|Team Transgression (left to right): |
Toni Marzal, T. J. Barber, Morgan Hargrave, Daniel Rotman
He entered a competition at Harvard Law School's Documentary Studio Lab, which funds amateur documentary projects. Harvard Law had just launched the campus-wide competition to encourage amateur documentary filmmakers to film a short documentary on a policy issue. Transgression was chosen as one of the finalists and received support both in funding and the use of film equipment to create the documentary. Daniel approached his close friend and colleague, Morgan Hargrave, to join the team as a writer/co-director. Harvard Law Studio matched Daniel and Morgan with T. J. Barber, an experienced editor completing his freshman year at Harvard, and Toni Marzal, a writer completing a master’s program at Harvard Law School. The team received the support of Immigration Equality to focus the documentary on one of its clients, Norma, and the crew went to New York to film over the course of the week. Post-production took 2 months as the crew managed full-time school schedules.
Due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, it was difficult to maintain a balance of getting the full scope and depth of the story while respecting the pain felt by Norma as she recalled her experience. It was surprising to see the openness and fearlessness of Norma in telling her story, despite her difficult memories. Despite her courage, Team Transgression tried to exercise caution with regard to revealing anything that would jeopardize Norma's immigration status. Fortunately, there was little that the team needed to avoid including in the film.
Update, 12/16/14: New, free film study guide for Transgression from CSWE. To order the film, contact Daniel Rotman.