The Making of Transsensual's "Transistion", by River Stark

October 27, 2016 | Posted in Editorial Features by holly-kingstown

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You Won't Forget "Transition"

Transsensual/Mile High Media has just released "Transition", a feature directed by Nica Noelle that stars River Stark. The story tells the true story of Stark's life, and Mercedes Carrera and Erica Lauren do their very first trans sex scenes in it. The cast also includes Aspen Brooks and Roman Todd and it is most definitely a poignant passion project that moved all involved in its production. Stark shares her feelings about the movie and the making of it below: 

This film "Transition" is something that I’m really proud of as a performer. There aren't a substantial number of opportunities in adult film to touch on issues that real people face in a impactful way or make a express political statement, aside from its very existence being political. So, when Mercedes pulled the trigger on her first TS film with me, I knew it would be a great opportunity to be both political and have it, hopefully, cover something substantial beyond just fucking.

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Mercedes and I have a lot of ideas where we’re pretty polarized to opposite ends of the spectrum, but yet we’re able to communicate with one another. I think that while we stand so far apart on some things, there were still quite a few things we agree on, albeit with radically different approaches. So we talked about it and wanted that to be something that was evident in the film we worked on. We were both able to realize that people, despite differences, can stand together for a common end - both of us seemed to believe thats a rarity in our political process currently. So saying to the world “hey, we can do this, whats your excuse” was a central element of our thought process. That bridged over nicely to confronting issue where its frowned upon, due to stigma, for mainstream performers to work with trans people. The two of us came together on that because Mercedes is also typecast into specific roles, despite her having talent in roles outside of the narrative she usually cast in, which in a way is somewhat similar. So, Mercedes doing exactly the opposite was something significant on its own; it's pretty crazy that being a professional in what you do is something you can ever consider a political act or disruptive.

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A while later, Nica had expressed interest in shooting a film with the two of us in it, which was pretty much the opportunity both of us were looking for to achieve what we had talked about. Nica is an absolutely brilliant director and is a person who, at least on film, loves portrayals of controversy and conflict with complex stories. It didn't take Mercedes and I long to talk with Nica about creating a story for the film that called attention to what we saw as significant issues that needed attention, and be things that we could bridge a political divide with. Nica gave us a pretty substantial investment into that creative process and she basically gave us license to come up with the ideas of the things we wanted to cover, then she would then weave a story around that.

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Mercedes and I are both really passionate about quite a few of the same social issues, so it was a pretty quick discussion about material. We knew we were going to cover veterans issues like PTSD, family reintegration after deployment, how that service and struggles relates to transgender people - there are an estimated fifteen trans people currently serving in the US - and veterans in general. We also wanted to talk about sex work. Society has a pretty regressive, and entirely harmful, view of what a sex work is, and what a sex worker does. So for us, seeing that portrayed in a manner that was at odds with that narrative was important to us. Beyond that, I felt that it was really important to cover issues relating to trans people in a film, and not have the actual act of transitioning be the center of focus. Thats sort of why the military and relationship aspect was so prominent in the film - age just sort of worked itself in there at the end.

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We then went to Nica and pitched her those story ideas and she loved them. She then took all that and crafted it into the what is the plot and storyline to "Transition". While I knew we were going to have scenes where I was playing my character pre-transition, it took me quite a while to be able to be OK with that. In the back of my head it felt, at times, like the ultimate betrayal. I had gone through all this hard work being as authentic to myself as possible and sacrificed a lot, and now I was going to undo all of that with this. Even up to the first day of shooting, I was pretty apprehensive about it. I was around a super supportive crew, like-minded performers, and an awesome director who all made that something I could express, and it was ultimately a positive feeling which had a pretty healthy impact, making the character better in the process. I think not only for myself, but other performers in the film, that attitude on set lent a lot to where the film went. This film is the only instance I can recall where people were crying at various points while shooting because they were so moved by the story, which was pretty intense - it gave us a lot of hope for what this little porno could be.

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It was my first chance to work with most of the talent on set. Both Aspen and Erica are great performers, so their contributions to the film pulled everything together. Aspen’s devilish attitude came through a lot in her character, and the same can be said for Erica’s warm and inviting personality. I'm not sure if my scene with Erica would have been anywhere near as fluid and appropriate for the story had it been anyone else. Nica pushed the envelope there too by making the decision that no, seeing a cum shot isn't necessary for the integrity of the scene. So, while each performer was putting their own fingerprints on the film for the better, Nica was adding to that in other ways.

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Mercedes is just an all around amazing performer. It was pretty amazing seeing some of her acting in this film. As a performer, working with someone that dedicated to what they're doing made it significantly easier to do my job and was a major part of what will hopefully be a well received movie. Also,the dynamic between us and the huge freedom Nica gave us with our characters, made the film great to be a part of - she’s also pretty good at what she does without a script too.

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Everything fell in its place with this film. Mercedes and I got to work on something meaningful that went beyond just bodies making love together on camera and thankfully it involved a lot of other equally dedicated people. I believe Nica’s amazing directing style allowed pieces to shuffle and fall in the right order to give everyone involved in it an immense sense of ownership in what we were creating, which you don't really see a lot of in what we do. I feel like that all culminated in the naming of the film itself. After everyone was drawing a blank, the title “Transition” came up and it just kind of made sense. I'm not sure on why it did for everyone else, but for me it meant a few different things. It was a social and medical transition of a character in a film, transition of a soldier from battle to civilian life, a transition away from the narrative that sex workers are exploited drones, a transition from the stigma that stands as a wall between trans people and mainstream porn, a transition away from casting cisgender [non-trans] people as trans people and so on. The first time I heard the film's suggested name, I was all about it, as was the case with the entire film. It has definitely tuned into one of the best projects I’ve gotten a chance to be apart of and something I plan on doing more of in future work with other directors, or possibly wearing that hat myself.

All of the images and video here appear courtesy of Transsensual/Mile High Media. You can follow Stark on Twitter and you can watch "Transition" by clicking right here!

Tagged in: aspen brooks , erica lauren , mercedes carrera , mile high media , nica noelle , river stark , roman todd , trans , transsensual ,

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