This Short Film Wrestles With the Reality of Exploring Gender While in a Relationship

Film sets can often be so hierarchical and exploitative, and I almost see a parallel between this couple trying to navigate a new dynamic in their relationship and trying to create a workplace that’s equal and safe.

Sadie Scott: There was a lot of understanding, because I had moments where I also had to wear lingerie. It was really interesting to feel very seen by everyone I was working with, and then put on a piece of clothing that felt so alarming to my body. But it’s also so cool to use my body, to tell a story that I believe in. I think that was able to happen because of how understanding everyone on set was, and that is such a rare gift.

Since you’re dealing with something so raw and real to trans experience, did you feel like you brought your own experiences of relationships to your performances, or did it prompt reflection?

Sadie Scott: Gender-wise, putting on that lingerie, I was just like, “Wow, my chest has never felt right for me.” I’ve been a girlfriend and I have been a girl and I felt so sure of myself up until middle school, and then in high school, everything became so gendered and I felt so suffocated by all the expectations of performing femininity. I hadn’t put on a piece of lingerie like that since I was maybe 17, and it was mind-blowing to remember how bad it felt for me as a person. It’s funny because my character isn’t experiencing gender confusion, but puts on that lingerie and also doesn’t feel quite herself.

Jacob Tobia: It also took me back to high school, because that was the time in my life when I was doing that really tender exploration of femininity. There’s a moment pretty early in the film where Corey puts on a little sexy négligée and takes a look at themself in the mirror. I remember those moments of divine self-discovery, where you see yourself and you look right for the first time, or you look right in a different way, in a special and new way that you didn’t believe was possible.

Revisiting those memories was beautiful, but so was contrasting that with how, as I explored my femininity, the way in which people related to me erotically and romantically really shifted. It’s cool because I think these days, people are super down for gender fuckery and think it’s really hot and cute, but that’s extremely new culturally, and it’s really recent for me to feel desirable in my femininity and gender chaos. 

What I love about this film is that it’s literally the way we shift that culture of desirability: with beautifully lit, expensively shot films. Because that is the ultimate elevation of desirability in our culture. Film is where we build beauty, who is fuckable and what is desirable.

This conversation has been condensed and edited.

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