Transkids Series 1

  • Documentary
  • 6 Episodes

Four Israeli teenagers undergo an irreversible life-altering process.

Four Israeli families must grapple with the unsettling process their child goes through during the already brutal enough teenage years; each in its one way.

Four years of intimate and raw documenting paint an emotional, dramatic, and eye-opening picture at the heart of which are fundamental questions: what does it mean to be born in a body that is misaligned with your gender? How would we, as parents, react when the child we have raised turns out to be a different person to the one we thought they were? And is our love for our children truly unconditional?

In a long, unprecedented documentary journey, the director chronicles the physical, emotional and social ups and downs in the foursome and their families’ lives – Israeli teens who, despite the hefty price, are no longer afraid of being themselves.

JIFF presents a live in-conversation event with director Hilla Medalia on Sunday 12 July at 6pm AEST. Registration is free but essential here.

Director

Hilla Medalia

Episodes

50m
Episode 1: I'm Finally Alive

Four Israeli teenagers undergo the process of life-and-identity-saving gender transformation in a country where military service is mandatory and Orthodox Jewish religion is the law.

Ofri, 15, is a guide at the boy scouts and is debating whether to tell his troop that he is transgender. He is completely out of the closet and is about to start hormone treatment but he’s afraid the kids are too young to understand. Liron is preparing for a fertility preservation procedure - harvesting his eggs before beginning to take hormones. Noam and his family are debating the religious questions concerning being transgender and preserving religious values. Ilanit, Romi’s mother, shares the long and painful way she went through before realizing she had to choose between a dead son and a living daughter.

50m
Episode 2: Irreversible

Four Israeli teenagers undergo the process of life-and-identity-saving gender transformation in a country where military service is mandatory and Orthodox Jewish religion is the law.

Liron arrives at the hospital suffering from unbearable pain, complications arise during the preparation for the fertility preservation process. Romi continues to prepare for the beauty contest and has to deal with the fact that some girls do not want to share a dressing room with her. Noam reveals a secret blog he wrote in which he shared his feelings before he came out. He and his family march together in the Pride Parade in Jerusalem for the first time. Ofri meets with the doctor who will perform his mastectomy. Although his family accepts and supports him, it is not at all simple. They face decisions that bear irreversible consequences.

50m
Episode 3: Right Foot Forward

Four Israeli teenagers undergo the process of life-and-identity-saving gender transformation in a country where military service is mandatory and Orthodox Jewish religion is the law.

As Ofri enters the operating room, his mother waits outside and remembers the day she came to the hospital and gave birth to a daughter. Noam’s parents sit with their friends and talk for the first time about the rapid process that Noam went through and with him, the entire community. Liron gets his license and a “new driver” sign. The day of the competition comes for Romi- it is full of excitement, fears, and tension between the contestants. Will she fulfill her dream of becoming the first transgender beauty queen?

50m
Episode 4: Blessed is He Who Has Made Me According to His Will

Four Israeli teenagers undergo the process of life-and-identity-saving gender transformation in a country where military service is mandatory and Orthodox Jewish religion is the law.

Liron undergoes his mastectomy but feels he was a man before too. For him, his masculinity is not threatened by femininity and doesn’t feel he needs to constantly prove it. Romi wants to get a passport, but she needs permission from her father who is in prison. Romi and Ilanit have to deal with the fact he does not accept Romi as she is. Ofri has learning difficulties at school, teachers try to help but he has trouble meeting the requirements. Noam sits down with his rabbi, they have an honest conversation about acceptance, community, about the boundaries of religious law, and Noam’s ability to pray more deeply, now that he feels complete.

50m
Episode 5: Not Kids Anymore

Four Israeli teenagers undergo the process of life-and-identity-saving gender transformation in a country where military service is mandatory and Orthodox Jewish religion is the law.

Noam talks to his brother about the army and he expresses concerns about the system’s readiness to deal with a transgender soldier. Noam’s father asks if he would have believed three years ago, when he was just out of the closet, that one day they’d be walking on the beach as father and son. On the way to the first appointment at the army, Ofri thinks he has no chance of getting a significant role, but when invited to speak at a Knesset committee discussing improving the army’s attitude toward transgender soldiers, he fights for the right to be like everyone else, to enlist and to contribute. When protests break out following discriminatory laws regarding surrogacy for same-sex couples, Ofri takes to the streets with the boy scouts to make his voice heard. Romi meets Amy, a transgender woman who has already undergone the complete transition process and shares the physical, legal, and social difficulties that she should expect. Romi is also not sure about her military service. For Ilanit it is important that Romi serves like everyone else, but Romi has other plans. Liron decides that the military structure is not right for him and he thinks about what he could do instead. Liron decides to take an acting lesson, after all, he “played a girl” for most of his life.

57m
Bonus: Director Hilla Medalia in conversation

Co-presented by the Jewish International Film Festival and tilde Melbourne Trans & Gender Diverse Film Festival, Transkids director Hilla Medalia is live in conversation with writer and critic Cerise Howard.

Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Hilla Medalia has received four Emmy nominations, and her projects have garnered critical acclaim and screened internationally in theatres and on television including HBO, MTV, BBC and ARTE. Her films include Dancing in Jaffa, Web Junkie, Censored Voices, Muhi – Generally Temporary, The Oslo Diaries, and Leftover Women.

Cerise Howard is a New Zealand-born writer, critic and co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque who co-founded the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia and was its Artistic Director from 2013-2018. She’s a Studio Leader at RMIT University specialising in incubating film festivals and contesting the canon, has been a member of the International Jury Board of the East-West: Golden Arch Awards, founded in Moscow, for its two editions to date since 2018 and was a founding member of tilde – Melbourne Trans & Gender Diverse Film Festival.