World premiere at the 38. Internationales Filmfest München 2021
Audience award at the Filmfest München
Cinema release in Germany September, 23rd 2021
Current cinema dates on the official film website of mindjazz pictures
The film TRANS – I GOT LIFE offers rarely seen insights into trans people’s often torn sense of life and the complex psychological, hormonal and often also surgical aspects of their transition.
Directors Imogen Kimmel and Doris Metz gained the trust of seven people who decided to go their own way. From their stories the film distills the broad spectrum of trans identity.
TRANS – I GOT LIFE is a sensual journey into the in-between worlds beyond fixed gender norms, into intimate living spaces and into the operating theatre, a place that becomes the delivery room for a second birth. With a subtle and multi-layered approach, the film also transports the trans experience on a unique visual and sound level.
The documentary is a strong plea for us humans to no longer define ourselves by the 0.3 percent of DNA that distinguishes us, but rather by the 99.7 percent that unites us. At the same time, the film opens up the social debate about a world in which gender is no longer defined in terms of black and white but is instead understood in a more fluid way. TRANS – I GOT LIFE concerns and touches everyone who lives in this world. Welcome to the 21st century!
Voices on the film
A moving documentary that clears up prejudices and awakens empathy. The director duo approaches the current topic very sensitively and lets people who dare to take a giant step tell their personal experiences.
Certainly, we all want to believe that the times when queer people (also) encounter intolerance and hatred in Germany are slowly behind us. But the reality unfortunately still often looks different. Trans – I Got Life manages to strike a good balance here. At no point does the feeling arise that all difficulties have been overcome – and yet the film is very empowering.
„Trans – I Got Life“ is an optimistic and hopeful documentary. Imogen Kimmel and Doris Metz approach a complex topic with a lot of patience and sensitivity and show what possibilities the change of the body and the definition of gender offers for society and the individual.
There are many trans documentaries – but none is like this one. Here, the protagonists actually have their say and nobody else. That makes this film unique and special. We are proud to support this project.”
TransMann e. V. (Cooperation partner for world premiere & cinema release)
A fascinating, moving insight into different trans* lives – with all the strenuous and difficult aspects, but also showing the beautiful and fulfilling ones. And important information to boot. Absolutely worth seeing!
Dr Livia Prüll, doctor, trans expert, member of the German Society for Transidentity and Intersexuality, author of “Trans im Glück. Gender reassignment as a chance”.
A quiet, brutal, poetic and touching film.
Ainoha Merkel, transgender surgeon
The film does not serve the current hype about trans and queer, but tells the story of the existential needs of the trans voyage.
Ines-Paul Baumann, Queer priest
I loved your film! I met such wonderful people. Brave, clever, funny, honest – and above all wise – people. I wish I could have joined them at the dance you closed your film with. That dance was a moment of genius. Bringing everyone together like that created such a warm, happy, glorious moment. A celebration of being themselves.
For me there’s mystery in being trans – the ‘who am I? Who was I?’ issue – and that was in there. Along with all the pain, wonder and the strange, surreal aspect to becoming another person – or another version of yourself. The right version. Thank you for your film.
Steven Appleby, artist and cartoonist (The Guardian, Times) lives in London and came out as trans in the early 2000s.
This documentary is evocative, vital, deep and humorous. Trans – I Got Life celebrates wonderful people.
“I didn't know how to be a woman. I had to learn that first.”
Nine years as a trucker, also for heavy transports, “King of the Road”, as she says. In her village in Bavaria she was a member of the shooting club and the fire brigade and had many friends. After her outing, all that is over. When she moved to Munich, no one helped her to carry the boxes. Then transitioning alone in the big city as a forklift driver – that was no fun.
VERENA – very bavarian, film fan. Intelligent, funny, looking for the great love and since one year as a bus driver in Munich again “on the road”.
“My body and I used to have nothing to do with each other.”
Singer/songwriter, café owner, smart, after transitioning three years ago in his dream job: bus driver – and now on the career ladder to transport master. In love with Tilly for five years. Now married, and a lesbian relationship turned into a heterosexual marriage.
JULIUS – clear, masculine, straight, enjoys being a man and explores the male privileges.
“Trans is not a curse or a disease, it’s a path.”
They got to know each other during both their transitions. 10 years ago they took over the board of TransMann e.V. Munich and do incredible things for all “who feel that their birth gender ‘female’ does not adequately describe them”. On a voluntary basis. Actually, they are looking for successors, but no one can be found.
CHRISTIAN and JONAS – gay dream couple, permanently in love. Wise, combative, passionate.
“I am male but I like to dress more androgynous or feminine or something.”
His dream: to work as a psychiatrist and leave trans behind completely. Travels between New York and Munich for years, but since Corona he’s been stuck in N.Y.
RIKKU – fragile and tough at the same time. Wanderer between all worlds.
“From a purely legal point of view, nothing can happen to you in the German Army today.”
Loves her job. As a man, she was a battalion commander in the Air Defence Force; today, she is the Military Equal Opportunities Officer of the Training Command. So far she is the only woman to hold the rank of “Colonel” in the German Army. Her high rank protected her when she “changed sides”.
Mrs COLONAL ELISABETH SOPHIA LANDSTEINER – clear and quick thinking, not queer but passionately lesbian, as she says. Her wife and two children stood by her.
“I was always mega sure that's what I wanted.”
She loves Instagram and sees her body and face as a work in progress. At school, she was a courageous trans educator, but at the moment she doesn’t want to know about trans anymore, she just wants to be a woman. She is in the process of understanding that the transition journey does not end after the last operation but is a part of life.
JANA – a modern trans girl searching of her self.
“I completely destroyed Harald – so that I could live.”
Achieved everything as a man in rallying. Then she transitioned, which cost her 400,000 euros. Her car repair workshop and her power gave her strength, and her partner Nadine and the boys from the workshop. In motorsport no one yet knows that she is trans, too risky. And now: Covid, little work. She fears of insolvency. But triumphs as a woman. She has a boyfriend and men like her.
CONNY – full of energy, helpful, sensitive, at the same time a smart gambler.
“I got much more strength from the testosterone and was bursting with happiness. The only thing I couldn't do anymore was cry.”
Two-time ice hockey world champion, today coach of the Czech national women’s inline skating team. Founded her own international ice hockey school while still a woman. 15 years as a professional coach at Red Bull in Salzburg. Picture-book outing, speed transition – supported by friends. New start in China, where he became a star overnight. Not a word about being trans. Then came Covid …
MIK “PANCI” PANCAK – strong, optimistic, dreams of his own ice rinks. The future is complicated, only being a man is simple.
“As a plastic surgeon, I do not only want to make external transition possible, but also to give the patient as high a quality of life as possible and the chance to live a fullfilled love life.”
Over 9,000 trans* operations. Man to woman and woman to man. World-renowned specialist. Some call him the man with the golden hands. He is constantly improving his surgical methods. What drives him? A passion for people and life.
Dr JÜRGEN SCHAFF – empathetic, human, open-minded.
“We separate the sexes by our clothing, our genderroles and expectations. But 99.7% of our DNA is the same. Let our boys be a bit more feminine. We don’t have them ready to be soldiers anymore.”
Male to female surgeon, trans woman herself and “rock star of transgender surgery” in the US. Works worldwide for trans causes and against genital mutilation. Member of the Directors Board of the World Association WPATH. She and Dr. Schaff share a common approach to surgery.
Dr MARCI BOWERS – experienced, funny, full of compassion.
„In Russia, it’s better to have a woman’s face before you put on a dress.”
She is one of the very few who perform facial feminization in Russia. Being a trans woman is a dangerous life in the Soviet Union and looking distinctly female is often a matter of survival. Anna is relatively young, but good. Patients even come to her from Germany, and not just because it's cheaper here.
Dr ANNA SLUZKY – full of ideas, inquisitive, committed worldwide.
Credits & Partners
Written and directed by
Imogen Kimmel and Doris Metz
Sophie Maintignieux, Birgit Gudjonsdottir
Frank J. Müller
A production by
André Schäfer, Doris Metz, Imogen Kimmel
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
with ZDF / Arte
Mik Panci Pancak
Frau Oberst Landsteiner
Christian Schabel-Blessing and Jonas Fischer
and the doctors
Dr Jürgen Schaff, Munich
Dr Marci Bowers, San Francisco
Dr Anna Sluzky, Moscow
The protagonists of TRANS – I GOT LIFE – photographed by Antje Kröger.