“Your performance was magnificent. I’m really, really proud of you,” Jenner told Taylor last night, before a packed audience of supporters and celebrities at the Landmark. The two shared their thoughts at a post-screening reception in the theater.
“I learned so much from this film,” Jenner said. “This was a real movie about real issues in our community. We need to expose those.”
“I’ve had a very sad life,” Taylor, 24, told the audience.
Last month she told The Advocate’s Daniel Reynolds that she hopes the film will increase the visibility of sex workers and struggles like drug addiction and limited economic opportunities.
“I hope that they see that it’s real,” she said in that interview, and Jenner told the audience she did.
“For me, it was brutally honest. Stories like this are nothing but good for our community,” said Jenner.
Taylor, the first trans actor to ever win a Gotham Award, is already a Best Supporting Actress nominee in next month's Independent Spirit Awards. Her costar Kiki Kitana Rodriguez, nominated for Best Actress, did not attend last night's screening. Magnolia Pictures is behind the campaign to have both Taylor and her costar Rodriguez nominated for the 2016 Academy Awards; no transgender actor has ever received an Oscar nomination. The nominations will be announced January 14.
Following the screening, Jenner told Variety she hopes her support of the film and its stars will generate greater awareness of transgender issues, such as suicide, homelessness, being the victims of crime, and the needs for health care and proper identification.
“I want to see more understanding,” she told Variety. “I want to see the whole movement move forward. The movie brought to light the biggest issue in our community, which is trans women of color.”
The Olympic gold medalist, who came out nine months ago, credited her publicist, Alan Nierob, for persuading her to support the film. Transparent’s Jay Duplass, who co-executive produced the film with his brother Mark, told The Advocate he was grateful to Hollywood producer and Jenner’s I Am Cait costar Zackary Drucker for her persuasion as well.
Tangerine was directed by Sean Baker, who was named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch last year, and shot entirely with iPhone 5S cameras with a budget of $100,000.
Baker told The Advocate that while Taylor might have been unfazed by having a camera pointed at her as they cruised L.A.’s mean streets, the actors who have less screen experience felt much more comfortable with just an iPhone in their face. “They were able to forget the camera and just be real,” said Baker.
The movie is set in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve and depicts the plight of trans sex worker Sin-Dee, played by Rodriguez, and her best friend, another pre-op trans prostitute named Alexandra, played by Taylor.
Sin-Dee just got out of jail and is hellbent on confronting her cheating pimp boyfriend and finding his new love interest, while Taylor is focused on her Christmas Eve engagement at West Hollywood’s famous Hamburger Mary’s, while trying to avoid Sin-Dee’s drama.
“It’s like a love story. But it’s a friendship love story,” Taylor told The Advocate last month. “It’s very sweet.”
“There was that aura about Mya Taylor when I first met her,” Baker told the audience at the screening. Taylor collaborated with Baker on the story, reports Variety.
Jenner follows on the heels of Laverne Cox and out director Lisa Cholodenko, who have also hosted screenings for Tangerine in the last few months, Variety reports. The Hollywood bible says the film has earned $700,000 since its release in July.
Watch the trailer for Tangerine below, from YouTube.