Documentary Feature Competition
A juried competition featuring the best of international nonfiction cinema.
The Pearl (Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize Winner)
USA, 2016, 97 min., Color
Far from the celebrity and magazine covers of Laverne Cox and Caitlin Jenner, THE PEARL witnesses the loss and extraordinary risk of four middle-aged and senior war vets, steel foremen, and fathers and grandfathers coming out for the first time as transgender women in the hyper-masculine culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Each year, their lives intersect at the annual Esprit Conference for T-girls, a weeklong event enlivening a community broken by closeted isolation and loss due to suicide. Filmmakers Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca create a language for the film that is built on their subject’s honesty; an honesty that therapeutically hides nothing from the camera.

Over the course of the film, these four transgender women emerge with beauty, conviction, strength, and a newfound personal integrity.
— Daniel Laabs
Christopher LaMarca, Jessica Dimmock

Director Bio
Christopher LaMarca is an Award-winning photographer and filmmaker from Portland, Oregon. In 2012, Christopher’s documentary, BOONE (2016) was chosen as one of eight films for Film Independent’s Documentary Film lab. It was his feature directorial debut. THE PEARL is Christopher’s follow-up feature.

Jessica Dimmock is a documentary filmmaker from New York. In 2010, she won Kodak’s Best Cinematography Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival for WITHOUT (2011), which received an Independent Spirit Award. Most recently, she worked as a photographer and videographer for Emmy nominated HBO series The Weight of the Nation. THE PEARL is her feature-length directorial debut.
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