Ithaka Films and the Onassis Foundation are proud to present the theatrical release of the official Oscar entry for Documentary Short Subject, “Draw With Me”, about the journey of trans youth – Brendon Scholl – who uses their art as an important outlet while navigating life’s challenges with their their family, featuring a special introduction by their aunt Jennifer Lopez. The film runs theatrically now at ArenaScreen through Feb. 9th.
“Draw With Me” is the story of talented teen artist, Brendon Scholl, who identifies as trans non-binary and whose art has been a vital outlet for self-expression. From coming out as trans and consequently attempting suicide, to becoming an advocate…this intimate portrait of Brendon and their supportive family’s trials dives deep into what was endured and overcome in this heartwarming journey of acceptance.
“Talking about your identity as a person – sexual preference has to do with who you go to bed with, and your identity is who you go to bed as,” shares Brendon’s mother, Leslie Ann Lopez.
“Draw With Me” was created in partnership with The Trevor Project (the leading suicide prevention line for LGBTQ+ Youth) and powered by the Onassis Foundation. The film has had a wonderful impact on the LGBTQ+ movement having been presented at Tribeca Film Festival with the support of GLAAD, having been the subject of the first-ever panel at the United Nations on Transgender Health, and having screened at numerous high-schools in conjunction with the New York Department of Education. National Coming Out Day, October 11 2020, marked a milestone for the film when President Elect Joe Biden supported the LGBTQ+ movement in an award show that screened “Draw With Me” and honored Brendon with the Revry Visibility Award presented by Jennifer Lopez.
“The film is important and timely in its story and message, and can have a huge impact,” says Jennifer Lopez in the film. “It’s a story that is very close to my heart, because it is a family affair. It’s about accepting change and challenges with love, and that knowing when we do, everything is possible.”
“Although I knew that telling this story came with a lot of responsibility, I felt ready and the family truly made me feel safe and comfortable in doing so,” shares Director, Constantine Venetopoulos. “The entire family joined as one in supporting Brendon and the film. What I truly believe drew me to the story, though, was Bredon’s confidence in knowing who they were at such a young age and being ready to use their experience as a tool for other youth who were struggling with their identity and coming out. I thought ‘I wish I had someone like Brendon to talk to when I was struggling in the closet as a kid.’
Brendon has expanded their artistry beyond drawings and painting and is now a sophomore in college studying acting. An advocate for acceptance, Brendon’s message for all those whose family, friends or co-workers may be trans is simple and clear, “Believe us when we say who we are.”
The full 24 minute film is available to the public at: https://arenascreen.com/.