Trans Inclusion plays a leading role in Mutt, a heartfelt, day-in-a-New-Yorker-life drama premiering at Sundance

3 min readJan 30

Mutt director boosts his full-hearted, day-in-a-New-Yorker-life drama with a Trans Inclusion spirit.

Lio Mehiel stars as Feña in ‘Mutt’ by Vuk Lunulov-Klotz, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

The trans lead character Feña, trans leading man Lio Mehiel, and trans writer/director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz are understandably receiving the Sundance Film Festival spotlight for the day-in-a-New-Yorker-life drama Mutt. A spirit of Trans Inclusion provides a unique and empathetic boost to Mutt, premiering in the U.S. Dramatic section at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Its real-life portrayals, universal themes regarding family, and grounded storytelling reflecting an average New Yorker’s life are the standout qualities that make Mutt more than a shining example of diverse storytelling.

Twenty-something Feña (Lio Mehiel) is frantically getting ready for a visit from his foreign father (Alejandro Goic). He needs to borrow a friend’s car to pick up his father from the airport and cash his restaurant paycheck for gas money. Unexpected encounters with Feña’s ex-boyfriend John (Cole Doman) and teenage half-sister Zoe (MiMi Ryder) add drama to an anxious day. These visits also reignite complicated feelings for Feña about recently transitioning from female to male and the trauma of top surgery. What is a trans man supposed to say when his father keeps reminding him about how pretty he was as a young woman?

Dialogue around support for members of the trans community is becoming increasingly divisive in the United States. Lungulov-Klotz crafts an indie drama in sync with trans activists fighting back against the anti-transgender legislation coming from conservative politicians. It’s positive when a movie like Mutt introduces empathy via accessible characters and compelling storytelling.

Do not think Mutt is a politically correct melodrama that deserves to be seen because it’s good for audiences. Mutt is not simply a trans movie; it’s a solid, day-in-a-New-Yorker-life drama that revolves around a trans man.

Cameraman Matthew Pothier, composers James Villiam Blades and Taul Katz, and editor Adam Dicterow provide filmmaker Lungulov-Klotz with the cinematic flourishes to firmly place Mutt in the genre of New York storytelling alongside well-known…


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