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The Brandon Teena Story


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Product Details

  • Actors: Daphne Gugat, Reanna, Gina Bartu, Shaun Fleming, JoAnn Fleming
  • Directors: Gréta Olafsdóttir, Susan Muska
  • Producers: Gréta Olafsdóttir, Susan Muska, Jane Dekrone
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000035P9B
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,687 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Brandon Teena Story" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Where are they now? - A Guide To Those Involved
  • National and Community Resource Links

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

To his girlfriends, he was the perfect boyfriend. To his killers, he was a gender-bending freak. To the law, he got what he deserved. Ultimately, Brandon Teena is an American tragedy.

Winner of best documentary awards at the Berlin and Vancouver film

Amazon.com

Brandon Teena was a handsome boy who had tremendous success with women because he always seemed to know exactly what they wanted. Perhaps it helped that Brandon Teena was born Teena Brandon, a young woman who desperately wanted to be a man. But Brandon lived in a small Midwestern town, where his sexual identity crisis wasn't tolerated, inciting two so-called friends to brutally murder him and two other innocents. This true story, which was the basis for the feature film Boys Don't Cry, is recounted in the award-winning (Best Documentary at both the Vancouver and Berlin film festivals) documentary The Brandon Teena Story.

This insightful film is both fascinating and horrifying, as we are treated to news footage and interviews with Brandon's family, friends, former girlfriends, as well as the two men who are in jail (one on death row) for the rape and later murder of Brandon. Throughout the film, the viewer's disgust grows as recordings of Brandon with the police department of Falls City, Nebraska, are played; when Brandon reports his rape, the questioning is turned around on him, making him the guilty party for his sexuality. Ignorance and hatred abound in the small town, although many of his ex-girlfriends are surprisingly sympathetic. While there is nothing graphic in this film, it is unexpectedly difficult to watch at moments; the drama, however, is gripping and the message an important one to hear. --Jenny Brown

Customer Reviews

It seemed as if Laux was getting off on it, it made me sick!
A Customer
This film raises awareness regarding violence toward LGBT persons and reminds us of the need to do much, much better at respecting diversity.
Crystal Hayes
The documentary traces Teena Brandon's life, from birth to her horrendous death.
Paige Turner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

129 of 131 people found the following review helpful By "takintime" on May 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I decided to see this video before seeing "Boys Don't Cry", the movie based on the same story. I have concluded that seeing both films is essential for anyone not directly involved in the actual situation to understand what went on. "Boys Don't Cry" took some liberties with the facts involved in the true story, as most artistic works must ultimately do. "The Brandon Tenna Story" focused on the facts leading up to the hate-crime rape and murder--showing John Lotter and Tom Nissen as amoral sociopaths who, even two years after their crimes, see themselves as homegrown heros who saved a friend through sexual assault and who each proclaims his innocence of the subsequent triple (not double) murder that followed. (This video tells of the third victim of the murder--a physically disabled African American man who just happened to be at the murder scene at the time.) Also in this film (and missing from "BDC") are interviews with the mother of Brandon Teena and the parents of the friend who offered him shelter and tried to offer him a refuge from Lotter and Nissen, only to die for her efforts an leave a 9-month-old son an orphan. The actual filmed interviews with the deputy sheriff who let Lotter and Nissen go, even after they as good as confessed their involvement in the rape to him, is perhaps the most puzzling character of all in this video. The excerpts from his interrogations of Brandon after the rape, and subsequently of Nissen and Lotter, indicate that he was far more aggressive and harsh in his questioning of the victim. There is evidence that both Nissen and Lotter were already well-known as violent trouble-makers in the county's law enforcement officers, this deputy included.Read more ›
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Even though I knew the story after seeing the movie "Boys Don't Cry", I am glad I saw this video. The facts of the case, especially the actual words that the sheriff used to interrogate Brandon after the rape, were absolutely appalling and display the ignorance and prejudice of the people in the small town of 5000, known for its dead-end jobs and domestic violence.
Now that I've seen both versions of this story, I must say I preferred Boys Don't Cry with its scripted performance and planned dramatic tension. It also was able to portray some of the more intimate moments with a sense of humor, such as the scene in which he gets a period and steals tampax from a convenience store. Scenes like this are impossible in a documentary of course.
The strength of the documentary, however, was being able to see the real people, not actors. And real photographs of the troubled Brandon. The realization that this is the truth, not fiction, adds an extra punch or horror to that sickening feeling I felt when I saw the dramatized version.
If the story intrigues you, as it did me as well as the filmmakers, make sure not to miss this penetrating true look at this horrible crime. Recommended.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Deirdre NYC on December 27, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
The fact that there is a documentary about Brandon Teena-a young, working class, transgender person who was murdered in a small Nebraska town in December 1994-shows that there is a significant and growing movement against trans oppression.
Many transgender people are murdered at the hands of bigots. Trans people have been systematically oppressed by the cops and the bosses for hundreds of years. If we know the names Brandon Teena, Marsha P. Johnson and Venus Extravaganza-all killed by bigots and trans oppression-it's only because of a growing awareness of the lives and deaths of trans people. This is the direct result of a movement for liberation.
The documentary film, The Brandon Teena Story, produced and directed by Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir, is a respectful and important work. The most unfortunate aspect of the film is the absence of its main character. We see Brandon Teena only through photographs, people's memories, and testimony from the men who raped and murdered him.
The most painful part of the film is an audio tape of Brandon made by cops as they grilled him about being raped by the men who would later kill him and two others. The cops deliberately waited to arrest the pair until after the murders.
Brandon's story of transitioning, love, murder and oppression is told thoughtfully by friends and former girlfriends. It was Falls City Sheriff Charles Laux, who publicly exposed Brandon's genetic sex (female), who began the cascade of violence that ended in the triple homicide of Brandon Teena, Lisa Lambert and Phillip DeVine.
Lampert and DeVine were killed to try to protect the identities of the murderers, John Lotter and Tom Nissen.
Read more ›
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Jackson VINE VOICE on February 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Seldom does a documentary film give such depth and background to a story. These filmmakers spent years in the courtroom and with the victims' families as well as the families of the killers. The obvious cooperation of law enforcement, media and members of the community is because of the attitude of Muska and Olafsdottir. They never succumbed to the promotion of the sensational aspects of the crime which prompted some lurid headlines.Without losing their objectivity, they maintained their compassion for all those involved. As someone who spent five years following this case as a reporter, I can vouch for its accuracy.
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