Beautiful new film from Stept and Merrell follows the journey of the first trans woman endeavouring to climb seven summits as 'her true self'
TranSending is the story of Erin Parisi, a transgender woman training to conquer the Seven Summits. A pilgrimage of self-discovery and rebirth, she aims to create awareness and visibility for the trans community through her quest.
Creative production studio Stept partnered with hiking and outdoors brand Merrell to make the film, championed by executive producer Lindsay Hagen. Hagen worked with Parisi for over two years in order to find the perfect team to translate her heroic tale to the screen. Hagen comments: “When I first met Erin I was struck by her vulnerability and unbelievable courage. On this incredible journey, she carries not only her own story, but also that of the trans community as a whole. Her quest transcends the sphere of gender, bringing to light a broader conversation about identity and integrity.”
The Seven Summits is the ultimate mountaineering feat that only a little over 400 climbers have accomplished. Reaching the highest summit on each continent has taken some trekkers as little as 119 days and several decades for others. While the climbers hail from dozens of countries and span more than 60 years in age difference, Parisi will be the first transgender person to attain the lofty goal. She has already climbed the highest peaks in Australia, Africa, Russia, and South America in under one year. The remaining three - Everest, Denali, and Vinson Massif - will be the most challenging.
For Parisi, climbing the Seven Summits is a platform to promote transgender inclusion and education. In 2018 she founded TranSending7, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving transgender outcomes by expanding athletic opportunities and creating safe spaces in sports where trans people can gain vital life skills. Parisi says: “Having spent my life relegated to shadows, I now see these summits as the only places where no shadows exist. These places represent the highest points where I can stand unashamed, strong, and confidant in who I am.”
For this film, the Stept team felt particularly strong about the need for proper representation behind the lens. They had the privilege of partnering with director Marin Hart on the project. Hart comments: “I first learned about Erin's goal from an article in Outside Magazine. Being a female director in the queer community, my intention is to give a voice to people with outstanding ambitions that can teach a universal lesson to all. Erin didn't necessarily want to be visible, but the trans community needs a role model like her. I am honoured to be a part of telling her story.”
EP Hagen adds: “I am excited to watch Erin continue to break barriers as she brings her story into the light. I thank her for unapologetically unveiling and honouring her true self with strength and beauty. This is the type of project that the Stept crew is known for and we are especially grateful for the partnership with Merrell. Through this film opportunity we were able to share an impactful personal story and support TranSending7's mission of inclusivity for all.”
The film has been accepted into the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado and the 5 Point Adventure Film Festival in Carbondale, Colorado.