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Monday, June 20, 2022 at 7:00 pm


DISCUSSION: Sunday, June 26 | 12:00pm
Join us for a virtual conversation with filmmaker Hilla Medalia, along with Elisha Alexander, founder of Ma’avarim - Israeli Trans Community, and Noam Kaniel, a student featured in the film. About the Speakers >

This documentary film follows four Israeli teenagers and their families, shedding light on the personal and social impacts and implications of youth gender re-assignment.  This subject has been and still is controversial and delicate world wide, and even more so in Israel, a militaristic society in which teenagers go to the army right after highschool, and religion plays a very strong role in both personal and state identity.  As the four protagonists deal with typical teen drama through the lens of transgender youth, the film examines how each family deals with the dilemmas and difficulties of adolescence when adding the significant and challenging aspect of gender dysphoria.

Noam, 16, was born as a girl to a religious family in a settlement in Samariah and studied at an all-girl religious school. Ofri, 16, always was the cool girl who played soccer with the boys, but inside he always knew he was a boy. Romy, 16, was born as a boy to a secular family but as soon as she started playing with dolls, her parents signed her up to a religious school. Liron, 17, grew up hiding behind different costumes, including a phase of heavy makeup, and shiny dresses, before he was ready to face his true self.

Israel | 2020 | Dir: Hilla Medalia | 103 Min | Hebrew with English Subtitles

About the Speakers
Producer/Director Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and producer Hilla Medalia has received four Emmy® nominations. Her projects have garnered critical acclaim and screened internationally in theaters and on television including HBO, MTV, BBC and ARTE. Her range of titles include: ‘The Reason Why’ 2021 (Jerusalem Film Festival), ’Love & Stuff’ 2020 (HotDocs, DOCNYC), ‘Leftover Women’ 2019 (Tribeca, ARTE), ‘Transkids’ 2019 (a 5 episode series for yesDocu and film), ‘The Oslo Diaries’ 2018 (Sundance, HBO), ‘Muhi - Generally Temporary’ 2017 (San Francisco FIlm Festival, Hot Docs), 'Censored Voices' 2015, (Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale), 'The Go Go Boys' 2014 (Cannes Film Festival), 'Web Junkie' 2014 (Sundance Film Festival, POV, BBC), 'Dancing in Jaffa' 2013 (Tribeca, IFC Sundance selects), 'Numbered' 2012 (ARTE), 'After the Storm' 2009 (MTV), 'To Die in Jerusalem' 2007 (HBO). Hilla is a member of the American Academy of Film and Television and she holds an M.A. from Southern Illinois University.

Elisha Alexander (He/Him/His), 46, a prominent trans activist, CEO and founder of Ma’avarim - Israeli Trans Community, Israel’s largest trans NGO. His 18 years of community activism includes promoting queer visibility in Jerusalem, grassroots mobilization, and heading the Trans Program of the Tel Aviv LGBTQ center. Elisha holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is single, and lives in Giva'ataim.

Noam Kaniel, a student featured in the film, was born to a religious family in a settlement in the Occupied West Bank and studied at a religious all-girls school. After being hospitalized following a suicide attempt, Noam realizes he needs to come out and become the Noam he feels he is. Despite the obvious challenges of being part of a religious community, his family is quite accepting and supportive. Noam had a complex relationship with religion. Now, as a religious man he feels closer to God than he ever did as a woman. He and his family face dilemmas related to the religious view on transgenders and the reaction of their closed community.

Part of the Second Annual Queer Jewish Arts Festival, a series of programs celebrating multiple facets of our identities including gender, race, religion and class through film and theater. Highlighting local, national, and international artists who are making art with Queer and Jewish content, the festival examines the complexity of how we present ourselves and move throughout life. Sponsored by the Grandchildren of Harvey M. & Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund.

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