You Should Stream: Esai Morales Stars as the Disapproving Dad of a Trans Teenager in ‘Gun Hill Road’

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First-time director Rashaad Ernesto Green put together a cast of seasoned professionals (Esai Morales of La Bamba, Judy Reyes of Scrubs) and newcomers to tell the story of a transgendered teenager growing up in the Bronx. For the past three years while his father has spent time locked up, Michael has been gradually transforming into Vanessa. When his father, Enrique, is released he returns to a son who prefers to be a daughter. Enraged and frustrated by his wife’s acceptance of the situation Enrique thinks that he can bully Vanessa into being more of a ‘man.’

Harmony Santana who had never acted professionally before, shines on screen in a moving, sincere, and raw performance in the role of Michael/Vanessa. Santana, herself a transgendered teenager, was discovered by Green while she was working an HIV awareness booth at the Queens gay pride parade. For her performance she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Gun Hill Road
Director: Rashaad Ernesto Green
Cast: Esai Morales, Judy Reyes, Harmony Santana

 Where To Watch It: Netflix Instant, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes