“3 Siblings” Directed by Sheena Rossiter

By Mikel Fair / a few months ago
3 Siblings Directed by Sheena Rossiter (Brazil & Canada) Poster

3 Siblings, Transgender Documentary

3 Siblings, directed by Sheena Rossiter (Brazil & Canada) is an official selection of the 2018 Oregon Documentary Film Festival.  Also, this transgender documentary film screened on Friday May 25, 2018.  Furthermore, 3 Siblings was nominated for two awards. The Best Editing Award and the Best International Film Award. Synopsis: "Three siblings with different gender identities and sexual orientations bring us into their world during São Paulo's LGBT Pride Month. We learn about their relationships with each other, and how they work to overcome rampant homophobia and transphobia that exists in Brazil."

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Sheena Rossiter: Director's Biography

Sheena Rossiter is a Canadian filmmaker and journalist. She lived in Brazil for nearly seven years working as a foreign correspondent covering the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Prior to that, she was based in London and Barcelona. Sheena is the co-founder of Dona Ana Films & Multimedia. “3 Siblings” is her first film.

3 Siblings Directed by Sheena Rossiter (Brazil & Canada) Headshot

Director Sheena Rossiter

Interview With Director Sheena Rossiter (Part One)

Q1: Why submit to the Oregon Documentary Film Festival? "Our film is a documentary, and Oregon Documentary Film festival caters to documentary films."

Q2: Also, is there any special meaning to the title? "3 Siblings, is the title of our documentary short. It tells the story of three siblings from a Brazilian favela. Furthermore, they have different gender identities and sexual orientations from one another."

Interview With Director Sheena Rossiter (Part Two)

Q3: Why did you choose to tell this particular story? "I lived in Brazil for nearly 7 years working as a video and radio journalist.  Before leaving the country, I wanted to do a documentary since it's such an important chapter in my life. I choose to tell this story in particular since LGBT rights in Brazil are important to me. But also telling the story from Brazil's middle-class, which is often not represented in mainstream media. If that perspective is represented, it's normally represented in a stereotypical way."

Q4: Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find? "We never expected the straight brother Angelo to go to the LGBT pride parade in Sao Paulo. We convinced him to come since it would make for a stronger film. It was fantastic when he agreed. However, we weren't expecting him to stay for a long time. We thought he'd come to the parade, stay for an hour or two, and then leave. We were pleasantly surprised when he came to the event, and enjoyed himself. After that, we realized that this was the main arc to the story.  Even more, we were trying to tell about the relationships. These three siblings have with each other, and how the pride parade brought them closer together."

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Documentary Cameras And Gear

What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective.

"The main camera was a Canon C100. The b-camera was the Sony a6300, and a DJI Phantom 4 was used for the drone shots. I was happy with the equipment we used. Of course, if we had a Red Epic or even a Canon C300, the images could have been stronger, but we are still very happy with how it turned out."

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Interview With Director Sheena Rossiter (Part Three)

Q5: Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? "It was always a challenge to film the three siblings. Time is very fluid in Brazil, and plans often change. But we were happy with all the content we got from the siblings. Also, Ludmylla and Victor really enjoyed the attention they got at the pride parade. They felt like little celebrities since we did manage to get them special access to press areas during the parade."

Q6: How did you fund this film? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? "The film was self-funded, and, yes, I am working hard to recoup production costs. Since this was our first independent documentary, we feel that next time it'll open doors for funding opportunities."

Interview With Director Sheena Rossiter (Part Four)

Q7: What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? "The reaction to the film so far is positive. Everyone is enjoying this unique perspective from Brazil and is learning something new about the LGBT community there. So far, we have won best documentary short at the 2018 FAVA Fest in Edmonton, Canada."

Q8: Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? "We do want to take the film further and make it into a feature length documentary. We would like to continue to follow the three siblings while the trans sibling Ludmylla follows through with her sex reassignment surgery."

Q9: You have completed a transgender documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? "The distribution process is just as costly as the production itself, and the hardest part of the production (in my opinion). Getting the film made is one thing, but getting the film out there and seen is a whole other job in and of itself. You have to be committed to the whole process that can take a long period of time. Be patient, work hard, and good things will come."

About the author

Mikel Fair

My name is Mikel Fair. I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit Inc. First of all, we are a company that manages film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Furthermore, we like to have fun and celebrate independent film. I worked for 15 years in the television and film production as a location sound mixer and production manager. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Above all, watching independent films and reading creative screenplays is my passion.