Front Range Community College Blog

2016 FRCC Documentary Explores Gender Identities

A group of students eager to learn media production has turned into a professional production team – Storage Room Productions – with sights set on exceeding the successes of the students that came before us.

Previous students in FRCC Multimedia Graphic Design Program created two documentaries, one of which received a Student Achievement Award and acceptance into the Library of Congress, and the other recently was selected for The Alhambra Theatre Film Festival in Indiana.

It’s a high bar, indeed.

Documentary Premieres May 6, 2016

“Spectrum: Embracing Gender” is scheduled to premiere at 7 p.m. May 6 at the Bug Theater, 3654 Navajo St., Denver. The documentary explores the way people view and embrace gender identities.

Setting the Title

After a semester and three weeks of pondering, the class came to a unanimous decision on the title: “Spectrum: Embracing Gender.

During the fall semester, our working title was Embracing Gender, but at the beginning of the spring semester most of the students agreed that it sounded a little bare and could use something more.

“Spectrum” surfaced during our interviews two experts, Dr. Mary Ann Watson at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Dr. Catherine Forest at the Stanford University Health Center. There was a common distaste for the gender binary culture throughout our interviewing process. It became evident that gender can materialize in as many ways as there are people. Some individuals do not identify with being either male or female, others identify as a blend of both, while others identify with a gender but their self-expression and preferences still do not conform to commonly understood gender norms within our culture.

Expanding the Meaning of Gender

Seeing the variety among people we worked with really gave all of us an opportunity to explore and expand the meaning of gender for ourselves. We concluded that gender is a spectrum, which includes the rich variation that exists between masculinity and femininity. The journey lies in accepting and embracing that fluid aspect of the self.

A Change in Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the work environment shifted after winter break. The fall semester’s novice students, me included, have matured into focused, goal-oriented individuals who have learned the merits of good communication and teamwork. Much thanks go to the more experienced students who were our mentors and guides.

A Hands-On Approach to Learning

The hands-on approach to learning made the lessons much more memorable. Last semester, we conducted very personal one-on-one interviews with transgender volunteers. This semester, the focus is on editing the video footage, generating “b-roll” and animations, promoting, and finalizing the loose ends.

Everything used to feel so scrambled. I did not understand many of the terms used in documentary production. I constantly asked experienced students what everything meant. I am glad I did because now I feel like I can be trusted with meaningful tasks.

A Team Working Together

In contrast to how things felt last semester, this semester feels much more organized. There are distinct teams of students: the editors, animators, writers, videographers, promoters, the assistant director, and the director. The execution of everything feels much smoother than before, as if it were a real professional production studio. Because of better communication and structured teams, we are staying on schedule and progressing efficiently.

We are one big team, and we can’t wait for the premiere.

Avatar for Sonya Wagner

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sonya Wagner is from Kiev, Ukraine. She moved to the States at 15. She is passionate about film/art, sociology, traveling, and learning about other cultures.