21/05/2009: Meet our Guests: Gwen Haworth

Gwen Haworth responds to some questions about her work and vision, as well as what sheís up to during the festival:

What is the most fun part about making a film?
With Sheís a Boy I Knew, it was the act of turning difficult life experiences into a film that was empowering and useful for others. Witnessing your message materialize on the screen and resonate with diverse people all over the world is pretty mind blowing.

Are you a filmmaker with a message? If so, what do you want to say?
Absolutely. With access to consumer-grade video cameras, many of us have the opportunity to create stories that will change the way the world perceives gender variant folk, without having to rely on big budgets or traditional avenues of film production.

Could you give us an update on what's going on with your family?

My sister Kim has a two-year old toddler, and my ex-wife Malgosia and her new husband Michael (who animated segments of my film) have recently had a baby, as well. My mom and dad are proud grandparents and have adjusted quite well to my sister Nicoleís and my queer identities. Nicole has moved to Winnipeg where she has bought a place, which sheíll turn into a communal household. And my friend Roari has moved away to work in politics.

What is the future of trans cinema?

I think it lies in our trans youth telling progressive stories that will reshape the way we and cissexual folk perceive gender. Itís important that we see more films from the perspectives of filmmakers within the gender community.

Could you tell us what you like about working with transgender youth?
Their creativity, perceptiveness, and enthusiasm is contagiousÖ it reinvigorates an old kid like myself.

What are you looking forward to doing/seeing while at NTGF 5?
Iíll only be in town for two days, so Iím going to try to meet up with as many new folk and old friends as I can. Iíll probably put off sleeping until Iím on the plane back home!

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Gwen Haworth is a transgender filmmaker, editor, and instructor. After graduating with a degree in psychology in 1995, Gwen went on to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in Film Production at the University of British Columbia. She has trained as a director's intern with the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and served as a programmer and board member for Out On Screen, which holds Vancouver's Queer Film & Video Festival. Between 2000 and 2004, Gwen came out as transsexual to her friends and family and transitioned genders from male to female. During this process, she became painfully aware of the media's marginalized depictions of trans individuals, often as victims of discrimination & violence or objects of fetish. In She's A Boy I Knew, Haworth turns the camera on her own family, capturing an intimate, complex, and emotionally ground-breaking account of their journeys through this experience.
When not making films, Gwen divides her time teaching film production at post-secondary institutions, working at an emergency homeless shelter, and DJing for fundraisers and non-profit events in Vancouver's Eastside.

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