XY Chelsea

  • Tim Travers Hawkins
  • United Kingdom
  • 2019
  • 92 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

When President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning at the end of his second term in early 2017, reaction in the United States was deeply divided. Some saw Manning as a traitor to her country, others as a heroine of free speech.

Seven years earlier, Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning had gone to prison for passing on more than 700,000 confidential state documents to WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange. Some of the documents contained evidence that the U.S. Army had committed misconduct and war crimes in Iraq.

Manning was quick to announce that she wanted to transition, but she wasn’t permitted to stay in a women’s prison, or even let her hair grow out. How did this vulnerable transgender woman survive in such adverse conditions? And if you aren't born as you want to be, how do you find out who you really are while living under a microscope? In XY Chelsea—the title comes from Manning’s Twitter account—a probing, assertive camera goes in search of the person behind the media.


  • 92 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English
Tim Travers Hawkins
Julia Nottingham / Pulse Films, Lucas Ochoa for Pulse Films, Thomas Benski for Pulse Films, Isabel Davis for Pulse Films
Executive producer
Laura Poitras, Charlotte Cook, Vinnie Malhotra, Mary Burke, Michael Bloom, Lisa Leingang, Sharon Chang, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Blaine Vess, Marisa Clifford, Ryan Harrington
Tim Travers Hawkins
Jon Evans

IDFA history

Share this film

Print this page

IDFA history

This website uses cookies.

By using cookies we can measure how our site is used, how it can be further improved and to personalize the content of online advertisements.

 here everything about our cookie policy. If you choose to decline, we only place functional and analytical cookies