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Director's Mum, Julie, had a list of sixty things she wanted to do before she turned 60. Top of that list: be a ‘man’ for a day…

UK based filmmaker Helena Middleton looked to home for her next documentary after she learnt of a particular item on Mum Julie's 'Before I turn 60' wish list: to spend a day as a man.

When Julie was a child she was desperate to be a boy, but when she hit adolescence she felt she lost that boy inside of her. With the help of her daughter, Julie is introduced to the drag king scene in the UK and discovers a new persona of her own, Willy Foraday.

MY MAMA, A MAN is an opportunity of self discovery for both mother and daughter. Through the experience Julie has the chance to connect to the boy inside her that she lost so many years ago, leaving her emotional, euphoric and with a refreshed idea on how the world should be.

Helena Middleton 'Before we made this film together, my mum had never heard of a drag king before. And yet, at the top of her list of things to do before her 60th birthday was to spend the day as a man. I was so interested to find out why she felt she wanted to live a day in a man’s shoes. Although my mum approached the experience with a lightness; an excitement, I knew there was something deeper to explore. Whenever she spoke about her childhood, pre puberty, she would describe having the freedom of a boy. That fascinated me - why she felt that her adventurous activities as a child were associated with boyhood at all. What was clear, was that when she was growing up, she didn’t have access to the kind of scene that would help her explore her questions around gender. But it was not too late. The film introduces her to the drag king scene and uses gender performativity as a way of processing her childhood feelings. The idea behind making the film was to create a fun exploration of gender identity with the hope of encouraging cross-generational conversations. What it turned into, for me, was an ode to my amazing mum and the incredible relationship we have.'


Helena Middleton | Director @helenamiddletonfilm

Rosanagh Griffiths | Producer @rosanaghhhhh @spinsterfilms

Edythe Woolley | Producer @edythewoolley

Beatriz Sastre | Director of Photography @beatriz_sastre

Simon Whitehead | Editor @siwhitehead

Tom Crosley-Thorne | Composer @tom_crosley_thorne

Qila Gill | Associate Producer @ah.moi_

James Drake | Re-Recording Mixer @jamesdrakesnaps

Aidan Farrell | Online Editor @aidanthefarm

Kiri Degon | Post Producer @kiri_shmiri

Martha Lake | Post Producer @marthaxlake

Petra Lewis | 1st Assistant Camera @petraapea

Zeta Spyraki | 1st Assistant Camera @zetaspy

Joan Vicente Dura | 2nd Assistant Camera @joanvicenteidura

Caroline Heatlie | Sound Recordist

Ruby Spencer Pugh | Art Director @rubyspencerpugh

Kathryn Anderson | Runner

Lizzie French | Runner

Richard Owen | Runner

Elaine Vu | Runner

Denella Kennedy | Stills Photographer

Louise Tse | Creative Assistant @louisetse


John Middleton

Nicky Bentham

The Travel Foundation

James Telford @ The Glory

MAN UP! Drag King Contest

Robert Kennedy @ Dalston Pier

Technicolor Creative Services

The Farm Group

Pat McEnally @ Greenkit


Visual Impact Bristol