Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You
A chance encounter between recently transitioned mechanic Rusty Tidenberg and filmmaker Harrod Blank (Wild Wheels, Automorphosis) sparks a captivating portrayal of the multifaceted life of a transgender woman. Blank, son of revered documentarian Les Blank, first hires Rusty to work on his broken-down van, an interactive art car adorned with cameras, leading to their unexpected collaboration. Blank follows Rusty’s life over eight years, capturing her as she navigates her relationship with her unaccepting father, the changing landscape of romance, and the intricacies of being a woman. Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You—which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year—weaves in the voices of other art-car aficionados and artists similarly exploring the gender spectrum, but always returns to the philosophical Rusty. Through a series of intimate conversations about art cars, drag races, and resilience, Blank vividly captures Rusty’s journey to self-acceptance in a masculine world.