THEY is an intimate portrait of Hobbit and Jake, who have decided to raise their one-year-old child Anoush gender open. The family lives on a houseboat in the UK and in order to prevent people from making gender-related assumptions, they are keeping the biological sex of their baby a secret.
This film follows the family through their thoroughly modern experiment in gender neutral parenting over the first year of Anoush’s life. The parents are constantly considering the effects this may have on their child, particularly as they await the usual question on repeat- is it a boy or a girl? And the shock, warbled communication of the questioner after.
Though this is a film about gender, it's a touchstone for how dependent we are on others opinions in order to live a peaceful life.
Louisa Rechenbach 'THEY was my first film on the topic of gender identity. I spent a few months developing the idea and engaging with parents that are raising their children with a gender open approach to learn about their motivations and approaches to parenting.
When I came across Hobbit, Jake and Anoush, I just had a feeling they were the right people to embark on this journey with. The parents were open, well educated, self-aware and very passionate about fighting against the pressure to bring their child up in accordance with the gender stereotyping their biological sex would dictate. From the moment Anoush was born, Hobbit and Jake referred to their child as they/them.
Young children are often put into two opposite and disconnected groups of masculine and feminine from birth. This is reinforced through the design and marketing of toys, clothes and hobbies. But do girls really like pink or are they culturally brainwashed to believe they do?
I want this film to open up a bigger conversation about parenting, whether we impose a specific gender identity on children too early and to find out how possible gender neutral parenting is beyond the home environment. I decided to approach the subject with an open mind, to ask questions that I knew the audience would be interested in and to allow them to form their own views. I wanted the characters to represent themselves and to largely be unmediated by the production – this is why I worked with a very small crew to ensure intimacy and trust.'
Producer and Director - Louisa Rechenbach @louisa_rechenbach
Director of Photography - Zachariah Brown @zwsbrown
Production Manager and Distributor - Ioana Bogdana @tallandcool
Sound Recordist and Composer - Caleb Watson @caleb_watson_1
Editor - Nicky Chue @seedlinglibrary
Sound Design and Mix - Stefania Fantini
Colourist - Jenny-Jayne Webb @jennyjayne.colour
Social Media Manager - Eva Todica @evatodica
Graphics and Poster Design - Ka Ki Wong @kaki.wong.kaki
Special thanks to Technicolor Creative Services @technicolorco