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Janice Villarosa - Director/Producer
Mark Celestino - Director of Photography
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DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

SHUNNED
By Janice Villarosa

I started this project over three years ago, not knowing anything about transsexualism. I did not know how to react towards transsexual women. I had that negative reaction and I wanted to change it. The only way I knew how was to enlighten myself by surrounding myself with the community and get to know them. This documentary has changed not only me but my crew as well.

I am passionate about this film, as I believe people need to see it. I told my transfriends to use this film as their voice. So many of them have been victims of hate-crime and a few of their friends killed. Especially with hearing all these crimes happening all over in the US and worldwide, the more I had to do something about it.

Journey of Shunned

There have been countless times that I wanted to wave that white flag. My first cut of the film was 2 ½ hours long and I wanted to throw my computer out the window. For years, I breathe Shunned. Being the director and the editor of the film was difficult. I had to step away so many times.

Because of the film, I also faced discriminated a number of times. I cannot tell you how many times people have asked me if I was a transsexual. Depending upon their tone—if it was positive—I would often say “Why thank you. They are beautiful!” But more often there are those who gave me condescending tone. One man actually ordered me to drop my underwear. That incident sent chills down my spine. I experienced just a small piece of what they go through I can’t imagine having to deal with that everyday of their lives. That made me more empowered to get this film out.

The First Time My Cast Saw The Film

The Asian Premiere at Cebu International Documentary Film Festival in Cebu, Philippines was the very first time the cast saw Shunned. Making Shunned was a whole journey. It took me awhile to gain my casts’ trust. So during the showing in Cebu, I was very apprehensive of what they would think. Inside the theater, I was actually sitting in front of them and I would keep looking at the back to see their reactions. I was trying my best to be inconspicuous.

It wasn’t until we got on stage and upon seeing some of them in tears, them giving me hugs and them being thankful that I made the film they can be proud of--that I realize that I did good. Seeing them on stage for Shunned answering questions from the audience--That entire moment, to me, was what made the whole journey worthwhile.

Introduction to the LGBT community

I came from a conservative family. So, I did not understand what being LGBT was about. I became more in tuned about the community through one of my best friends. After 5 years of knowing him, he had revealed to me that he is gay. I realized that I loved him before he told me. My finding about his orientation did not change my feelings towards him. That was the moment that I became more in tuned with the community and became more empathetic to their plight. I am proud to say that I was the Best Woman at his wedding, in the small window before Proposition 8 was introduced.

I am not a member of the LGBTQ community. They are, however, my brothers and sisters. The audience tells me Shunned resonates not only with the LGBT community but all of humanity. I hope with this film their voice will be heard.