-wrenching drug addiction drama by director Sayra Player, Aisha Ford’s “Breathe”, a very short but effective film about the bond of a father and daughter in the midst of ominous tension around them,“Love the Sinner”, an enlightening documentary by Jessica Devaney and Geeta Gandbhir that looks into the relationship between the Christian faith and the LGBTQ community in the wake of the Pulse Night Club shooting, Maaman Rezaee’s “Family of Too Many”, an interesting depiction of an Iranian family at odds with each over where to bury the body of a loved one, and “First Impressions”, Ashleigh Coffeit’s slightly humorous but also slightly serious look at how nerve-wracking an introduction of a romantic partner to family can be.

All of the films screened over the course of the two-hour time period had different styles and topics. Each director had her own unique voice and message on display. Diverse cultures and backgrounds were beautifully brought to the screen, as was the case throughout the entire Citizen Jane Film Festival.

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