The raw emotional and physical experience of being an older transgender woman is explored against the backdrop of post-industrial logging towns in the Pacific Northwest. The film follows four women over three years as they grapple with varying stages of transition. The Pearl explores what it means to leave behind one’s life as a man. These women have spent their lives constructing the male identities expected of them, and as a result, have faced isolation and a sense of never really being known, even by those closest to them. Now, they must risk everything they know and love just to be who they are.
Directors’ Statements: Jessica Dimmock, Christopher LaMarca
Jessica Dimmock: Several years ago I went hiking in a logging town in Washington. I checked into the last room at a budget hotel. The Esprit conference, which attracts transgender women from 50 to 70 was being held and I had unknowingly walked into it. I spent the next days talking into the night with these women. They were fathers and grand- fathers, military veterans and construction workers. They had all known that they were women at a young age, yet had all lived their entire lives as men.
Christopher LaMarca: Jessica and I revisited Esprit the following year planning only to make a short film on the conference itself. Once we started hearing people’s stories and understanding what was at stake for these women, we decided to make a feature-length film. We filmed over the course of three years intent on creating a story that felt both immersive and intimate.