Photo credit: Sahar Nicolette @theyshootsthem

Ponyboi is an intersex runaway. He works at laundromat and hustles as sex-worker. But after a mysterious encounter with a man from his dreams, he learns that perhaps he is worthy of leaving his seedy life in New Jersey behind.

"Ponyboi" is a queer film about discovering self-redemption and love. Directed by River Gallo and Sadé Clacken Joseph, the film is a proof of concept for a feature length version and boasts authentic representation behind and in front of the camera. Click here for an essay from one of the "Ponyboi" executive producers, Seven Graham, an intersex activist, comedian, filmmaker, and drug addiction therapist.

For this special FREE THE WORK podcast miniseries, "The Future, Through Our Eyes," watch our FTW Community Lead, Chloe Coover, sit down with River Gallo to discuss their film and how it furthers intersex representation on screen and intersex rights off the screen.

You can watch our close-captioned video or listen to this episode through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. Keep scrolling for the full transcript!

Afterwards, watch the full short film, "Ponyboi" below.

River Gallo

River Gallo [pronouns they/them/their] is a GLAAD award-winning Salvadoran-American filmmaker, actor, writer, model and intersex advocate with interACT. Their work explores the dynamics of personal and confessionary storytelling, and media's healing abilities through re-envisioning minority narratives. They are a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Experimental Theatre Wing and the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts MFA program.
"Ponyboi," their USC thesis which they wrote, directed, and acted in, is the first narrative film created by and starring an out intersex person in cinema history. Produced by Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson, Ponyboi premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. River modeled for the 2019 NYC Pride Campaign, and has worked in branded content partnering with Birchbox Beauty, and Maison Margiela. They received the ‘Rising Star Award’ at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards. River was named one of the “Most Exciting Queer People to Follow in 2019” by Out Magazine and made PAPER Magazine’s list of “100 People Taking Over 2019”. They were also the cover star of 2019 Fall/Winter issue UK Hunger Magazine shot by RANKIN. In 2020 they became an awardee of the Ryan Murphy HALF Initiative.
River is the CEO and co-founder of Gaptoof Entertainment, a multi-media production house in Los Angeles, which focuses on intersectionality and creating inclusive spaces for POC, LGBTQIA+, and womnxn narratives.
River Gallo

Chloe Coover

Chloe is FREE THE WORK's Community Lead. She's an artist, quadruple Leo (Sun, Moon, Rising + Mercury), ANTM scholar, meme enthusiast, and is proud to be a woman of trans experience.
Chloe Coover Headshot

CHLOE COOVER: Hi. I'm Chloe Coover, Free the Work's community lead. And today, I am joined by filmmaker, actor and intersex activist, River Gallo. We're going to be talking about River's short film Ponyboi. It's great to have you here with us. Thank you so much for Zooming with me, River.

RIVER GALLO: It's great to be here.

CC: A little bit about Ponyboi. Ponyboi is the world's first narrative film created by and staring an out intersex artist, in cinema history. So it's a big deal. The film follows Ponyboi, an intersex sex worker looking for love, and a way out of his seedy life in New Jersey, which I was very glad to see as a fellow Jersey girl.

CC: Through a magical encounter with the cowboy of his dreams, Ponyboi examines his childhood trauma and discovers his worth. It was directed by River Gallo and Sadé Clacken Joseph. Did you say that correctly?

RG: Yes. Yes. Yes.

CC: And produced by Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson, which is something I really want to talk about. The film is being released online on June 22nd.

RG: Yes.

CC: So there's so much to talk about. I'm so excited for this film to be released and for the world to get to know you. And for it … make you the star that you are. So get started, I really wanted to talk about growing up and the path that you took to getting into film in the first place.

RG: Yeah. I think the initial seed of it was, I think I always to be an actor. Even when I was little, I remember taking my dad to these random acting classes in weird places in New Jersey, but then I think I was too scared to ever commit to them. Because my parents are from El Salvador, I think they were always just … we, my brothers and sisters, we would take the lead on everything. We would be the ones that would put our parents to do stuff for us, and then just go along with it, but finally in high school, I got into theatre and the school plays, as a young gay does, who doesn't know they're gay.

CC: Literally, just par for the course.

RG: Right. Right. It's so interesting how, literally, all the queer people ended up there. You find out later how everyone came out a few years later. But yes, I went and then went to college to NYU for theatre, and I was dead set on wanting to be on Broadway. And through, I don't know, just evolution of how I wanted to express my art, I found that film was the path. Film acting and creating films was more of what I wanted to do, instead of theatre, because there's no money in theatre.

CC: I was going to ask, if you had those two options, theatre or film, what specifically about film was really enticing after a certain point, but I definitely understand the [crosstalk 00:03:30] aspect of it for sure.

RG: I was doing theatre pieces, very experimental postmodern pieces, at school, and then I realized how the beautiful thing about theatre is that's very present-based, and in the moment, because, literally, you're watching what's happening right in front of you. But my sensibility was always to look back at memory and to go in and out of reality, and how that was difficult to do in theatre. And I realized in film, you seamlessly can shift perspectives and go in and out of different states of consciousnesses, sort of. So I think, initially, artistically, that's why I wanted to go into film, but also, I realized, as I came into my queer identity and came out that film can just reach so many more people, and a message can be that much broader. So I think that's what made that shift. But once I made the shift to screen acting, I was meeting with managers and agents in New York. This is around 2013. So this pre-Laverne Cox. This is pre people even saying the word queer to identify with. It was maybe the next year. That's when people started to say it. But managers and agents had no idea how to place me. They were like, "You're good, but we don't know what you would act in." So I was just like, "Well, fuck this, I guess. I guess I'll just have to make my own shit." That led the switch over to filmmaking and writing.

CC: Yeah. I mean, it is one of those situations, where it's like, if you don't see the roles that you know exist, because you have stories to tell, you have your own life to lead, then you have to just, I guess, be in charge of making them and telling those stories.

RG: Yeah, exactly.

CC: I think it's a really exciting period of awakening for a lot of queer, and trans, and people just in the LGBTQIA family, just saying, "Oh, actually, hold on. If that narrative I'm not seeing exists currently, I have to be the one who's responsible for building it from the ground up." And it's cool to see so many people taking the reins.

RG: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think, because of internalized … I mean, trauma's a strong word, but I think it applies to some people … a lot of people in the whole LGBTQIA+ family. It's hard to takeover that power, and to realize we all have that power, because for so long … I mean, still, there are atrocities happening right now that, people are trying to take away that power. So yeah. I mean, it was a leap of faith for sure, but I'm glad I did it.

CC: Yeah. Actually, I'm interested to investigate that a little bit further. Do you find that the act of stepping into your own power as a storyteller has changed your own life and your own sort of understanding of your voice?

RG: Yes. Wow. Just as you were saying that, I was like, "It really has, actually." Fast forward. After graduating from NYU and not having too much success as an actor, and making the switch over to wanting to write and direct, I went to USC for film school. And it was at film school that, for my thesis, I wanted to put more of my narrative of growing up with an intersex condition that I didn't know of at the time. I grew up with a condition called anorchia, which means my testes were absent at birth, but I didn't find out about it until I was 12. And the word intersex was never told to me. It was just presented like, "This is what you have. No you're going to go through testosterone." At 16, I had an un-consented plastic surgery, essentially, to implant prosthetic testicles in me, so that I looked and presented like a cis man. And so this was something that, at NYU and in college, I knew about myself, because I would take testosterone every day. I had the surgery at the time, but it was something that I slowly started telling people that I was comfortable with about, but certainly, never thought it was an identity or anything. I always thought this was just a weird medical thing that I had to deal with. But then, I think making that switch, as you said, to owning my power and owning my story, finally, when I was 27 and at USC, I realized that it was time for me to start talking about it honestly, because it was something that affected my life all the time, every day. And in that research of making Ponyboi, which is my thesis for USC, and wanting to-

CC: I was going to ask, yeah.

RG: Yeah. And wanting to integrate that narrative into the film, I realized that my condition was part of the intersex umbrella. And then I was like, "Oh my God. There's other people like me. There's a whole human rights activist movement behind it, with fighting for body autonomy, fighting for these surgeries like mine, and even ones more invasive than mine, of removing existing organs, or cutting off clitorises, or just packaging our genitals to make them look presentable to a cisgendered paradigm, how that was all the most fucked thing. And it was genital mutilation, essentially." So I was just like, "Jesus Christ." I had no idea that, by me stepping into wanting to own my story, it would then open up to a revelation about my own identity and about a community of people that are like me, fighting similar challenges.

CC: Yeah. I mean, it's devastating to hear about the ways in which … we talk about the world as viewed through a cis, and white, and male, straight, all these privileged kinds of lenses. And this is an example of a case where a community is being physically injured just by being viewed through the cis gaze.

RG: Right. And done at a time when you're can't even speak, or a little later when you can speak, but you still are following whatever your parents and doctors tell you is good for your body. So it's literally the complete removal of any kind of power.

CC: Like autonomy, yeah. Totally.

RG: Yeah, and ownership of your own body. On so many levels, it's fucked. What's really strange about it all, is just how … I don't know, I think there's kind of conspiracy, and maybe it's not that much of a conspiracy, but there's a reason why it's been so hidden to the world, but also, in the queer community itself. I was one time, talking to my friend Seven, who's intersex and was another producer on the film, on Ponyboi, about how we were interested in if we did a survey of queer people, how many people could give us a definition of intersex?

CC: I would imagine [crosstalk 00:12:39]. Yeah.

RG: Which reminds me, I don't think I've said the definition.

CC: Oh, go for it, please. I would love for you to go for it.

RG: Yeah, intersex is an umbrella term for people born with bodies that don't fit the typical definitions of male or female. So they could be expressed physically in your genitals, in your chromosomes, in your genes. So there's over 40 different variations of how one can be intersexed.

RG: And within being intersexed, one can also identify also as cis-gendered, or trans, or non-binary, or gay, or queer. So it's a Pandora's box, really.

CC: Yeah, this is a lot of possibilities. [crosstalk 00:13:25]. Yeah. I find it really fascinating, because I really genuinely think that there has been so little discussion and media representation of intersex people, I mean, other than some … the only ones I can think of are sort of problematic. There's … what's the book we were talking about?

RG: Oh, Middlesex.

CC: Middlesex. That's the only very high-profile representation I can think of off the top of my head. And I know we've discussed that representation being not incredibly authentic, let's just say.

RG: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

CC: But I'm excited for the world to get at least the start of a conversation about intersex people that includes understanding of what that means, first of all, and then also is linked to … what I love about Ponyboi is that it's a beautiful film. It's just a great, wonderful human story, that I think is going to resonate with pretty much anyone who sees it. So it's a really important humanizing document of this community, that so frequently doesn't get to talk about themselves.

RG: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think making the film, that was definitely my top, top intension of kind of secretly making it, like, "Oh, you just kind of slip it in there."

CC: Really?

RG: Yeah, Trojan Horse it, even though I also don't really like that term, because someone was telling me how a Trojan Horse, they were really the attackers inside. But maybe it is a disruption that way. I think disruption is really necessary, and if it happens through sneaky tactics, whatever gets the job done. I mean, through making the film, so many people have learned about what intersex means, and it was just a short film. Yeah, I think above all, I wanted to make, as you said, a human narrative that didn't feel like a PSA, that didn't feel like we're trying to shove this down your throat, because people have a real aversion to that. And yeah, there's something that I think a narrative can do that a documentary can't do. It gives someone the space and permission to connect with some … I don't know. Something about fiction and narrative. There's a little bit of gateway that people can understand more, even if it's a fictional character. I don't know. It's so weird that way.

CC: Well, in fiction film, you get into the elements of crafting a world in this really evocative … that's what cinema does so well. And I think that one of the real strengths, in my opinion, from watching Ponyboi, was, watching the creation of this entire aesthetic world that it lived within. And that really brings you in and makes it feel real, but it also takes you outside of reality, into more a fantasy too. Obviously, documentary film is wonderful and does a lot of great other things, but that's not something that documentary films is as effective as usually.

RG: Right. Right. Right. Yeah, there is something about fantasy. It almost gives you permission to enter the world a little bit. It doesn't scare you as much the rawness a little bit. It's like you just can ease [crosstalk 00:17:43]. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

CC: I think, also, sometimes, as someone who's a very active lucid dreamer, dream [crosstalk 00:17:50].

RG: You are?

CC: Well, I've done it once, but I'm someone who has very vivid dreams and love dreaming. And I do think that, a lot of times, I've really internalized lessons that I've learned from my actual life in dreams. I think that narrative film does a lot of that too, where you're like, "Oh, I didn't realize I was learning that thing, but [crosstalk 00:18:15]."

RG: Right. Right. Right. Wow. It does do that. Well, narrative film, a dreamlike quality. It allows you to just absorb something in a different way that's outside of your normal reality, which, I guess, documentary's more like that. You see reality.

CC: And both are necessary.

RG: Both are necessary.

CC: Both have their proportion [crosstalk 00:18:38].

RG: Both are necessary, for sure.

CC: Totally.

RG: Yeah, I just think, for intersex people, the time now for narratives and fiction to be made by intersex people is the next step. I mean, like I said, intersex rights and stuff. We're a place that's like a before. We don't have a media figure like Laverne Cox that brought trans issues right into the consciousness of [crosstalk 00:19:07] guys. Right now, those people, those figures, those forms of media that can allow people to really absorb and embrace intersex narratives are what's needed now for then the legislation to be changed. And I'm almost positive that the legislation won't change until that happens.

CC: Yeah. I mean, it's a bit frustrating that, that has to be the case, but it's really fascinating to think about in that lens of how much power media has to shift things like legislation, that really has this genuine impact people's lives … on the lived experience of the next generation of people. I mean, there can sometimes be a shifting of responsibility for onscreen portrayals, in terms of the people that create culture, and people sort of being like, "Well, it's just entertainment. It's just something we use to check out and tune out." But there's so much power behind what messages get made and what is out there, what's affecting people.

RG: Yeah. I mean, I'm in this fellowship right now with the Center of Cultural Power, and 50/50 by 2020. We were talking about how culture is usually 10 to 15 years ahead of the legislation policies. So it takes culture to literally shift the conversation and change people's thoughts and opinions, and then a legislation catches up to it. So yeah, I think that was really interesting for me, because as a filmmaker, since I'm like, "What am I doing? I'm just making movies and wanting people to feel things." But what we're doing as filmmakers and creatives is, we're changing people's minds about things. And then that change in perspective is what makes physical and visible changes in laws and policy.

CC: Totally. I think that, honestly, having the cinematic experience of watch an intersex person onscreen be beautiful is political and revolutionary, but there's things that are fun, and pretty, and nice, and ultimately, you don't associate with really sowing the seeds of political change.

RG: Right. Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah, just even seeing … I mean, people were talking about that, in that one episode of Pose, where the girls go to … I forget where. Some beach in New York. They all go on a weekend and they just go the beach. And that's where Electra has that huge monologue, when they're at the country club [crosstalk 00:22:27] and she just reads that white bitch. But a lot of people were saying how that's their favorite episode of Pose, because it showed, for the first time, one of the only episodes where they were just living and enjoying their life. It's just these trans women of color just having fun being at the beach in the fucking early '90s. I think, sometimes, as queer, trans, intersex, non-binary creators, we need to now, at this stage, think of how we can push the coming-out stories, the transition stories. Those are all necessary and have their place [crosstalk 00:23:14]. We need to keep pushing, to keep seeing how we could just exist in a world, and have the dynamics of our personhood still in the narratives, because we are those creators and those actors, but we don't have to harp on the tragedy, I guess.

CC: Yeah, that's honestly one of the elements that I found, just from a personal viewing perspective, so refreshing about Ponyboi, is that I could feel the understanding of the lived experience that shaped what was onscreen. You didn't have to state anything explicitly or openly onscreen to understand that this character was imbued with a history and a life beyond just having to spell things out … I mean, always can tell when a person making something is not of the community. They would have included a whole medical jargon section. But you don't need that in order to tell that story and see that history.

RG: Yeah. Yeah. I think a movie that comes to mind … did you see Girl?

CC: Oh, no. I don't want to. I read the Wikipedia page about it, and I'm sort of just like, "That's going to be a no for me."

RG: Oh, God. It was the most … they were also not trans, the writer, director or the actor, and it was just hell. Yeah, I had a friend that was like, "But wasn't it so real, the experience?" I'm like, "But … " The reality if known. You can just open up fucking anything, and Google, and you can see the reality of the struggles of trans people. But to tell a story that just is so focused on the genitals and the medicalization, it's not from the [crosstalk 00:25:32] perspective of those people. Yeah.

CC: Totally. I mean, that's the thing. For me, in my experience, the most that I interact with the explicit reminder that I'm trans is when I take a pill in the morning, and then I go about the rest of my day, right? Where I'm talking to my coworkers about a variety of things. I'm talking to my friends. I make jokes. There's a full life there, and that's what was so refreshing about Ponyboi, was, I was just immediately like, "Okay, cool. This is a full character with a full life that includes these things, but doesn't revolve around these things solely." One of the things I found personally the most interesting too, was, seeing the lead character as the subject of romantic attraction and sexual attraction, because that, again, is something that I feel is so illusive in representation. And it was really just like, "Cool. Glad to see that onscreen."

RG: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I recently was Ponyboi again. I was like, "Wow." I mean, just think of an intersex narrative that talks about someone's desire for love. It's just like, "Who doesn't feel that way?" Of course, that love is … there's a whole bunch of baggage that goes along with it, because [crosstalk 00:27:19].

CC: Right, there's factors involved.

RG: Yeah, there's factors involved. But the seed of it, of thinking of someone as an intersex person, or a trans person, "I'm lovable or capable of being loved," or "I'm struggling to come to terms with that," I think was something that was really important to show.

CC: Yeah, and it's very true to life. I think that, when we do get so many narratives that are focused on these very visible aspects of transition, coming out, et cetera, it really diminishes the extent to which all of our attention is focused on, like real-life stuff that happens to everyone, including the ever…Obviously, as you said, the search for love from that perspective is going to be complicated by the factors of a world that is not set up for that character to find love. But that's the root of great storytelling.

RG: As you were saying that, I was also thinking that focusing stories on specifically transition or coming out almost reduces our narratives to those milestones, but then it's like " … what happens after that?" Because it's [crosstalk 00:28:48].

CC: Right, and they live happily ever after.

RG: Yeah, and it makes one think, or even maybe the collective queer consciousness think that, once you achieve this, you are a complete queer being, and nothing's after that. And it's just like that is far from the truth. There is multiple coming outs that we'll do throughout our lives.

CC: Totally.

RG: Yeah.

CC: I mean, from personal perspective, I don't know if you feel differently about this, I think, honestly, that the kinds of reckoning with personal identity that people in the queer umbrella community are forced to by general society are actually the kinds of reckoning with fluid identity that everyone in the world could be doing, but are choosing not to.

RG: Yeah.

CC: Yeah.

RG: Totally. I was-

CC: I want to-

RG: Oh, go ahead.

CC: I want to take it back more to talking about some of the production aspects of this film, in particular. I could talk about this stuff forever.

RG: Right. Right. Right. Right. Right. Okay. Yeah, me too. I was about to lay down an amazing quote that I had, but I'll save it.

CC: Listen, we can offline for hours. I would love to, also. But I wanted to really find out more about how did you get this portion of the film … because I know that you're gearing up to work on a feature film version of Ponyboi. How was this initial version financed? I was really curious to find out how Emma Thomson and Stephen Fry were involved, and just what the journey was, from production through festivals through promotion, and then, now, its online premier.

RG: Right. It was a rollercoaster. Yeah, like I said, it was my thesis for USC, and when we did the budget, it was like 50K, which was on the higher end for a university thesis. And yeah, we had no idea how we were going to do it. I took out some credit cards, got some loans. But I was like, "I can't do that completely," so we also did a Seed&Spark crowd campaign, and then, through a friend of Seven Graham, my friend and executive producer on it, we met for the first time. And they were actually the first intersex person I ever met. And we met through a mutual friend on Instagram. The power of Instagram. And yeah, they immediately were like, "I want to help in any way I can." And a week later, a friend of ours … we now, they're a friend of ours, a friend of them, originally. But their name is Ella [Zoran 00:32:04]. They're a trans visual artist from the UK. And they were doing a panel with Stephen Fry about intersex identity at the Royal College of Arts in London. And Ella asked if Seven and I wanted to FaceTime in. So we met Stephen Fry virtually in London, and we talked about Ponyboi and intersex identity. And he had just written a book about intersex people in Roman and Greek mythology. So he was already interested and an ally, but then after the panel, he was actually in LA. We met him for lunch, and then we talked to him about the film, and he was just like, "Sign me up." And he came forward. And then he messaged a few of his friends, one being Emma Thompson. It's so random.

CC: So cool. Just casually. Some of his friends.

RG: Yeah, just casual British icons. And then she also came onboard as our coproducer. Their monetary support, but also, their just artistic and just support, and just having their stamp of approval, I think, really made people realize how much of a human story this is, as opposed to just a niche queer narrative. And it really opened the doors of other people donating money. And then when we finally started to going to festivals and stuff, it also gave it a bit of a star appeal, I guess. But yeah, the festival circuit was…As a indie upcoming filmmaker, you fixate on Sundance. There's certain festivals that you're like, "If I get into here, this is where my success is going to lye," blah, blah, blah, blah. Didn't get into Sundance, but then we did get into Tribecca, which was our big US festival premier. And it was amazing, because coming from New Jersey, coming [crosstalk 00:34:29] New York, Tribecca does amazing work highlighting local stories from New York and New Jersey, and championing queer stories as well. So that was just an amazing place to premier for us that, I guess, in my mind, you get so fixated on what it's going to look like, and then when you're finally in the festival circuit, you realize that there's just a rhythm to where you're supposed to be. But yeah, we did the whole queer circuit as well, Outfest. Outfest in LA, NewFest in New York, and the BFI Fest in London. I think we got into over 40 festivals in total, so it was a big year.

CC: Yeah. Did you attend most of them, or are you just shipping it out to …

RG: A lot of them, I didn't attend. But I attended maybe 10, 12. But all in that time, I was also developing the feature at the same time. And that was a struggle. I guess I had that, because I did the short, that it would be easier to make the feature, but in making the feature, I quickly realized how much more digging I would have to do around my intersex identity, around my family being Latinx, and the intersection between those two identities, and how to really address that in the film. Because a lot of my experience when I was younger was that, my parents were emigrated from El Salvador in the '80s, they kind of just followed whatever the doctors told them to do without question. I think a lot of parents of intersex do that, I think, when English isn't your first language, and when you come from poverty, just being in a hospital, being in a doctor's office, being seen is amazing. So I think a lot of the work that I had to do was forging my parents, realizing that they did the best that they could, given the limited information that they had, based on where they came from, based on what doctors were not providing. So yeah, I met the feature script with a lot of resistance because of all that. If 20 pages was hard to do for a short, 120 pages was like, "Woo." But I just finished two months ago.

CC: Congratulations.

RG: Yeah, now we're shopping it around.

CC: Amazing.

RG: Yeah.

CC: Yeah, obviously, the feature is next for you, but in a grander sense, bigger picture, what do you feel is next for you? Do you want to continue to appear onscreen? Are you excited to do more just work as a director, and directing stories where you're not onscreen? What's next for you?

RG: I ask myself-

CC: I mean, if you know.

RG: I do know. I do know. I mean, it's weird because I consider myself a little bit of an auteur, in the sense that I like to write and direct things that I'm doing, and also act in them. So I think that's really my bread and butter, but acting, I guess, will always be the nearest and dearest thing to my heart, and I'm very excited to act in whatever comes my way. But yeah, very close after that is writing and directing, and also my activist work. I think, given the state of the country with the Black Lives Matter movement, all the protests that have been happening that I've been going to, I realized I want to start putting that same energy that I've been putting in the Black Lives Matter Movement towards intersex rights and intersex justice. So this October, for Intersex Awareness Day, I want to plan my first activation here in LA, which, I'm not sure there's ever been a protest in LA for intersex rights. So I'm pretty excited about that. In general, I think what I want from my career is, I want to be the first intersex superstar, because I think we need one. And I think [crosstalk 00:40:00].

CC: We do.

RG: We do, okay. We do. We all agree. It's not in the sense of vanity or something, but I think it because what we were talking about, because it's political. Because that kind of visibility on a global scale, and if people can at least know, if you go and fucking bumblefuck America, and people know, "Oh, I know about intersex whatever, hermaphrodite person … " whatever you want to call, at least you-

CC: They know.

RG: They know, yeah.

CC: I mean, truly, it's one of those things where you have to make the world … oh God, there's that phrase. What is it? It's like, "Be the change you want to see in the world." That's it. I was like, "I know there's some kind of hoaky thing." But it really is about that though. It's like you are seeing a void in the world, and you are saying, "Well, hey, here I am. I could do that." So it isn't really a vanity thing. It's just the world needs that. For sure.

RG: Right. To me, there have definitely been intersex actors, and creators, and artists before, but they just haven't been out.

CC: And that's key, yeah.

RG: And that's key. And that really makes me think, "Wow," because if one person decides to be out and public about it, then so many other people will want to be, and be inspired by that.

CC: There's definitely been a history within the trans community. There've been trans people stealth on screen for years, but only once there became a tipping point, was there the sort of mass expansion into the mainstream.

RG: Yeah. Totally. Totally. Totally.

CC: So I think we're going to have to wrap up since we're nearing the end of our time, but I could truly talk with you for four hours. We could just keep going. There's so much more I would want to talk about.

RG: There's a lot to say.

CC: So much. But also, hey, come back. Come talk with me again. We'll do this another time.

RG: Of course. Of course.

CC: There's always going to be more to talk about.

RG: Yeah, for sure.

CC: Thank you so, so, so much for sharing all of everything you just shared with us.

RG: Thank you.

CC: We really appreciate you. Your film is launching on the 22nd?

RG: The 22nd, yes. This Monday, the 22nd.

CC: Amazing. So everyone, be on the lookout for that. Yeah, awesome. I guess we will chat another time. Thank you so much.

RG: Thank you.

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Director Sophia Takal talks about her anti-holiday holiday horror, "Black Christmas," her exploration of misogyny in the horror genre, and her collaborative creative process.
For Sama Podcast Cover
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On this episode of the FREE THE WORK podcast, journalist Dana Ballout and filmmaker Waad al-Kataeb have a moving conversation about the Syrian refugee crisis and motherhood in the midst of war.
HONEYBOY R15 88 300dpi Fin V2 Halfsize
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This four-part interview series features the stars and crew of HONEY BOY as they explore the themes of the film through their own personal experiences. A new episode drops every week of November.