Girl Inside

A film by Maya Gallus, Produced by Justine Pimlott and Maya Gallus

Canada | 2007 | 70 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 09929


Following 26-year-old Madison during a crucial three years of her transition, GIRL INSIDE is a beautiful film that tracks her emotional, intellectual and spiritual journey of self-discovery that is as important as – if not more than – the physical journey of hormones and surgery. Sharing the spotlight is Vivien, Madison’s glamorous 80-year-old grandmother, who has taken on the job of advising her on all things feminine. While Vivien's attempts to school Madison in old-fashioned codes of fashion and behavior are often hilarious, the juxtaposition of two vastly different experiences of womanhood, from very different generations, raises profound issues about the nature of gender, femininity and sexuality.

Sometimes funny, sometimes painful, this heartwarming coming of age story is both an intimate portrait and a thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a woman. Recommended for courses in transgender and queer studies, gender studies, women’s studies and sociology.


“Quietly fierce and deeply intelligent, Madison's story is enlightening without being preachy, and Madison is a fantastically open and candid subject.”

Now Magazine

“A subtle and in-depth portrayal…Shot over three years in direct cinema style and beautifully structured.”

Lynn Fernie DOXA

“Compelling. Goes beyond typical ‘Trans 101’ documentaries… deeper into the life of one individual, with her own desires and opinions.”

Jon Davies Xtra

“GIRL INSIDE gives a frank glimpse into that last bastion of LGBTG-dom to be embraced by the mainstream: the trans-gendered.”

Eye Weekly

"Evocative. Well-written, insightful, and informative. Recommended for collections that focus on gay and lesbian studies as well as gender studies."

Dan DiLandro Educational Media Reviews Online


  • Gemini Award, Best Direction in a Documentary Program
  • St. John's International Women's Film Festival
  • NewFest - The New York LGBT Film Festival
  • Frameline - San Francisco LGBT Film Festival
  • DOXA - Documentary Film Festival Vancouver
  • Hot Docs Int'l Documentary Festival
  • Atlantic Film Festival, Halifax
  • Reel Affirmations, DC
  • Womens Film Festival In Seoul


Maya Gallus

Maya Gallus is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has screened around the world, including the Boston Musuem of Art, Canada House UK, Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Melbourne Film Festival, MostraRIO, Feminale Festival, Fetisch Film Festival, Thessalonika Film Festival, One WorldHuman Rights Festival, Dok Leipzig, Bergen International Film Festival, Cuenca Women in Direction, FIFA - Films Sur L’art, Montreal World Film Festival, RIDM - Montreal, Yorkton, St John’s Women’s Festival, Citizen Jane , the TFMS Film Series, DOXA, Atlantic Film Festival, Frameline, New Fest, Out Fest, Reel Out, Image et Nation, Ladyfest UK, QDoc, QFilm Festival Indonesia, and Singapore International Film Festival,

Her first film, ELIZABETH SMART; ON THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS, was a hybrid documentary-drama about the author of By Grand Central Central Station I Sat Down And Wept. The film launched at the Toronto International Film Festival and won three Golden Sheaf Awards for Best Production of the Festival, Best Documentary and Best Editing; it was also nominated for a Gemini (Canada’s Emmy Awards) for Best Direction.

Her follow up documentary EROTICA: A JOURNEY INTO FEMALE SEXUALITY, featuring the final interview with 90-year-old Pauline Réage, the mysterious author of Story of O, as well as interviews with the notorious French dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet and performer Annie Sprinkle, among others, launched at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in Toronto, San Francisco, San Sebastian and Tokyo. EROTICA was nominated for a Genie (Canada’s Oscars) for Best Feature-Length Documentary as well as Best Arts Documentary at Hot Docs.

GIRL INSIDE, a documentary portrait of 23-year-old Madison, transitioning to her female self over three years with the help of her 80-year-old grandmother, won a Gemini for Best Direction In A Documentary and was nominated for the prestigious Donald Brittain Gemini Award for Best Social Political Documentary.

Her Gemini-nominated feature documentary, DISH-WOMEN, WAITRESSING & THE ART OF SERVICE, a portrait of working women in the service industry, from North American diners, to topless restos, to Japanese fantasy maid cafes, to high end Parisian restaurants, was launched to critical acclaim at Hot Docs.

THE MYSTERY OF MAZO DE LA ROCHE, exploring the love story behind the fiction of one of the most famous, yet secretive women writers of the 20th century, is her second hybrid documentary-drama, nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards and recipient of the Golden Sheaf Award for Best Social Issue Documentary.

Her most recent film, co-directed with Justine Pimlott, is DERBY CRAZY LOVE.
Other credits include co-directing and co-producing the Gemini-nominated PUNCH LIKE A GIRL, with Justine Pimlott, about amateur women’s boxing; co-producing and writing the award-winning FAG HAGS: WOMEN WHO LOVE GAY MEN, and co-producing CAT CITY. (04/14)

Justine Pimlott

Justine Pimlott is an award-winning filmmaker who made her directorial debut with LAUGH IN THE DARK, which won the Best Social Issue Documentary Award at Hot Docs and Best Canadian Film at the Inside Out Film & Video Festival in Toronto.

In 2003, she formed Red Queen Productions with Maya Gallus and launched their company with the critically acclaimed six-part reality series on women’s boxing, PUNCH LIKE A GIRL, for which they each received two Gemini nominations (Canada’s Emmy Awards) for Best Direction in a Documentary Series. PUNCH LIKE A GIRLwas also re-released as a single documentary.

Her documentary FAG HAGS:Women Who Love Gay Men, which she directed and co-produced, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Inside Out Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Canadian Film at the Reel Out Festival. FAG HAGS was broadcast on CBC: The Passionate Eye, SRC, Showcase, IFC, SBS, YLE, SBS Australia and numerous others.

She also wrote and directed CAT CITY, an hour-long documentary that takes the viewer into the heart of the cat overpopulation crisis in Canada. CAT CITY premiered at the Royal Cinema in Toronto, and screened at numerous festivals including Blue Planet Film Fest, Commfest, Moving Image Film Festival and Wisconsin International Film Festival. Additional directing credits include several episodes of a 13-part reality series, FIRE STATION, for the Discovery Channel and CHASING THE DREAM, a pre-Olympic one hour special for CBC Sports on international women’s hockey.

As a producer, Justine’s credits include LAUGH IN THE DARK, PUNCH LIKE A GIRL, FAG HAGS, CAT CITY and DERBY CRAZY LOVE, as well as several documentaries directed by Maya Gallus, including the hybrid documentary-drama, THE MYSTERY OF MAZO DE LA ROCHE, nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards and recipient of the Golden Sheaf Award for Best Social Issue Documentary, the feature documentary, DISH-WOMEN, WAITRESSING & THE ART OF SERVICE and the feature documentary, GIRL INSIDE, which won the Gemini Award for Best Direction In A Documentary and was nominated for the Donald Brittain Gemini Award for Best Social Political Documentary.

Most recently, Justine co-produced and co-directed, DERBY CRAZY LOVE, with Maya Gallus, which launched at RIDM in Montreal in 2013 and is playing at various film festivals, including DOXA, QDoc Portland, Inside Out, Frameline and Northside in Brooklyn. She is currently in development with a several projects for Red Quen Productions, including the feature documentary THE FRUIT MACHINE, about the rise of the early gay rights movement in Canada and the U.S. as told through the story of the radical gay and lesbian newspaper, The Body Politic. (4/14)


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