Review Fix chats with One Leg In, One Leg Out director Lisa Rideout, who discusses how being a part of the film has changed her life forever.
About the Film:
One Leg In, One Leg Out is an honest portrayal of a transgender woman who is forced to become sex worker and grapples with making a career change.
About Lisa Rideout:
Director Lisa Rideout is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her innovative approach to documentary storytelling and emphasis on striking visuals has garnered her films multiple awards and nominations, including the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Short. Lisa looks to create work that humanizes complex characters and pushes creative boundaries. Her recent award-winning films include Take a Walk on the Wildside and One Leg In, One Leg Out. Lisa has directed several short documentaries with CBC and Bell Media, a documentary series and numerous branded content spots.
Review Fix: How did you feel the first time you met Iman?
Lisa Rideout: I liked Iman from the moment I met her when she jokingly told me, “You better do what your man wants in the bedroom, or he will come to me.” Her humor and honesty was refreshing. We spent a year getting to know each other before we filmed. Besides her story being an important one to tell, I knew her viewers would connect with her.
Review Fix: Was it difficult to direct this film?
Rideout: It had similar difficulties to filming any documentary, scheduling, locations etc. certain situations and people we encountered along the way were difficult to see but it was honestly a good experience. Getting to know Iman and her social circle beforehand helped a lot and working with a great team made all the difference during difficult experiences.
Review Fix: What was the feeling like on set?
Rideout: Each day was quite different. One day we’d be in Iman’s home, the next at a Drag show, the next at the library. The diversity of locations kept it interesting and challenging. I worked with a small crew who all got along with Iman really well. While some moments were heavy the environment in general was fun. Iman had nicknames for everyone by the end. I think the feeling on set reflected Iman’s personality, even though she’s in a tough situation she’s positive and funny.
Review Fix: What stands out the most about your main character?
Rideout: Her outlook on her future. Others in her situation would have given up on a career change, I’ve seen it in Iman’s social circle. I find it really admirable that Iman stays motivated after everything she’s been through.
Review Fix: What makes this film special?
Rideout: It’s an honest look at the complexities of a middle-aged trans sex worker trying to transition into a career as a social worker. The film doesn’t try to present a happily ever after or mask the realities of how difficult this transition will be.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy it the most?
Rideout: People who are drawn to colorful films about strong, funny women trying to overcome difficult circumstances.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of the LA Film Festival?
Rideout: Amazing! We’re so excited to share it with audiences in LA. To show the film in such an important city for film feels great. Also, to have a film that features Toronto included in the festival speaks to how Iman’s story transcends the location.
Review Fix: Why is the subject matter of this film important?
Rideout: The film is important because it shows how challenging it can be for transgender women to find “traditional” employment. That is something I heard often from Iman and her friends. And that once you get into the sex industry, if you are from a low-income background, how difficult it can be to leave. There’s been so much media attention on the progress of the transgender community, which is amazing but there are harsh realities for transgender women that have a low income.
Rideout: I hope the film helps lessen judgment toward sex workers while illustrating the need for support for someone like Iman as she transitions into a new career path.
Review Fix: Do you connect with it in any way?
Rideout: By no means to the same degree as Iman, but I connect with being stuck in an environment and the realities/struggles of getting yourself out of it. I think a lot of people, especially women can empathize with that and it’s what makes Iman’s story universal. Viewers might not think that they would have anything in common with a trans. sex worker but I think anyone who watches the film could reflect on times in their lives that aren’t dissimilar.
Review Fix: How are you different because of your inclusion in this film?
Rideout: I’ve been exposed to the realities of Iman’s day to day, which has made me much more empathetic to anyone in a similar situation. I was always an advocate for safe work conditions for sex workers but after seeing the dangerous situations these women are constantly in, I feel even stronger about this.
Review Fix: Bottom Line: Why must someone see this film?
Rideout: Go see this film because Iman is amazing, her story is captivating and the music in it is awesome.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Rideout: One Leg In, One Leg Out- the feature! We’re hoping to follow Iman in the next year of her life.