Director: Julian Goldberger
Screenwriters: Julian Goldberger

Institute History


This unusually intelligent and evocative first feature is a small gem. Chronicling the experiences of a teenage boy between his escape from a juvenile detention center in southwest Florida and his eventual capture, Trans is populated with characters from that state’s strange and violent mix of peoples. From its first shot, the film announces a disinterest in the generic clichés of the prison break and road movies. Instead, director Julian Goldberger rigorously sticks with his antihero, Ryan Kazinski, and his inexorable journey, both mental and physical.
The result is a film of gentle, modulated rhythms which seem to capture the new American South; this quality is reminiscent of Ira Sachs’s masterful The Delta, a film of similarly astonishing directorial control.
In Trans, Ryan’s disenfranchisement is a touchstone for others to communicate, through their actions rather than their words, a sense of isolation. Often this is expressed through violence or the threat of it. But his freedom also makes for a fleeting camaraderie with others. Most provocative is a secret encounter with his younger brother, literally bouncing off the walls of his room. All the younger boy’s fears have been invested in Ryan; with his hero unexpectedly present, he does not know whether to berate or hug him.
Much of Trans’s enigmatic charm and quiet intensity comes from an extraordinary central performance from Ryan Daugherty. The young man’s authenticity adds additional layers of meaning and strength to the film. It’s all the more surprising because he has never acted in a film before.

Julian Goldberger, Director
Julian Goldberger studied acting and directing at Florida State University’s School of Theatre and with Lee Strasberg. He then completed NYU’s intensive film program and the American Film Institute’s directing program. He has written and directed several short films and won first place in the Dramatic Screenplay Competition at the 1998 Breckenridge Festival of Film for his original screenplay In the Wake. Trans is his feature film directing debut.

— Noah Cowan, Toronto Film Festival

Screening Details

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