Film about Brooke Guinan -- dubbed "New York's Bravest" -- debuts Tuesday night at Doc NYC
Of all the documentaries premiering at this year's Doc NYC festival, none may be closer to New Yorkers' hearts than Woman on Fire. It is, after all, a film about one of the city's own: firefighter Brooke Guinan.
Guinan is in fact a third-generation firefighter; her father has served in the FDNY for 35 years and her grandfather retired as a captain. Heroism is one of the prerequisites of the job, and plenty of that was necessary for Guinan as she transitioned from male to female, becoming the FDNY's first openly trans firefighter.
Julie Sokolow directed the film, which follows the challenges Guinan faced as a trans person in a macho profession. The challenges didn't end in the workplace -- Guinan also faced them within her own family; and her prominence in a media-saturated city forced her boyfriend to reckon "with the impact of Brooke’s newly public profile on his parents," as the Doc NYC website put it.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.