Meet the ladies of What's The T? They range from a bodaciously beautiful reality star to a biochemistry pre-med student. These ladies were carefully handpicked to become a part of this documentary because of their fascinating, intriguing stories that speak volumes on how transwomen are going to take over the world.


Nya Ampon

Melanie was born in Hayward, California to Filipino parents. She has 2 siblings, a brother and sister. She briefly lived in Manila to go to school where she managed to be both the class clown and the teacher’s pet therefore alleviating any chance of bullying as she was growing up. She returned to California and continued her schooling where she met her best friend, Dee.

She currently works at AsiaSF as one of the ladies of AsiaSF. She started performing at AsiaSF 9 years ago where she has developed a very close bond with her co-performers.

Nya’s unapologetic approach to dance and movement has allowed her to perform in numerous venues and artists.


Rakash Armani

Rakash Armani Singh was born Rakash Singh in an extended interracial family in Maryland. She currently resides in New Jersey with her family. Rakash says she has 3 jobs, she is a nurse, works at a rehab facility and her third job is being Armani. Other than coming from a supportive family, Armani has found solace and acceptance through another type of family, the house of St. Clair.

Houses are generally groups of trans-women that have a “father” and a “mother” and other “sisters”. They generally support one another and compete against other houses in underground balls to get prestige by way of titles. In order to be part of a house, one has to walk at a ball as an independent and when a certain house finds a girl interesting, she is then asked to join a house. Armani is special in the sense that she hadn’t walked her first ball yet and she was ultimately asked to join the house of St. Clair the first time she went to a ball. She was going to compete versus her current mother now, Aaliyah St. Clair.


Cassandra Cass

Cassandra was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She was born in a family of 4 boys within 4 years. Her beauty is clearly undeniable is this constant taunting was what motivated Cassandra to be a model, actress, and calendar girl now. She has appeared in shows such as The Tyra show, CSI Las Vegas, the documentary, Trantasia, and her own reality show called, "Wild Things".

Cassandra moved to SF in 2004, after college in both Chicago and Florida. She also currently has her own revue at the Harry Denton’s Starlight room every Sunday and stars in her own Calendar, Cassandra Cass “Fantasy Girl”.

Her style icons are Pam Anderson, Bob Mackie, Terri Mugler, Cher, and Madonna. When asked who Cassandra really is, she responds with, “Just Cassandra with some really bitchin’ clothes”. Ever the industrious one, Cassandra spends her day to day life doing her own clothes and exercising.

Ms. Cass lives and works in the city that never sleeps alone, San Francisco.


Vi Le

Victory, more commonly known as Vi is a San Francisco native. Born, Victor Le in Chinatown, Vi’s comfort and ease can be credited to the support of her family, most especially her bond with her younger brother. She is currently in school finishing her undergrad in Biology with an emphasis on Cell and Molecular Biology.

She identifies with being transgender or a male-woman in her own words. Growing up, Vi was always mistaken for a little girl. She tried to exhibit more masculine behavior however it placed her into a deep depression. Vi started blossoming in high school and started to accept her being transgender however again, she was always mistaken for a lesbian, a very pretty lesbian. Vi actually drew strength from the constant mistakes and started to accept how beautiful she was and in that process found herself.

Vi is of strong character and knows that she is in control of her own life. This was brought upon by the strong support of her family. Vi’s story is unique in the sense that Asian families generally are not accepting of anything non-conforming however, Vi was gifted with a strong supportive family which is helping her achieve her dreams of being a surgeon or a psychiatrist.

Victory officially came to life on October 14, 2010.


Mia Tu Mutch

Mia Tu Mutch is an LGBT advocate from San Francisco, California. She currently serves as the Commissioner for District 11 of the San Francisco Youth Commission, which provides guidance and advice to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors regarding legislation and policies that affect the City's young people. She also works as a Program Assistant at LYRIC, providing education, career training, health awareness, and community building among San Francisco's LGBT youth. Mia also attends City College of San Francisco where she is majoring in LGBT studies.

Mia is a strong advocate and activist for LGBT causes because she is a determined and confident individual, despite having been a victim of anti-lgbt discrimination herself. As a transgender individual, Mia suffered extreme bullying, not only from her classmates, but also from her ultra-conservative, Southern Baptist Family. In her senior year of high school, Mia's parents forced her out of the closet and subjected her to reparative therapy. Eventually, Mia was forced out of her home and disowned by her family. She finished high school while living with a friend an hour-and-a-half from her school. After high school, she sought sanctuary in San Francisco, but found herself homeless. Yet, Mia managed to complete a degree in American Sign Language, secure an apartment, and she began to help others who were walking the path she once trod. Even after being beaten on the street in a hate crime, she has never wavered in her pursuit of justice and equality for the LGBT community. The San Francisco District Attorney recently honored her for her cooperation and assistance with the investigation of her own and similar incidences and for her public speaking about hate crimes. This young woman is a force to be reckoned with, and we are sure to hear about her in the future, as a leader for LGBT causes.


Cecilio Asuncion

Writer / Director


Cecilio currently resides in San Francisco by way of New York City. Originally from Manila, Cecilio started by being an assistant production designer for television commercials under the tutelage of Gayl Vicente doing work for clients such as Johnson's Baby Powder, Hallmark cards, MAXX Candy, Bayantel telecommunications, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, San Miguel Beer and other local brands. He also did production design work on a music video for the artist Jaya. He then was appointed as Art Director and food stylist for the new-defunct Taste Magazine, a culinary magazine. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Filipino-American award for LGBT advocacy.

He joined the Scary Cow film coop in 2011. What's The T? is Cecilio's first documentary recognizing the importance of a celebration of beauty, not only in the trans world but in the community at large.



Israel Luna

Editor

Israel has enjoyed critical acclaim writing and directing several feature-length movies and has been a creative force behind many other made-for-TV, stage and internet projects. Some of the accolades Israel’s projects have attained are: Winner Young Filmmakers Award at the Austin Film Festival for his work on Reel Kids, Audience Award for Best Feature for The Deadbeat Club at Dallas’ Deep Ellum Film Festival, and a nomination for Best Feature for R U Invited? at Dallas’ OUT TAKES Film Festival. In addition, Israel’s movie Fright Flick took the festival circuit by storm making its international screening debut in Amsterdam. Israel’s most recent project, Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives, became his biggest success to date creating a media storm with controversy and positive buzz currently on Netflix and Showtime Channel.


Joshua Jones

Storyline Advisor

Joshua Jones is an attorney and freelance writer, residing in Pensacola, Florida. A music education graduate of the University of Montevallo, he attended the University of New Hampshire School of Law and earned a master of laws at the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Joshua has published short stories, including the serial gay romance The Planter's Son, a collection of personal essays, OMG! WTF? Another Vampire Story, as well as scholarly legal articles. He is a regular contributor to the legal blog, TheLawInsider.com. When he's not solving client legal woes or writing, Joshua is at the demand of his two cats or on the road seeking new adventures with his husband of sixteen years.


Michael Garrigues

Cinematographer

Garrigues' first lighting job was La Pastorella at the Monterey Convention Center when he was 18 years old. Hired as one of a two-member rigging crew, he redesigned the entire lighting plan while the Lighting Designer slept off a hangover during the tech rehearsal. Since then he's gone on to light and shoot video for corporate, non-profit, and independent film projects. He's just finished directing a feature documentary, J, Robot, about humanoid robots in Japan and is no longer 18 years old.


David Bowsky

Cinematographer

Joshua Jones is an attorney and freelance writer, residing in Pensacola, Florida. A music education graduate of the University of Montevallo, he attended the University of New Hampshire School of Law and earned a master of laws at the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Joshua has published short stories, including the serial gay romance The Planter's Son, a collection of personal essays, OMG! WTF? Another Vampire Story, as well as scholarly legal articles. He is a regular contributor to the legal blog, TheLawInsider.com. When he's not solving client legal woes or writing, Joshua is at the demand of his two cats or on the road seeking new adventures with his husband of sixteen years.


Ana Grillo

Cinematographer

Ana Grillo is a freelance photographer, videographer, filmmaker and part time yoga teacher/thai massage therapist. She is proud to call San Francisco home and is inspired by the explosion of diversity and creativity here. She is currently working on her first documentary film, What is Love San Francisco? and is thrilled by all that she is learning in the process.


Alan Carpenter

Sound Engineer

Alan has been working on the occasional micro-budget independent film since 2005 from production assistant, boom op, sound mixer, camera operator to assistant director and producer, and even converted into an extra in a pinch. By day he toils with technology, which fuels his appreciation for the evolution of digital cinematography almost as much as a good story. In 2011 he joined a film collective in San Francisco called Scary Cow seeking a like-minded herd. He’s currently working on a feature with two other screenwriters for a Bollywood Noir fusion.


Ross Hopeman

Sound Engineer

Ross Hopeman is a sound-engineer. He puts microphones next to things, and fights evil. He has a dog named Miles, who also fights evil.


Lee Vilensky

Composer

Lee Vilensky is a SF Bay Area musician and composer who currently leads the popular instrumental group, The Lee Vilensky Trio. He also runs the record label 658 Records out of SF, which recently released the trio's full length cd, Dirty Dealings on a Latin Moon. Lee started his career in the San Francisco North Beach blues scene as a bassist then guitarist in the early'80's for many Bay Area luminaries such as Johnny Nitro, Cool Papa, Curtis Lawson and many others. He then co-formed Thee Hellhounds with accordionist Big Lou and wound up playing bass for cult heroes The Billy Nayer Show and Pearl Harbour. Film scoring with Cory Mcabee led Lee to work in film and the idea for a pure instrumental music coined "Surf/soul". Mixing together elements of 60's soul and Socal surf music with late 50's cool jazz and a love for all things Fellini/Rota, Lee has developed a style of music that draws from the past and leans forward to the future.


John Piscitello

Composer

L.A. based John attended MIT as a Computer Science major, worked as a Macsoftware engineer, and got a Harvard MBA. In 1998 John moved to Silicon Valley startup, which led to working at Google in 2001. During this time, he played in bands at night and dove deeper into musical theory and orchestration. After Google John began studying with San Francisco-based choral composer David Conte, and trained on piano, guitar, and as a tenor. John got started scoring short films with Scary Cow, which led to the independent features Dixie Dynamite and Contractor's Routine. John is currently a student in USC's Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television class of 2012.


Hytham Abbou Youssef

Composer

Hytham Abou Youssef hails from Egypt, Hytham was born into a music-centric family. His great uncle was the head of the Egyptian Opera house, his late uncle was one of best jazz bassists, and a cousin with a leading rock band in Egypt. With all these influences in mind, Hytham picked up the guitar at age 16 and started writing at 18. The next step of his career came in 2008 with the introduction of logic pro, and the world of electronic music was opened up when one of his compositions was used as an advertisement in Egypt, he decided to pursue more musical ventures. After all, it's a family thing.


Kim Erik Buhay Samson

Intro Animator

Kim is based in Manila, Philippines. Kim started in the industry doing Television Commercials and later on parlayed his editing talents into local Films. After numerous projects, Kim was jaded from the entire industry and quit post-production altogether. He now currently does projects that would move people and somehow change the world. In his own words, "I would rather create stuff, actual sculptures "for real/not virtual"...


Jasmin Cardenas

Make Up Artist

As an independent freelancer, Jasmine Cardenas has been a professional Makeup Artist and a Licensed Esthetician for over 6 years. Jasmine has a huge passion for makeup and art. She is no stranger to pushing the envelope and constantly finding ways to modernize classic applications to a trendy perspective. Striving to provide the best results to all clients sitting in her chair, she is well experienced with all skin types and ethinicities; from Natural, Beauty, Classic Glam, Avant Garde and Bridal application, there isn't anything that she can't do. Believing that make-up is just more than black and white, as well as, coloring outside the line, Jasmine is an highly sought out artist in the Northern California Region.


Production Photos


Asians on Film Festival

San Francisco Premiere

SOHO International Film Fest

Frameline 37 Film Fest

Out There Magazine

Out There Magazine recently interviewd the cast of What's the T. Here's what they had to say about the documentary:

With all the buzz surrounding the new documentary, What’s the T?, a film about the lives of five transgender women in the United States, OUT THERE wanted to meet the ladies featured in the film. We chatted with them, and here’s what they had to say about the project, life as transgender women, and their advice for up and coming transgender youth. - See more here


Pensacola LGBT Film Fest

We are also thrilled to be an official selection at the Pensacola LGBT Film Festival with a screening date on October 11, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. A city where the Blue Angels Navy stunt Pilots are based, count us in!





Our mission to spread the T continues at one of the Greenest Cities we love, Portland!

We have been officially selected to be part of the Portland Lesbian and Gay film Festival! Screening is on October 5, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. at Cinema 21 at 616 NW 21st


Adelante Magazine




Palm Springs

The journey to get the T out there continues as "What's the T?" is an official selection of the Cinema Diverse Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival!

Join us on Sept 19-22, 2013 in everyone's favorite getaway destination, Palm Springs!



Central Voice Newspaper


The 10 Percent


The Montrose Star



Q Magazine



Frameline Film Fest

We are very thrilled to inform you of our acceptance into this year's Frameline 37 LGBT Film Festival! Click on the photo for more information about our screening and the other wonderful entries this year!





Vegas Indie Film Fest

We're proud to announce that we were accepted into the Vegas Indie Film Fest! A city full of glitz, glamour and neon? COUNT US IN! Details coming soon so keep checking back.



SOHO International Film Fest

Next up! The SOHO International Film Festival in NYC. All five women showcased in the film will be attending along with the director and editor. Stay tuned for more information about the screening in early April.



Asians on Film Fest

What's The T? was an official selection of the Asians On Film Festival in North Hollywood, CA.

The director, 2 of the ladies and a few crew people attended the screening. The film was met with lots of cheers, laughs and major applause as the end credits rolled. Check out the photo gallery tab for photos of the event!

Next up: NYC! Details coming soon...



Outrage Magazine Article

Asian Journal Article



Outlook Video



Asians on Film Interview



ABS-CBN News Segment



San Francisco Premiere Screening