Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor

Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor is the story of a trans woman – the Dawn of the title – who returns to her rural Nova Scotia home after the death of her mother, hoping to mend her relationship with her estranged father. It’s the first feature film from Shelley Thompson, a Nova Scotia based writer and director who’s known for her work on The Trailer Park Boys.

Thompson wrote the film based on her own experience as a mom to a trans son. In an interview with CBC Radio’s Mainstreet, she said the film was “sort of my love letter to my son’s community, and the hope that [people] understand how important it is … that families and communities support trans people.”

Dawn is played by Maya Henry, a Toronto based actress and social media content creator. She’s also a trans woman playing the role of a trans woman. (Hurrah!) I’m thrilled that we’re finally able to tell our own stories and always look forward to seeing them on screen, but – irony of ironies – I could barely watch the trailer because certain scenes induced some triggering.

Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor made its world premiere at Toronto’s Inside Out Film Festival in May 2021. It will be screened in several theatres in the Maritimes in March, and at the Invermere Film Festival in Invermere, BC on March 26th. Despite my reliving a bit of trauma from the trailer, I’d love to see it in Ottawa (attention Bytowne and Mayfair Theatres!) and hope it gets wider distribution soon.