Wins Best Documentry at Sundance Film Festival
The heart wrenching story of a man dying of ovarian cancer
in Georgia and the Dr.'s who wouldn't treat him, won top honors at the Sundance Film
Festival for best documentary.
The film traces the final year in the life of Robert Eads, an unfailingly
good-humored 52-year-old female-to-male transsexual from the back hills of Georgia.
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer after having lived as a man for many years, Eads was
refused treatment by more than two dozen doctors, who feared his presence in their
offices would embarrass and offend other patients.
At the Sundance Film Festival Director/Producer Kate Davis was a bit shell
shocked when the film won for the Best Documentary. With her at the mike were some
of the cast. When she spoke of "the ease at which the people of the film had
allowed her into their inner most beings", the crowd cheered and clapped. As
the cameras scanned the audience you could see people crying at the injustice of
what had happened to the main character, Robert.
Lola, Robert's love, had the best comment of the night, "This film
shows we are all human even if some of you find us a bit fruity." This had the
crowd laughing. When Max, Robert's adopted son, stepped to the mike, at Kate's urging,
he quietly said "This would make Robert proud."
The film, "Southern Comfort" closes with the words "Nature
delights in diversity. Why don't human beings?"
"Southern Comfort" program notes from the Sundance
With a natural beauty, quiet power, and a clear voice, Kate Davis has
created what must be one of the most remarkable documentaries of our times about
gender, family, and love relationships. Southern Comfort is a wonderfully humanistic
portrait of transgendered life as it is lived deep inside Ku Klux Klan territory
in the rural trailer community of Toccoa, Georgia.
Robert Eads is a female-to-male transsexual suffering from ovarian cancer
who faces sure death after 20 doctors have refused to treat him for his condition.
Far away from Atlanta's city lights, Robert makes a life for himself and
his family˝his two families: his biological family of two parents, two sons by birth,
and a darling three-year-old grandson; and his chosen family of two female-to-male
transsexual sons, Maxwell and Cass.
Robert is falling in love with Lola Cola, a sultry male-to-female transsexual,
but as hard as he tries to resist, in the face of his impending death, the romance
blooms beautifully in bittersweet irony.
Kate Davis's compassionate verite' style of filmmaking portrays the lives
of Robert and his community in such an organic way that their exceptionally unique
and challenging stories feel as natural as the changing of seasons.
Questions of sexual orientation, operative transitioning, and discrimination
are effortlessly explored as the subjects freely open up their lives to the camera.
Raw, emotional, and provocative, Southern Comfort is a moving and illuminating examination
of gender and the human spirit that will surely open minds as it opens hearts. --
RUNTIME: 90 (min)
PRODUCER: Nancy Abraham
COPRODUCER: Elizabeth Adams
EDITOR: Kate Davis
PRODUCER: Kate Davis
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Sheila Nevins
MUSIC: The DCvers, Joel Harrison