Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

No Ordinary Man

Year: 2020
Country: CANADA
Language: English
Run Time: 84 minutes

No Ordinary Man
No Ordinary Man
No Ordinary Man
No Ordinary Man

When American jazz musician Billy Tipton passed away in 1989, the tabloids didn’t explode with stories about his time as a multi-instrumentalist on the club circuit or the two records his self-titled trio cut in the 1950s. Instead the tabloids went with insensitive and defamatory narratives regarding his gender. To the surprise of all who knew him—including Billy’s wife and adopted sons—he was assigned female at birth and had been living as himself since 19. The resulting media frenzy scrutinized every aspect of his life and his family’s life, while his biographer insisted he was a woman posing as a man out of career ambition. However, there was a silver lining to Billy’s unfair outing: he was made a visible part of history. With the help of Tipton’s son, Billy Jr., directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s thoughtfully crafted NO ORDINARY MAN reframes Billy Tipton’s legacy through the performances of a diverse group of transmasculine artists as they reimagine key moments in the musician’s life. This unique portrait of trans expression goes beyond one man’s identity, allowing each actor to connect with the past as a means of claiming their own narrative. — D.O.

CIFF45 Screenings

CIFF45 Streams On Demand

Thursday, April 08, 2021 at 11:00 AM -
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Streams Access: United States and US Territories
Accessibility (?)
Closed Captions: No
Audio Description: No
English Subtitles: No


Nesnadny + Schwartz Portrait Documentary Competition
Reel Women Direct Award for Excellence in Directing by a Woman

Director Director

Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt

Sarah Spring

Aisling Chin-Yee, Amos Mac

Léna Mill-Reuillard

Marie-Pierre Grenier

Film Contact

Film Sponsors

Consulate General of Canada

Cleveland Humanities Festival

Community Partners

Cleveland Play House


Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today