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DENIAL follows the story of Christine Hallquist, first Transgender Candidate for Governor, seen through the lens of her filmmaker son Derek, to whom she has granted intimate access for nearly 15 years.


Before Christine Hallquist was running for Governor of Vermont, she was David Hallquist, the CEO of the largest locally owned electric utility in Vermont. A self-described “closet environmentalist” Hallquist is dedicated to addressing the way electricity use in America contributes to climate change. But his mission is balanced with the utility’s charge to provide affordable and reliable service. For Hallquist, increasing the efficiency of the grid is the only meaningful route to merging these priorities.

He implements one of the country’s first ‘smart’ grids, decreasing outages, increasing the capacity for renewable sources and building a national reputation as an energy pioneer. Resistance, however, comes in many forms – traditionalists balk at the renewable intermittency, solar and wind advocates think Hallquist is dragging his feet, and the public fears that ‘smart’ meters on their homes will send private information about their energy use to the government.

As Hallquist struggles to build the kind of transparent company whose honest approach can get stakeholders to accept the realities of how we generate and deliver electricity, he realizes he must apply that same transparency to his personal life and reveals to his son a lifelong secret. Dave Hallquist, who presents as a chainsaw-wielding, hard hat-wearing CEO in a male-dominated industry is a woman inside.

Now, Derek’s family must face facts that feel far more immediate than the melting of the polar ice caps and denial emerges as a common theme linking all of these issues. Ultimately the personal and the societal come together as Derek learns that his father, newly named Christine, is still indeed his father – and that Christine’s unique perspective as the first American Transgender CEO to transition in office, may be just the what the limiting, binary worldview on energy and the environment needs.



http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/denl.html

https://www.denialdocumentary.com/



"Stunningly well-made. Denial is that rare documentary that actually shows us change." 


– Marguerite Waller, Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside


"Denial compellingly merges our country's refusal to accept the truth of gender's complexity with our denial about climate change and a failed energy system...The themes of transparency, honesty, compromise, and complexity in relation to gender identity/expression and climate change render this film a perfect fit for courses in environmental justice, women's and gender studies, queer theory, and environmental studies."


– Dr. Katie Hogan, Director of Women's and Gender Studies, Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


"Denial tells exactly the kind of complex, deeply personal story about climate change we need at this moment. It is about a passionate energy expert/activist and the compromises she makes to move a utility toward more sustainable power generation; it is also about her own gender transition and the compromises she makes to negotiate her identity with her family and professional community. The intersection of these two stories is emotionally and politically powerful: how do we deal with change, with denial, and with the fact that many issues - personal and global - may not ultimately be amenable to compromise?"


– Catriona Sandilands, Professor of Environmental Studies, York University

  • Year
    2017
  • Runtime
    92 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Derek Hallquist and Anoosh Tertzakian
  • Producer
    Aaron Woolf, Derek Hallquist, Shirel Kozak, Christopher St. John, and Dan Dimauro
  • Executive Producer
    Eugene Jarecki, Aaron Woolf, and Sally Jo Fifer
  • Editor
    Anoosh Tertzakian
  • Music
    Kyle Wilson