Documentary personal text

From my point of view, the documentary subject has been a successful experiment because until the third year of the course we haven’t work on this genre. During the first years of the university studies, we have worked on short films and reports, but we didn’t see anything related to documentaries. So, I think that this year we have taken a step forward on media communication because we have learned the basic characteristics of one of the most important cinematography genres.

Film title:

We have decided to give the name “Masks” to our documentary that in Basque means “Maskarak”. We have done a documentary about transsexuals and the history is based on the experiences of two people that change their sex. After the hard and long editing process, we realized that both characters mention the concept of the mascs. In other words, they say that before doing the transition process they didn’t feel happy with their body. They live with mascs to avoid the prejudices of the society.

We didn’t think a lot about the title of the film, but in our opinion the title sums up correctly the situation that both characters stand to become boy and girl. Besides, we reckon that the title sounds and works well in three different languages since the name doesn’t change so much from one language to other: Maskarak (Basque), Masks (English) and Máscaras (Spanish).

Credits (Technical and Artistic Crew):

The technical and artistic crew of the film is consisted of Oihan Vitoria, Ariane Irazusta, Ander Bolibar and Miren Ormazabal. We have named the group as Torto Produkzioak. Although most of the documentary we have done together, sometimes we have assigned different tasks for each component of the group depending on the profile of the group member, in order to work faster. Apart from the members of the group, we are grateful with Idurre Lazkano as she helped us in some difficult moments.

  • Director of photography: Miren Ormazabal.
  • Editor: Ariane Irazusta.
  • Sound and light technician: Ander Bolibar.
  • Production Manager: Oihan Vitoria.

Working hypothesis:

In real life I believe that all the people are the same, there aren’t differences between a person who was born with man genitals and a person who has man genitals after making a big operation. Each person is free to do what he or she wants. Moreover, I think that nowadays there is lack of information. I’m sure that lot of people don’t know what is a transsexual. It is used to listen that transsexuals, homosexuals and travesties are just the same, but that’s not true. Transsexual people are those which their subconscious sex and genital sex don’t match. So, in my opinion it doesn’t mutter the genitals, the important thing is the personality of the person.

In our documentary we try to show that kind of actions. We have recorded a lot of reconstructions that the characters lived some years ago: for example, Ainara Ruiz burning her pictures from childhood, walking from the street and a man looking bad to her; Ixotz Louyest trying to suicide, his face in the railings of a jail when he is speaking about the prison… The most important part of the documentary is the interviews of Ainara and Ixotz. Both interviews and the things that they say beat the rhythm of the history.

From my point of view, the society’s main conflict with this subject is the intolerance that lots of citizens have. In the year 2012, the transsexuals are not accepted as normal persons. They even don’t manage to keep their job for a long time, they receive insults, they are raped, they are killed and if that is not enough, in some countries they are condemned to death penalties and detentions. However, I think that today there is much lack of information among citizens and the people don’t know really what transsexual people are. Sincerely, before doing this documentary about transsexuals, I didn’t know anything about them. So, I think that we have done a good work to inform to the people about this conflict, unknown and delicate subject.

As a consequence, I want to send a compression and solidarity message to the audience. I want to make understand the spectator that this situation needs to change as soon as possible, because a lot of people around the world are suffering. In the last years there have been some steps forward in this theme, but is not enough. I want to make feel the audience that the transsexuals don’t deserve all that are living and that they need the society’s opportunity to live like they want.


Transsexualism is the word that defines a person whose biological sex conflicts with his or her physical gender. A medical diagnose can be made if a person experiences discomfort with his or her sex and as a result wants to be a member of the opposite sex.

Transsexualism is stigmatized in many parts of the world but has become more widely known in Western culture in the middle late of the 20th century, concurrently with the sexual revolution and the development of sex reassignment surgery (SRS). However, nowadays there are cultures that haven’t difficulty integrating people who change gender roles.

In the Basque Country and inSpain, the sex change surgery requires a long beforehand process. The transsexual needs to attend some psychologies in order to verify that the patient is not insane or mad and that it really needs the change.

Sequences and Structure:

The structure of our documentary is very clear. We have done different parts depending on the subject that the characters are speaking about. At the beginning of the documentary they explain what is to be a transsexual person. After that, they start speaking about their puberty, their experiences… Also, they analyze what are the transphobia and the cisexism. Then, they speak that in sometimes they had the idea to commit a suicide. Finally, they say their opinion about the transsexual’s situation in the work labor market and in love relationships. We have tried to link all those themes with music and with images of the characters doing different things. On postproduction we have done some visual effects, like Ainara still on the street and the people walking very quickly over her (fast camera speed) or a shot that Ainara appears 5 times… We though that it was very important to do this kind of animations with the images in order to break the monotony and to give air to the documentary.

Main characters:

“Maskarak” documentary is about two transsexuals that explain their experiences. It is a testimonies documentary.

  1. Ainara Ruiz is a transsexual woman from Gasteiz. When she was 39 years started the transition process from man to woman. Nowadays, after hard operations she is very happy with the result. She works in a language academy teaching Basque and since 2010 she is married with her husband Ixotz, the other character of the documentary. That’s why the relationship between both persons is so close. There is not any conflict between them. Both characters explain different cases but they speak about similar things. Also, they defend the same: to respect their identity and their human and civil rights.

The role of this character is essential in the history, because all that she says is very interesting. Maybe sometimes the audience can’t understand what she says, because she speaks very quickly and even she is taken hormones her voice tone is in process to be a voice of a woman (she’s got grave tone). Moreover, we can see that she is a shy person, but with the ideas very clean. The spectator can get surprise at first time because her physical appearance is not total of a woman.

In conclusion, this character is trying to get the acceptance of the society. The aim of Ainara is to tell her history and make aware to the people that being transsexual is not nothing strange.

  1. Ixotz Louyest is a transsexual man from Bergara. He is 28 years old and since 18 years he is a man. Last month he had an operation inBarcelona called “faloplastia” and that’s why, Ixotz appears in the documentary with a bandaged arm. Ixotz is close with the people, he really likes telling histories and speaking with people. He tells his experiences happily and very convinced of what he wants, but really he passes bad and hard times. Nowadays, he is working in a factory, but nearly will be unemployed.

Ixotz’s testimonies are very important, because his answers direct the orientation of the documentary. We don’t put questions on the documentary, so it is very important to understand what the characters say. Ixotz speaks very clear and explain all that he lives with lot of feeling. His interview is very exciting and the audience understands the history, without any problem, listening only what he says.


Ainara and Ixotz want to change the society’s way of thinking. They ask that they want to start living in peace. During long years, they have be living supporting all type of humiliations, but they are tired of that. Both characters represent all the transsexual people thinking and they share with the people. So, I can say that there is not a confrontation or opposition in our documentary. Ainara and Ixotz fight for the same and they have the same point of view. Different experiences but the same feeling. The only confrontation that could be in our documentary is that the opinion of the characters and the vision of many people with the transsexuals are different.

Form and Style:

In the editing process we have continued a clear style. We have recorded each interview with two different cameras (multicamera) and those images have been the bases of the documentary. Using two cameras we find dynamism and in my opinion, we have obtained it. The editing style is much defined. When the character is speaking, always there is an image in the back. Depending on what he or she says there is one type of image (reconstructions, images where the characters are doing something, pictures of them…). We have tried to change the images quickly: for example, images of the interview, images of the characters (the voices of the characters continue) back to the interview, image of reconstructions… Basically, that’s the plan that we continue. But what gives shape to our film is that sometimes we put the images of the back in little squares: middle of the screen with a frame and the other middle with the images of the interviews.

At the beginning of the project we decided that we didn’t want a documentary with voice over. Our aim was to do a testimonies documentary to make aware the audience about a delicate subject and I think that we have done it well. We knew that it wasn’t easy to do a documentary about transsexualism, but in my opinion we treated well and we have done a good work.

Respect the lighting and the sound, I think that we have done it alright. The voices sound great and the light of the images is well. However, we think more in other things, but always taking into account that the sound and the light were okay. We only used extra lighting on the indoor interview of Ixotz Louyest.

About the music I can say that it is an important part of the documentary. Depending on what the characters say the type of music is different. For example, when they are saying that they are optimistic with the future, we have put songs with happy acoustic guitar and with positive feelings. However, when they are saying negative things the songs almost are played by piano.

Personal opinion:

As a conclusion, I think that the union of that coctel (multicamera, pictures, music, sound, light, editing style, two frames in the screen and the characters enthusiasm) has a good and satisfactory result, dynamic and aesthetically beautiful. The experience of making this documentary has been very positive. We have spent a lot of hours but I’m very happy. In my opinion the group has worked in a good way, because we have done a serious and continuous work. Although, the experience was hard, especially in the preproduction step, because it has been the first time that we have done a documentary and we didn’t know how to do it and how to plan it. But when we decided that we want to do a work about transsexualism and we did the contact with Ixotz, in that moment we started enjoying the project. After that, Ixotz told us that his wife wants to be part of the documentary, so we started working hard. From my point of view, the idea doesn’t change so much from the start to the final result of the film. There are some things that always in the postproduction you changed, but apart from that we have finished with the idea that we have started with.


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