Client News: For Nonna Anna in the CBC

The following is syndicated from the CBC Arts article which can be found here.

Films that attempt to tell trans narratives often represent ‘being trans’ as the main conflict of the film,” filmmaker Luis De Filippis says. “Trans characters are alienated for who they are, with the resolution being that cis friends and family members resolve their prejudices and ‘accept’ trans characters by the end of the narrative.

This, as you might guess, is not the case in De Filippis’ latest film, the short For Nonna Anna. Depicting the relationship between a trans girl (played by trans actress Maya Henry) and her Italian grandmother (Jacqueline Tarne), it breaks those conventions and tells a story where “being trans” is not the main conflict of the film.

“I wanted to tell a story about two women who recognize their struggles in one another while also presenting a trans character free of the sensational aspects that plague so much trans representation,” De Filippis says.

They (De Filippis uses gender neutral pronouns) certainly succeeded — and did so in such a poignant way that For Nonna Anna caught the eye of programmers at the Sundance Film Festival, arguably home to one the world’s most renowned selection of short films. Wes Anderson, Todd Haynes, Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tamara Jenkins and Martin McDonagh are among the alumni of Sundance’s shorts program, and soon Toronto-based De Filippis can add their name to that same list. All this comes after already screening at the Toronto International Film Festival in their hometown — a rare feat (the festival’s shorts programs don’t often cross over).

“Though media representation has indeed increased, a vast amount of said representation focuses on the sensational aspects of transition,” they say. “We are eroticized and/or vilified, thus making the world a little less safe for trans and gender non-conforming people, especially trans women of colour. Our stories must be told by us and our characters played by us.”