Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hard work shooting documentary subjects grave site

Director Stu Maddux and subject KrysAnne Hembrough Dec, 2008

I had a whirlwind, pick up shot trip to Boston last week and my last job was to shoot the grave site of one of my film's subjects, KrysAnne Hembrough.

KrysAnne was a transgendered woman in her early sixties desperate to find someone to care for her as she faced a terminal illness. She passed away last spring and her story is an important part of our documentary, Gen Silent, about LGBT aging issues.

Kevin Hembrough in the 1960's

It was crucial that I find her grave marker. She was a Vietnam veteran and wanted to be buried at a National Cemetery. The hitch was that she wanted to be buried as Staff Sgt. Krysallis Anne Hembrough not by her male name, Kevin. She was still a man when she was in the service.

Director Stu Maddux at Massachusetts National Cemetery October, 2009

I cannot tell you how important this final wish was to her. She spent precious energy getting the Veteran's Administration to permit it. So I owed it to her to haul the gear out from San Francisco to Cape Cod to find out if she got her final wish.

Most moving for me was the phrase below her name
which she called herself often almost as a self-affirmation.

That was it.
I packed up with what will likely be the closing shot for her story.
But as I walked back to the car I discovered a grave marker which moved me even more than Krys Anne's.

My thanks to Associate Producer Catherine Cox for researching the location of Krys Anne's marker and making it so easy to find on such a tight schedule.
Apologies to you, Krys Anne, for not being able to stay longer.


  1. I'm so filled with emotion ...The tears are tears of joy for Krys Anne...Thanks Stu for posting...
    Bless you~
    Paula Hartford-Jackson

  2. Wish I had met her. She sounds like an amazing lady. Thank you for this...

  3. Thanks Stu for being the caring person you are. Met you briefly at the memorial service. I find this very emotional being a transgendered Viet. vet myself. Bless you.

  4. Thanks for posting this Stu (and many thanks to Paula for sending it along to many of us to know about this). It's very moving and very touching to see this. Thank you so much.