A fun and candid slice of life film set against the controversy around transgender representations in media, four transgender artists explore authenticity in stage and screen through their own diverse experiences and viewpoints.

Our story follows four trans* women and their professional lives during and after their participation in the groundbreaking stage play, “Trans Scripts, Part 1: The Women”, written by Paul Lucas and produced by the American Repertory Theater. The play was scripted from more than 75 interviews conducted with transgender women around the world, with the goal of creating the most authentic representations ever put on the stage.

Eden Lane, a cast member and journalist, understood the value of documenting this moment in history and brought her camera.

She is “America’s First Transgender TV reporter”, which carries not only authority but also responsibility for telling this story; and provides access to the most authentic voices. Eden Lane is a Trailblazer.

“The Next Act” introduces the viewer to women from different backgrounds, with different career paths, and different perspectives on being transgender. Unlike the typical stories about the struggles of transition, these are the stories of women who have established their lives. They know who they are, and they’re ready for their next act.

Our characters

MJ Rodriguez

MJ Rodriguez

Job Position

MJ stars in the new Ryan Murphy series POSE for FX. She has performed the role of “Angel” in the Off-Broadway revival of Rent, and appeared in Dreamgirls, The Pajama Game, Once On This Island, the City Center Encores presentation of Runaways, and the recent Street Children. MJ has also made TV guest star appearances on Nurse Jackie, The Carrie Dairies on The CW Network, Netflix Original Series Luke Cage, as well as the feature film Saturday Church.

Bianca Leigh

Bianca Leigh

Job Position

Bianca is an actress, singer, writer and educator. A graduate of Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, her acting roles include “Mary Ellen” in the groundbreaking film TransAmerica, “Time/Wind” in Taylor Mac’s epic The Lily’s Revenge, “Franny Halcyon” in the New York and San Francisco workshops of the musical Tales of the City, “Tatiana” in Trans Scripts at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, “Dr. Rachel Sandow” on Law & Order: SVU, and “Karma” in the feature film Hurricane Bianca. She wrote and performed her acclaimed solo musical BUSTED at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in 2012. Miss Leigh was profiled this year in Cranes New York for her work with students at NYU Medical School, and was the commencement speaker at Rutgers University’s Lavender Graduation in 2014. She recently participated, alongside MJ Rodriguez, in the Samuel French panel discussion “On Stage and Off: The State of Transgender Artists”. Bianca Leigh plays the role of “Alma” on the tv series Skeleton Crew. Bianca has also been writing a new play.

Rebecca Root

Rebecca Root

Job Position

Rebecca is best known for playing Judy in BBC Two’s groundbreaking comedy series Boy Meets Girl. The second season was broadcast in summer 2016. Other screen credits include The Danish Girl, Hank Zipzer, Hollyoaks, Casualty, Midsummer Murders, and Keeping Up Appearances. Rebecca Root appears in the films: The Sisters Brothers with Jake Gyllenhal, and Colette with Keira Knightley; and has been cast in the upcoming television series Moominvalley with Rosamund Pike and Kate Winslet. She appeared in the award-winning production of Trans Scripts at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and starred in the play 1977 for Radio 4. At the end of 2015 she was a guest on ``Celebrity Mastermind,`` winning the contest with the specialist subject ‘the novels of Graham Greene.’ Rebecca is also a respected voice coach, gaining her MA in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Rebecca is patron of the charities All About Trans and Diversity Role Models and is a passionate advocate for LGBT visibility, equal rights and societal acceptance.

Marlo Bernier

Marlo Bernier

Job Position

Marlo appeared as Roy Cohn (Best Actor 1998 City Paper/Baltimore) in Angels in America. Marlo performed in Love! Valour! Compassion! (John/James), God’s Country (Berg), Patient A (Lee), Largo Desolato (as Leopold), and Kindertransport (Ratcatcher, et al) at AXIS Theatre/Baltimore; and 9 Rooms Worth/Dead Parents (Jack/Sonny) and Lapis Blue-Blood Red (Cosimo) at Theatre Project/Baltimore. TV credits include guest starring roles on Cold Case, Las Vegas, Alias, and Homicide; and creating the title role of “Myrna” for a TV Pilot. Marlo is writer / director / producer of the films The Last Time We Were (Silver Remi WorldFest/Houston award as writer-producer), Stealth, Finding John Smith, and LEAP. Marlo Bernier also starred in Transparent’s episode “Pinkwashing Machine”.

Our characters

Eden Lane

Eden Lane

Director

Eden is a trailblazing on-camera journalist with over 12 years of experience and is America’s first transgender on-air television journalist. Currently Eden is in her 11th season of “In Focus with Eden Lane” featuring Colorado’s Arts and Creative community for PBS-KDBI. She has appeared on CNN Tonight, Huffington Post, People.com, Logo, and Entertainment Tonight. This is her first documentary feature.

Chad Herschberger

Chad Herschberger

Co-Director/Editor

Over the last 25 years Chad has worked on projects seen on AMC, History Channel, PBS, HBO, BBC, and festivals including Sundance, Hot Docs, and SXSW. Recently Chad served as story producer, editor, and animator on AMC’s “Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics”. He was co-producer and editor on the documentary “78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene” (IFC), and producer and editor on the documentary film “Kim Swims” and “A Lego Brickumentary” (Radius). He co-directed, filmed, and edited the feature doc “William Matthews: Drawn To Paint” (PBS). Currently, Chad is the executive producer on “The Know”, a 6-part original series in development, and co-directing ``The Next Act``.

Kerry Deignan Roy

Kerry Deignan Roy

Producer

Kerry is an independent film producer with over 25 years in the industry. Her recent documentary, “78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene” premiered at Sundance 2017 and was acquired by IFC in North America; and is being sold worldwide by Dogwoof. Her feature credits include cultural break-outs “The People Vs. George Lucas” and “Doc Of The Dead” (EPiX). She served on the producing team on “No Bigger Than A Minute” (PBS/POV), “Stagestruck” (TV series, Bravo), and “Tantalus: Behind The Mask” (Documentary). Tantalus was a joint production of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Denver Center Theatre Company, which aired on PBS and BBC.

Cathy Trekloff

Cathy Trekloff

Producer

Cathy is a founding member of Denver-based production company, Milkhaus. She served as Associate Producer and Production Manager on the Academy and Emmy Award winning documentary short “Saving Face” (HBO, Ch.4); Post Producer on “78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene” (IFC) and Post Coordination/Management on “Being Evel” (Documentary, History Channel), “Keep On Keepin’ On” (Radius), and “Doc Of The Dead” (Documentary, EPiX). Currently Cathy is in development on multiple documentary projects.

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