MAMA HAS A MUSTACHE is a short, quirky, fully animated documentary about gender and family, as seen through children’s eyes. Driven completely by audio interviews of kids ages 5-10, the film uses these sound bytes combined with clip-art and mixed media to explore how children are able to experience a world outside of the traditional gender binary.
As a gender nonconforming documentary filmmaker and parent myself, this film is highly personal to me. Because the film is rooted in my personal experience and community, the quality of each interview is intimate, refreshing, and—hopefully—funny. Most of the kids in the film are friends of my six-year-old daughter, some are the children of friends of mine, and others are folks around the country that I found through the film’s many advisors, with whom I am lucky enough to work.
More broadly, the idea of gender as a construct, rather than a biological trait, is not a new one. But the ways in which Americans are embracing this notion on a broad, national scale are vast and exciting. As we prepare to enter 2022, a slew of new terms are being used to describe anyone who identifies as outside the bounds of traditional gender expression: gender nonconforming, gender variant, gender fluid, genderqueer, among others, all used adamantly to eclipse the gender binary. Within this context, kids’ own gender identities and their perceptions of their parents’ gender are more complicated and nuanced than ever. How do kids, many of whom embrace this gender nonbinary, perceive their own and their parents’ gender? What are the ways in which children of nonbinary people are freed up to express themselves in a whole new range of forms? During a time when our world is suffering from so much pain and divisiveness, MAMA HAS A MUSTACHE seeks to explore and uncover this exciting new frontier–with lightness, humor, childlike openness, and play. The film is quirky, nuanced, and meaningful but also humorous, taking a tone more curious than preachy, raising more questions than delivering answers.