Dad’s Red Dress
A story about the relationship between a 13-year-old girl and her dad, who is transitioning into the woman she believes she is.
Like most teenagers, Jessie wants her family to be normal. Boringly normal. But this is what she’s working with: her sister Laura (7) wants to be an actual saint, her step-mum Eva makes erotic feminist installations, while her dad Frank becomes Mandy as soon as the front door closes.
Which is all fine, until someone finds out.
Moving back to Ireland, Jessie wants to avoid the bullying that kicks off when school friends find out about Mandy. For her own sake, and the sake of her kid sister, she has set herself the goal of making sure everything at least appears normal to the outside world. Then her dad announces that he’s taking it to the next level.
Dad’s Red Dress celebrates difference and family, in a fresh, humorous and truthful way.
Genre: Live-action comedy drama with a heart!
Duration: 10 x 30’ or 5 x 60’
Country of Production: Ireland
Target Audience: Tweens to teens (and all the family!)
Production Company: Lunar Pictures
Producer: Niamh Fagan
Scriptwriter: Lindsay J. Sedgwick
Estimated Budget: Approx. 3M EUR plus
Confirmed Financing: 57,500 EUR
Goals at the Kids Kino Industry:
Funding / Sales agent / Co-producer / Distributor / Broadcaster
Dad’s Red Dress deals with contemporary and important issues. It was inspired by a trans woman that my family knew when I was a teenager myself. I always wondered how her children handled going to school once she began her social transition.
My own daughter is in the LGBTQ community, several of her friends are trans and I know parents who have transitioned. As such, it is a subject I am emotionally invested in. While many contemporary stories have been told from the point of view of the individual transitioning, I am not aware of any told from the viewpoint of the teenage daughter of a trans parent.
I have done a lot of research within this community. Both children of trans parents and trans individuals are excited to see this story told well, with all the humour, drama and complex emotions that exist in such relationships and in all parent-child relationships.
Having worked in film and TV as a screenwriter, I feel strongly that Dad’s Red Dress is built within a rich, visual world with a strong cast of players, all of whom have their own story arcs. I am also aware of the challenges in adapting a book into a TV series, having worked in the development of a large number of series, from live-action through to animation. I believe I have both the skillset, the experience and the knowledge of what I need to do to achieve this.
But I also know these characters so well! I would love to share them with a larger audience and I believe they will have broad appeal. At the end of the day, I am a believer in stories that move people and stimulate discussion, that encourage a celebration of difference, a greater understanding and humanity. Humour coupled with relatable, credible characters and a strong and challenging storyline would seem to me to be the way to achieve this.
Producer Niamh Fagan has over 25 years’ experience in the film and television industry, and her recent international award-winning feature documentary Shooting the Mafia had its worldwide theatrical release in 2019/2020.
Niamh started out working in feature film cutting rooms in Dublin, London and Hollywood, learning the craft of storytelling and filmmaking from editors like Jim Clarke, Johnny Jympson and Gerry Hambling while working on films with directors Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan, Michael Caton-Jones and Anjelica Huston.
From being an accomplished editor, Niamh gravitated towards producing, creating award-winning TV series for RTE & TG4 such as Trouble in Paradise, The Last Furlong and Rasai na Gaillimhe 1 & 2. Niamh’s first theatrical feature documentary, Shooting the Mafia, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Kim Longinotto, had its world premiere at the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Competition and European premiere at Berlinale’s Panorama in 2019.
Niamh’s production company, Lunar Pictures, operates from Westport, County Mayo, in Ireland.
Lindsay J. Sedgwick
Lindsay is an award-winning screenwriter and creator of the ground-breaking series Punky, which has been recognised as the first mainstream animation series in the world in which the central character has special needs (Down’s syndrome). Two series later, it is available in over 100 countries and has around 5 million hits on YouTube.
Crossing genres, and searching out the best stories to tell, Lindsay has worked on live-action and animated films and TV series, written for both kids and adults, as well as games and apps. She has worked with a wide range of production companies in Ireland and the UK as a screenwriter, creator and creative consultant, and she published the first part of her trilogy, Dad’s Red Dress, in 2017. The second instalment, Dad’s Wedding Dress, is due out in October 2020.
In 2018, Lindsay published Ireland’s first comprehensive guide to screenwriting, titled Write That Script, and she has just signed a two-book deal with publishers Little Island for
her Wulfie series.