In its 10 year history, Kickstarter has been devoted to fostering compelling stories from the fringe—whether they be films championing underrepresented voices, or stage productions so experimental that big-wig producers won’t go near them. From influential artists to creative people you’ve never heard of, all voices have equal opportunity on the world’s largest crowdfunding platform for creativity.
In celebration of pride month, we wanted to share with you a selection of LGBT films and TV series that have been brought to life on Kickstarter, as well as new projects that are breaking ground.
See You Soon is a tender queer romance about a gay man who travels across the country to spend the weekend with someone he met on a dating app. Director Tyler Rabinowitz’s previous credits include How I Got to the Moon by Subway (Writer, Director, Producer), Lavender (Producer), and The Mess He Made (Producer).
Elliot 2009 follows Elliot, a lonely boy who has constructed his own isolated kingdom within the abandoned houses of a Georgia suburb during the Great Recession. Though he himself doesn’t yet fully understand, Elliot is using this tucked away kingdom as a safe space to explore his deepest secret in privacy: his emerging queer identity. All of this is threatened when Lucas, another eleven-year-old, arrives and invades Elliot’s refuge.
Flora Borealis is animated short about two gay men struggling with depression in a ruined environment, and a botanical glassblower mourning his wife. Directed by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Casey Friedman, Flora Borealis will combine live action footage of actors with 3D animated sets and 3D scans of glass flowers from Harvard’s Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants.
With a fist full of credit cards, a lucky run at the horse track, and a title that called to mind a certain French film star, Franco Stevens launched the best-selling lesbian lifestyle magazine ever published.
Ahead Of The Curve tracks the importance of lesbian visibility from the early 90s to the present through the story of Franco’s founding of Curve magazine (formerly Deneuve). As the magazine and Franco’s legacy faces extinction, she turns to three modern day activists to understand queer intersectional visibility work today and determine her path forward.
On the night of December 2, 1966, Shirley Clarke and a tiny film crew convened in her apartment at the Hotel Chelsea to film 12 straight hours of the one-and-only Jason Holliday as he spun tales, sang, donned costumes, and reminisced about good times and bad behavior as a gay hustler, sometime houseboy, and aspiring cabaret performer.
Portrait of Jason was so progressive and so different from the films of its era that it was mishandled, misplaced, and thought to be lost. In 2013, the original film resurfaced, and received an intensive restoration effort from the Kickstarter community. In 2015, the film was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
Damelo Todo (Give Me Everything) is a feature documentary about trans resistance, told through an unconventional lens of club life and performance art. The film focuses on the historic Silver Platter, a 40-year-old, family-owned bar in MacArthur Park that serves a Latina transgender immigrant community. The film illuminates a unique alliance born at the Silver Platter, when its Latina transgender patrons meet Los Anegele’s queer performance art community. Damelo Todo was directed by filmmaker and performance artist Wu Tsang (2018 MacArthur Fellow), and is in the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art.
Watch the teaser below.
Lavender made its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival, and was an official selection of SXSW and Aspen Short Fest, among others. The film stars Michael Hsu Rosen (West Side Story, Torch Song), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, Younger, The Good Wife), and Ken Barnett (Mozart in the Jungle). In 2017, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Matthew Puccini’s short The Mess He Made premiered at SXSW and was later featured by Short of the Week. His newest short, Lavender, is a raw and realistic portrayal of a young gay man as he grows increasingly entangled in the marriage of an older couple.
In a Heartbeat is a computer-animated short film written and directed by Esteban Bravo and Beth David, and produced by Ringling College of Art and Design. The film follows a closeted boy who runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams. In a Heartbeat went viral on YouTube, receiving over 40 million views, and was named No. 9 on YouTube’s list of the top 10 trending videos of 2017. The film was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Happy Birthday, Marsha! is a fictional short film that imagines transgender rights pioneers Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson and Sylvia Rivera in the hours leading to the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City. The film was written, directed, and produced by trans and queer artists-acitvisits Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel, with cinematophraphy by accliamed artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa. Happy Birthday, Marsha! stars Mya Taylor (Tangerine) as Martha P. Johnson and Eve Lindley (All We Had, Mr. Robot) as Sylvia Rivera, and is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Spa Night is a 2016 American drama film that follows David (Joe Seo), an 18-year-old living in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, who becomes an employee at a spa to help his financially struggling parents. He soon discovers illicit gay sex between the customers, which forces him to consider his own sexuality. Spa Night was shown in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, at which Joe Seo won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance.
EastSiders is an Emmy-nominated American dark comedy web series created by Kit Williamson. After their four year relationship was torn apart by infidelity, Cal (Kit Williamson) has moved out of the apartment he and Thom (Van Hansis) shared in Silver Lake. Against their better judgement they have started to see each other again, but they no longer trust each other (or themselves) to remain completely exclusive. Beginning as a YouTube web series, EastSiders was picked up for distribution by Logo TV and Vimeo’s on-demand service before being purchased by Netflix, now streaming worldwide. All four seasons have been funded by the Kickstarter community, with the fourth and final season slated to premiere in the fall of 2019.
What makes a voice “gay?” All his life, director David Thorpe, like many gay men, has felt self-conscious about his stereotypically un-macho voice. But what are its origins? And why is there such a stigma attached to “sounding gay?” As Thorpe consults with everyone from speech therapists to public figures to total strangers, he unpacks complex cultural questions with wit, verve, and intelligence. Featuring candid interviews with Dan Savage, David Sedaris, Margaret Cho, George Takei, Tim Gunn, and more, Do I Sound Gay? is a refreshingly frank, thoroughly entertaining look at a taboo topic.
Diverse queer themes in game storylines and characters are an anomaly in the mainstream video game industry, and LGBT gamers have a higher chance of being mistreated in social games. Gaming In Color explores how the community culture is shifting and the industry is diversifying, helping with queer visibility and acceptance of an LGBTQ+ presence.
Queer comics existed in a parallel universe to the rest of comics, appearing in gay newspapers and gay bookstores, isolated from mainstream or comic book stores.
This insular world of queer comics, however, created a fascinating art scene and amusing commentary on everything from the AIDS crisis and workplace discrimination, to the search for love and a good haircut. No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics charts over four decades of the LGBTQ+ community tackling complex issues of identity and a changing society with intelligence, humor and imagination.