Growing up as a transgender kid in Australia, I never really knew anyone like me. For a long time, I thought I was the only person in the world who felt the way I did. Despite having the support of my family, I felt isolated and alone. I couldn’t see a future for myself. So much of this, I believe, is because of the lack of positive trans representation on screen and in the media.
For me, this film is about taking the power back. To have agency over my story, for the first time in my life, has been such an empowering experience. I am thankful and grateful to the older generations of trans people who paved the way to create a more accepting world where young people like myself can grow to become our true selves. Whilst this story is my own unique personal experience, our communities are rich with diversity and the trans experience has been a part of our First Nations peoples history for an incredibly long time. I want to extend my thanks and respect to Sistergirls and Brotherboys across these lands.
In Dreamlife, I want to portray my journey from a kid who felt so isolated and alone, to a young woman who is finally asserting control over her life, her body, her story. I want to show people the importance of a supportive family, and what that can do for a trans person. I want people to see the trans experience as not black-and-white, but nuanced and multi-faceted. It’s lonely and difficult, but also euphoric and beautiful too. There are times we want it to all go away, and times we are so proud to be ourselves we could explode! And most of all, I want other trans people to see that they have a future.
You can be ambitious and dream big. Our trauma doesn’t define us, and it won’t last forever. We deserve to have a wonderful life.
I’m really excited to have the opportunity to tell my story honestly and openly. I don’t pretend to represent all trans experiences. Everyone’s journey is different. This is mine, and I hope you find something in it.
Rebekah Robertson, Georgie's mum:
I must admit that when Maya approached me with the idea of making a documentary about Georgie I was quite tentative. At that point in time, Georgie was only just emerging into a public sphere that was sceptical or openly hostile about trans kids and I was understandably very protective of her. But Maya had made Gayby Baby, a documentary about the children of gay couples which was intelligent, honest, gentle and respectful, which I admired greatly. Not just for the filmmaking but also the impact work that resulted from it. It was Georgie’s decision though and she decided to say yes and see what happened.
It is no small thing to invite someone into some of the most private moments of a person’s life with the hope that doing so may open hearts, change the conversation and help foster not just compassion or empathy, but real change in systems of oppression. So many stories about trans folk come from a deficit perspective, not strength. Mainly because the stories are told by anyone but trans folk themselves, or are massaged into almost unrecognisable forms. This is the only reason anyone would welcome such access into their lives, to peer inside and perhaps see more within that is familiar and relatable than they previously recognised. It is the only reason that we have done so and made that commitment over many years with The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone documentary. Georgie’s remarkable generosity and ability to communicate is matched by Maya’s sensitivity and over the many years of filming, we have developed a deep trust. It’s still weird to have a camera recording moments that folks are not usually privy to, but the process has been empowering for Georgie, which is important.
As the founder of Transcend Australia, a charity that works to support Brotherboy, Sistergirl, Trans, Gender Diverse, Non-Binary and questioning young people and their families, as an advocate and as an actor and writer, I understand the importance of storytelling, inviting people into a world they would not otherwise have access to. And when the story involves one of the most marginalised and misrepresented communities on the planet, trans kids, there is a special level of responsibility that comes with that. Trans kids across the world are being actively discriminated against, actively excluded from all the spaces they occupy; educational settings, sports and medical settings. They are used on a daily basis as political footballs and laws are continuously being made specifically to erase trans kids altogether. Trans kids are often marginalised and rejected even in their own families.
We know that trans kids thrive when they are loved and supported. This is certainly true for Georgie. Whilst her story is not representative of all the myriad experiences of trans kids, it is a telling example of the power of family love and support, the power of personal agency, of respect and inclusion. When a child is simply trying to survive, their own agency and dreams for the future suffer. They internalise the shame the world shoulders them with and they struggle to flourish as a result. Georgie deserved to embrace her life with the same gusto her twin brother Harry can, with the same rights, the same opportunities, the same enthusiasm for what might be possible. Not just survive, but flourish and celebrate her dreams, achievements, ambitions and freedom to be. To fully show up in her own life, not hiding, not afraid and live her one precious life on her terms.
This is the power of The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone. It’s why Georgie chose to share her story and why we hope through this documentary to amplify the voices of young gender diverse people around the globe in celebration of everything that makes them who they are; their culture, their identity, their hopes and dreams, their playfulness, their intelligence, their swagger, their joie de vivre, their flair, their talents, their insights and their joy in simply being themselves
I can’t wait to hear their stories.
Maya Donna Newell, Director:
I’ve been making this short film for six years. Back in 2015, I’d just finished releasing my first feature documentary Gayby Baby about the experiences of children raised in LGBTIQA+ families like my own. As Australia pushed for marriage equality it was us - children of LGBTIQA+ parents and transgender kids that were being used by conservative campaigns in arguments in their - NO campaigns when they evoked the call to “think of the children”. In a move to placate these conservatives, Gayby Baby was banned by the then NSW state government from being shown in schools, an action that erupted into an ugly national debate about the worth of my family. The subsequent coverage was intense but provided us with a powerful platform to push back against the hate our community was experiencing. It was devastating, but alongside the kids in Gayby Baby we centred our lived experience and made a huge contribution to the eventual progressive legislation - YES to marriage equality won in 2019. Making that film, I learnt how children can be used as political footballs and often spoken for led by paternalistic assumptions. Gayby Baby showed just how powerful it can be when those children have a genuine platform to use their voices themselves and speak their truths to power.
I met Georgie, Beck and the family when Georgie was 14 years old. She was so confident and extremely articulate about who she was and all that she’d been through. It was both disarming, and admirable to meet a young person with such clarity and warmth. It was clear that Georgie was an incredible person who had, and has, so much to teach the world about identity, the expansive spectrum of gender, determination, how to love, listen and the importance of accepting each other for who we are.
After agreeing to start the process of filming over the following six years, I capture moments big and small throughout Georgie’s teenhood. I’d walk in the front door and Beck or Georgie would make a cup of tea, we’d sit at the kitchen bench and recount the past three to six months - how the legal case was going, Georgie’s new friends at school, how the medical treatment was feeling, school assignments, advocacy events, and even Georgie’s fave singers on the pop charts… A rollercoaster of excitement, exhaustion, euphoria, triumph and grief. Initially, we filmed without a specific outcome in mind, not knowing what form the film would take, but all the time knowing there was something powerful in the works.
What struck me so poignantly, and what kept making me return with my camera over the years, was just how beautiful, close and connected Georgie’s whole family was. And how even with the full support of her family, Georgie still had to face challenges to her very personhood, her bodily autonomy and human rights that were enraging.
Discovering the trove of beautiful home movie footage collected by parents Greg and Beck since the twin's Harry and Georgie were born was an utter delight. What was remarkable was Georgie’s strong sense of self, from being a toddler right through her life. It was unwavering. I felt that this footage told an important story in the face of those who say that trans and gender diverse children cannot know themselves at such a young age. It revealed an undeniable case for the agency of trans and gender diverse children to be allowed the autonomy they deserve, to determine their gender identity and lead decisions that are about them, their bodies, identities and lives.
Throughout the years, trans, gender diverse and non-binary young people and their families were (and are still are) consistently being presented from a deficit position in the media. Everyone seems to be talking about them but rarely do children have space to speak about their own experiences. It became increasingly clear that Georgie wanted to use the footage we had shot to make a beautiful film, a collaborative venture, a story that offered space for Georgie to speak in a society that only ever talks about her.
We set out to make that film together.
Through this intimate process Georgie, Beck, Greg and Harry have taught me about love. They are the kind of family love where you listen deeply, accept and support each other to be your best selves. They did this as a family time and time again and as well as sharing that love inside their family Georgie and her family chose to support other trans youth and their families by tackling legislative change and public opinion. They took on the Family Court to win access to puberty blockers for all trans children in Australia and in 2017 Georgie Young Victorian of the Year which created a platform and position to speak directly with government ministers, media and other significant leaders about urgent medical services needed to support kids and teens like her.
Of course, this film cannot, and does not tell a story that represents all trans people - their experiences are multifaceted and expansive. If you have met one trans person you have met one trans person. This film is a story of one person, her life, memories and fights to take on the systems that have oppressed her. In making this film we hope it contributes to a media landscape where more trans people and their stories burst through and proliferate our screens into the future.
I want to thank Closer Productions and producers Sophie Hyde, Matt Bate, Lisa Sherrard and editor Bryan Mason and impact producer Alex Kelly for all their creative guidance and contribution to this film. While only short, it’s been a monster effort to make, and I feel deep gratitude for having had so many great minds around me, nudging me and allowing this story to bloom.
Director / Producer | she/her
Maya is a director and impact producer. She directed the acclaimed feature In My Blood It Runs (2019) about ten-year-old Arrernte/Garrwa boy Dujuan and his community made in collaboration with those onscreen at Closer Productions. It was selected for Goodpitch² Aus, a Sundance Institute Fellowship, was nominated for Best Doc/Best Cinematography at the AACTAs, won Best Director at ADG awards and screened at festivals worldwide. The families onscreen led a multi-year impact campaign targeting juvenile justice, education and anti-racism. Previously, she has made short documentaries, including TWO (2013), RICHARD (2009), Growing Up Gayby (2014) and her feature doc Gayby Baby (2015) made with Charlotte Mars. Gayby Baby screened at festivals internationally, won many awards and sparked a national conversation in Australia about the rights of children raised in LGBTIQ families.
Creative Producer | she/her
Georgie Stone OAM is an Australian actor, writer and transgender rights advocate. From a young age, Georgie became one of Australia's most visible and recognisable transgender activists. Her advocacy has ranged from changing the law around timely access to affirming medical care, to supporting safe schooling for LGBTIQ+ students and birth certificate reforms, to highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion in sport through the AFL Pride Game, to name just a few. Her advocacy has led her to meet a sitting Prime Minister, Royalty, Human Rights Commissioners and advocates and hundreds of families around Australia. She has shared her story and perspectives across all media platforms, given countless interviews and is a sought after public speaker.
In 2018 she pitched an idea to FremantleMedia to include a trans storyline for their long-running television drama Neighbours. In 2019 she joined the cast as Mackenzie Hargreaves. Georgie is the first transgender actor to have an ongoing role as a main cast member in Australian television history.
Georgie has been recognised for her achievements over the last decade.
2016 GLOBE Community Award: GLBTI Person of the Year
2017 Liberty Victoria: Young Voltaire Award
2017 Human Rights Awards: Young People’s Human Rights Medal
2018 Australian of the Year Awards: Victorian Young Australian of the Year
2018 Australian LGBTI Awards: Hero of the Year
2020 Medal of the Order of Australia
2021 Casting Guild of Australia: Rising Star Award
Producer | she/they
Sophie Hyde is a founding member of film collective Closer Productions. Her debut feature drama 52 Tuesdays (director /producer /co-writer) won the Directing Award at Sundance and the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. She directed and produced the Australian / Irish co-production Animals starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat. She created, produced and directed episodic series F*!#ing Adelaide, as well as the 4 x 1-hour series The Hunting (director Ep 4) which won two Australian Academy Awards and the Australian Writers Guild award for Best Series. Sophie’s feature documentaries include Life in Movement (producer /co-director), winner of the Australian Documentary Prize, Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure (producer) and Sam Klemke’s Time Machine (producer) and In My Blood It Runs (Producer). In 2021 she directed Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, starring Emma Thompson, which premiered at Sundance and screened at Berlinale.
Producer | she/her
Lisa came to the film industry after a career in banking and has a strong background in accounting and finance. Lisa worked on the distribution and impact campaign for Gayby Baby (2015) and with Screen Impact on the distribution of Motorkite Dreaming (2016). In 2018 Lisa gained her Diploma in Production Accounting from the Australian Film and Television School. Most recently, Lisa worked as an Associate Producer and Impact Producer on documentary In My Blood It Runs.
Producer | he/him
Matthew Bate is a multi-award winning writer, director and producer. His 2011 feature Shut Up Little Man! premiered in competition at the Sundance Film festival before screening theatrically across the US and being picked up by Netflix. His follow up feature Sam Klemke’s Time Machine premiered at the 2015 Sundance New Frontiers Program and won the Doc Aviv Artistic Spirit Award. Matthew has created television series and one off films for SBS, ABC, Al Jazeera and The New York Times. He has been nominated for two AACTA Awards and is an AWGIE Award winning screenwriter. The TV series which he created, writes and produces; Aftertaste; is currently in production on its second season for ABC. Matthew is a founding director of Closer Productions.
Impact Producer | she/her
Alex Kelly is an artist, filmmaker, producer and activist based on Dja Dja Warrung land. Working across film, theatre, communications strategy and troublemaking, Alex purposefully connects the disciplines of art and social change. Alex’s previous films include This Changes Everything (Global Impact & Distribution Producer), Island of the Hungry Ghosts (Producer), In My Blood It Runs (Impact Producer) and Nothing Rhymes with Ngapartji (Producer). In 2013, Alex was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research documentaries and their social impact in the UK, Canada and the USA; Alex has been further supported by a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2016 and a Bertha Challenge Fellowship in 2020. Alongside Unquiet Alex’s current focus is the futuring practice The Things We Did Next, a collaborative hybrid of theatre, imagination and democracy. Alex is also a member of The Orchard Keepers Collective who steward a 5000 tree organic orchard on Djaara Country.
Consultant | she/her
Rebekah Robertson OAM is an Australian actor, author and advocate. In 2012, Rebekah founded the first parent led peer support group and information hub for transgender kids and their families in Australia, Transcend Australia. She, alongside her daughter Georgie Stone has been at the forefront of every major campaign for trans rights in Australia over the last decade. In 2019, she published a memoir About A Girl (Penguin Random House) which takes the reader from the birth of her twins Georgie and Harry through their legal challenges and advocacy, to adulthood. Rebekah has been recognised for her community work and activism, receiving the GLOBE Community Ally of the Year Award in 2019 and being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2020.
Campaign Consultant | he/him
Jeremy Wiggins is the Executive Officer of Transcend Australia, a national organisation dedicated to supporting families and their trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGD) children. Jeremy has over 15 years management, community development and advocacy experience working with TGD communities across Australia and internationally. Jeremy is a trusted and highly respected community leader who has successfully established award winning TGD health services and programs. Jeremy is Co-Chair of the Victorian Government’s Trans and Gender Diverse Expert Advisory Group, a 2016 Churchill Fellow in Transgender Health and Victoria’s 2018 LGBTI Person of the Year.
Impact Associate | they/them
At 17, Aud has experience as an actor, spoken word poet, activist and public speaker. In 2017 they created and performed a TedX talk about their experience of gender, which has since garnered over one million views. Since, they have appeared in several award winning films, been a consultant, keynote speaker and slam poet. Aud also works as a youth activist in the Adelaide School Strike 4 Climate group, and through their workshop facilitation, is a strong advocate for the queering of society.
Rachel Naninaaq Edwardson
Cultural Safety Consultant | she/her
Rachel is from Utqiagvik (Alaska) and is a social justice film director/producer. She has directed/produced 8 documentaries, 2 short dramas and 13 episodes for Television. Most recently she co-produced the film and impact campaign for In My Blood It Runs and was a collaborating director and co-lead workshop designer and facilitator for Burn, a improvisational short drama targeting youth gang violence in inner city Sydney. She is a 2009 alumni of the Sundance Institute Ford Fellowship for her Iñupiaq Fantasy Trilogy and short film. Her history of the Iñupiaq documentary series was the first all native produced and directed history series in the United States, the educational and political campaigns around the first 3 films contributed to legislation change, educational initiatives, and the declassification of federally held documents. She also works in education and is a cultural safety consultant in Australia and the USA, leading holistic culturally safe and responsive practice in education, film, arts and media, government, health and corporate sectors. She is a Iñupiat/Norwegian/Sami woman. Rachel is married to former land rights lawyer and social justice advocate, David Selvarajah Vadiveloo, and together they have three children. She is the oldest daughter of Debby and George Edwardson.
Transcend Australia is an Australian not for profit organisation and registered charity, which provides information, support and referral to parents, families and carers and their trans, gender diverse and non-binary children. Transcend Australia was established in 2012 by Rebekah Robertson OAM, the proud mother of Georgie Stone OAM and has since provided support to thousands of families across Australia.
The Unquiet Collective are a collective of experienced storytellers and impact producers who care deeply about making transformative change. They combine the existing know-how of six women from film, campaigning, art and impact backgrounds with a powerful commitment to partnerships led by communities with lived experience. The collective works with filmmakers to reach their (often under-serviced) audiences and invite audiences to move from ideas into action.