Filmmaker's Name: Brandon Kelley

Film Title: The Real Thing

In 50 words or less, what is your film about?

A soldier's return home is surreal. While on his tour, Michael's son has transitioned to be his daughter. Today he is coming home to surprise her. 

For Allie, life is full of challenges. A rough day at school ends with at surprise, her father is standing in her room. 
What was your motivation to make this film… why this film, and why now?

This film is a very personal exploration into the story of a young trans teen.  The themes are adapted from a feature film I've written and the story comes from an amalgamation of many real-life stories from trans kids across the world.  It is our feeling that this film is timely, unfortunately made even more so by the current political climate in the country.

More important than the political message, however is our message to trans kids and their parents: be who you are; follow your child's heart; and love each other, unconditionally.

Was there anything strange, funny, interesting, sad, scary, or otherwise unusual about making this film?

-Yes!  Sophie, our star, didn't have an agent at the time, so we had to send all of our materials to Zackary Drucker and the producers of Transparent, who approved of the project and put us in touch with Sophie.

-Sophie is a fan of Orange is the New Black and was both excited and nervous when she found out that Michael Torpey, who plays 'Humphrey' in the show, was going to play her father.  Michael, in an effort to show that he had nothing in common with his OITNB character, spoke to Sophie on the phone during pre-production.

-Our middle school and classroom is actually a college building and classroom in Long Island.

-The exterior and downstairs house scenes are shot in one house, and the upstairs is shot in a completely different house.

-There are only 2 lines (3 words) in the film.
What is your connection to Mississippi?  If you don’t have one, why did you choose to enter your film into a Mississippi festival?

Crossroads came recommended as a strong LGBT festival and, being from the south, Brandon knows how important it is to have strong LBGT representation in the south.
Anything else you’d like the audience to know about your film?

More can be found here: We sincerely hope you enjoy it and, if you'd like, you are more than welcome to reach out to us.  We would love to hear your thoughts.   :)