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  • Writer's pictureJames Bell

🎬 Our First Review!! 🎬

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

Our first review courtesy of The Pink Lens.

SHORT FILM. Birthday Boy

Starring: Sebastian Emmerson, Ted Reilly, Selma Alkaff, Hannah McIver, Jaina Brock.

Director: Leo Lebeau.

Transgender teen Alex struggles to express himself in real life. Attending a private all-girls school, he feels the pressure to conform to ensure he doesn’t lose his scholarship, but he’s being viciously bullied by a group of girls. He only feels like he can be himself in an online game, but when his birthday comes around, the bullying steps up a gear.

A moving and realistic short that highlights the continuing transphobia in schools, it also puts single-sex schools under the microscope: places that can be be so unsafe for trans teens. The culture of the school has allowed this cruel victimisation to take place, which we hear through off-screen voices of teachers propagating opposition to Alex’s gender identity.

Sebastian Emmerson gives a strong central performance as the lead, but as his friendship builds with a boy from another school, this is not all doom and gloom, finding within itself a glimmer of hope.

Filmed with subtlety and restraint, this is a nuanced short that takes on a journey of self-awakening with a likeable and compelling character.


Kougar Media presents

in association with

The National Film and Television School


Directed by

Leo Lebeau

Written and Produced by

James Bell & Leo Lebeau


Sebastian Emmerson


Selma Alkaff


Ted Reilly

Grace - Katie Pattinson

Robert - Paul Keating

Emma - Hannah McIver

Sara - Jaina Brock

Charlotte - Bex Hainsworth

Headmistress - Venetia Hawkes

Miss Heron - Maxine Heron

Miss McMahon - Cheyenne Desouza

Director of Photography

Michael Filocamo

Production Designer

Ellen Beaufoy


Will Winfield

Casting Director

Sharon Sorrentino

Costume Designer

Simon Ekrelius


Saul Bragman

Sound Designer

Adam Shuttleworth

Associate Producers

Adrian Mani

Remi Rana Allen

Colin Merry

Line Producer

Emanuela Borruso

1st Assistant Director

Jonay Sevillano Regalado

2nd Assistant Director

Mireia G. Dalmau

3rd Assistant Director

Mathilde Levesque

1st Assistant Camera

Tonino Petruzzellis Senor

2nd Assistant Camera

Beatrice Dagama

Bernat Bonaventura

Camilla Valli

Steadicam Operator

Beaumont V G Pritchard-James


Evance Bretuil


Baptise Congard

Junior Day

Production Sound Mixer

Sam Jenkins

Sound Mixer & 1st Assistant Sound

Griff Miles

2nd Assistant Sound

Jake Hickey

Luise Guertler

Script Supervisor

Michaela Minciotti

Hair & Make-up

Lily Hart

Tegan Thewlis

Maddy McNerney

Danielle Sambrook

Costume Assistant

Finley Lucas

Art Director

Benjamyn Lyall

Art Assistant

Eleanor Dolan

Stills Photographer

Alfio Sambataro

Additional Stills

Breanne Krause

Production Coordinator

Fabiana Tesauro

Production Assistants

Holly Androlia

Grace Nicholls

Ivonne Gofre

Pia Kauser

Sarah Barron

Rachel Carr

Charlie Sexton

Oscar Luckin

Harrison Benett

Felix Cole

Stunt Coordinator

Benjamin Farry

Lead Compositor

Jonas Almeida

Digital Compositor

Claus Pacheco

Colourist & Online Editor

Marco Valerio Caminiti

Editing Consultant

Paulo Pandolpho

Credits Illustrations

James Bell

Motion GFX Artist

Olga Gunderich

Motion GFX Animator

Benjamyn Lyall


Natalia Tsupryk

Sound Post Production by


Supporting Artists

Anushka Samarasingh

Ash Wu

Ayumi Fuller

Becky Chan-Lok

Cairo Nevitt

Cezar Sirbu

Daniel King

Ewelina Dziedzic

Faith Kiggundu

Faris Khan

Gabriella Chly

Grace Albert

Grace Nicholls

Hannah Omisore

Jason Kwan

Jenny Kuznetsova

Jorge Fernandes

Kurtis Huke

Leah Glater

Leoni L.

Maya Barter

Nathan Trotman

Nia Campbell

Olivia Sirley

Paige Windsor

Rachel Howard

Rajaul Hoque

Stella Segalerba

Talia K

Thank you to our generous backers

Aaron DaBell

Addie Gardiner

Alison Bender

Barnaby Forrest Royce

Becki Shepperson

Benjamin Griggs

Bernadette Shipley

Bhavna Patel

Chris Allen

Daniel Chowdhury

David Bailey

Gabrielle Cooper

Ilhan Hartigan

James Gardner

Jane Bell

Jessica McLean

John Boyle

John Brock

Jordan Hoxsie

Joseph Jackson

Lee Bierman

Lee Thompson

Lisa Changadveja

Mariam Kauser

Matteo Durgin Paint Forge

Noémie Scheidegger

Oliver Astbury

Phil Reilly

Regina M Prestefelippe

Samy Soussi

Steve William Laible

Venetia Hawkes

Xavier Segers

Yam Yadlin

Zara Richardson

and all of our Kickstarter backers!

Special thanks

Ash Wu

Asher Tlalim

BAFTA & Prince William Scholarship

Balint Csaki

Beaconsfield Film Society

Ben Hunte

Bhargav Patel

Cambell Kenneford

Cut & Cork Ltd

Davenies School

Hall Barn Estates

Hugo Hernandez

Ingrid Miller

Linda Shire

Loro Esteso

Michael Pearce

Mika Simmons

Olympia Christofinis


Rose Harvey

Ruanth Chrisley Thyssen

Sargent-Disc Scholarship

Scott Miles

Shoutout LGBT radio

Slavica Rockov

Steff Barnett

Stella Whalley

Steve Smith

The Apple Tree & Bohemia Films

Warner Bros Creative Talent

Xavier Segers

In loving memory of Emma Bender

‘Daughter’ performed by Ryan Cassata courtesy of BMI

A National Film & Television School

Bridge to Industry film

supported by Kickstarter

for The National Film & Television School

Executive Producers






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