After being celebrated at the St. Louis Film Festival, Queer Film Festival, Boston LGBT Film Festival, and Melbourne Queer Festival, Emmy Award-winning director, Elizabeth Rohrbaugh will release her latest work Dylan (available to stream for free starting June 1, 2015), a poignant short film about a transgender man’s journey. Based on an interview with childhood friend, Dylan Winn Garner, the film tells Dylan’s story (as performed by transgender actor, Becca Blackwell), of his exploration of the transgender community, his family’s approval of his identity, and ultimately his physical and emotional transformation.
Rohrbaugh began the process of making this film nearly ten years ago when she wrote the script as part of a theater writing workshop taught by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, who were best known for creating The Exonerated. Tasked to interview someone with an interesting story, Rohrbaugh chose newly transitioned Dylan, whom she had known since childhood as Emily. This year, Rohrbaugh turned his story into a script and completed the film.
Filmed at dawn in the New York City subway system and at Coney Island, this compelling nine minute short uses powerful dialogue and symbolism to portray the process of self discovery. The result sees Dylan finding freedom and solace in self-love and acceptance.
Casting Dylan was a challenge. Rohrbaugh’s first instinct was to use a male actor, but was soon introduced to Becca Blackwell, an incredible performer out of NYC. Rourbaugh was sure she made the right choice when discussing the role with Blackwell, she was told, “If there was one thing a man could never understand, it was what it was like to want to be a man.”
Rohrbaugh describes her thoughts on the film and what she hopes it will accomplish within the transgender community:
I hope that this film will ring true and feel real for many people, both in the community and not. This is a true story developed into a performance piece, but is all real and from a very formative time in a person’s life. This is how this person came to his identity and hopefully can help inspire others to embrace their own journey of self-identity. While this process is a challenge, this story has a happy ending and I hope to show that despite the struggles that come with transition, the evolution and end result are beautiful and truthful. I hope that it can show transgender people (particularly youth) who may be struggling that they are not alone in this process and that what is waiting for them on the other side is worth it.
Dylan will be available to stream for free on the film’s website as well as Vimeo and YouTube starting June 1, 2015, to commemorate Pride month.
Director/Editor: Executive Producer: Producers: Cinematographer:
Melissa Kelly, Steve Simons Kathryn Westergaard
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Elizabeth Rohrbaugh is an Emmy Award winning director with a focus on documentary, promos and commercials. Rohrbaugh earned a BFA in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. There she won the Best Documentary Award and the Adam Balsano Award for a Film with Social Significance at NYU’s First Run Film Festival for her short documentary “There She Is.” She spent ten years as a director, writer and editor at MTV Networks and is now the creative director of Outer Borough Pictures. She is currently working with the newly rebranded LOGO Network. Her feature- length documentary The Perfect Victim was recently acquired by the PBS documentary series, America Reframed following a successful festival run. Her most recent short film Dylan has premiered at the St. Louis International Film Festival 2014, and screened at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, the Boston LGBT Film Festival, and the Queer Film Festival.