Rashaad Ernesto Green‘s absorbing Gun Hill Road has Esai Morales as an ex-con returning to the Bronx to find his son (Harmony Santana) is now a burgeoning transsexual who uses the girls’ room at school.
After the screening at Newfest last night, Green said he discovered the affecting Santana when he saw her working an AIDS prevention booth at the Queens Pride Parade.
Said the writer/director:
“She was at the beginning of her transition and it wasn’t visible. … On the set, she developed confidence and started to come dressed like a woman. The transition you see in the movie was happening in her own life at the same time.”
At the event last night, Santana didn’t want to speak at first, shyly pushing the mic away.
But later, she told the crowd, “I didn’t realize how big this was until I saw the trailer. I cried! I’m proud and I love this film.”