Playing TONIGHT, Closing Night at NewFest, 7PM. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “a sophisticated intimate twist on a father-son drama”, Gun Hill Road is Rashaad Ernesto Green’s first feature film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Set in the Bronx, Gun Hill Road follows Enrique (Esai Morales of La Bamba, NYPD Blue), a macho ex-convict returning home from a three-year prison sentence, who slowly learns that his son Michael (Harmony Santana, at left) is transitioning into Vanessa, a woman. Unable to accept his child, Enrique clings to his masculine ideals, while his wife Angela (Judy Reyes from Scrubs) fiercely tries to hold her family together by protecting Michael.
A transsexual female on-screen and in real life, newcomer Harmony Santana gives a fearless and authentic performance that will stay with you long after you’ve left the theater. When asked about casting for the role, Green says, “I knew from the start I wanted to cast the role non-traditionally, i.e. outside of the normal means of finding talent through an agent or casting director. In order for the film to be successful, I needed to find the genuine article.”
“The search was absolutely grueling. I pulled my hair out for weeks and kicked myself for writing myself into a hole. We stumbled in and out of 18-and-over nightclubs at 3am, attended every youth organization and function you can think of,” says Green. ”Eventually, we found Harmony. Newcomer Harmony Santana was working at a parade booth in Queens. She was the right age and type, showed up on time to the audition, had that special something I had been looking for, and was dedicated to learning the craft of acting.”
Drawing on scenes and struggles from her own life, Santana takes us into Vanessa’s pre-date routine and the challenges she faces in an effort to present herself as she feels inside. Don’t miss this moving portrayal of a transsexual teen that will move and inspire you. Playing Thursday, July 28 at 7:00PM, Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. Click here for tickets to the event, which includes an Awards Ceremony and Closing Night afterparty.