Why Can't I Be Me? Around You


Lark Theatre Sat, Oct 12, 2019 8:15 PM
Film Info
Section:Valley of the Docs
Running Time:93 min.
Director:Harrod Blank
Producer:Harrod Blank
Screenwriter:Harrod Blank
Sjoerd Dijk
Cinematographer:Harrod Blank
Editor:Sjoerd Dijk
Cast:Rusty Tidenberg
Harrod Blank
Print Source:Harrod Blank
Note Writer:Ali Giordani


A chance encounter between recently transitioned mechanic Rusty Tidenberg and filmmaker Harrod Blank (Wild Wheels, Automorphisis) sparks a captivating portrayal of the multifaceted life of a transgender woman. Blank, son of revered documentarian Les Blank, first hires Rusty to work on his broken-down van, an interactive art car adorned with cameras, leading to their unexpected collaboration. Blank follows Rusty’s life over eight years, capturing her as she navigates her relationship with her unaccepting father, the changing landscape of romance, and the intricacies of being a woman. Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You—which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year—weaves in the voices of other art car aficionados and artists similarly exploring the gender spectrum but always returns to the philosophical Rusty. Through a series of intimate conversations about art cars, drag races, and personal struggles and triumphs, Blank vividly captures Rusty’s journey to self-acceptance in a masculine-fueled world.

Additional Information

Harrod Blank is an artist and filmmaker, internationally known for creating and documenting Art Cars. His film Wild Wheels was broadcast worldwide and on PBS & HBO. Harrod learned filmmaking as a youth, by working for his father Les Blank. Harrod is building a museum in Douglas, AZ (Art Car World) and creating a film series about Burning Man.