T(HE)Y (Director Caroline Callender, Silver Liftin)

The documentary T(HE)Y is the short student debut of Caroline Callender and Silver Liftin. This film is dedicated to the problem of transgender teenagers. There are two main characters in this film — Dakota Nieves and Indiana Baker. They are high school students in New York City. They look very positive and confident. They tell their stories of relationships with others and, above all, with their families. Their stories look very emotional and sincere. Both the characters cause sympathy and amiability.

The film was shot with great skill. The directors do not just show interviews of the characters, but they also came up with interesting shots, as well as inserted fragments of chronicle. However, the authors do not abuse external effects focusing on the heroes. The camera is considering the characters very carefully. We see both general and close-ups. For ten minutes films we live a small life together with the heroes. Thanks to the competent alternation of general and close-ups, the viewer feels that he is personally familiar with the characters of the film.

According to the characters stories, we understand that the theme of transgender people is not as simple as it seems. First of all, the heroes of the film had to overcome the lack of understanding of the immediate environment and some family members. The film does not aim at global coverage of this topic. It is important for the authors to give the floor to two specific young people who are no different from their peers. Transgender is not presented in the film as a problem. The transgenders should not be perceived as a problem. This is just a phenomenon of the individual nature of a particular person.

The film quite copes with its task. It has become a window into a world for young transgender people. Yes, it is believed that the USA is a free and tolerant country. But American society still need such a film. Especially such the films will be useful for more conservative and traditional societies. Silencing and denying the existence of people with such a nature is a big mistake. But any aggression against them is a real antihuman crime. And thanks to movies like T(HE)Y, people have the opportunity to take a closer look at the transgender experience. Even this short film is enough for understanding that these people do not pose a threat to the foundations of society.

If this movie can have the shortcomings, they are in a certain monotony and lack of dynamics. The characters sitting in the same place a lot of time. It looks like they were interviewed in one day. Mostly it’s was made like a television film. However, if the directors caught heroes in different days in different situations, in different mood, the movie could be have cinematographic language. This would help to create a three-dimensional portrait of the hero. When we see the same landscape behind the motionless hero, after a while we get bored.

In conclusion, we must admit that in general the film is very strong and honest. It is not by chance that it became the winner and participant of many international film festivals. The theme of transgender teenagers should be more widely sanctified in the cinema. This practice will contribute to the development of society tolerance and helps families to accept such children.