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The Pearl


THE PEARL explores the raw emotional and physical experience of being a middle aged to senior transgender woman against the backdrop of post-industrial logging towns in the Pacific Northwest. The film leans into the struggle of those who were reared and successful as men and have reached middle age or later with a burdensome secret that they can no longer keep. The power of the film lies in the shared experience of vulnerability, the uncomfortable edge that the characters live with everyday as they bravely step out into a world that is not ready to accept them.

The Filmmakers

Jessica Dimmock Director/Cinematographer

Director/Cinematographer Jessica Dimmock is the recipient of the 2014 Infinity Award for Photojournalist of The Year from the International Center of Photography and the 2013 World Press Photo Multimedia Contest as the director and cinematographer of the Online Feature "Too Young To Wed." In 2010, Dimmock won Kodak's Best Cinematography Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival for WITHOUT. The film premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, received an Independent Spirit Award, and was nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award. Dimmock contributed two short films to Doctors Without Borders' Emmy-nominated campaign, "Starved for Attention." Most recently, she worked as photographer and videographer for Emmy-nominated HBO series "The Weight of the Nation."

Christopher LaMarca Director/Cinematographer

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Christopher LaMarca (Director/Cinematographer) is based in Portland, Oregon. LaMarca has recently entered post-production on his first feature length film, BOONE. In 2012 BOONE was chosen as 1 of 8 films for Film Independent's Documentary Film lab. LaMarca's monograph, "Forest Defenders: The Confrontational American Landscap" was published by PowerHouse Books in 2008. He was chosen to participate in the International Center of Photography's triennial exhibition (2007), New York Photo festival (2009) and Lishui photo festival in China (2010). He reported on environmental and energy issues for magazines such as Rolling Stone, GQ, Fortune, and Newsweek.

Kate Barry Producer

Kate Barry is currently the New York Line Producer for The National Geographic Channel, overseeing over 40 productions globally including "COSMOS" and the Emmy Nominated "Brain Games." She recently Co-Produced the Emmy Nominated "Quiz Ed" for the HBO series "The Weight of the Nation for Kids." Kate has line produced over 100 episodes of television for HGTV, Bravo, and VH1, and worked in London as Film and Music Entertainment's Head of European Co-productions. Her films have screened at festivals around the world including Venice, Berlin, and Toronto.

Festivals & Awards

True/False 2016

“Set against the hyper-masculine culture of Pacific Northwest logging towns, The Pearl sensitively follows four middle-aged transgender women as they struggle to find recognition, refuge, and love. Krystal and Jodie were brothers who kept their identities secret from one another for years until an explosive argument culminated in cathartic confessions. After attending a training camp, Krystal wholeheartedly embraces life as a woman while Jodie continues to struggle with a career on the road where she only feels safe as a man. Nina wrestles with how to tell her wife of nearly 40 years. And Amy prepares for surgery while trying to mother her younger roommates in a shambly group home. Gorgeous and gentle, The Pearl offers both sadness and joy, and, always, love. (IK)”

+ Festival Website

Hot Docs International Film Festival 2016

"Set in the hyper-masculine culture of post-industrial logging towns, The Pearl follows four extraordinary transgender women who, having lived in the closet their whole lives, make the decision to transition in their middle and senior years. Beginning at the annual Esprit Conference where transgender women express their true identities, this powerful film follows the women over three years as they grapple with the varying stages of their transitions. Jodi, who can no longer hide her true identity, comes out to her biological brother only to discover a shocking secret they both share. Nina, a 67-year-old retired architect living full-time as male, has kept her secret from her wife of 35 years but now risks the loss of her entire family. And Amy, 72 and coping with loneliness after the death of her wife, opens her home to support other transgender women."-  Heather Haynes

+ Festival Website



Here is “the real Transparent,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter. Set against the backdrop of logging towns in the Pacific Northwest, THE PEARL is an intimate profile of four transgender women who come out for the first time in their later years. This immersive story considers not only what it means to become a woman, but also what it means to leave behind living as a man. “You gotta find that pearl and forget the shell,” says one woman about her identity.

+ Festival Website


Focusing very intimately on its four characters, the movie's big hook is that which a scripted filmmaker could barely create: Two of the personalities, Krystal and Jodie, were brothers who, for years, were each gender-fluid unbeknownst to the other ... The film also offers a different kind of close-up at trans identity. The camera is up tight in the women's lives - cooking at home, dancing in a bedroom on vacation - in a way most films rarely have the patience to do... At its best, documentaries allow you to know your neighbor, in Albert Maysles' famous coinage. The audience's eyes almost all opened simultaneously. ”

-LA Times

Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca’s documentary, which intimately examines the lives of four transgender women in the Pacific Northwest, is a powerful addition to the growing body of cinematic work on the subject.”

-The Hollywood Reporter

Christopher LaMarca and Jessica Dimmock’s THE PEARL is a nighttime movie, all quiet, warmly illuminated interior spaces. Floating from location to location without definitively marking the passage of time, a fitting match for its subjects.”

-Filmmaker Magazine