How Many Genders Are There?
Onko sukupuolia kaksi vai enemmän?

A short film about gender, transgender and third gender.

by Teemu Mäki

29 minutes, 2018, 4K video, stereo.

Premiere was in my exhibition in MUU Gallery, Helsinki, 24.5.2018.

The film is closely related to the TRANSFORMATIONS theatre piece and to the TRANSGENDER and How to Be a Woman or a Man? photo series.


Script, direction, edit
: Teemu Mäki

Interviewees / performers:
Maru Hietala
Annu Kemppainen
Valto Kuuluvainen
Jamie MacDonald
Lexie Matheson
Aro Mielonen
Venni Rechardt
Jennah Vain

Cinematography & color grading: Jarmo Kiuru.
Sound recording & mixing: Ville Katajala.
Johann Sebastian Bach: English Suite #2 In A Minor, Courante (Glenn Gould).

How Many Genders Are There? / Onko sukupuolia kaksi vai enemmän? is a short documentary film about transgender people. It consists mainly of interviews of transgender persons. In addition to that there are photos of a couple of transgender persons, at various stages of their lives – and a bit of music by J. S. Bach.

By the time a human being is born it's usually classified either as a man or as a woman. The classification is based on how the child's genitals look like: a penis makes a man, a vagina makes a woman. However, the truth is not as simple as that with all people. Some are men, even though they may have feminine genitals. Some are women, even though they have a penis. They are transgender people. And some are neither men nor women, but of third gender, whose gender identity just doesn't fit into binary gender categories at all. All of them are transgender people.

The short film is a continuation of a documentary theatre piece called TRANSFORMATIONS — Rewriting Masculinity / Otteita maskuliinisuuden sanakirjasta (2016). I wrote and directed the theatre piece and we performed it in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Tallinn and Tartu in 2016–2017. Maru Hietala, Valto Kuuluvainen, Aro Mielonen, James MacDonald and Venni Rechardt performed the piece live. Through video also Annu Kemppainen, Lexie Matheson and Jennah Vain participated in the work. All of them are also in the documentary film.

I've also made photos on the same topic and with the same people. I exhibited a few works from the photographic series TRANSGENDER — Images of Gender Diversity / TRANSIHMISYYS — kuvia sukupuolen moninaisuudesta in my solo show in MUU Gallery (Helsinki) in 2018. Some of these images appear in the short film too. Photographic portraits of transgender people also belong to a larger series called How to Be a Woman or a Man? / Miten olla mies tai nainen?, which I've worked on since 2004 and often exhibited. The works in the series are photographic portraits of various kinds of people and their relationship with gender, family and mortality.

The short film is an autonomous work, but simultaneously it paves way to a long documentary film that I want to make.

Helsingissä 6.6.2018,

Teemu Mäki



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