Strong Island filmmaker Yance Ford made history as the first openly trans man to be nominated for an Academy Award and tonight he made history once again for being the first openly trans man — a trans man of color for that matter — to win Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking for the Netflix documentary.
The acclaimed film puts the spotlight on the racially-charged killing of Ford’s brother William in 1992 and what his death did to his family. In addition to the Emmy win and the Oscar recognition, the docu raked in prizes from Sundance, Frameline and other festivals, as well as multiple Cinema Eye Honors. Backstage, Ford, who was joined by producer Joslyn Barnes and cinematographer Alan Jacobsen, said that the Oscar nomination and now the Emmy win are a huge “apex of a journey that started at Sundance in 2017.
Ford points out that the issue of an unarmed man being killed in self-defense addressed in the documentary are relevant in 2018 as much as it was in 1992.
He adds that he is happy that the film continues to be seen so that the issues can be addressed. “People who can’t afford a $20 movie ticket can see this on Netflix,” he said. “They can see and share this film where these issues are front of mind.”
Ford said that the film brings these issues to the forefront “without any sugarcoating.” He said addresses the question “Who gets to decide what fear is reasonable?” and talk about making people accountable for their actions.