Film Detail

Tales of the Waria

Kathy Huang / Indonesia / 2011 / 56 min / World Premiere


What is life like for the transgender community in the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia? In this eye-opening documentary, shot in the scenic coastal region of South Sulawesi, we follow the lives of four waria (from the words wanita, meaning woman, and pria, meaning man): female in outward appearance, but actually biological men who believe they were born with a woman’s soul, and who are not interested in a sex change because of Islam’s teachings. TALES OF THE WARIA interweaves the stories of these waria, who encounter unique obstacles in their search for love. Suharni’s seemingly perfect relationship with her boyfriend is tested when she leaves town to find work. Mami Ria, a waria elder, struggles to revive her 18-year relationship with a police officer. Former waria Firman leads a quiet life with his wife and two kids, but still dreams of the past when he had long hair and danced with men. Guiding us through these stories is Tiara, a glamorous entertainer who secretly harbors her own heartache. What happens in the complex lives of these four brave individuals? Can they realize their dreams for a future with their male partners? Taking us to nightclubs, salons, and into the characters’ homes and hearts, this compelling documentary insightfully expands our knowledge of topics rarely discussed in depth in Western media: Indonesia, Islamic culture, and the daily life and struggles of transgender communities around the world. In Attendance: Kathy Huang (Director) Special Guest in Attendance: Tiara


  • Director: Kathy Huang
  • Producer: Kathy Huang, Tiara Tiar Bachtiar, Aldy Mardianus
  • Cinematographer: Kathy Huang
  • Editor: Carla Gutierrez


Sun 03.13 500pm

Tue 03.15 445pm

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