Caitlyn Jenner showed her support for Magnolia's Tangerine and star Mya Taylor in the first-ever Oscar campaign for trans actresses.
"I learned so much from this film... For me it was brutally honest," Jenner said. "Stories like this are nothing but good for our community."
The Olympic gold medalist hosted a special screening Monday at the Landmark in Los Angeles. She credited her publicist Alan Nierob with persuading her to support Tangerine.
"This was a real movie about real issues in our community," she said. "We need to expose those."
Taylor has already won a Gotham Award for breakthrough actor/actress. She's also nominated for best supporting actress at the Independent Spirit Awards. Magnolia is also campaigning for Kiki Kitana Rodriguez in the best actress category for the 2016 Academy Awards.
The Magnolia Pictures event included a post-screening reception with Jenner, Taylor, executive producers Mark and Jay Duplass and director Sean Baker, who was named one of Variety's 10 Directors to Watch last year.
"There was that aura about Mya Taylor when I first met her," Baker said.
"Your performance was magnificent... I'm really, really proud of you," Jenner said to Taylor.
Tangerine was shot entirely with iPhone 5S cameras and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2015. Set in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, it follows the adventure of trans sex worker Sin-Dee (Rodriguez) and her best friend and fellow prostitute Alexandra (Taylor) as they set out to confront Sin-Dee's cheating pimp boyfriend and his new love interest. Baker and Taylor collaborated together on the story, which Variety's Justin Chang called "a work of rueful, matter-of-fact insight and unapologetically wild humour."
"I've had a very sad life," Taylor said. "The way I get through it is to make fun of it."
After the screening, Jenner told Variety that she's supporting the film in the hopes that it will generate greater awareness of transgender issues such as suicide, homelessness, healthcare, proper identification and being the victims of crime.
"I want to see more understanding," she said. "I want to see the whole movement move forward. The movie brought to light the biggest issue in our community which is trans women of color."
Tangerine had a limited release in July (in the U.S.)* through Magnolia Pictures and has grossed over $700,000. Laverne Cox and Lisa Cholodenko have also hosted screenings for Tangerine in the last few months.
* Ed.: Tangerine was released last September in Australia through Rialto Distribution.