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FINDING BERNIE

feature documentary directed by Shon Keane
currently in production

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A non-binary film professor goes on a road trip with an intergenerational, multicultural group of trans people in search of transgender historical figures, including the director’s gender non-conforming role model Bernie, who cleaned houses in the suburbs of Boston in the 1970s. As they discover their history from trans elders and a veteran of the Stonewall riots, the participants deepen their bonds and find lessons from the past to help in the fight for freedom today.

Shon Keane’s love for trans people anchors FINDING BERNIE, a film that approaches its subject matter from the inside out. Shon first encountered a trans person at the age of 5, experiencing an immediate affinity and identification. Back then, Shon’s young mind was still in a state of discovery, yet to be conditioned by the world’s transphobia.  That liminal period is ground zero for this documentary - a nurturing space that holds trans people not as exotic objects of fascination or scary oddities but esteemed subjects. 

This project shines a light on the joy and beauty of trans life and shows how interpersonal bonds can become vehicles for healing. This documentary will serve as an invitation to viewers like Shon’s mother who doesn’t even know why she has such strong negative reactions to her child’s gender nonconformity. FINDING BERNIE will directly address the fear and ignorance that fuel transphobia and engage a wide audience in what trans activist and actress Laverne Cox has called a revolutionary act: loving transgender people.

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