UBC Film Studies M.A. Alumnx Joshua M. Ferguson’s short film Limina, co-produced and directed with Florian Halbedl, has just made history and advanced the conversation about gender identity. Vancouver child actor and lead Ameko Eks Mass Carroll, 11, has become Canada’s first performer to have a single role submitted for award nominations in both the male and female performance categories at the Leo Awards.
Limina (Latin for ‘threshold’) tells the story of an intuitive and curious gender-fluid child named Alessandra who “embarks on a path of kindness” while growing up in a small town.
The Leo Awards, which honours the best in B.C. film and television, announced the groundbreaking decision that Carroll was eligible to be nominated in both male and female performance categories this week.
“We are proud to join our colleagues at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in recognizing the importance of inclusivity when honouring artistic excellence,” says Walter Daroshin, Chair of the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia and President of the Leo Awards.
Limina’s program has been submitted to the Leo Awards for consideration in several craft categories in addition to Ameko for both Male and Female Performance Categories and Chelsey Reist (The 100) as Maria for Female Performance Category. Limina was completed in December 2016, premieres at the Portland Kid’s Film Festival on February 5th and The 21st Kamloops Film Festival on March 5th. Other global film festival decisions are pending.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0V_NRPAmyM
Q & A with
Joshua M. Ferguson:
1. Why is this decision important to the Canadian film industry, the international film industry, and in a broader context?
This decision is important on many levels for trans representation, inclusivity and recognition of diversity in the Canadian industry and beyond. The cultural significance of the decision is difficult to process and measure at this time, but I know as a trans studies scholar and filmmaker, very familiar with trans discourse in popular culture, that it is ground-breaking! The national and international press attention is evidence of the important conversation around trans diversity and inclusivity that has been initiated by Limina and the Leo Awards decision. Trans people make significant contributions both behind and in front of the camera and they need to be seen and heard. It is an affirming moment for non-binary trans youth and adults, especially younger performers entering into the industry unaware of how they will fit with their non-binary identity. I am hopeful that this decision will open up the important conversation at union levels, other awards organizations, industry-based organizations for underrepresented identities and granting agencies across the country to strive for inclusivity in the industry when it comes to trans people and diversity.
2. How does this seminal event going viral make you personally feel?
I feel incredibly proud of my entire team and our film Limina. The film is the result of hard work from an amazing group of talented people – our cast and crew. I am also particularly proud of our star, Ameko Eks Mass Carroll, for having the bravery and depth of spirit to live his truth in a way that will touch many lives in Limina and beyond. And, as a non-binary trans person, I feel validated in an industry that usually rejects, ignores and/or erases people like me. We need to be able to live our truth as trans people. And, we need to infuse our art with this truth, by being recognized in the industry, in order to create films that can act as entertainment and agents of change in a world still very intolerant towards trans people.
3. Art can change perception which takes courage and conviction; we applaud you. Are your next projects dealing with the same subject matter?
Yes we are almost ready to share the details about our next short film entitled Henry’s Heart! I am very excited to move forward with our third short film, with my partner Florian Halbedl, that will act as a trilogy of shorts unrelated in story yet related in-heart to make varied and important cultural interventions in the realm of under representation and diversity. We will always strive, in some way, to tell marginalized stories and to uplift marginalized voices. I am grateful to my undergraduate and graduate education in film studies and gender studies (at Western University and UBC), which has shown me shining examples of how powerful film as an agent of change can be!