Andy Nguyen short films transidentity youth
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April 16, 2022
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The transgender gaze in Andy Nguyen’s short films

In a wistful yet powerful black and white, two of Andy Nguyen’s short films, ‘heroes’ and ‘it’s a girl’ tackle different aspects of trans youth experiences with silent poetry.

In a short time, Andy Nguyen manages to convey a lot. Today, let’s take a look at his work through two of his short films created in the last two years as part of his education.

Andy Nguyen is a young visual artist currently based in Toronto, Canada. Born in France, he grew up in Honk Kong and Vietnam before moving to Canada in 2018. Currently studying at Ryerson University School of Image Arts, he specializes in filmmaking and works as a freelance photographer.

Wishing to reflect on gender and cultural identity, Andy Nguyen has been creating impactful shorts on the subject ever since he started his studies. ‘heroes’ is one of them, a documentary selected to be a part of the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival in 2021 and screened at Inside Out LGBT Film Festival 2021. Made for a first-year Silent Film class, the documentary follows the silhouettes and faces of young transgender people living in Toronto. The dreamy shots, seemingly from distant memories, are accompanied by the voice of Salem Rao. The narration discusses self-acceptance and put on the forefront the beauty, strength, and uniqueness within transgender communities. Full of self-love and hope, the documentary feels like a breath of fresh air.

‘it’s a girl!’ is another of his short, black and white self-portrait shot on 16mm. In a critique of gender-reveal parties, we see Andy Nguyen sitting still while people around him forcefully make him wear a little plastic crown. Showing the violence experienced by young transgender people growing up, it is also a reflection of his own experience growing up as a Southeast Asian trans male. Adding elements of his childhood and old images of him as a child, the short film marks a powerful coming of age and coming to terms with his gender identity through the burning of his young portrait.

A promising artist, Andy Nguyen is part of this new generation of filmmakers we can’t wait to see grow. All of his shorts are available to watch on Youtube through his channel. Scroll down to watch ‘heroes’ and ‘it’s a girl!’!

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