The documentary short film, Passing Ellenville will have its area and New York State premiere at the 15thAnnual Woodstock Film Festival (WFF), October 15th – 19th, 2014. The film will screen at the Orpheum Theater in Saugerties on Saturday, October 18th at 7pm and Sunday, October 19that the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock at 2:45pm as part of the inaugural LGBTQ Focus at the festival.
Co-directed by Gene Fischer and Samuel Centore, Passing Ellenville follows two transgender youths in Ellenville, NY through their transition. James, female-to-male, comes from a history of abuse and a string of family problems. Ashlee, male-to-female, struggles to align her orthodox Jewish faith with her transgender identity.
Begun as a photographic essay in 2012 by photographer Gene Fischer, Passing Ellenville was filmed in the small economically-depressed town over an 18-month period. “We wanted to show a side of transgender life in the United States that is simply not seen in mainstream media,” said Fischer, who is co-director and executive producer. “Passing Ellenville shows a slice of humanity that is rarely shared in film, television or traditional film festivals.”
“We are so pleased to have our New York premiere of the film at such an important film festival, just 40 miles from where the film is set,” said co-director and cinematographer Centore. “In many ways, the town of Ellenville and all its struggles is the third character in the film.”
This intimate portrait of humanity is both inspiring and unsettling as the viewer is brought into the daily challenges of what it means to be transgender and young in a rural, conservative setting while also trying to survive on government assistance and facing transphobia, verbal abuse and threats of violence.
The film will precede Queens and Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo, directed by Matt Livadary, and is part of the WFF Focus on LGBTQ films.