Sandrine Orabona and Mark Herzog's Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story centers on the central American concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those values take on a new meaning in the life of Kristin Beck, formerly U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Beck. Living as a transgender woman, Beck strives to find meaning in those ideals as she undergoes her transition. Orabona and Herzog reflected on their human story, which they hope will inspire audiences to appreciate their common values rather than their differences. Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story screens Monday, June 16, as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Sandrine Orabona and film subject Kristin Beck.

FilmLinc asked the directors included in the upcoming Human Rights Watch Film Festival to give some insight on filmmaking and tackling issue-oriented work prior to the launch of the series.

Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story

Sandrine Orabona & Mark Herzog, USA, 2014, 90m

Responses by Orabona and Herzog:

On the attraction to the subject of their film:

Kristin Beck is an inspiring and complex—yet at once surprisingly simple—person. This is someone who has seen and experienced more than most people can imagine, and as a result appreciates life in the simplest way. 

On telling a true story with film:

If you can use film as a medium to tell a human story, then the film can be a way for people to be inspired by and relate to the story you're telling. This is itself can be a powerful form of activism.

On working with their subject:

The biggest challenge was matching the energy of a 20-year veteran Navy SEAL. Kristin operates at a different level than even a seasoned documentary film crew.

On audience takeaways from the film:

I hope audiences see this as a human story they can relate to in some way, because I believe that with all our differences, we can begin to understand and respect each other when we can find empathy for one other.