New film, KINDRED, based on true story of UK’s first openly non-binary parent to adopt a child to feature at Venice International Film Festival

Graham Robson August 26, 2022

The remarkable true story of the first openly non-binary parent to successfully adopt a child in the UK has inspired a new immersive film, KINDRED, starring Hollyoaks’ Ki Griffin, which will feature at Venice International Film Festival.

Selected in competition for the 79th Venice International Film Festival (August 31 – September 10), KINDRED is an animated virtual reality story of family and belonging.

Starring Ki Griffin, known for their portrayal of Ripley Lennox, the first non-binary character to appear in a British soap, KINDRED places the viewer inside of Syd’s perspective as they navigate the complexities of the UK’s adoption process, experiencing first-hand the highs and lows of a dream shared by so many.

Highlighting the unique challenges faced by non-binary parents in the UK’s outdated adoption process, KINDRED tells the incredible true story of the brave non-binary parent who helped redefine the meaning of family in this country.

Created by Electric Skies, the award-winning immersive content production company, KINDRED was written and directed by Bambou Kenneth, marking her directorial debut, and produced by Tessa Ratuszynska. The piece was animated by multi-award-winning animation studio and features original music by Anil Sebastian co-founder of the UK’s first ever professional trans+ choir, Trans Voices.

Bambou Kenneth, writer and director, said: “When I first learnt about Syd’s story I was captivated by their unwavering perseverance to achieve their dream of becoming a parent, even when presented with systemic hurdles and totally against the odds. That kind of courage speaks to me and I hope to our audience, regardless of their social or political views.

KINDRED is a personal story that is highly emotive. It was essential for me to surround myself with a diverse team, so we had lots of people from the LGBTQ+ community with a particularly strong non-binary representation for this project. There was always an open space for people on the team to share their personal take and experiences throughout the creative process.

“I wanted to use virtual reality to tell this story because there’s a particular intimacy in VR – a unique connection between audience and character – that is quite unlike other mediums.”

Ki Griffin added: “When I heard about KINDRED, I knew it was a project that I wanted to be a part of. As a non-binary person, parenthood is often the last thing on my mind because there are so few examples of it in the media. KINDRED explores the highs and lows of non-binary parenthood, putting a much needed spotlight on gender diversity within family units by showing that everyone deserves love and family support.”