Private Project


College freshman Tori arrives at college shortly after the pandemic and still carries trauma from her conservative high school. Tori is a transgender athlete and faces crippling gender dysphoria in various social situations, such as changing in locker rooms and making new friends. As a result, Tori was content to lead her life in isolation, changing alone outside and keeping to herself. Yet, when she meets fellow teammate and first-year Amanda, she finds herself letting her guard down, and through their growing relationship, each individual can confidently step into their newfound identities for the first time.

  • Rey Tang
    Noodles & Incense, Into the Archives
  • Rey Tang
    Noodles & Incense
  • Sam Hassett
  • Annika Weinberg
  • Jesse Robkins
    Key Cast
  • Ariel Bastida
    Key Cast
  • Sarah Johnson
    Key Cast
  • Erin Zhang
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Romance, Drama, Dramedy
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 9, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    2,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Northwestern University
Director Biography - Rey Tang

Rey Tang began writing scripts and making short films in the seventh grade, after becoming inspired by Asian-Americans showcasing their videos through YouTube. In high school, while writing, shooting, and editing shorts with friends, Rey won a National Medal from the Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition for her work “Just Another File”. Later, she wrote and directed "Noodles & Incense”, a queer Asian-American short film that played at several festivals including New Filmmakers LA, QWOCMAP, Aladerri International Film Festival, and others. Currently, she is focused on promoting her Northwestern senior thesis "Emergence" and hopes to give transgender students a voice through this narrative short.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Conventionally, transgender coming-of-age stories focus primarily on when trans teens begin to reconcile with their gender identities. That is, there’s a stifling one-size-fits-all traditional narrative for trans characters and queer characters overall.

I wrote and directed Emergence in direct response to this gap in storytelling. I believe that some of the most interesting points of the LGBTQIA+ experience comes with living within our identities - that is, what comes after the initial coming out? Through Tori, I’m excited to explore these unique intersectionalities that transgender queer women occupy. In athletics and specifically within the bathroom/locker room spaces, the gender binary is enforced in a way that clearly is harmful towards transgender people - specifically to trans femme athletes like Tori. Furthermore, I’m excited to portray a trans and lesbian couple, a combination that I’d only ever seen in Euphoria. Yet, unique and fascinating differences still occur, such as how liking Disney princesses (which could be empowering to trans femmes yet disempowering to cis femmes).

The queer experience is so unique and varied. Traditional narratives have failed to capture several nuances. Yet, with Emergence, I’m psyched to bring to life this unique sliver-of-life piece that explores some of these fantastically specific moments.