January 6, 2022

Non-Binary Creator Lyralen Kaye Wins NE Film Star Award for Assigned Female at Birth

by Felicia Cheney

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Women in Film and Video New England and NEFilm.com announced the most recent winner of the NE Film Star Award at the WIFVNE Annual Conference in December. Michele Meek, founder of the award, will be supporting Lyralen Kaye throughout 2022 in developing their trans and non-binary web series as they apply to festivals and work on future seasons.

“Since its inception in 2019, the mission of the New England Film Star Award has been to uplift promising local filmmakers who find themselves in a category often marginalized in the film industry. It was so exciting to discover Lyralen Kaye’s project Assigned Female at Birth which captures the stories of non-binary and trans individuals with humor and empathy. Lyralen’s project is ambitious—and I know it has so much potential moving forward. Lyralen is a talented writer, actor and director, and I’m thrilled to be able to support such a timely project!” -Michele Meek, Founder of NewEnglandFilm.com and the New England Film Star Award.

Lyralen Kaye, fae/they, began their career in Boston as an award-winning slam poet and solo performer. Then, in 2003, Lyralen opened the theater company Another Country Productions and ran it for ten years, producing over 30 SLAMBOSTON, Diverse Voices in Theater festivals as well as full-length plays, before returning to their own performance career. Then they won the Meryl-Streep funded Writers Lab in 2015 with their first screenplay. 

“Winning the Streep Lab gave me the opportunity to interact with people in the industry. Then I landed a screenwriter-for-hire position with Berentson Films in New York and another with Carrie Schrader Productions. I learned that I loved adapting stories, but wanted to do it in my own way, featuring non-binary, trans and people of color in outlier stories that rarely get seen.” Kaye says. “Devised work means that I get to represent identities outside my own, using the stories and words that have been shared with me.”

The pandemic meant that AFAB required the innovation of remotely filmed on-line content using devised theater techniques. Kaye began interviewing trans and non-binary people of all ages and races as well as women in May of 2020. By September they had developed remote filming protocols and started shooting the first season. Assigned Female at Birth took on a life of its own; over 50 people have now been interviewed and two seasons are on line. The NE Film Star Award will help support the completion of Season Three, the first season with traditional in-person filming and storytelling. 

The series follows the lives of 3 couples and their immediate families. The characters include an agender trans man who wants to get married in a dress, zir mixed race lover who is definitely not on board, a black lesbian who doesn’t like her trans husband’s new penis and a non-binary therapist with a diagnosis of their own working to commit to their recovering addict partner. “Greek chorus” mockumentary sections intersperse the narrative, widening the reach of the storytelling.

For more information about Another Country Productions visit www.anothercountryproductions.com. Phone: 617-939-4846.  For more information about Lyralen Kaye, visit www.lyralenkaye.com.

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