Thursday, December 31, 2009

Soulmates Director's Blog-Miracle of Being Alive on New Year!

Hi All!

It's New Year's EVE! and we're all about to start a new year - this past year has been challenging - and what's really important for me is to keep on the radar screen is to chill! I'm living in a state of grace . I'm so fortunate to have what the most precious gift of all - the miracle of being alive.
The Soulmates movie cherishes life, and love, and the enormous capacity of human beings to reinvent who they are, as an opportunity to have the experience of being really alive!
Here's what Millie, the real person the movie's based on says - she had the courage to go for her dreams and now is really living a full, inspiring, and satisfying life:

"Watching the movie, I realized how incredibly fortunate my life has been. The extraordinary circumstances leading up to and including my transition gave me freedom, purpose and a new life full of love and happiness that I had never known before. I am hoping that people seeing the movie will then give themselves permission to just be who they are, no more and no less. That would be enough for me."

Love you all out there in cyberspace, go for your dreams on the New Year!

Joan, Soulmates Director

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sword Play

Before I forget:
SOULMATES Screening is Feb. 21, 2010, 7:30pm at the Avalon in Washington, DC. Tickets can be purchased online at
IMPORTANT!!! Bring the receipt to the theatre.
Also, check and type Soulmates Movie into the Search Engine for Movie Clips.

Now on to the Blog:

We've all heard the "Dumb Blonde" jokes, and yes, laughed at them. Millie herself likes to pretend to be the "dumb blonde" sometimes, but you will be fooled at your own risk. She can handle any number of firearms(keep that in mind while watching the movie), race her souped car, and do any number of electrical marvels, particularly those involving sound, all without turning one of her long tresses. She also handles swords like she was transported from the Middle Ages; I pity the knight who thinks she is either: a) a damsel in distress, or b) a wench ripe for the taking, or c) Just plain easy to take down with a sword.

Millie would have slain the dragon, cleaned her sword, resheathed it, and stolen the knave's horse before he could have gotten his weapon out of the scabbard. She also would have beheaded the unlucky knight in the process if he had tried anything on her.

Speaking of swords, at the wedding of myself and my partner, Millie incorporated the use of one lethal looking sword in the ceremony, at which she officiated. Later Millie recounted, when my aunt inquired about it, Millie believed she traumatized the poor woman for life by demonstrating a sword move uncomfortably close in proximity. My aunt, to her credit, never actually mentioned the incident to me, and appears to have recovered her composure. At least, we think so, since we still get Christmas Cards from her.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Soulmates Director's Blog -Want to Connect!!

Hi Everyone out there in Cyberspace! I REALLY want to connect to you - and would like you to see our Soulmates movie - it will inspire you - I made it because I was inspired by the really person the movie's about - she's amazing - and I wanted other people to know that anything's possible when you set your mind to what you want! to be true to who you really are - to have the courage to fulfill on your dreams - to take risks - even though you're scared - to be courageous and not give up and not stop - it's kinda like talking to you in cyberspace - I don't even know if you're out there - and I'm doing it anyway - because I want to connect to all of you who have dreams!
We will be starting on January 6 releasing scenes from the movie - and on February 21, 8pm, we will have the Washington, DC premiere of Soulmates at the Avalon theater in Washington, DC.
Please visit our website ! I will be blogging every Wednesday and Sunday nights - let's connect!! your Soulmates movie Director, Joan

Working on "Soulmates"

We're very much looking forward to the Washington DC screening of "Soulmates." This is our first blog about "Soulmates." We are the parents of one of the young actors in the film. As you might guess, this was a particularly challenging role for an 11-year old -- and challenging to us as parents explaining the subject matter of this film. The director, Joan Sugerman, did a fabulous job in working with the two young actors -- and they handled the subject in a thoughtful and sensitive way, considering they were pre-teens. How the children respond to the turmoil going on within the family is a particulary poignant aspect of the film. We hope "Soulmates" is well-received by Washington viewers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Soulmates Director Blog-MOVIE PREMIERE-WDC!! Feb.21

Finally! the premier in Washington DC of the Soulmates movie!! on Feb, 21, 8:00pm at the Avalon Theater - plus party afterwards! It's really taken a LOT! to find Millie, who's life story is the subject of the movie, to fund the movie, really low budget of course, to write the screenplay so it worked and was really Millie's true story, then make the movie, in 30 days with tons of locations, and 33 original rock songs, and then edit it for 6 months, and then enter film festivals, (we won Best of Festival at Berkeley Film Festival) then plan the internet marketing, website, and distribution! Wow!

The WDC premiere is a HUGE completion of an epic process we've been through, all to have people really have a sense of what it takes to fulfill on who you are, on your heart of hearts, your dreams, with NO selling out. And be willing to have all the ups and downs, the hardships, the miracles, the disappointments, along the way, without GIVING UP!!

I want people inspired by MaryLou, the main character, and by Millie, the real person, in her journey, and courageous it was, to fulfill on what she HAD to do to be who she is. And if she had not, the outcome would not have been good, at all. And for all of us, we either go for it! all of it! or we live our lives suffering, or live like dead walking people, or really dead. It's a day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute CHOICE! So I'm excited about the screening, scared about the screening, and a bit feeling under pressure about the screening to get everything done! See you on the website, starting in January we'll be releasing actual scenes from the movie, and at the screening in Washington, DC!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why I'm Doing This

For more information about this Movie and its upcoming February Screening, go to, and for updates, become a member of its Fan Page on Facebook,

I became involved with this project for two main reasons. First, I believe the movie has a message for those going through this transition process and for those supportive of these individuals. Those in opposition might find what they think is ammunition for their side, but that is another story.

Second, I enjoy the movie-making process. I periodically do "background" work(read "extra") for movies shooting in this area. Though that work involves a lot of " hurry up and wait", I feel I get an "up close and personal" glimpse of how the product on the screen gets there. Yes, once in a great while, I get to see a "star", but that is beside the point. I also occasionally hear stories about the production, its stars, etc., from other "extras" that I otherwise would never hear, and, I ask you, who is not tempted by that?

Speaking of stories, I also like to write, which is why I began this blog. People need to hear the stories that did not make it into the movie's final cut because no one will go see an eight-hour movie unless he/she feels compelled to do so. "Gone With The Wind" is a great movie, but anyone who has sat through it knows how long it lasts.

So, I write here my impressions, anecdotes, or what have you because I see this movie as a story worthy of being told to as many people as possible. In addition, I write these words to remind myself that these characters represent flesh-and-blood people who, with all their failings traveled through a wrenching emotional journey that lasted a hell of a longer time than the length of the movie.

What is more, I am lucky enough to actually know some of them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Life after the Movie

My partner's mother recently watched "Soulmates", and her first questions, in all seriousness, were:
a) Were the events accurate
b) Were they as "dark" as they appeared

I told her that, like in any movie, details must be altered for continuity, effect, privacy of real-life persons portrayed, economics, etc., but that the movie is essentially accurate. Hence, the darkness of these events was accurate. Without giving away anything, the wrenching experience of someone struggling with his/her identity, is by definition, "dark".

A few months back, Millie told me and my partner about her real-life ex-spouse, whom I'll call "Sara", and about when "Sara" told Millie that she was engaged. "Sara" asked Millie how she felt about her remarrying, and Millie replied with another question: "Does he love you?" and, according to Millie, "Sara" answered, "He worships the ground I walk on." Millie said that that settled it, and told her to go for it.

Millie once said that, when she had a conversation long ago with "Sara", if given the choice of the one person she could keep in her life, she would choose "Sara". Millie didn't clarify if this topic came up before or after transition, but our assumption was that it was afterwards.

Millie knows and loves a lot of people, but "Sara" must be something else entirely.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Soulmates Director's Blog

Hi everyone who's reading this - wow - this is my first real blog about the Soulmates movie - so I'm going to give you some background on why I did the movie - then in other blogs - I'll talk more about directing and making this movie - and what it took - especially the low budget part - and ALL the ups and down - and ALSO - more about Millie the real person this is based on - and everything I can AUTHENTICALLY TELL YOU about creating and directing this movie!!!

So-I made this movie because it was a story I thought had to be told! I got a phone call form someone I didn't know - "Millie" - now the real person in the movie - and she wanted advice on how to tell her boyfriend she used to be a man! I first of all had a little trouble getting my head around the concept, and had never given anyone advice like this before. We talked for about 4 hours! on how she was going to tell him so he wouldn't leave her or kill her - (really that could and does happen) - so we came up with an approach - about the American Indian (Millie is part Cherokee) and having two souls - on a woman - and one a man - and then saying this wasn't just a theory - but was her! She then had the courage to go and talk to her boyfriend, and she called me back on New Year's day and said - she did it! and he didn't leave - now this is a key scene int he movie!

So after talking to Millie for about 6 months - I decided this had to be made into a movie - why - because I deeply felt this story had to be told - one of profound integrity of someone fulfilling on who they are despite enormous circumstances and difficult odds, it was a moving and inspiring love story, and also a person of enormous courage and inner strength!

So I started wring an outline for the screenplay! more later on how we got this movie done!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking towards Yule

For those of you unfamiliar with the Wiccan seasons, many pagans,like myself consider Oct. 31 (Samhain for them, Halloween for the general public), to be the beginning of winter, the time of reflection and preparation for the New Year. Yule, Dec. 21, is considered the next "biggie" for us, and what I've come to love about Yule is that IT'S MINE!

Christmas has always felt like my parents' and extended family's holiday. I and my partner, before and after we met, have always spent it on the road, except once, with his family or mine. We don't regret that, because we love our families, and as time has passed, it's harder than ever to keep up with them.

Anyhow, when we started our studies with Millie, it took me a while to realize that, along with developing my spiritual path, I could develop my own holiday traditions, and we would almost always "Home for the (SABBAT) Holidays", since they fell on different days than the mainstream Holidays.

What does this have to do with Millie? It occurs to me that as I and partner walked along our new spirtual path, we were undergoing our own transformation, though ours has been spiritual versus physical, as Millie's was. We definitely have had an easier time, since, outwardly, our bodies had not changed, but like Millie, our minds and hearts have shifted dramatically. We live our lives differently, more in tune with the change of the Wiccan calendar, and Millie helped us begin our journey on that road.

Thanks to Millie, my partner and I are Adepts, and he is now a High Priest in his own right, leading an independent Circle, though maintaining ties to Millie and the Mother Circle. One year, I had people sign a Mother's Day card for Millie, beginning with the greeting: "To the Mother of us All". In her Movie, one sees the main character(named Mary Lou for the movie) touched when her sons are calling out "Mom! Mom!", and she realizes they are looking for her. Not many people get to be a Father, and also be considered a Mother at the same time!

So, as the Holiday season ramps up, pagan and mainstream, giving thanks to, and for, family, and appreciation for the guidance we have received from family, biological or chosen, is timely as ever.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Does She do it?

I spent three years in "Witch" training with Millie, and never did she pull a punch. In her wilder days, she'll tell you how she didn't pull any physical punches, either.

She imparted a lot of advice over time, and it sometimes was tough to take, to put it mildly. I went home after some classes, feeling emotionally raw and frankly ready to tell her where to get off. Her delivery could be less than gentle, but, too often, it was on the mark.

One piece of advice she imparted, which I still remember(partly because she reminds me of it, every now and again), is "Ad-lib here."

Let me explain....

Whereas the general advice for survival is, "Think before you speak," Millie counterintuitively suggested I leave space for just winging it, and she included all topics and situations in this statement. I can tie myself up in knots about what to say next, who is going to be offended, etc. and so on....hence, "Ad-lib here".

It makes sense, because a person can get into trouble whether he/she agonizes and then measures out words, or dumps them indiscriminately in a gloppy pile. At least, in the latter situation, the individual has let off steam, and the trouble caused makes for an entertaining story over drinks at some later date.
(Sorry, I'm not providing personal examples just yet....this blog isn't THAT far along!)

Anyway, having one's life story seems like a cross between those situations. Millie took a chunk of her colorful life and just let it all out on paper: the depressing, the violent, the racy, the emotional, the exciting and all the rest. Then, the director took Millie's material and SHE labored over how and what to present. Who had the harder job is debatable. Is it more difficult to open up a pivotal chapter of yourself for presentation, or to coalesce the years covering someone's life-changing transition into two hours or less?

I suggest you see the movie and decide for yourself.

Director's first blog "intro to Soulmates blogging!"

Hi Soulmates viewers! The blog by the Director of the Soulmates (Millie) movie, aka me! will start soon! please stand by!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Talking "Millie"

When I heard that Joan was writing this movie, my first thought was: She'd better plan on a series, a la "Lord of the Rings" in triplicate! One has to hear just a few of Millie's stories to understand this observation. After all, Millie has metamorphosed so many times and survived more adventures than several people put together....

Seeing the movie, I got that Joan Sugerman, the Director, wanted to present the ultimate metamorphosis.....that of Millie crossing the gender line of no return, while hoping to retain the love of those close to her. How do you squeeze so much emotionally jarring material into one movie?

Millie showed remarkable bravery in committing her story not only to paper, but to allow it to be filmed as well. I am not surprised at this courage, because it's part of her character, and she is indeed a character, in every sense of the word!

I first met her after Lars, my partner of 12 years, and I had been dating for a while. To say that I felt intimidated understates my feelings at the time considerably. Let me explain....

First, Lars talked about HIS first introduction to Millie when she was still technically "Ernie";
to avoid confusion, however, I'll use the female references only. They were in the same Gay and Lesbian bowling league, and Millie had begun her transition in a big way, with denim mini-skirts and a bubble-gum pink bowling ball. (Maybe this scene can work its way into the next movie!) Anyway, she took no guff from anyone, and had so much manly strength, so to speak, that, Lars said, she could practically pitch the bowling ball down the alley.

For that matter, she STILL is strong. Millie has a collection of swords that King Arthur would envy, and wields them with admirable skill. She'll play the "demure female" when she finds it amusing, but since she's also a crack shot and drives like a NASCAR champ, such an image can only be carried so far.

Oh, yes.....Did I forget to mention that she tops 6 feet tall, WITHOUT heels?

Speaking of heels, I remember that she wore a pair of high-heeled boots with a skirt slit up the side when I first met her, and that she gamely folded herself into Lars' lowriding two-door vehicle, while I was wedged into the back. A lot of that day is fuzzy, but I know that I barely said a word, since she was, indeed, unlike anyone I had ever met before.

Until next time......