BFI Flare 2016
IFF Boston, Woodstock, United Nations Association, Inside Out, Frameline, Outfest, NewFest, LGBT fests in Sydney, Rio, Philadelphia, Dublin, Oslo, Austin, Portland, Lisbon, and Vancouver
A mother navigates the personal impact of her transgender teen’s transition to male.
Haas tells the story of Bennett, born Rachel, whose struggle over his gender identity led to drug and alcohol addiction at an early age. Over several years, the film follows Bennett as he makes his transition to fully embrace his male identity, and, importantly, simultaneously tracks his mother’s initial confusion and resistance to losing her daughter as this gives way to acceptance and an embrace of her son. This aspect of the project helps to offset the overly familiar Trans 101 conventions of the transitioning doc – scenes of starting hormones, coming out to friends and family, beginning to demonstrate secondary sex characteristics, etc. Haas also tries to distinguish her film by focusing on Bennett’s music career, but its used to such an extent that it stops feeling organic and starts feeling overtly promotional. Still, the filmmaker has found compelling subjects in the son and mother, and crafted a solid coming of age and coming to terms portrait.