Inner Truth

Adam, a 17-year-old teenager, is at odds with his gender identity. He sees himself as a woman but because of his opinionated and old-fashioned family, he has internalized gender dysphoria. He is afraid to come out to his family because he doesn’t know how they’ll react or if they will even accept him after. One morning while living his fantasy and putting on makeup, he decides to keep on his eyeliner as an act of defiance and to test the waters. However, it doesn’t go down smoothly as his mother and sister both reject him harshly. This leaves Adam incapacitated and in a stage of panic, he can’t see himself as the woman he is anymore. He is thrust down a spiral of emotions where he finds himself confronting his fears head on and finally accepting himself as the person he was born to be.

  • Ioana Cheptea
  • Charlotte MacDonald
  • Aiko Hilkinger
  • Charlotte MacDonald
  • Anthony Curtis
    Key Cast
  • Jeffery Mohs
    Key Cast
  • Jennifer Shirley
    Key Cast
    Batwoman, Supernatural
  • Mariah Owen
    Key Cast
    A Millennial Life, Lady M at UTM
  • Alessandra Liqing Hu
    Key Cast
    "The Woman"
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Queer, Drama
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 43 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 2, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    740 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ioana Cheptea

Ioana Cheptea is a professional Story Editor living in Vancouver, BC. Having a passion for storytelling, she expresses it through different mediums, both visually and on paper.

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Director Statement

Inner Truth was a joy to direct, with a powerful message I wanted to portray both visually and emotionally. Logistically, the script did prove to be a bit of a challenge to produce and direct in only one day (12 hours), with 5 characters and 7 pages, something that also made it all the more exciting of a project, pushing me creatively.
The story especially spoke to me in how personal and internal the journey was, making it all the most powerful while represented on screen. The character of the woman is the key to the film, the common thread that pulls the story and drives it along Adam’s path. Showing her reflection present when Adam is alone and comfortable represents how he sees himself and has, when he’s in the right state of mind, the ability to explore and express himself. More influential, it shows the confidence this gives him to come out to his family, again in the visual form of leaving the slightest bit of makeup on. The woman acts as a cue for the audience as well, expressing the story in a way that even those who may be unfamiliar with its topic can understand and be affected by it.
The explosive reaction of his mother and sister is an extremely valuable scene. I wanted to represent it in all its tension and create a clear divide between Adam and his family, shown by how sterile and cold this scene is presented. The shots aid in this illusion of separation, with each family member isolated and centred formally in frame. This argument is excruciating to watch and allows the audience to understand Adam’s reaction as he closes himself off in every way possible. His self-identity is distorted, and he’s blocked from his safe place; his time alone when he’s able to be independent, honest and expressive as an individual. Visually showing this first with the disappearance of the woman’s reflection and then entering Adam’s mind and experience his world in the black room pulls the audience in and shakes them with a visceral performance.
Adam is shown in frame with a family member in the same frame only twice; first when his mother leans over to deliver the final word at the end of the breakfast scene, inciting Adam’s dysphoria, and finally, during the final scene, when he’s accepted by Gary. The entirety of the film is littered with visual setup and finally a payoff to incite a feeling of comfort. Hence the drastic changes of colour, from warm to cold and then black back to warmth as Adam feels the acceptance his father gives him.