The Brandon Teena Story (1998)
Actors: Daphne Gugat, Reanna, Gina Bartu, Shaun Fleming, JoAnn Fleming
Directors: Gréta Olafsdóttir, Susan Muska
Producers: Gréta Olafsdóttir, Susan Muska, Jane Dekrone
Brandon Teena was a handsome boy who had tremendous success with women because he always seemed to know exactly what they wanted. Perhaps it helped that Brandon Teena was born Teena Brandon, a young woman who desperately wanted to be a man. But Brandon lived in a small Midwestern town, where his sexual identity crisis wasn't tolerated, inciting two so-called friends to brutally murder him and two other innocents. This true story, which was the basis for the feature film Boys Don't Cry, is recounted in the award-winning (Best Documentary at both the Vancouver and Berlin film festivals) documentary The Brandon Teena Story.
This insightful film is both fascinating and horrifying, as we are treated to news footage and interviews with Brandon's family, friends, former girlfriends, as well as the two men who are in jail (one on death row) for the rape and later murder of Brandon. Throughout the film, the viewer's disgust grows as recordings of Brandon with the police department of Falls City, Nebraska, are played; when Brandon reports his rape, the questioning is turned around on him, making him the guilty party for his sexuality. Ignorance and hatred abound in the small town, although many of his ex-girlfriends are surprisingly sympathetic. While there is nothing graphic in this film, it is unexpectedly difficult to watch at moments; the drama, however, is gripping and the message an important one to hear. --Jenny Brown
To his girlfriends, he was the perfect boyfriend. To his killers, he was a gender-bending freak. To the law, he got what he deserved. Ultimately, Brandon Teena is an American tragedy.
Winner of best documentary awards at the Berlin and Vancouver film