: Narrative Short
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Post-Production


When a dutiful woman from a socially conservative, religious family discovers that her child is questioning their gender, she must decide in a matter of moments what kind of mother she’ll be.


Told in real time over six minutes as three generations prepare for church on a sunny Sunday morning, Such A Pretty Girl introduces us to dreamy, sensitive, ten-year-old Finn as she twirls happily in a pretty sundress and experiments with makeup, shyly admiring her reflection in the mirror. Finn’s reverie is broken when her mother, Meg, enters the room unexpectedly and reacts harshly to seeing makeup on her young child’s face, upsetting them both. Their standoff is interrupted by Meg’s exacting, conservative father, Frank, calling for Meg from the next room, and it’s only when the three gather to leave -- and Finn emerges dressed in boy’s clothing -- that we understand what’s really going on: Meg has discovered that her child, known to the world as a boy, is questioning their gender in a family that doesn’t abide such things, and it will be up to Meg to find a way forward for them all.


As the mother of a trans child, I’m intimately acquainted with how perception— both the child’s self-perception and others' perception of them — can affect their sense of self, of worthiness, of belonging. Our film’s visual language will manipulate and illuminate these tensions and challenge viewers to consider how perception works on their own beliefs about gender. My father’s beliefs robbed him of knowing his warm, kind, funny granddaughter, and I offer this film in his memory and in honor of all the brave Finns in the world — most especially my own — with the hope that it helps folks like my dad understand what he wouldn't while they still have the chance.


Deborah Puette - Writer/Director

A queer, femme creator who moves between film, television, and theater, Deborah Puette grew up in a conservative Irish-Catholic family of hunters who taught her to use a shotgun when she was eight. She left her small town to live around the globe, from Paris, France, to Juneau, Alaska, and attributes her two decades as an award-winning actor to her early success as a writer and director.

Deborah's first short film was chosen as one of eight finalists from over 2200 entries in the NBCUniversal Shorts Festival, garnering nominations for Best Writer and Best Short. She expanded that into her first feature, entitled Cash for Gold; that script held a top-ten placement on The Black List for sixteen weeks, became a Finalist in The Black List x WIF Feature Residency, and garnered the attention of Franklin Leonard who championed the project toward production. Deborah also co-directed and stars in the film which is slated for a 2024 festival run.

Deborah’s pilot Blaze received a coveted placement on the prestigious GLAAD List, a compilation of the best unproduced scripts by LGBTQ+ writers awarded annually by GLAAD and The Black List. She is currently in pre-production on Such A Pretty Girl, a short film inspired by characters from her first pilot, Play Like A Girl. Loosely based on her own experience raising a trans child in a family of religious conservatives, that pilot was a Finalist for the 2021 Writers Lab underwritten by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Oprah Winfrey.

Rachel Stander - Producer

Rachel Stander is an independent producer focused on narrative filmmaking. Her first feature, Scrap, world premiered at the Deauville American Film Festival in France and co-starred Anthony Rapp and Lana Parrilla. Her follow-up feature, Victorian Gothic thriller Séance, will premiere in 2024. Other work highlights include Lesbophilia, a dark comedy short with queer themes and Julian, a quirky short comedy about family.

Rachel is a member of Women in Film, Film Independent, The Gotham, Women Independent Producers, GreenLight Women, and HRTS, and provides mentorship for early- and mid-career professionals. Before graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern California with a degree in Theatre, she studied dance at Barnard College, Columbia University, as well as at NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Rachel is an unapologetic cat lady and has never met a spreadsheet she couldn’t tweak for the better.

Kat White - Cinematographer

Kat White is an LA-based cinematographer. She has shot several award-winning narrative shorts, and her work has been profiled in American Cinematographer magazine. Her music video work has been featured in publications such as AltPress, Glamour, Billboard, FADER, Refinery29, Complex UK, Kerrang!, NME, and Stereogum. Kat has shot for labels including Warner Records, Republic Records, Rise/BMG, Epitaph, Thriller, and The Orchard.

Peter Haoyu Ju - Editor

Haoyu "Peter" Ju is a Chinese film editor based in Los Angeles. He earned his MFA in film editing at the American Film Institute Conservatory and BA in design and media arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. His AFI thesis film, Chorus, was selected for the CAA Moebius Showcase in 2022 and has garnered five awards and fourteen nominations in festivals, including six Oscar-qualifying selections. His first feature film, Cash For Gold, is currently in the festival circuit. He believes filmmaking serves a mission for public enlightenment and social progression, and editing is his tool for executing such a duty.

Charlene Lee, CSA - Casting Director

Charlene Lee has over a decade of experience casting for film and television including the television series Fargo, Patriot, and Get Shorty.  She is perhaps best known for casting the critically-acclaimed Netflix limited series, Beef, for which she is currently nominated for a 2023 Primetime Emmy Award along with her partner at CLCK Casting, Claire Koonce. Charlene is a graduate of Colorado College's Film & Media Studies Program.

Abel Ryan - Production Designer

Abel is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. Raised in Salt Lake City, Abel had an early fascination with fairytales and folklore that soon led to creating their own imagined worlds and characters out of cardboard boxes and construction paper. They followed this fervor to the USC School of Cinematic Arts where they graduated with a B. F. A. in Film and Television Production. These days, Abel focuses on creating vivid life through sophisticated designs that tread the line between realistic and stylized, infusing sets with richness and nuance. They currently work in the Art Department for film, commercial, and print.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2024


UPDATE - November 07, 2023

THANK YOU to those who've already joined us. We're going to make something truly beautiful. We'll be updating soon!

Help promote my fundraising campaign
Put our donation widget on your website

Get Widget Code



The Gotham Logo


© 2024 The Gotham. All Rights Reserved.
   Design by Andrew Martin

The Gotham Film & Media Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding, developing and celebrating the people and projects that shape the future of story.

Learn more about us or become a member