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University lecturer wins Emmy award for short documentary

​​​A film produced by University of Gloucestershire Film Production lecturer, Lindsey Dryden, has won in the Outstanding Short Documentary category at the 40th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Trans In America: Texas Strong, is the emotional story of mum Kimberly Shappley, a conservative Christian mother who has to reject her community’s beliefs when her 7-year-old daughter Kai comes out as transgender. Meanwhile, Kai has to navigate life at school where she’s been banned from the girls’ bathroom.

The film premiered at South By Southwest (SXSW) 2019, won a Webby Award and a Webby People’s Voice Award in May 2019, and is now available to stream on Condé Nast’s platform ‘them’ (

Dryden (Producer of Sundance award-winning film Unrest, 2017) led a groundbreaking team of LGBTQ+ and transgender filmmakers including Daresha Kyi (Mama Bears) and Shaleece Haas (Real Boy) to make this powerful short documentary in concert with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and her Stroud-based production company, Little By Little Films (which specialises in telling stories about, and crucially by, underrepresented voices).

Dryden and the LGBTQ+ crew of Trans In America: Texas Strong were in New York City to attend the News and Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony at Lincoln Center, which took place on Tuesday 24 September, two days after the Television Emmy’s in Los Angeles.

To honour their community, the team attended the ceremony together with the film’s subjects, Kimberly Shappley and her transgender daughter Kai, during a record year for transgender representation.

University of Gloucestershire Film Production lecturer, Lindsey Dryden, said:
“We attended the Emmy Awards in honour of our LGBTQ+ community, and especially our trans brothers and sisters. I’m so moved and inspired by the courage of mums like Kimberly who risk alienation and rejection to embrace their trans children, and by children like Kai, who lives every day with humour and authenticity and love, in a world that tells her she shouldn’t be her true self. We want to say with our film and our presence that all trans people are valued, and trans people will not be erased.”​​

Head of the School of Media, Anne Dawson, said: 
“We are all thrilled that Lindsey’s work has been recognised with this prestigious Emmy Award. Lindsey is an extremely talented member of the Gloucestershire Media School team and her approach to her filmmaking sums up our ethos of supporting our staff to combine their external creative projects with their academic work. It is Lindsey, and others in our brilliant team of industry professionals, who we are proud to say offer our students the best possible start to their creative careers.”