Seahorse on the Silver Screen

The Nature Lab’s seahorses made their film debut in the world premiere of SEAHORSE at the Tribeca Film Festival.

SEAHORSE is a documentary by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay that follows the story of Freddy McConnell, a transgender man who dreams of raising a child in his hometown of Deal, England.

The Guardian writes of the film, “Director Jeanie Finlay extends sincere empathy towards someone who won’t let gender get in the way of heeding the basic human impulse to create and nurture new life. That’s how Finlay wants us to see McConnell’s journey to fatherhood—a phenomenon as natural as the reproduction of the seahorse, in which male specimens carry and spawn their own young.”

The Nature Lab’s involvement came through Stewart Copeland [MFA D+M ‘19], a Graduate Assistant at the time and a friend and collaborator of Finlay’s for over 10 years (Stewart was the Cinematographer and Associate Producer on Finlay’s previous film, ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING). When Finlay mentioned she needed footage of seahorses, Stewart immediately thought of the five specimens the Nature Lab had recently collected from Narragansett Bay. With descriptions of the desired footage from Finlay, Stewart set up a tank in the Lab and recruited the help of Yuhe Yao [MFA D+M ‘19] to capture a series of close-up and slow-motion shots of the seahorses.

Stewart attended the premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and describes the film as “incredible.” Find the film description and trailer below and more information at

Freddy is 30 and yearns to start a family but for him this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges. He is a gay transgender man.
Deciding to carry his own baby took years of soul searching, but nothing could prepare him for the reality of pregnancy, as both a physical experience and one that challenges society's fundamental understanding of gender, parenthood and family. He quickly realizes that what to him feels pragmatic, to others feels deeply confusing and confronting; this was not part of his plan.
Against a backdrop of increasing hostility towards trans people the world over, Freddy is forced to confront his own naivety, mine unknown depths of courage and lean on every friend and family member who will stand by him.
Made with unprecedented access and collaboration over three years, the film follows Freddy from preparing to conceive right through to birth. It is an intimate, audacious and lyrical story for the cinema about conception, pregnancy, birth and what makes us who we are.
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