The Waltz

A single young trans woman teams up with a reluctant dance partner to pursue her dream of learning the waltz, only for the two to slowly fall for each other while fighting insecurities and social pressures.

  • Ava Davis
    The Duchess of Grant Park
  • Hillary R Heath
  • Ava Davis
    Duchess of Grant Park, The Bitter Better, Feast
  • Hillary R Heath
    Bad Day, #prettyfunny
  • Madison Hatfield
    Pageant Material, Jenna Gets An Abortion, Courtney Gets Possessed
  • Abijeet Achar
    Pageant Material
  • Abijeet Achar
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Romance, Drama, Comedy, LGBT, Dance
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Ava Davis

Ava Davis, also known as the Duchess of Grant Park, is a trans actress, producer, and writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also an advocate for increasing trans and queer representation, especially that of black and other minorities. She founded her production company, Studio Vosges, in 2019 with the expressed purpose of telling the stories of queer and trans (GSM) black, brown, and beige people.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature, with a focus in art history, film, and creative writing, from the University of Georgia, and has made Atlanta her home, along with her partner, two standard poodles, and one Bengal cat.

She has acted in, written, and produced several short films, including Feast, The Decision, and the upcoming short film, Duchess of Grant Park, about a woman who claims the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta as her duchy. The short film had a budget of approximately $20,000; $5,800 of which was successfully crowdfunded.

Ava Davis’ stage credits include The Laramie Project, It’s A Generational Thing, and Locked. In addition, she has performed with the One Minute Play Fest, including a special performance in collaboration with the Queens Theater in New York City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride. She also performs sketch comedy with Critical Crop Top.

Over the course of the pandemic, she launched a daily online talk show, The Ava Davis Show, written, filmed, and produced solely by her with new episodes Monday through Friday.

Add Writer Biography
Writer Statement

The Backstory

Transitioning isn’t easy. Finding love isn’t easy. Doing both simultaneously feels near damn impossible, and as much as rom-coms are a horror genre to me, I’ve been horribly influenced by them. I remember sitting on the couch watching Leap Year with my partner, and crying at the end. He asked why I was crying and I told him romantic comedy movies are awful. He said, why? He loves the romance and possibilities of them. And I told him those possibilities are what made me sad. I’d not considered transitioning then, though I did harbor fantasies.
flash forward to now, and I’m a year into hormones and fully socially transitioned.

But, back before deciding to go on hormones, while sitting in a coffee shop waiting for rehearsal to start, I ran a thought experiment, as James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go,” played and I locked eyes with a guy. “What if I wasn’t in my current relationship? What if I had to transition and find love and find the person this song that’s currently playing is about. Or rather, would treat me as such. To build a life, a family, the white picket fence fantasy?” Well of course I couldn’t help but cry. And, in scrolling through the various online transgender communities, I’m in, I’m not alone.

Or rather, I’m lucky to be in a ten-year relationship with someone who’s seen me change this much, but these girls in these communities are brokenhearted looking for something like this. Love is universal. Seeing oneself reflected in love, especially in media, is not universal. I believe in the power of storytelling to make us feel less alone. And, hence, The Waltz. Right now is the perfect time to make this movie.

The Statement
First off, The Waltz is heavily inspired by Beauty and the Beast and Shall We Dance, with the sprinkling of romcoms such as How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Trainwreck. I think we can all agree that these feature, for the most part, white cisgender woman as the romantic lead.

I have a love-hate relationship with romantic comedies. I love the fantasy and allure of finding love, but realistically those scenarios aren’t possible. They feel even further out of reach by being trans, because the biggest question that comes up, for me at least, is will they see me as a woman? Will I always feel in competition with cis-women, and never feel like I am enough in the relationship? Claire’s character mirrors my torrid love affair with Beauty and the Beast. 

This film arose out of a thought experiment, in the early stages of my transition before I’d started hormones or started to socially transition. As I sat in a coffee shop, I thought about what a meet-cute would look like for someone like me. How to disclose so much, and the fear that comes from being that vulnerable with the possibility of rejection. 

This story feels incredibly personal, and makes me emotional every time I come to work on it, because of what it represents to me, and also what I see other trans women talk about when it comes to love - the fear of rejection, the frustration in going out on several dates only to disclose one is trans and then be rejected, searching for a partner and someone to love and trying to weed out the fetishists or perverts. It can be incredibly exhausting and demoralizing.

The beauty I think in seeing a story like this is for all the transwomen who are the heroes in their own stories looking for love. It has a bittersweet ending, in hopes of not painting an unrealistic portrayal of finding love but instead knowing that sometimes you can really like someone and feel that chemistry, but at that point in your life it’s just not right for either of you.