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Mama Gloria

Meet Mama Gloria. Chicago’s Black transgender icon Gloria Allen, now in her 70s, blazed a trail for trans people like few others before her. Emerging from Chicago’s South Side drag ball culture in the 1960s, Gloria overcame traumatic violence to become a proud leader in her community. Most famously, she pioneered a charm school for young transgender people that served as inspiration for the hit play Charm. Luchina Fisher’s empathic and engaging documentary is not only a portrait of a groundbreaking legend, but also a celebration of unconditional love, the love Gloria received from her own mother and that she now gives to her chosen children. And it is driven by the love that Luchina has for her teenage transgender daughter, Gia.

  • Luchina Fisher
  • Luchina Fisher
  • Luchina Fisher
  • Stephen Lewis
    Director of Photography
  • Caroline Berler
  • Black Public Media
    Executive Producer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Social Justice, LGBTQ, African American
  • Runtime:
    56 minutes 21 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 20, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Teaneck International Film Festival
    United States
    Winner Juried Award Best Documentary
  • MKE Film Festival
    United States
    Jury Winner
  • CineOdyssey Film Festival
    United States
    Best of Fest
Director Biography - Luchina Fisher

Luchina is an award-winning writer, director and producer whose work is at the intersection of race, gender and identity. Her feature directorial debut Mama Gloria premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival and BFI Flare London, won Best Film at CineOdyssey and Best Documentary at Teaneck International, and was broadcast on PBS and WORLD Channel in Spring 2021. Previously, Luchina co-executive produced and co-wrote the critically acclaimed feature documentary Birthright: A War Story, which appeared in more than 70 theaters nationwide, qualified for Oscar consideration and streamed on Hulu. She is the director of two short films, including Danger Word, and has written and produced several nationally broadcast documentaries as well as numerous segments for television. Luchina began her career as a journalist and has written for People, the Miami Herald, The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine and ABCNews.com. Luchina is a Sisters in Cinema Documentary Fellow and a member of Brown Girl Doc Mafia and the Black Documentary Collective.

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Director Statement

I was introduced to Gloria because she was looking for someone to help her write her memoir. But after meeting her, I knew that her story would speak to people, because it spoke to me. I am the mother of a 16-year-old transgender daughter named Gia. As a Black woman filmmaker raising a biracial transgender daughter, I see Gloria’s story through a unique lens. For me, it’s personal and it’s urgent. One day while I was filming Gloria in Chicago, my daughter sent me a text saying that her life was “half way done.” Gia had read online that the average life expectancy for a Black trans woman in Washington D.C., was 32. It was at that moment that I truly understood why I am making this film.