Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Grief!

For those of you of a certain age, you will know from whence this title comes. For those of you who do not recognize the phrase, this expression was associated with the Cartoon Character of Charlie Brown, in "Peanuts". (However, even I would have to look up where the Cartoon's Creator Charles Schulze found the Cartoon's title.)

I thought of this blog entry's title when I attended a Wiccan class discussion on grief. Everyone had lost someone over whom the attendees were still grieving. I myself had lost an uncle and a nephew this past year. The class, intended to last four hours, extended to five hours and change, so we had a lot to discuss.

It made me ponder how people who undergo Gender Reassignment manage their emotional transition. If their "old" life is now dead to them, how is the grieving process for them? After all, they have laid to rest a shell in which they did not fit. Even when someone who has been a part of our lives, but was unhealthy as an associate, dies, we all must feel something has dramatically shifted. If nothing else, we no longer have that person about whom we can complain, and suddenly we have no excuse, but to move ahead.

What kind of grief existed for Millie and those around her after she transitioned? Her wife at the time lost the "man" in her life, but she learned that she kept her best friend. Her mother, with whom Millie's relationship has recently improved, "lost" her son in her eyes, but, maybe, just maybe, her mother realized she has always had the same child she alway had. Millie's kids may have thought they "lost" their father, but, again, maybe they have discovered they have an even stronger, more centered, parental role model on their side, however they decided to address her after the surgery.

Millie herself still does most, if not all, things she enjoyed before her transition: racing cars, shooting guns, etc., but she does them honestly, as herself. The friends she now makes doing these activities know her as she really is.

Good grief, then, could be defined as grief out of which something positive comes, which in this case, is acceptance by family, friends, and self, along with the blossoming of new relationships from the ashes of the old. Charlie Brown spoke with more wisdom than he realized.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soulmates Director's Blog!!

Hi All: What will you do for love???

We just uploaded another video scene from the movie on the Soulmates website: www/ In this scene Eddie goes back to drinking, to drown himself in oblivion so he doesn't have to confront dealing with his sexuality. And drinking will kill him. It almost did once already. We all do this kind of thing. Get confronted by life, and instead of dealing head on, take a side bar to avoid the risk that life it. And often the side bar is not so safe eiher. in the case of Eddie in this story, it is a path to potential destruction.

To film this scene, I wanted to create the experience of vertigo, so we took the fairly sizable Panasonic HD camera handheld at all kinds of oblique angles, from very low down looking up into Eddie's face, an aerial view from above with the Direstor of Photography balancing on top of the copuch, and also spinning the camera around, as an expression of Eddie's POV of the reeling and spinning in Eddie's drunken head.

This movie is a gutsy and riveting view of a man and his wife taking on huge challenges in life, and dealing with them in a very human and extraordinary way. New scenes will be uploaded every Sunday and Wednesday night - keep visiting to find out what 2 people will do for love!

Joan Sugerman, Soulmates Producer, Director

Monday, January 25, 2010

Soulmtes Director's Blog!!

“This movie felt a lot more real than TransAmerica”

“I was so excited to get my copy of "Soulmates" on DVD!
Wonderful film! Congrats!" -Joe Hansard, Soulmates Actor

Okay folks:
Over 1000 people have been invited to the WDC premiere, Feb. 21, Sunday night, 8:00pm at the Avalon Theater!
And the latest video upload on the website ( is the scene where Sandy finds Eddie trying on and admiring himself in a dress! Can you imagine that happening to you - whether it's from the Eddie perspective being in complete wonderment about how he looks in a dress, or the Sandy perspective, your husband completely absorbed in how he looks in a dress. This is an awesome scene, visually beautiful, the lighting was magical, and it takes place in a peaceful bread and breakfast in the Maryland countryside, but the dramatic conflict, in counterpoint, is like fireworks, and the performances are riveting.
The next scene will be uploaded Wednesday night. talk to you soon!
Joan (Soulmates director, writer, producer)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Soulmates Director's Blog!

Hi All:
We have a GREAT NEW video uploaded scene on the website! It's a dream sequence, digitized to make it dream-like - with some added bright red highlights of color - it is haunting! Eddie has now been forced to give some thought to his sexuality, and is a combination of confused, fascinated, and swept over by questions and concerns regarding himself, and also his wife and his marriage. In this dream sequence he encounters 2 transvestites who "visit" him via a broken down car in front of his house. You MUST SEE THIS SCENE from the SOULMATES MOVIE! It is AWESOME. More scenes are coming, and our Washington DC premiere is Feb. 21, 8:00pm at the Avalon Theater. Buy tickets on the website:! and buy a DVD on the website or at the premiere! I will be blogging again about a new video uploaded scene on Sunday night!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


REMINDER: Information about SOULMATES and the upcoming screening are found at WWW.SOULMATESMOVIE.COM.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Obama Inauguration. Like so many, I piled on the layers and squeezed onto the parade route, shivering through the delayed parade, due to Ted Kennedy's taking ill. Funny that today is the special election for his seat following his death late last year. Tomorrow will tell who replaces him.

It's also the month when a Transgendered female Amanda Simpson received an Obama appointment. You can say all you want about all the things the Obama administration hasn't done, but when an openly transgendered person can actually receive such attention, you have to admit that progress has been made, in spite of all the obstacles.

SOULMATES, likewise, deserves such attention because it got made in spite of the hurdles it faced: Funding, difficulty in securing shooting locations, casting, conflicting personnel schedules- all the usual suspects that plague any independent production.

The most interesting fact is that such a story faced the USUAL hurdles, that is, because SOULMATES was not the first movie with the transsexualism subject. However, it also came up against another unexpected hurdle. This movie had been in some stage of production for such a considerable time that, before it was completed, Many had already seen, or at least heard of, TRANSAMERICA, for which the star, the wonderful Felicity Huffman, got an Oscar nomination.

The additional hurdle faced by SOULMATES is that the public now probably thinks that everything about transsexualism that can be said has been said, just because ONE movie went big-time. For every person who has made the transition, a different story is there to be told.

SOULMATES is one such story, a true story, from our backyard, made by people we know. It doesn't cross the country to make its point. The people in it are crossing a vast amount of emotional territory, and they live to tell about it. These are so-called ordinary folks who show extraordinary strength, and remind us what is possible.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Soulmates Director's Blog

Hi everyone out there in cyberspace!
We've sent out to tons of people the Soulmates Movie flyer for the Washington DC premiere, Feb. 21, 8:00pm at the Avalon Theater! As the writer, producer, and director of this movie, I feel like I'm sharing a very intimate experience with you out there in the world and am now very vulnerable in sharing it all with you! This is a great thing and a huge milestone, and to really tell the truth, I feel vulnerable, excited, scared, a huge sense of completion after much hard work, and REALLY wanting to share this intense drama of two incredible people with you.
At the Breckenridge fill festival screening of Soulmates, I sat in the back, and the room was so quiet, and felt so intense in the concentration of the audience, that no one moved, and you could hear a PIN drop. I can't wait for people to see the lives of two people who love each other so much they find a way to deal with and adjust to extraordinary circumstances.
The latest video clip released on the website ( UTube is an early scene in the movie where Eddie and Sandy declare their love to each other, again, after a few very difficult incidents that challenges the core of their relationship, and where Eddie ending up in the hospital fighting for his life. This scene was filmed in my house, as was about 1/2 of the movie. The art director very cleverly turned the dining room into a bedroom, and used the doors to the dining room as the doors to the bedroom closet! Eddie re proposes to Sandy to be his lawful wedded wife! This scene is very romantic, light and fun, in contrast to a lot of the movie which is quite dramatic, intense, and emotionally riveting. Please let me know your thoughts and come to the WDC premiere Feb. 21!
Best, Joan Sugerman, your Soulmates Movie Director

Thursday, January 14, 2010

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Soulmates Movie Premiere WDC

Soulmates Movie Screening in Washington, DC

February 21, 8:00pm
Avalon Theater

5612 Connecticut Avenue,WDC 20015


Soulmates Director's Blog

Hi all!


Soulmates is the true story of a couple facing huge challenges in their life to maintain their love and their marriage. In the AA scene from the movie now uploaded on the website! this was one of the hardest scenes int he movie to film becasue it was so dramatically challenged, we reheared this scenes for days, and the delivery turned out really well!.

Eddie almost died in a car crash and now must come to terms with his drinking, or it will kill him. To deal with his drinking - what he really needs to confront is who he is as a man, and his sexuality, and start to see after years in intoxication, his real self. In the movie, he embarks on and resolves an inner journey where he courageously explores, his wife often at his side, who he really is, and does he have the courage to take actions and confront who he really is and really fulfill on being true to himself. This is a question and a journey that all of us take to some degree, some more, some less, to live a fulfilled life! We invite you to take this journey with us in the Soulmates Movie!

our website: - with video uploads 2 times a week, the trailers, the DVD, and the screening in Washington, DC Feb. 21, Sunday, 8pm at the Avalon Theater.

I'll BLOG AGAIN Sunday night! your Soulmates movie director, Joan

Monday, January 11, 2010

A word from the past

REMINDER: FEBRUARY 21, 2010, 8pm Avalon Theatre: Screening of SOULMATES!
Information at

Last Saturday, I saw the movie "Avatar", in which futuristic researchers can essentially take up residence in another body in order to study a native population on a far away planet. They had to genetically "grow" the bodies in which to implant their psyches, and they had the luxury to come and go as needed. Nefarious plots ensue, but since I know there are still a few folks out there who haven't seen the film yet, I won't say more.

I went to see it with several people, among them a transgendered female friend, and I couldn't help wondering how she viewed it. I feel like an unmarried marriage counselor speculating about this idea, but, what if we, right now, had the opportunity to step into the body of the opposite sex for a stretch of time? How many of us, after a test drive, would want to stay in that other body? How many of us would be itching to get out of that "alien" body and back to our own? I have enough female friends to know that they would pay a lot of money to see how men dealt with PMS and childbirth. What would women miss most if they took on male bodies?

Being able to do switch bodies certainly would make life easier for people wanting to change gender. Who wouldn't want to skip the surgery, electrolysis and hormone treatments? Who wouldn't want the opportunity to "grow" their replacement body to their specifications?

Until that option is available , though, today's science of changing genders requires considerably more self-assurance and courage. Once an individual steps from one sex to another, he/she must keep looking forward since there is no looking back.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Making Connections

REMINDER: Screening of SOULMATES - February 21, 2010, 8pm at Avalon Theatre, Washington, DC. Tickets, Clips and DVD Sales Information are at

Writing is within my comfort zone. Writing a blog is a step outside it. I never considered myself an expert on the cyberworld, but since I've started searching for blogs which may be interested in this movie, I feel like I'm stumbling through a jungle with a dull-bladed scythe. Having me do something like this is ironic, considering that Millie, on whose experiences the movie is based, is one of the most tech-savvy people I know. I wrote last about how she likes to fool people into thinking she's a dumb blonde, but I am not kidding about her abilities. She's got a million stories about the places, literally around the world, where she's installed sound systems. She can walk into any space, listen to the building's sound system for a moment, and then tell the person what the building needs. The sad ending of some of the stories is that the building's representative doesn't want to hear what really needs to be done. So, Millie sighs, shakes her head, puts in the cheaper equipment that the representative wants, and then hears the complaints when the sound is still below standard. Not surprisingly, Millie has gone back to many of those places and re-done the systems the way they should have been done in the first place.

She usually installs in big gathering spaces, like auditoriums, concert halls and churches.
Over the years, she's done the systems of many black-owned churches because, pathetically, even in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, too many other sound engineers will not go into "those neighborhoods". So, a trangendered blonde gets the job done.

Interestingly, one church where she put in the sound system was located near the Maryland Rennaissance Festival grounds. Though the church itself was built years after the Festival arrived, Millie told us that the Pastor there started making negative noises about the "Pagan" aspects of the Festival and complaining of its presence. She and all of us Wiccan folks naturally felt disdain for these comments coming from the "new kid on the block". So, we could not help smiling a little when, some time after these complaints were aired, that same Pastor passed away.

Hence, the lesson for today is:
The next time a blonde Wiccan High Priestess sound engineer tells you what your sound system needs....Listen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Soulmates Movie Director's Blog

Hi all out there in cyberspace - I'm very excited because we just uploaded our first video clip of and entire scene from the Soulmates movie!! it really was a creative collaboration - with my drawings as the original template for Richard Harrington (Rhed Pixel) working these up into an Apple Motion program to make this intro to the movie - it won a Telly Award finalist - and the graphics are an expression of the 5 stages of the main character, Marylou's transformation. The graphics go from hard driving black and white images with strident music, to softer slower moving images with emotionally inspiring music. The trajectory of Marylou's like went from dark self destruction to a life of flourishing and fulfillment. Here is the link:
Enjoy these scenes - we will be releasing 2 per week - one on Wednesday evening, the other on Sunday evening. Yo will be able to see (for free) many many scenes from the movie over the next few months.
Please link in so I can talk to you out there.
Best Joan (Soulmates Movie Director)