TRANSfiguration: Transgender Ministers, Preachers & Priests
TRANSfiguration: Transgender Ministers, Preachers & Priests
Focusing on the lives of transgender faith leaders, this documentary explores how following your path can lead to fulfillment.
Focusing on the lives of transgender faith leaders, this documentary explores how following your path can lead to fulfillment. Read more
About this project
We have all been there, on one side of the coin or another. We have been teased, laughed at, embarrassed and felt alone and/or stood by while we watched, and possibly contributed in these acts, while these feelings have been thrust onto another. We stand here today, adults, knowing that we can not continue to contribute to this sort of action, or knowing that others should not allow ourselves to feel this way, but it continues. Why? Because we believe it is somehow within our best interest to allow those with the loudest voices to dictate how we act and feel in the world. We know, somewhere inside of us, that this is not real or true in any sense. But where do we find the strength to stand up and change the status quo? That strength is within us, but how do we muster the courage to put our best selves forward every day and fight for change?
That is the story of TRANSfiguration. We take a look at the strength of transgender individuals in ministry. Individuals who have decided to teach and guide the world through the spirituality that resonates within their souls. The message is simple: take the steps that guide you to being whole, but along the way, take the risk of being your true self, loving yourself unconditionally. It is only when we love ourselves, that our lives will be better, and we will be able to give more than we have ever imagined. We want you to be a part of the TRANSfiguration: the change from a world where people are forced to live in shame and sorrow to one where everyone lives proud, with respect and dignity.
Please consider being a part of the TRANSfiguration today by donating to make this documentary happen and spreading this message to family and friends. We can inspire this change, but only with your help.
Surmount Studio is proud to announce that TRANSfiguration, our first feature length documentary, has begun the proceses of pre-production. With the help of actor and co-producer Eric Feltes, we will be connecting with numerous supporters, members of the Transgender community, and Transgender Christian leaders. If you feel you would like to contribute to this documentary, please reach out.
This documentary will show how simply being whole, no matter how difficult that may seem for these indiviuals, brings about joy and fulfillment. It also shows how being at peace with their inner voice guides them to do more good, offer and receive more love, and contribute to the world with confidence, while helping others do the same.
The point is not to sensationalize the transgender path, or to glorify the religious leader role, but to encourage people of all backgrounds to question the integrity and possibilities inside themselves.
Meet MartinJon and Surmount Studio
MartinJon, the main visionary behind TRANSfiguration, has had a unique life experience that led him to being called to make this documentary. In 2000 MartinJon began work on a lifelong project called The Portrait Project where he honed his interview style and was exposed to many people in the transgender community.
In 2006 Martin started ChicagoArts a short format documentary web series focusing on people in the business of the arts in Chicago. Documenting studio visits, interviews with collectors, curators and arts dealers in Chicago.
In 2013 he created a scripted comic web series titled Our Cultural Center as producer/director/writer.
TRANSfiguration is a much larger project than MartinJon's previous efforts. Using the experience and contacts developed in his earlier projects, TRANSfiguration will be a full length documentary which explores a subject that is rarely discussed, but is timely and provocative.
Meet Actor and Co-Producer Eric Feltes
Eric Feltes, after five years of teaching and directing theatrical productions in Oswego, IL, moved to Chicago to pursue his acting career. Since 2013, he has been seen in several Chicago plays and short films including that of Nick in the Always-Already Production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Pete in Martin Garcia’s web series, Our Cultural Center.
Eric felt that in order to be happy, he had to fit into the norms of his church community, even though he, as a young gay man, did not. Eric went as far as becoming engaged, and six months before the wedding, came out. While this was the most difficult time in his life, he found it absolutely necessary in order to live a genuine and fulfilling life. The more people Eric gets to know, the more common his story becomes. The process of drastically changing one’s life in order to better serve oneself and society is a universal one that many people experience in their own way.
Director of Photography
Surmount Studio is currently in contract negotiations with Spanish Composer Sofía Oriana Infante to write the complete score to TRANSfiguration. We are also looking at a number of Spanish musicians in Santiago De Compostela for recording the score.
Check Out Some of Our Rewards
I am so excited to be able to offer all of our supporters something it stars rather simple with a thank you. These will be delivered as an email specifically written to you by Producer MartinJon, who is hoping to get them out within 24 hours of your donation. A thank you will also be given on social media with a tip of our hat to you on Facebook, Twitter and/or our blog, of course we will do whatever we can to get you mentioned on whatever social media outlet you would want and we can accomplish.
The Next level of thanks is in the movie itself, be added to the thank you credits at the end of TRANSfiguration. and that is as far as we can take the tank you's but after that level comes everyone's favorite S.W.A.G. T-shirts and tote bags because with the plastic grocery bags getting banned everywhere we can all use another tote.
We will have, on the website a "Donors Only" page which you will receive a password. This page gets you access to exclusive behind the scenes, deleted scenes, interviews and exclusive content as we produce TRANSfiguration.
There is the amazing soundtrack that I am excited to get specifically written and performed for us. It is exciting for us to work with artists at all levels of this production and I am looking forward to getting Sofía Oriana Infante committed to this challenge.
As an artist I am offering some unique and beautifully powerful works by some for the greatest artists I know, more of these will hopefully become available as the campaign continues.
At the $350 Deborah Maris Lader's "Coat of Arms"
Risks and challenges
Although I have been working in the documentary format for a long time, this is a completely different challenge in that it is a feature length film. It's also different in that the people involved are spread across the country, and possibly, the world. The distance that I will travel to make this possible, both in a spiritual sense as well as a physical one, will be both challenging and exciting.
I am, and have always been a supporter of the arts, and I have interacted with people from all walks of life. I am in love with differences. When we step back and look at it honestly, we are not very different after all. In fact, I feel I am more similar than I am different to every other person I have ever met. The challenge in this documentary is to clearly demonstrate that we are all more similar than different, despite that not being the main point.
Other challenges exist also that I am aware of:
Inner personal ones. I have been facing inner-personal challenges within my art career for the past 20 years, and I have repeatedly learned to surmount many challenges of self doubt that seep in. With Eric's help and that of the transgender community I am connecting with, there are supports in place that will make this journey even more possible.
External ones like time, space and unforeseen forces. Some of these can not be predicted, but again this is where faith in the project, excitement for the message, and the support of a community provide the opportunity to persevere.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
No. The reality of this documentary is that it is looking at faith leaders, not of all faiths, but not of only one faith either. The Episcopal church has a number of transgender leaders and we are in touch with a few of them, but we are also speaking with UU ministers as well as preachers and priest who have since been removed from their parish. We are also open to speaking with anyone who feels like they fit under the category of “Faith Leader.” Of course all of the people we are speaking with won’t end up in the final cut but we are learning, and hope to represent, the stories in the best respectful, and celebratory, light possible.
Support this project
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