Ahead of the World Premiere of Raindance Film Festival 2019 Opening Night Film Krow’s Transformation, we sat down with director Gina Hole Lazarowich to talk about the film.
Let’s talk about how the idea for the film came about and how you met Krow?
I had been in the film industry for over 25 years, but after having kids I stepped off of the long hours on set and started producing photo & video shoots, specializing in fashion shoots. When Krow decided to transition, his mom Lisa reached out to me one day, out of the blue, and asked me if I could produce Krow’s very last photo shoot in his female body, prior to transitioning. I said ‘of course!’ and that I could put together a great photo team, as we were all so proud of Krow for becoming his true authentic self (the fashion industry is like a big family of support), and hung up and got to work on producing that shoot….but I thought about it all night, inspired by how brave a move Krow was making, and thought, ‘wouldn’t this be amazing to document this transition from BEFORE his transition to after?!’ So the next day I contacted Lisa & Krow and put forward the idea of the documentary to them. He had to think about it as it is not an easy position to be in to then to be always known as a ‘Trans Male’ instead of just trying to blend into society as a man. My hat’s off to Krow for accepting my idea and challenge, which was not an easy one! You can see this ‘final female’ shoot in the documentary as well as his very first photo shoot as a male model.
How did you manage to get so close to such am intimate and life changing chapter in Krow’s life?
I was very adamant that Krow and I had to be in touch every step of the way to be authentic, every appointment, every ‘life event’, everything that involved transitioning, I needed to be a part of, tough for him as what an invasion of privacy! So everything you see in the film is authentic, I always referred to it along the way as a ‘how to transition’ so there was no steps missed. I always had a vision of who our audience was, maybe a young person -who potentially did not have any support- who could at least see all of the ‘steps’ of transitioning (female to male) and to see that just maybe it wasn’t ‘as scary’ as they had imagined. Krow tackled every step with such joy (of course mixed with a lot anxiety as well for sure!), that the documentary started to shape itself as a real ‘metaphor for happiness’. I also call it a film of ‘one-take wonders’ as every scene is real and only one take, we didn’t talk prior to each shooting day (texts/emails only to coordinate) as I wanted to ‘save it all for on camera’, it got be be a bit of a joke between us all, ‘shhh, save it for on camera!’, Krow would end up always saying, ‘I know, I know, save it for camera right?!’, we did talk about the weather though, lol!
It seems Canada is quite progressive in accepting transgender people but Krow was bullied as a teenager before even understanding his true sexual identity. Have you made this film to help promoting a cause, to support those who, after transitioning, find it hard to be accepted?
Yes absolutely I made the film to promote the cause. Canada is extremely accepting, especially in our Province of BC where the Government changed the Human Right Code of Conduct to include Gender Identity and Expression (so rights are protected) as well as our medical covers both top and bottom surgeries now for free…but even Canada has a long way to go on understanding, and that is why I made this film, to help people understand transitioning a bit easier, as with knowledge becomes understanding. I see the Transgender community as some of the most marginalized people in society, bullied by people’s own opinions of what and who THEY think they are or ‘should be’, instead of just simply empathizing. One common thread of feedback I have consistently received after people screen the film from the Heterosexual community AND even some of the Queer community is, “Gina I didn’t know!”. I hope we get this message delivered far and wide to spread the word of empathy, that the bullying must stop and caring begins with your heart, they are going through a tough enough journey alone, they need our support!
I personally found the idea very challenging and stimulating but why did you choose a fashion model to represent this cause?
I didn’t really choose it, they reached out to me! I knew immediately it was an amazing story that should be documented, and honoured they allowed me to do so, to spread the word to children and adults alike. What I did NOT know was how it would affect the Cisgender community as well, which it really has taken on a life of its own there. We started this film for kids in schools but it has grown to so much more. I believe this was because when interviewing I put myself in the position of the parent who’s kid was coming out to them, and formulated my questions that way (‘what would I want to know as a parent?!’), so this answers a lot of questions sort of everyone has.
Have any of the big fashion brands become involved with the project? Why?
Well it is no secret Louis Vuitton is a big part of Krow’s final journey in the film! It’s a fairytale ending (or as I said as the filmmaker, a ‘What the F*@#?’! story ending) that NONE of us saw coming! This only unfolded at the end of year 3 shooting, I was TRYING to get him into Men’s New York Fashion Week but I kept getting shut down but the top model agencies in New York, they didn’t want to touch a Trans Male Model on camera, all until I introduced him to the fortuitous Canadian Agent Liz Bell, who submitted him for Louis Vuitton’s great vision of casting Trans Men in their women’s Paris Fashion Week show, and the rest is HIStory…now he is everywhere and has some of the leading and forward-thinking agents worldwide who have steered his career to becoming the 1st “Trans Male Super Model” in the world….who would have ever thought this to be our outcome of this film and ESPECIALLY Krow’s career, I still am in disbelief…what an amazing role model he has become for Trans kids, teens and men, in fact for the entire community.
Book your ticket for the premiere of Krow’s Transformation at the Opening Night Gala of Raindance Film Festival 2019, followed by a Q&A with Gina Hole Lazarowich and the main subjects, Krow Kian, Kas Baker, Emily Seal, and Ashton Sciacallo, followed by an after party.