Although it takes place in the early decades of the last century, The Danish Girls story of the love and lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener is in many ways a tale for our times. Yet, at Deadline’s recent packed AwardsLine screening of Focus Features’ exquisite film starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, I learned how it took over a decade to bring what director Tom Hooper calls “a passion project” to the big screen.

The Hooper-helmed and Lucinda Coxon-penned film, based on David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel about the real life of one of the first people known to have sexual reassignment surgery, has already attracted a lot of Oscar talk ahead of its limited release November 27. Its performances, its look and compassionate tone, its story, and at its heart its courage and truthfulness of self — all elements for a strong contender — are there in The Danish Girl. Even more remarkable is that the timely Oscar talk comes just a year after Redmayne took the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything. And of course Vikander has had a breakout year so far with this film and Ex Machina.

So click on the video above to watch part of the post-screening panel I moderated with Hooper, Coxon and producer Anne Harrison and discover some of the story behind the story The Danish Girl – even in this town, it’s a feat unto itself.