CHANGING THE GAMEDirected by Michael Barnett
Cast: MACK BEGGS, SARAH ROSE HUCKMAN, ANDRAYA YEARWOOD
Filmmaker Michael Barnett’s richly textured documentary illuminates an issue both timely and topical, but at its core captures the warm-hearted, courageous characters living within it. Three resilient transgender high school athletes across the United States fight for their sports titles and battle voices of harassment in their pursuit to compete as their authentic gender. We enter the lives of Sarah Rose Huckman, a spunky skier and teen policymaker in New Hampshire, Andraya Yearwood, a fierce track star slaying her competition, and at the center of our story is Mack Beggs, a two-time Texas State Champion wrestler who made headlines for dominating women’s wrestling while pushing to wrestle boys.
Caught in the center of a national debate on trans civil rights, these athletes channel the endurance they’ve learned from their sports into their ever more public battles. Those of us who remember feeling helpless against the jeers and aggression of high school bullies will marvel at the perseverance each of these dedicated teens shows in the face of vitriol from parents and pundits alike, developing an emotional maturity far beyond anything their young age should require. Still, a network of support emerges to bolster their resolve, and despite the extreme anger of their opposition, each of these inspirational young forces of nature triumphantly overcomes hurdle after hurdle in their individual journey to live as their true selves.
Barnett is an Emmy Award–winning filmmaker. His films include Superheroes (HBO Documentary Films), winning over a dozen festivals and multiple Emmy nominations; Becoming Bulletproof (Showtime), winner of over 25 awards; and The Mars Generation (Netflix Original/Sundance premiere), a 2018 Best Science & Technology Documentary Emmy nominee.