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With roughly 9,000 residents, Trinidad, Colo., is an unlikely place to serve as the “sex-change capital of the world.” The nickname explains why docu duo Jay Hodges and P.J. Raval felt inspired to investigate the tiny mining town, where transsexual surgeon Marci Bowers operates a leading gender-reassignment practice. Interested more in the underlying personalities than in the surface-altering procedure (although not shy about showing the bloody details), “Trinidad” is the type of social consciousness-raising exercise that seems better suited for the GLBT fest circuit or Logo than the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it premiered.

By contrasting redneck dismissals with quality time spent getting to know three local male-to-female patients, the helmers preach mostly to the choir. But they lack the discipline of seasoned reporters, losing the story’s narrative center in their determination to humanize the women, leaving the unstructured pic with an identity crisis of its own: This won’t be the film to sway opponents, nor does it dwell enough on post-op issues to be “prescribed” to potential patients (despite a significant subplot involving Morning Glow, a failed recovery center). Tech work seems designed for the smallscreen.

Trinidad

  • Production: A Surly Puppy Pictures presentation, in association with Never a Boy's Boy. Produced by P.J. Raval, Jay Hodges. Executive producer, Matt Dentler. Co-producer, Sara Giustini. Directed by P.J. Raval, Jay Hodges.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV), Raval; editor, Kyle Henry; music, Frank Alexander. Reviewed at Los Angeles Film Festival, June 22, 2008. Running time: 85 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Marci Bowers, Sabrina Marcus, Laura Ellis, Stanley Biber.
  • Music By: