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Film Premiering in Pittsburgh Tells the Untold Story of Pennsylvania Transgender Woman

Pittsburgh-Born Filmmaker Hansen Bursic Will Debut Halloween 1987 at the 37th Annual Reel Q Film Festival on October 8, 2022.
Behind-the-scenes from the film Halloween 1987.

Reel Q, Pittsburgh’s annual LGBTQ+ film festival and one of the oldest LGBTQ+ film festivals in the world, will be hosting the world premiere of Halloween 1987. The film is based on the memoir of Jenny Jae Cory of Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Halloween 1987, directed by award-winning film director Hansen Bursic, tells the story of Cory, a teenager in 1987 who hesitantly agrees to a gender-bending Halloween couple’s costume. What starts off as embarrassment becomes newfound confidence and a sense of self from dressing up like their girlfriend. This exciting revelation would soon be tested when the night draws to a close and Cory has to face taking off the costume.

Cory, played by actor Derek Van Holmes, in their girlfriend’s bedroom in the film Halloween 1987.

The story is based on A Path Less Traveled, a soon-to-be-released memoir of former small-town mayor Jenny Jae Cory who lives in Towanda, Pennsylvania. A chapter of the book reflects on how a Halloween couple’s costume was a pivotal moment in her journey of self-discovery that would eventually lead to her coming out as transgender later in life.

“I hope that audiences of Halloween 1987 get a glimpse into what a trans person goes through when they’re struggling with their gender,” said Jenny Jae Cory, “being who you really are is one of the most emotional struggles a trans person may face, but when one does the sky is the limit for one’s own self-worth.”

Cory, played by actor Derek Van Holmes, dressed as their girlfriend in the film Halloween 1987.

“As someone who had my own “self coming out” moment as a young queer boy in Pittsburgh, I was drawn to Jenny’s story,” said director Hansen Bursic. “I am proud to help share her history and create a film that rejects the notion that being trans is a “new thing.” Bursic is also an award-winning contributor to QBurgh.

The premiere will take place at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 8 at Row House Cinema as part of the free Teen Dreams shorts program. Director Hansen Bursic, associate producer Madelyn Van Trieste, and Jenny Jae Cory will be in attendance. The Teen Dreams shorts program will also be available for free online to all PA residents during the duration of the festival.

The 37th annual ReelQ Pittsburgh LGBTQ+ Film Festival will run from October 6 through 15. QBurgh is a proud media sponsor of the Film Festival.

Director Hansen Bursic on the set of Halloween 1987.
QBurgh staff writer
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