Chasing the Dragon
Chasing the Dragons is a short LGBT thriller film portraying a transgender woman as the protagonist. This film is a statement regarding gender identity and prescription drug abuse.
100 Days of Optimism
Inclusion StatementThis film is essential to diversity because of its portrait of a transgender character as a protagonist. There is a lack of representation of transgender characters in media, and this needs to be addressed. Half of our team are members of the LGBT community, and half are woman.
About The Project
Chasing The Dragon is a short LGBT thriller film.
We follow Hannah Robinson, a transgender detective, as she investigates a prescription drug death in a small town. Hannah is an outsider officer who gets blocked by a local transphobic police department. She deals with all sorts of conservative figures while solving the case.
The purpose of this film is twofold. Chasing the Dragon will redefine the thriller genre with its inclusion of trans identity. Second, this film will bring awareness to the challenges trans people face in law enforcement. We think you'll see how competent, dedicated, and capable trans people are on the front line just as every other human being.
*Still from the concept-video shot by the director
Chasing the Dragon is a graduate thesis film directed by Eduardo Soares. We are going to produce a 10-minute thriller in Salt Lake City, UT. The production is sponsored by the University of Utah through the MFA in Film Production at the Film & Media Arts Department.
See out concept video/cinema pitch:
Where the idea came from?
The current theme is based on research we conducted to understand the position trans police are put in when faced with sexual and social issues. We contacted a transgender detective in California, Julie Callahan, and she has guided us through our screenwriting process. The scenes and events that happen in this short are inspired by true stories. We wanted to stay as true to both genres as possible so we based it heavily on true events.
Transgender in Media
According to GLAAD, of the 114 releases, they counted from the major studios in 2014, 20 (17.5%) contained characters identified as either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Once again, most of the inclusive films (65%) featured gay male characters. Less than a third (30%) featured bisexual characters, and about one-tenth (10%) featured lesbian characters. There were no characters GLAAD determined to be identifiably transgender among any films tracked this year.
One notable area of improvement this year is an increase in the racial diversity of the LGBT characters identified. In 2014, 32.1% were people of color, compared to 24% last year. Of the 28 characters we counted, 19 were white (67.9%), 3 were Black/African American (10.7%), 2 were Latino/a (7.1%), and 4 were Asian/Pacific Islander (14.3%).
Chasing the Dragon was created to change these statistics by putting the trans identities in positions of leadership in media, not as comic relief, but as skilled professionals in their areas.
I came out at 15. My first friends in the LGBT community were transgender people and drag queens. I grew up in this environment and could see what they faced on a daily basis.
I have lost some of my precious friends to suicide due to the overwhelming pressure of non-inclusivity in society. I dedicate this movie to my friends.
There are two main events that lead me to tell this story. I was walking with my friend (a transwoman) through a very busy street in Brazil. I recall watching her being harassed along that street by at least 10 men, shouting transphobic offenses at her. There I saw her tenacity to deal with these gratuitous offenses, as well as the average person's bigotry. The second event was when my friend was robbed and had to go to a police station to report it. The officer at the station replied, “Are you sure it was not one of those homosexuals? They are pretty aggressive.” How can those who are supposed to defend the LGBTQ community have this kind of behavior? Questions came to my mind, "What about the LGBTQ people in the force? How are they treated?"
*Still from the concept-video shot by the director
I have a career in filmmaking. I first studied Visual Arts in Brazil until I got a scholarship from the Brazilian government to studied abroad. Then I studied Film Production at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and the Allegheny College. In Brazil, I worked as a senior editor at a production company, and I had the opportunity to direct two episodes of a reality TV show that were aired to more than 10 million people in RS state. I received a teaching assistantship from the University of Utah to work on my MFA in Film Production in Salt Lake City. Once again, I left everything behind to come to the USA to continue my education. I am currently working on this short film that will be my Graduate Thesis Film.
Some of my works:
Natalie Day knew from a young age that she wanted to be an actor. She has acted in many award-winning films and moved to Los Angeles in 2015 to take her career to the next level. She was fortunate to be able to study with the great Gregory Berger-Sobeck of Berg Studios/Yale School of Drama while living in L.A. She returned home to Utah in late 2015 to spend time with her ailing mother, and to connect with family, upon making some major life decisions. She has been preparing to return to acting, and with Chasing the Dragon, she knew this was the opportunity she was waiting for. She's very excited to join the cast and accept the lead role of Hannah in the film.
Check out her video with more than a half million views:
Chasing the Dragon must be made because there are many transgender people in the force that are almost invisible. How many transgender people have you met in your life? Now, consider how many of them are in the Law Enforcement? I can assure you these people exist, and I want to tell their story.
Please feel welcome to support our project with funds or even just sharing it on your social media.
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About This Team
Our team is composed in diversity, with a three LGBT writers and a woman screenwriter. Eduardo Ayres Soares, the director is a member of the LGBT community and had works with queer studies. Chasing the Dragon have half of its crew being female filmmakers and the other half all members of the LGBTQ community. Also, we have ethinic and cultural diversity with a director from Brazil, a woman director of photography from Bolivia, a female editor from China, an Assistant Director from Mexico, and an actor from Latvia. In addition, "Chasing the Dragon" will cast an actual female transgender actress, as also, have trans people as part of the film set.
Our film project in total is an attempt to increase diversity in filmmaking. Our team is excited to work on a project that will spark conversation and inform those who do not know how little or how poorly represented LGBTQ members are in film.