A filmmaker’s story of trans experiences in schools, partly based on his own, has been released.

Asa Pegler, 20, based in Carlisle, released his film It Gets Better earlier this week and hopes it will help other young trans people struggling with abuse.

The film has themes of bullying, sexual assault, grooming, self-harm, and depression, but despite this, there is a glimmer of hope present throughout.

Mr Pegler explained: “It’s called It Gets Better because it does get better.

“It focuses on a young person who happens to be transgender, and their journey with abuse, bullying, drugs, hypersexuality, and losing control.”

News and Star: Asa PeglerAsa Pegler (Image: Supplied)

He said the themes of drug abuse, party scenes, and sex scenes display a way that abused people seek to gain control of their lives in small, easily achievable ways, but that can be destructive.

“It also focuses on how PTSD can haunt you, but it’s also based on my experiences.

On how it can ‘get better’, he said: “You will meet people in life who will not treat you awfully, who genuinely care, and want to help you, and how just because something bad has happened to you, it doesn’t define your life.”

Pegler said he was bullied and sexually groomed, and while he wasn’t physically beaten as the lead character Alfie – portrayed by London-based actor Max Thomas – experiences, the display of it in the piece was an attempt to present the same feeling of trauma and hurt that he had, but in the small time allowed for the short film.

Depictions of abuse in the film may not be ones that directly relate to Mr Pegler’s life, but they come from an all-too-real place.

He surveyed trans people on social media, asking them if they have been bullied, raped, beaten, or attempted or contemplated suicide, and the results were devastating.

News and Star: The film focuses on themes of bullying, abuse, and survivalThe film focuses on themes of bullying, abuse, and survival (Image: Æ Productions)

Out of the 20 responses he received, he said all had contemplated suicide at some point in their lives, and a large number had faced physical abuse.

“If I focused on every single one of them in that film, I think it would be even more harrowing.

“I want the world to get better for us because I'm really worried about where it's going,” he said.

The film was crowdfunded and facilitated by Carlisle College, and released for free on YouTube.

The money went towards paying the crew, as well as for the leading man’s transport to Carlisle where it was filmed, Mr Pegler offering lodging for Mr Thomas throughout filming.

It was mostly shot on location, in the college, Bitts Park, and various parts of the city centre.

On working with Max Thomas, he said: “He was a pleasure to work with, really respectful on the job.

“He was also great at helping me because he was an actor, so he knew what stuff would look like on camera.

“His performance is impeccable, I couldn't fault it.

“Sometimes when he was doing something, I asked him at one point, ‘Are you all right?’

“And he was like, ‘Yeah, I'm just acting, man’.”

News and Star: Max Thomas as Alfie in Asa Pegler's new film It Gets BetterMax Thomas as Alfie in Asa Pegler's new film It Gets Better (Image: Æ Productions)

Pegler considers this film his debut, and therefore a major milestone in his career, which he hopes will see him pursue feature films and higher education.

“I didn't think I'd be alive to do these things, so it's surreal.

“I'm so thankful for the people in my life who have helped me get to this point because it's not just me who's done it.

“Without the support from my tutors at Carlisle College and my family, especially my mum and my friends, I wouldn't be here to do it.”