The anxious and zigzagging story of Waking Hour lived inside me for a year before a frenzied two-day writing spree finally set it free. I am tremendously humbled that so many people decided this was a story worth telling.
For Sofia, who we meet for a brief moment in time, Waking Hour is about reconciling her fears and desires as a young trans woman. The stakes are high for her at all times. On the other hand, Isaac is forced to ask himself questions he never expected, and we find him stumbling through the ugliness of transphobia. Neither of them feels prepared to deal with their attraction to each other.
I, too, am a young trans woman still resolving the conflicts between my truth and the realities of this world. This story is very personal to me, yet Waking Hour has become personal to more people than I could have imagined as a first-time director. Though the film revolves around a Latina trans woman’s experience, many of us can hopefully relate to its questions about integrity, consent, and fear.
This little movie was possible thanks to the generosity of 134 people who donated to a shot-in-the-dark crowd fundraiser. Before the fundraiser was even complete, a small community of creatives began to assemble. One dreamy phone call with producer Chloe Webster soon led to visioning and scouting with Director of Photography Aja Pop, and we rode the ride all the way to digital magic with editor Sowj Kudva, just to name a few members of the team. We are largely queer and trans people of color. Many of us worked in roles that were new to us, and we inspired each other in ways that are evident in the film’s authentic aesthetic and style.
Everyone gave their very best, and I am so proud of our creation. We shot 12 scenes in four locations over three days, on a tiny budget. Much like Sofia and Isaac’s story, the process of making this film entailed unexpected challenges and valuable lessons learned. (Always account for traffic, paperwork, and eyeshadow fiascos!) I am grateful to have worked with a cast and crew who embodied the spirit of patience, dedication, and artistry.
After what she experiences in Waking Hour, Sofia will never be the same. A part of her woke up. Perhaps her story will do the same for someone who least expects it. I know it did for me.
– Nava Mau