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Airdate: Revealed: Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes

Feature doco profiles former AFL coach turned transgender advocate, Danielle Laidley.

Upcoming documentary Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes is the latest in Stan’s suite of original docos, set to screen in September.

Created by Stan in conjunction with JAM TV (Show Me The Money, Making their Mark), it is co-written and co-directed by Julie Kalceff (First Day) and Sam Matthews (Unboxed), with an original score by composer Charlie Chan.

The documentary is described as an in-depth journey of a remarkable woman who has endured some difficult bumps in the road while achieving countless plaudits along the way.

Utilising personal archival material including photos, journals and videos, audiences will witness Danielle’s early childhood in a working-class suburb of Perth, to her career as an elite athlete and as a renowned senior AFL coach. Cameras also capture the emotional moments as Danielle faces her family and friends for the first time.

Danielle Laidley said: “It’s with nervous anticipation that I share my story with Australia – it hasn’t been the easiest path, but I’ve made some treasured memories along the way, and met some incredible people. This story won’t pull any punches; you’ll see me at my lowest points and at my highest, surrounded by those whom I care about most who stood by me through it all. My truth is becoming an increasingly common one in today’s society, and highlights the need for greater inclusivity, understanding and acceptance.”

Cailah Scobie, Chief Content Officer at Stan, said: “We thank Danielle for entrusting Stan to help tell her powerful story. It is an extremely important one that demands to be heard, and we believe audiences will be inspired by Danielle’s fascinating journey. The Stan Originals team also recognises the sensitive work of JAM TV and Co-Directors Julie Kalceff and Sam Matthews, and Producer Alison Kenter in creating this extraordinary documentary.”

Luke Tunnecliffe, Head of Content at JAM TV, said: “Danelle’s is a remarkable story and one that JAMTV feels privileged to have been entrusted to tell. We’ve known Danielle for many decades so appreciate that she felt comfortable allowing us unfiltered access into her journey. Her life has so many layers and is incredibly nuanced and inspirational at the same time and we feel the audience will get a true insight into her highest of highs, and more recently her lows as she reconnects with those she loves the most.”

Screen Australia’s Head of Documentary Alex West, said: “The teaming up of Stan and JAM TV has resulted in a powerful and deeply moving documentary which explores Danielle Laidley’s very personal journey. Importantly, the film gives Danielle a platform to tell her story in her own words, and in doing so, shines a spotlight on the discrimination faced by the transgender community more broadly. This is an incredibly courageous story and one that we will all benefit from watching.”

Mandy Chang, Global Head of Documentaries at Fremantle, said: “Fremantle are delighted to be working with Stan and the talented filmmaking team on this emotionally raw and powerful documentary, to bring to light Danielle Laidley’s remarkable story. Audiences both in Australia and globally will be captivated by a secretive and at times painful journey in her quest to find redemption.”

Danielle Laidley is best known for a highly successful men’s AFL football career, playing 151 games for the West Coast Eagles and North Melbourne football clubs, including an AFL premiership with the Kangaroos in 1996. She went on to become one of the youngest ever head coaches in the league at the age of 36, coaching North Melbourne for 149 games across seven seasons from 2003 to 2009, before holding other coaching roles with Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton football clubs.

However, despite her successes on the field, Danielle faced her own private, lifelong battle with gender dysphoria off the field. Never feeling truly comfortable with who she was, Laidley’s life spiralled in 2020 when she was arrested under accusations of stalking amid a battle with drug addiction.

After a Victorian police officer leaked photos to the media of Danielle in custody, outing her as transgender, she faced public scrutiny and front-page headlines around the nation and was denied the opportunity to privately share her gender transition with family and friends.

It was at this lowest point that Danielle reunited with her now-partner Donna Leckie, a lifelong friend who would go on to become her rock and confidante and inspire her to rebuild past relationships.

Now, with Donna at her side, Danielle is ready to tell her story – on her terms. Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes will chronicle Laidley’s life from childhood to sports star, to her role as an advocate for the transgender community. Viewers will see Danielle and Donna navigate their paths forward in a critical twelve months under public scrutiny. Danielle will launch her autobiography, approach the AFL to put her voice toward inclusivity, strive to rebuild family relationships and work to find her place in the community as an LGBTQIA+ representative.

Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes is created in conjunction with JAM TV (Stan Original Documentary Series Show Me The Money I & II, Making Their Mark), co-written and co-directed by Emmy® award-winning Julie Kalceff (First Day) and Sam Matthews (Unboxed), with principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with VicScreen in collaboration with Fremantle Documentaries, with Fremantle handling international distribution. Stan Executive Producers are Cailah Scobie and Amanda Duthie.

Tuesday September 19 on Stan.

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