Ray Whitehouse’s new documentary A Run for More tells the story of Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe, a woman running for city council in San Antonio, Texas.
But Gonzales-Wolfe’s campaign faces more obstacles than any of her opponents. At every turn, she must constantly field questions about her identity as a trans woman and how that identity might impact her political decisions. And her campaign also carries the weight of history: if she won she would be the first trans person ever elected to the San Antonio City Council.
It’s a poignant conversation to have at any time in American history, but especially now, considering the anti-trans legislation that has recently been introduced in Texas including Senate Bill 29, which requires trans student-athletes to compete on the sports teams that match their sex assigned at birth rather than the gender they identify with.
“I’m trans [and] live in Texas, and I’ve been working in politics for 26 years. And for all the years that I have worked in politics, we don’t have many of us that step forward,” Gonzales-Wolfe told MovieMaker. “To be able to say ‘I’m trans, I’m going to run, this is what my experience is going to look like,’ — being able to tell my story was important for me.”
A Run For More was an official selection of the 40th annual Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival, where it screened in July.
Whitehouse — a journalist, cinematographer and documentarian who has worked on past films including Rachel Lears’ Sundance selection To The End and co-directed Big Sky Documentary Film Festival selection Bring Them Home — first got the idea to direct a documentary about Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe when she was volunteering on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.
“I went to the Hillary office and I asked… if there were any volunteers who might be willing to spend some time with me and talk about why they want to volunteer, and I got introduced to Frankie, and we kind of immediately hit it off,” Whitehouse said. “I pitched her on the idea of exploring why campaign volunteers are important, and she resonated with that idea. And it kind of went from there.”
A few years later, when Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe announced she was going to run for San Antonio City Council, Whitehouse decided to pivot the film to follow her journey on the campaign trail.
“In 2018, Frankie called me and said, ‘Hey, I think I’m going to run for office.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool. Do you think I might be able to keep going with you?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, that would be fine.’ And so it sort of organically grew into this larger project,” Whitehouse said.
Even though Gonzales-Wolfe didn’t end up getting elected to San Antonio City Council, she knows it’s the journey that counts, not the destination. Plus, she landed on her feet — she now serves as the chief of staff for Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, making her the first openly trans person to serve in that role.
The documentary serves as extremely vital representation for other trans and LGBTQ+ people hoping to run for office one day.
“I was honored that Ray decided to explore this and make it part of the journey because I thought it was important for people here in Texas to see that we [trans people] are so much more than the stigma that people want to place upon us,” Gonzales-Wolfe said.
Main Image: Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe, courtesy of Outfest