Red Without Blue

Identical twins Mark and Alex have always defined themselves in terms of each other, so when Alex decides to undergo a sex change operation, Mark starts to question his own identity. A wrenchingly candid, dreamy film.

Red Without Blue A groundbreaking portrayal of gender, identity and the unshakeable bonds of twinship. Identical twins Mark and Alex have always defined themselves in terms of each other. But when Alex decides to undergo a sex change operation, Mark starts to question his own sense of being. We follow the twins over three years as Alex slowly metamorphoses into a woman named Clair. Filmed in a fragmented, haunting style by a family friend, this is a wrenchingly candid, dreamy film.

"I really don't think I was born in this world as a man or a woman", confides Alex. "I think the process of changing was the path I was born to". But for Alex''s once-identical twin Mark, his metamorphosis into a strikingly beautiful woman seems like a rejection of their relationship. "Part of who we were was lost in the transformation", Mark confides. "It's like you were cutting a cord".

Mark isn''t the only one to feel confused by Alex''s sex change. Mother, Jenny, describes it as; "one big fuck you". ""We didn't talk for months. She refused to call me Clair, didn'''t wan't me to come home"." Desperate for support, Clair clings to Mark. ""I''m the only one she really has but she''s not the only one I have"," states Mark. ""She seems just as upset and depressed as she did before and that''s really scary for me"." Hurt, Clair retorts: ""Mark has changed. He''s a different person from who I grew up with"."

From the very beginning, the twins were always intensely close. ""We were in love with each other from the moment we were born"," describes Mark. As young boys, they were dressed in different colours so that people could tell them apart. Mark was Red. Alex was Blue. By their early teens, they had formed an unbreachable alliance, shutting out the rest of the world.

But around this time, their world started to fall apart. ""My mum thought we were a danger to each other"," recalls Alex. Their parents divorced and their mother started living with another woman. ""I wasn''t as focused on them as I need to be"," confesses Jenny. Alex came out as gay, thwarting Mark's own attempts to remain in the closet. They were ostratcised at school. ""It was like 'Oh, Jenny. You don't have normal children."

Then they started using drugs. ""Their heavy, heavy drug use was a devastating discovery for me"," states Jenny. By the time they were 14, Alex and Mark had come under the influence of an older DJ. He manipulated and sexually abused them both before raping a 10 year old in their presence. They tried to press charges but the case collapsed after the boy refused to go to court. Desperate, they attempted suicide. ""I thought no one loved us"."

After the suicide attempt, the twins were sent to separate boarding schools and banned from contacting each other. A few years later, Alex came out as transgendered. Initially horrified, his family tentatively offered their support. ""I began to see the qualities I so appreciated about Alex still present in Clair"," states Jenny. Clair''s father paid for her gender realignment surgery.

Years on, there's a sense their bond has been strengthened by Clair''s transformation. As Mark states; ""No matter what happens, Clair and I will always be identical twins"."
FULL SYNOPSIS

The Producers

BROOKE SEBOLD

Co-Director/ Co-Editor/ Co-Cinematographer
Brooke Sebold is an editor and producer in San Francisco, CA, where she has worked on award winning documentaries screening in museums and festivals around the world. She currently works as a producer/editor in the vanguard journalism department of Current TV, Al Gore's cable television station dedicated to telling honest and compelling stories by and for young people. RED WITHOUT BLUE is Brooke's first feature-length film.
Projects that she has worked on in the past include: Let's Get Real
Irons in the Fire
As Old As Our Eyes
Poumy
Four Short Films About Love
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BENITA SILLS
Co-Director/ Co-Editor
Benita has been working in the documentary film industry for four years in a variety of supportive roles, including production assistant, associate producer, post-production coordinator, distribution assistant, and assistant editor. She has worked with several established Bay Area documentary filmmakers, gaining extensive exposure to current trends in documentary and learning from the successful techniques of award-winning directors.
Projects that Benita has worked on in the past include: Let's Get Real
Poumy
People Say I'm Crazy
The Fire Next Time
Girl Trouble
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TODD SILLS
Co-Director/ Co-Cinematographer
After spending two years as a production coordinator for Merchant Ivory in New York, Todd is looking forward to his first full-length documentary project in the Bay Area. Growing up in Morocco and majoring in Religion and Poetry at Northwestern University, Todd has brought a real diversity of perspective to the project. Currently, he is the head Avid editor for Access Video in Berkeley, California. He also works as an assistant editor on KQED's Spark* and is helping ITVS prepare for the 2005 Input Conference.
Projects that Todd has worked on in the past include: ITVS Input Conference
Spark*
Le Divorce
The Mystic Masseur
Guitar Wolf at CBGBs

Making The Film

RED WITHOUT BLUE is a film four years in the making. We met Mark, decided to make this film, and then the real work began.

We began researching and applying for grants, which was no easy process. We were rewarded almost immediately by receiving Frameline’s Completion Fund. A year later, we received a grant from The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an amazing organization in San Francisco that fundraises through street fairs and massive parties all year long to give money to artists like us.

The grant money allowed us to continue filming (luckily video is cheap), but we knew that we would need much more money in order to finish this film. Thus began the grassroots fundraising.

We showed segments of the film to some impressive people in San Francsico’s LGBT community, who immediately made calls, and then more calls, and then some more. We had a highly successful benefit. The Full Moon Partisans and DJ Pee Play performed for the event at StudioZ. The treasurer of San Francisco gave our money pitch, and three SF Supervisors and the Human Rights Commisioner served as hosts for the event. Gavin Newsom awarded us all with certificates of appreciate for our positive contribution to San Francisco Media (and this was all from a twenty minute rough cut!)

Then we moved our efforts to Tucson, Arizona, Brooke’s hometown. The LGBT organization there, Wingspan, sponsored the event, and the Loft Cinema (Brooke’s all-time favorite theater) hosted. Again the community at large rallied behind us. We showed the twenty-minute cut, followed by a Q&A session. The audience was moved. We raised over $7,000 in just one spectacular night.

Finally, Jenny Farley (the twins’ mother) outdid us all. She hosted a three-night benefit spree. She cooked for days and invited everyone she knew. We got a great write-up in the Missoula Independent, and the LGBT community got wind of the events.

Brooke flew in for the third night of the benefit to a packed house. She hosted a Q&A along with therapist, Andy Lao. After the twenty-minute rough cut screened, the trans members in the audience flocked to Jenny to express how powerful it was to witness her acceptance of Clair, most of whom hadn’t been in contact with their own parents for years or even decades. It was a powerful event. One that raised almost $10,000 for the cause.

Additionally, all of our families and friends donated to the film. They wanted to see us succeed more than anyone.

In making RED WITHOUT BLUE, we had a profound responsibility to the Farley family to tell their story with respect and dignity, but we also had a great responsibility to all those individual sponsors from our communities who supported us from the beginning and without whom the film would never have been made.

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