When transgender women begin the process of feminising their voices, they often repeat and record a phonetic passage of text known as the "rainbow passage".
This process is at the heart of a new film, written and directed by Cadance Bell who grew up in Mudgee and starring Cadance's fiancée Amanda Sato along with Hannah Maher and Jordan Raskopolous.
The documentary film is described as 'an intimate documentary that charts the love story of Cadance and Amanda as they embark on their gender affirmation journey. Along with their bestie Hannah, they build a life and community of LGBTIQA+ friends together in regional Australia.'
Cadance and Amanda sat down with the Mudgee Guardian following their sold-out premiere screening at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras film festival to talk about the film.
Cadance said the response to the film so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
"It's been amazing so far, both showing it [the film] and the response from audiences as well. So we had the premiere on Monday night [February 17] and we sold out, completely sold out," she said.
"It's just been - oh gosh, just absolutely amazing. We've been flooded with people just telling us how much they enjoyed the film. They're really responding well to it. Especially because it's different, we tried to do something very experimental and it's great to see that pay off.
"It's not your usual documentary, it's very intimate, and it sort of grows as the film grows bigger. We tried to keep it funny and like we took a lot of risks with it I think and it's paid off. Audiences are responding to it in a way that we hoped they would.
"If that enthusiasm continues to other screenings that will be good."
Cadance said the film started as a way to document their trip to Korea for vocal surgery and evolved into something much bigger.
We've been flooded with people just telling us how much they enjoyed the film.Director, Cadance Bell
"I document everything, I'm a filmmaker. We were heading over to Korea...and I knew I had this new camera coming and so I thought it'd be really interesting to...make this short film about getting that surgery in Korea. But then spending - you can't speak for a month after you get the surgery - and I thought it'd be really interesting to show that. To show two people lost in this country. It was my first time out of Australia," she said.
"Just being completely voiceless...but then while we're shooting we realised we had something a bit bigger than that and we kept filming other events in our lives and then eventually we came across the Out Here initiative and got funding through them [for the film]."
The film was made possible thanks to The Out Here initiative, with the support of Network Ten and Screen Australia.
Out Here is an initiative which encourages queer filmmakers in rural areas to get their ideas to the screen and foster creativity through storytelling.
Cadance and Amanda were one of a handful of successful applicants among hundred vying for funding from Out Here to the tune of $80,000. A significant sum considering the film's total budget was about $100,000.
More than the film's success is a focus on the importance of representation of trans people on screen. Something Cadance and Amanda hope will help normalise queer and trans depictions in film and television.
"It's really important for trans people to see themselves reflected on screen. I didn't know what a trans person was [before I transitioned], I knew there were drag queens and gay people. I knew I wasn't either of those. I didn't know trans existed a few years ago and even then I had trouble accepting it," Cadance said.
"So when you see yourself and when you see people who are just - it normalises it, there are plenty of trans people out there that are just trying to deal with living as what they were assigned at birth. You know, they don't know that it's possible to transition, they don't know about hormones or surgery or any of that.
"Just knowing that stuff is important."
"Also, normalising it among even people that aren't trans. It shows that we're just normal people and wider acceptance within the community," Amanda said.
"We deliberately set out to make a much more positive film than you often see with trans people. You know, 'everything's hard', we - we f*cking love being trans, it's great. And so I mean there's a lot to celebrate about it and that's what we set out to do and I think we achieved it with the tone of the film," Cadance said.
Following the film's release, Cadance is developing a television series. Described as a cross between Josh Thomas' Please Like Me and HBO's Girls and continues to support Rainbow Passage.
The 22-minute film will be screened in Melbourne on March 15 and can be streamed for free on Tenplay.