Fundraising will always be a challenge for independent creators, but the launch of crowd sourced funding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo gave everyone from filmmakers to inventors a powerful new set of tools to harness resources through social media. This has given projects that might have been overlooked in traditional channel a renewed chance for success, and has been particularly useful for many LGBT creators hoping to share their stories through independent media. Below (in order of medium) is a list of 15 LGBT-inclusive fan-funded success stories from 2012 to check out now or look forward to.
BRIDEGROOM: An American Love Story is a documentary about tragedy befalling a gay couple and the discrimination that resulted from lack of marriage protections. On the one-year anniversary of his partner Tom Bridegroom’s death, Shane Bitney Crone posted a YouTube video titled “It Could Happen to You” about their relationship and the aftermath of Tom’s death that has since received over 3 million views and launched #EqualLoveEqualRights which has passed 50,000 Facebook likes. BRIDEGROOM, directed and produced by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women), blew through its funding goal to become one of the highest funded films in Kickstarter history. Watch the trailer below.
Different From the Others, directed by Richard Oswald and co-written by famed psychologist Magnus Hirschfeld, is believed to be the only remaining film of a group of gay-friendly movies made during Germany’s Weimar Era that escaped systematic destruction by the Nazis. The film’s restoration was financed through crowd sourcing and a preview of the finished product was shown this October at Outfest’s Legacy Awards, the first time in nearly 100 years that it had been screened for an audience. Check out Michael Reisz from Outfest talking about the importance of preserving this film below.
Guinevere Turner has adapted Carol Lynn Pearson’s stage play Facing East into a full length feature film about a Mormon family who begin to reevaluate their lives and beliefs after their gay son dies by suicide. The play Facing East premiered in Salt Lake City in 2007 and followed their premiere with runs Off Broadway and in San Francisco. The film will begin shooting in late 2013. Turner, Pearson and director Will Swenson talk about the play, film and the importance of acceptance of LGBT individuals in religious communities below.
Back on Board Greg Louganis is a new documentary film about Olympic gold medal winner Greg Louganis and his journey from child prodigy to Olympic diving champion and from pioneering gay, HIV-positive athlete to overlooked sports icon. Watch the Back on Board trailer below.
Model Isis King makes her acting debut in Hello Forever, a film about four Filipina women affected by human trafficking and sexual exploitation as they try to overcome obstacles and find a way out of poverty. Isis, the first transgender woman to appear on America’s Next Top Model, will play a transgender woman named Rommy, who is one of the four principal characters.
Limited Partnership is the true story of Richard Adams and Tony Sullivan. The couple was one of six gay couples to be legally married in Boulder, Colorado in 1975 and they filed the first federal lawsuit seeking equal recognition for same-sex marriages after Sullivan (an Australian citizen) was denied an application for resident status based on marriage. Unfortunately, Richard Adams passed away this Monday, December 20 at the age of 65. Lavi Soloway, an immigration lawyer who worked with the couple, said of Adams, "Richard never gave up on the belief that justice would prevail, and he never waited for others to do the job. He is one of the heroes on whose shoulders we all stand as we carry on the fight for full equality." Watch the trailer of Limited Partnership below.
Milestone successfully achieved funding to assist with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences restoration of lost film Portrait of Jason. Shirley Clarke’s groundbreaking documentary about a black gay hustler was one of the first no-holds-barred LGBT films in existence and will be preserved in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Film Archive in Los Angeles following its restoration 45 years in the making. Check out the trailer below.
Alan White’s Westerly: A Man, A Woman, An Enigma is a feature-length documentary about the life of 62-year-old Westerly Windina. Westerly, once known by the name Peter Drouyn, is a legendary surfer who introduced the sport to China and shaped modern surf competitions. It wasn’t until her 50s that a near death experience prompted Westerly to finally come out as transgender. Watch the trailer below.
Scripted gay drama DTLA follows a group of friends trying to navigate love and find success in downtown Los Angeles. The series got its start with crowd sourced funding before premieres on Logo and Out TV Canada, making it the first Kickstarter-funded TV series that has acquired both domestic and foreign distribution. Watch the series trailer below.
Hit web series Husbands from Jane Espenson and Brad Bell filmed and aired its second season thanks to funding provided by series’ fans. Husbands is set in a world where full marriage equality has been achieved and follows an actor and his baseball-star husband as they navigate married life following a drunken Vegas wedding. The franchise also recently saw the release of the first issue of the series’ spin off comic. Check out the first episode of Husbands below.
The Outs, a comedy web series about gay life and love in New York City, just finished airing its highly popular (and addictive) first season, which they partially financed through two Kickstarter campaigns. New episodes, including a holiday special, are set to debut in early 2013. Check out all current episodes at the series website.
Photographer Jeff Sheng’s Fearless Project was exhibited in Pride House 2012 at the London Olympics. Since 2003, Sheng has photographed over 150 LGBT-identified high school and collegiate athletes in the U.S. and Canada. Nike recently donated shirts with the slogan “Fearless,” proceeds from which helped raise funds for the Fearless Project photography book. Creator Jeff Sheng talks about the importance of this project below.
iO Tillet Wright’s Human Rights Campaign-supported Self Evident Truths project is trying to make a photographic record of LGBTQ America. They’ve traveled to several cities in the U.S. to take photos of LGBTQ individuals and hope to create a documentary following their travels that will allow the models to tell their stories. Learn more about Self Evident Truths below.
Out duo God-des And She were able to record and produce their fourth album, United States of God-des and She, this year thanks to crowd sourced funding. The new record will hit stores on February 5, 2013, but you can check out a 15-minute preview below now.
GaymerCon is the first-ever gaming and tech convention to focus on “LGBT geek culture” and their fundraising campaign was so successful that they earned more than triple their funding goal. GaymerCon is set to take place in San Francisco in August 2013 and has gotten huge support from gaming companies such as Xbox Live and EA.