Ira Storozhenko’s live-action short film Juliet focuses on a transgender teenager who hopes to play Juliet in a Romeo & Juliet school play. This powerful short which was inspired by the director and producers’ experience’s with gender discrimination has already screened at 7 film festivals including the Oscar-qualifying AFI Fest 2020 and Indie Short Fest where it won the 2020 Best Student LGBTQ Short Award. Juliet will be screening at the 2021 Manchester Film Festival.

A transgender teenager battles prejudice and her own self-doubt to audition for the female lead in her high school’s play.

Director Ira Storozhenko started her career in film with a documentary when she was just 17 years old. Storozhenko’s debut documentary short was screened at the Moscow International Film Festival and her narrative short Masterpiece has played at thirteen film festivals around the world, including the Oscar-qualifying Foyle Film Festival. Ira is currently pursuing an MFA in directing at the AFI Conservatory and is preparing to direct her second thesis film titled “Why don’t you like me?”

Producer Katherine D. May is also a writer who, prior to AFI, had worked at NBCUniversal, Hulu and Snap Inc. where she produced a wide range of projects, from marketing campaigns for studios and global brands, to augmented reality. During her time at the AFI Conservatory, May has collaborated with directors, cinematographers and editors to create 5 narratives shorts and 2 visual essays. Her greatest passion lies in telling female driven stories and bringing them to life across a multitude of mediums. Katherine holds an MFA in Producing from the American Film Institute Conservatory.

Writer Wilandrea Blair is a recent graduate of the AFI Conservatory screenwriting program. While there, she focused on writing TV comedy, completed three thesis projects, served as a teaching assistant and mentor. Before attending the AFI Conservatory, Wilandrea was an award-winning creative director in advertising and a broadcast news writer/producer.

Cinematographer Sarah Anne Pierpont began traveling the world as a commercial cinematographer and nonfiction camera operator after spending her early freelance career photographing musicians and concerts. Her commercial background includes clients such as Adobe, Warner Music Group, Facebook and Nike, and her narrative work has screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Juliet will be screening at the 2021 Manchester Film Festival on March 11th – March 14th and the 2021 SPE Media Festival from March 17th – March 21st.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.