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Pittsburgh Filmmaker Documents First Openly Transgender NYC Firefighter

Contact: Jonathan Gaugler | gauglerj@cmoa.org | 412.688.8690 / 412.216.7909

Woman on Fire Pittsburgh Premiere is August 25 at CMOA

Woman on Fire – Pittsburgh Premiere
August 25, 7–10 p.m.
Carnegie Museum of Art Theater
$15 ($10 members and students)

Brooke Guinan sitting on a seat inside a firetruck, examining her firegighter's helmet. Other equipment lies on the seat beside her.

Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art announces the Pittsburgh premiere of Woman on Fire, a film by Pittsburgh-based filmmaker Julie Sokolow. Woman on Fire tells the story of Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender firefighter in New York City. In addition to the challenges of transitioning in the department’s macho profession, the film examines Guinan’s relationship to Jim Baker, her boyfriend of two years.

The film premiered at DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival, in November 2016. Chirlane McCray, The First Lady of NYC, introduced the screening. In May 2017, the film won Best Documentary by Audience at Geena Davis’s Bentonville Film Festival. This past June, the Brooklyn-based distribution company FilmRise announced that it had acquired worldwide rights to Woman on Fire.

Guinan and Baker will attend the screening, as will Sokolow, producer Danny Yourd, and members of Animal, the Pittsburgh-based production company. After the screening, the museum hosts a Q&A with Sokolow, Guinan, and Baker followed by a reception.

About Woman on Fire

In February 2015, The Village Voice heralded the arrival of “New York’s Bravest”—Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender firefighter in New York City. As a third-generation firefighter, Brooke has a passion for heroism that runs in her blood. Her father George is a respected lieutenant and 9/11 survivor with a 35-year legacy in the FDNY. People always asked Brooke if she would follow in her father’s footsteps. But when Brooke transitions from male to female in her father’s workplace, it poses not only a challenge to a macho profession, but also to the customs of the people she cares about the most—her traditional family.

Meanwhile, Brooke’s boyfriend of two years, Jim, struggles to come out to his family. A wise-cracking Air Force veteran, Jim still hasn’t told his mother that Brooke is a transwoman. Brooke and Jim realize that having the life they want means being vulnerable in the face of judgment. As we watch the couple buy a house together and consider marriage, we reconsider what it means to be man and woman, gay and straight, traditional and nontraditional. A heartfelt portrait of change in the American family and workplace, Woman on Fire is a testament to love, courage, and loyalty.

Press Quotes

Woman on Fire is “just what a great social awareness doc should be — equal parts heartwarming and infuriating.” —The Village Voice

Woman on Fire is a moving portrait of a New Yorker who’s never been afraid to run where she needs to go, regardless of the dangers that might be waiting for her on the other side.” —Indiewire

Woman on Fire‘s subject Brooke Guinan is “a superhero for the 21st century.” —Salon

Julie Sokolow
Director Julie Sokolow’s films have appeared at the New York Times, Time, and Huffington Post. She is the creator of the Healthy Artists documentary series, which profiles over 40 uninsured artists who struggle to afford health care. Her feature film directorial debut Aspie Seeks Love won Best Documentary at the 2015 Cinequest Film Festival and gained acclaim in Vice, Filmmaker, and Salon. Two years in the making, Woman on Fire is her second feature film.

Danny Yourd
Producer Danny Yourd is a creative producer at the production company Animal, based in Pittsburgh, PA. He produced Almost Holy, executive-produced by Terrence Malick, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015 and recently enjoyed a theatrical run. He also produced Blood Brother, which won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Awards at Sundance in 2013.

Support
General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art enriches people’s lives through art. The museum is committed to global engagement and regional advancement. We champion creativity and its importance to society with experiences that welcome, inspire, challenge, and inform. Our core activities—collecting, conserving, presenting, and interpreting works of art—make those experiences possible. Our world-class collection of over 30,000 works emphasizes art, architecture, photography, and design from the 19th century to the present. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Learn more: call 412.622.3131 or visit cmoa.org.