Southern Comfort

Director: Kate Davis

Institute History


With a natural beauty, quiet power, and a clear voice, Kate Davis has created what must be one of the most remarkable documentaries of our times about gender, family, and love relationships. Southern Comfort is a wonderfully humanistic portrait of transgendered life as it is lived deep inside Ku Klux Klan territory in the rural trailer community of Toccoa, Georgia.

Robert Eads is a female-to-male transsexual suffering from ovarian cancer who faces sure death after 20 doctors have refused to treat him for his condition. Far away from Atlanta's city lights, Robert makes a life for himself and his family—his two families: his biological family of two parents, two sons by birth, and a darling three-year-old grandson; and his chosen family of two female-to-male transsexual sons, Maxwell and Cass. Robert is falling in love with Lola Cola, a sultry male-to-female transsexual, but as hard as he tries to resist, in the face of his impending death, the romance blooms beautifully in bittersweet irony.

Kate Davis's compassionate verité style of filmmaking portrays the lives of Robert and his community in such an organic way that their exceptionally unique and challenging stories feel as natural as the changing of seasons. Questions of sexual orientation, operative transitioning, and discrimination are effortlessly explored as the subjects freely open up their lives to the camera. Raw, emotional, and provocative, Southern Comfort is a moving and illuminating examination of gender and the human spirit that will surely open minds as it opens hearts.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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