The story follows Allie (Sophie Giannamore), a young transgender girl who transitioned while her father (Michael Torpey) was away serving an active tour of duty. Allie struggles with being accepted by her teachers and classmates at school, and when she returns home to find her father standing in her room, she is worried he might react the same.
Giannamore, who in real life is transgender, has also been seen in Amazon’s Transparent and ABC’s The Good Doctor. She also has a popular Vlog on YouTube.
Kelley, who has also worked on popular shows such as Bill Nye Saves the World, Project Runway, and 2016 TV series, Nightcap, told the Huffington Post he wanted to show “an example of what the parental relationship with a trans child, or any child, should be” with his film.
“Every day there is a new story of a local victory, or small-scale progress being made,” Kelley said. “There are multiple large-scale battles being fought in courts, legislatures and communities across the country, and youth and passion are on our side. Together, these efforts create a tidal wave of progressive thought and policy.”
“There are many things for which we can be somber, but we should also look at this week as a chance to showcase ourselves,” he added about Transgender Awareness Week. “I want [trans youth] to know that this week exists, in a large part, in order to help them.”
The seven-minute film previously screened at the 2017 Outfest in Los Angeles and the 2018 New England Film Festival,
When a soldier returns home, things have often changed. For Staff Sergeant Michael Waltze, the ultimate change is in his child. While on his tour of duty, his daughter has transitioned and started living her truth. Today he is coming home to surprise her.
Parental love is unconditional. It transcends a person's memory of their child. The Real Thing is an infinitely stronger bond.
Allie - Sophie Giannamore
Michael - Michael Torpey
Writer/Director - Brandon Kelley
Producer - Jon Gestal
Director of Photography - Greta Zozula
Production Designer - Michael Mizrahi
Costume Designer - Liz Kelley
Casting - Mia Cusumano
Color - Josh Spector
Graphic Design - Emily Maxwell