Sasha Pezenik, 2016, 35 min
*Winner Documentary Short
Friday May 5th, 7:00 pm
Out of the limelight, under the streetlight, enter the world of NYC’s transgender underclass. One church opens its doors to provide meals, clothing and sometimes, a little drag show magic.
Two transgender women struggle to beat the odds. Sacha, abandoned and abused from birth, finds empowerment and beauty in her performances. Kenyatta, an HIV+ rapper, rejects drag as disrespectful to her idea of womanhood. Both women face a steep climb to stability, often taking more backward steps than forward march.
Disease, abuse, and homelessness cast long shadows. One friar, Brother Peter, makes it his mission to help build not just their self confidence – but also, build them badly needed housing within the church. This is personal: his work with this transgender population has made him accept painful secrets of his own. Though in the midst of a battle with cancer, he wins $1.8 million from the city for a housing program, only to get turned down, and out, by a fellow church leader. Peter prepares to leave the church, but without his linchpin support, the community is left in tenuous balance. Kenyatta turns to prostitution; it’s not the first time. Peter presses on to find a place to build his housing. Sacha strives to find her own voice – but will they make it?
A story of deep pain, and the stunning resilience needed to overcome it. Voices brimming with pathos, honesty, and eloquent grit, whose stories uniquely show: fly with one wing if you must, but never be afraid to fall.