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‘Trans Memoria’ director Victoria Verseau on ‘Trans Love’

‘Trans Memoria’ director Victoria Verseau on ‘Trans Love’

“Trans Memoria” director Victoria Verseau is ready for “Trans Love.”

The second part of the planned trilogy about her transition will be a fictional version of the life-changing journey she made in her twenties.

“I decided to take a road trip across the US and hitchhike for three months. By myself! I had never heard of trans girls hitchhiking and it was an extremely dangerous adventure, but I was young and naive. I’m glad I was, because I experienced the most beautiful things. And the most horrible things,” she says.

“Then I just started taking hormones. I didn’t know how I would be seen by others: as a gay boy, a trans person or as a woman? But I longed for love and sex. My friends lost their virginity and my life was on hold. This journey became my own sexual revolution.”

Verseau, who will be cast in the fall, will reveal her “greatest secrets” in the film.

“I’ve met so many straight cis men on this journey. I’ve met religious people, racist people, transphobic people. And I’ve slept with them,” the Swedish filmmaker reveals.

“It could have ended badly, and sometimes I wonder how close I came to dying, like so many other trans women – murdered. It’s okay if this film makes audiences uncomfortable. I don’t care if it’s scandalous.”

Her journey culminated in San Francisco, where Verseau underwent facial feminization surgery. Now she relives the reality of her painful transition in the documentary “Trans Memoria,” premiering at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

The film was sold by Outplay Films and produced by Malin Hüber for Her Film. The film was co-produced by Mathilde Raczymow for Les Films du Bilboquet.

“I didn’t come into this thinking I would be brutally honest about the fact that my vagina doesn’t work. But my friends Athena and Aamina were at the beginning of their transition and I wanted to prepare them for their possible future. It’s very individual; different bodies react differently. They had much better results than I did,” she admits.

“We ended up cutting some scenes because Aamina felt the film was too critical of gender affirmation surgery, which was not my intention at all. I think it’s clear that if I hadn’t had the surgery, I would have died. But it’s been a struggle.”

In the film, Verseau’s own experiences and those of her friends are interwoven with the story of Meril, who died three years after her operation in Thailand.

“Her family condemned her decision. They erased her existence and there is nothing left. We still haven’t found her grave.”

“I know our community and many allies have been critical of all these tragic stories about trans women. I understand the need for more positive stories, but I also think it’s different when the creator is trans. I couldn’t change the truth. Apart from my transition, making this film was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

She has an artistic background and is not afraid to mix different formats and styles.

“Andrea Arnold is a great inspiration. She comes so extremely close to her characters. The same goes for Ruben Östlund – when I was younger, I interned on one of his earlier films. I guess I just like contrasting approaches.”

She is also willing to open up to her viewers.

“I’m still a little nervous talking about very personal things, but I’ve made my choice. I’ve lived a very dramatic, traumatic, wonderful life. I have a lot to say.”

“When it comes to financing my next film in Sweden, I am worried. We have a strong right-wing movement, which is not so ‘happy’ with LGBTQ+ people. Yet I lived for many years without being open about my transition. Now I am in the era where I want to share all these extraordinary things that I have experienced. It gives me meaning.”