Deep Run

A film by Hillevi Loven
Produced by Chris Talbott and Samara Levenstein

US | 2015 | 75 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 161184


Executive produced by Susan Sarandon, DEEP RUN is a powerful verité portrait of trans life in rural North Carolina. Exiled by her family and rejected by an ex-partner, 17-year-old Spazz has no one to lean on for support. But when Spazz falls in love again and summons up the courage to become Cole, a strong-willed trans-man, his candid humor and steadfast, all-inclusive Christian beliefs counter the bigotry he experiences daily.

This deeply personal documentary reveals rebirth and courage within America’s deeply conservative Bible Belt as Cole struggles to find a church that will affirm his identity and the couple's relationship. With a small group of supportive friends, relatives, and his girlfriend, Ashley, Cole's search for love and belonging leads him to a radical revision of what faith and church can be. An intimate study of young outsiders in an insular Christian community, DEEP RUN explores the intersection of modern identity and faith in the American South. Essential viewing for LGBTQIA Audiences, Queer and Gender studies classes.


"Deep Run is a sensitive and compelling portrait of trans teen Cole Ray Davis becoming a man in rural North Carolina. Cole’s story is a microcosm of so many compelling contemporary issues, he personifies how millennials will alter our culture's attitudes on transgender rights, the plight of the undocumented, and religious intolerance. This movie will be an excellent tool in classrooms and college campuses."

Susan Sarandon

"An intimate look at what it's like to come out not once but twice in the Bible-steeped South…a sweet, admiring, optimistic profile of a teen in transition."

The Hollywood Reporter

"A compelling portrait of courageous Southern queer youth on a quest for belonging within their families of origin and within a community where faith is a sacred, binding commonality."

Frameline Film Festival

"DEEP RUN poetically examines one trans man’s search for love, faith, and acceptance in rural North Carolina. [Loven’s] directorial eye shows a particularly acute attention to depicting the distinctive atmosphere of Davis’s rural Southern world… the film glows with a lyrical intimacy… a particularly honest depiction of low-income trans American experiences."

The Advocate

"DEEP RUN is...beautifully crafted and nuanced."

Lauren Wissot Hammer to Nail


  • Outfest Film Festival, Special Programming Award for Emerging Talent
  • Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, Best Documentary
  • Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Indie Grits
  • RiverRun International Fim Festival
  • LGBT Center at Eastern Carolina University
  • CinemaQ/Denver Film Society
  • Fresno Reel Pride Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Cinema Queer International Film Festival Sweden
  • Out on Film Atlanta's LGBT Film Festival
  • Portland Queer Film Festival
  • San Diego Film Festival
  • IF Film Festival Kentucky
  • Miami and Fort Lauderdale LGBT Film Festival
  • Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival
  • Frameline Film Festival
  • Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival
  • Doc NYC
  • Woodstock Film Festival
  • Melbourne Queer Film Festival


Hillevi Loven

Hillevi Loven is a filmmaker, producer and still photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is making her feature-film-directing debut with the award winning Deep Run. As a Sundance Documentary Fellow, she developed Deep Run in the Sundance labs. Deep Run is the culmination of Hillevi’s own social justice work, which began with teaching media arts to LGBT youth at the NYC Hetrick Martin Institute. In collaboration with NYU anthropologist Natasha Schull, she co-directed the documentary, Buffet: All You Can Eat Las Vegas, which won Best Short from the Society of Visual Anthropology. As an artist, she has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Sundance Institute, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Frameline Completion Fund and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has produced collaborative work with the Brooklyn art collective Uniondocs, OVO, and the Brooklyn Filmmakers’ Collective. Hillevi is an alumna of Barnard College, and the Hunter College IMA MFA program.

She also has produced media for Time Warner, Condé Nast, Martha Stewart and American Express, among other companies.

Hillevi currently teaches media arts and communications at the City University of New York. (2/16)

Chris Talbott

Chris Talbott (Producer) is a producer, director and writer who lives in Rockaway Beach in NYC. A Sundance Documentary Fellow, he is the founder of Silent Five Productions and Cause Effect Agency, a mission-driven organization that cross-pollinates charitable projects with activists in the entertainment industry. Talbott produced Deep Run (Netflix) with longtime collaborator Susan Sarandon, and assisted actor/director Tim Robbins in producing Cradle Will Rock and Dead Man Walking. His earlier films include The Fourth (Long Island Film Festival Best First Feature) and The World's Best Prom (Wisconsin Film Festival Best Documentary), which inspired a popular episode of NPR's This American Life. His original plays have been produced with SoHo Rep, HERE, OVO, and Theater for the New City. He developed and produced Roger Allers' (Lion King) children's musical Beatrice's Goat. (7/19)

Samara Levenstein

Samara is a NYC based Producer. Post Production credits include the critically-acclaimed documentaries WHY WE FIGHT (Eugene Jarecki), DAVE CHAPELLE’S BLOCK PARTY (Michel Gondry), and THE ARMSTRONG LIE (Alex Gibney). Television credits include both seasons of the HBO/Cinemax narrative series, THE KNICK (Steven Soderbergh). (3/16)


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