Trans women's relationship and hookup dynamics discussed and displayed in an explicit erotic documentary.
Update: We hit the $15,000 goal!
Thanks so much to everyone who made this happen. We've had such amazing support these past two days, with over 70 new backers and a few dozen people increasing their pledges!
This means that we will be able to produce a third volume focusing on genderqueer and non-binary folks, both as partners of trans women and as genderqueer and non-binary trans women. Also, every reward level that includes one volume of the film will be upgraded to include two, and every reward level that include two volumes will be upgraded to include three.
Now we're going to take a much deserved break for a couple of days before reviewing the submissions from the casting call this weekend. Don't forget that the casting call deadline is this Friday, August 10th. If you or anyone you know might be interested, there is still a chance to apply. And if you miss the deadline, it will remain open until all scenes are scheduled, so if the link to the casting call -- http://goo.gl/Haxiq -- is still working then you can still apply!
What's this about?
In the media lately, it seems like everyone gets to have their say about trans women’s sexuality. Everyone except trans women themselves.
This erotic documentary will explore the heart of the matter weaving together explicit scenes and interview footage from trans women and their partners. I'll be asking questions like:
- What dynamics influence how trans women connect and flirt with other people?
- How do they communicate about their desires?
- What difficulties do they encounter? How do they overcome them?
- How do relationships and hookups with other trans people differ from those with cis (non-trans) partners?
- How are trans women and their partners treated in the different communities in which they participate?
- How do intersecting identities, such as race, class, ability, and survivor status influence these things?
Stereotypes and prejudices around trans women's sexuality influence public policy, access to healthcare, workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, "trans-panic" defenses in murder trials, and so much more. Trans women are alternately portrayed as hypersexual, deceptive and predatory, or portrayed as desexualized and pathetic. The goal of this project is to create depictions of real humanity and allow trans women to take control over how their sexuality is portrayed.
The above video has some sample footage which shows an example of what this will look like, though the final product will have different music and may or may not include all of these specific scenes. In order to fully depict the reality of trans women’s intimate experiences, these interviews will be combined with explicit footage that I can't post on Kickstarter. A sample will soon be posted elsewhere online.
This project will fund the creation of a two volume DVD, one volume focusing on trans women with cis partners and the other volume focusing on trans women with trans partners. It is set to be released in the second half of 2013. I will be investing a great deal my own time, materials and money into this project. With the practice I've had making films on small budgets I have determined that $6,000 is the bare minimum of addition funding that is needed to make this project happen. This money will be used to pay those involved in filming and to fund the production of professionally manufactured replicated DVDs (this could cost as much as half of the budget).
In addition to the preliminary footage that has already been shot, I am putting out and widely promoting a casting call to ensure that I am able to include as diverse a range of trans women as possible. In order to keep the budget small, I will be shooting footage in the pacific northwest where I live, and arranging shoots in other major cities when I travel (one of the stretch goals is to create a travel fund to cover travel costs so that we can include trans women and their partners who would otherwise not be able to participate in this exciting project).
$6,000 – Baseline Budget -- GOAL MET!!!
I would like to work with musicians to craft an original soundtrack created specifically for this film. It’s a significant improvement over trying to plug in already created tracks. Reaching this level will allow us to hire musicians for this task.
$8,000 - Subtitles -- GOAL MET!!!
Having subtitles is an important accessibility tool, however, it can be extremely time consuming and difficult to implement. If we reach this level, we can hire a subtitler.
$10,000 - Travel -- GOAL MET!!!
There are many people who would like the opportunity to participate in this film but don’t happen to live in an area I can afford to travel to. Reaching this level will create a travel fund that will ensure greater diversity among film participants.
$11,000 - Editor -- GOAL MET!!!
I’m going to be doing most of the editing myself, however, it would be really useful to have someone to share the workload with and to add an extra level of finess that I don’t have the skills to do. Reaching this level will let us hire a co-editor who specializes in producing high quality audio and video.
$15,000 - Third Volume: Genderqueer and Non-Binary People -- GOAL MET!!!
Currently we are planning to produce one volume focusing on trans women with cis partners and one focusing on trans women with trans partners. Genderqueer and non-binary individuals will be included in the volumes which best fit them, but it’s a non-ideal solution. Reaching this level of funding will allow us to create a third volume on trans women with genderqueer partners – and of course genderqueer trans women.
Reward Upgrade: If we reach this level of funding we will increase every reward level that gets a copy of the film – digital or DVD. If you were going to get one volume of the film, you will now get two. If you were going to get both volumes of the film, you will now get all three.
$20,000 – Increased Production Budget
Our current budget is really minimal. This extra funding would allow us to hire additional production staff (2nd camera person, audio tech, grip, etc) and purchase better quality audio equipment. We will also be able to guarantee 4 scenes in each volume (it’s currently 3 or maybe 4). We’ll hire additional musicians, because three volumes is a lot for one musician and because we’ve already been talking with multiple high quality musicians interested in working on this project.
Reward Upgrade: If we reach this level EVERY backer will get a download of the film soundtrack – yes even the $1 backers.
$25,000 – Film Festival Promotion
This funding will allow us to create a special festival cut of the project, combining footage from all three volumes into one feature length film. It will also cover entry fees for a couple dozen festivals, a stipend for an intern to be in charge of festival applications, and travel to attend festivals for in person Q&A’s.
Reward Upgrade: If we reach this level all backers at $25 or more will get a digital copy of the festival cut version of the film.
There is a long ongoing debate over the difference between pornography and erotica. One commonly held definition of "porn" is material that reduces people to sexual objects, that promotes unrealistic expectations around sex and bodies, that relies on harmful and sexist depictions, that has poor or abusive working conditions, and that has no redeeming political or artistic content. I would argue that my work is the polar opposite of this. The very goal of this project is to depict the intimate humanity of trans women and their partners. It is true that this project does contain honest and empowering sexually explicit material, which many people define as “erotica.” Others may call this “feminist porn.” This is an argument over language that I will not get into here. What is important is that there are many examples of past Kickstarter projects which contain this positive type of sexually explicit material. Kickstarter supported these projects with the condition that no sexually explicit material was displayed on the Kickstarter page, a condition that I am respecting. Ultimately, each person defines the terms “erotica” and “porn” in their own way. I simply ask that my work be judged on the value and honesty of its content, rather than what label might be applied to it.
Cis, or cisgender/cissexual simply means someone who is not trans or transgender/transsexual. It is a value neutral alternative to previous terms such as "normal," "biological," or "genetic," which all imply that trans people are less normal, less biological, or less genetic. The term cis and trans are both Latin prefixes that are used in other areas of language, such as science and geography.
They're coming. This initial footage was put together without casting a large net or doing any specific outreach - they were opportunities that arose from my personal networks while traveling. But I'm planning on putting out a casting call in the next week or so with a specific emphasis on reaching trans women of color and people of color in general, straight trans women, and trans women with male partners (cis or trans), because my previous work has failed to adequately represent these groups.
If the project reaches 8k there will be subtitles. Subtitles are very important for accessibility. Why aren't they a given from the get-go?
We're committed to making this film accessible and will make an effort to include subtitles whether we reach this $8,000 goal or not. In our last film we were fortunate to get an amazing volunteer who did all of the subtitles without pay. Given the time consuming nature of subtitling, it really helped that that film had a script. This film will have a lot more dialog, will be completely unscripted, and will be two (or potentially three) feature length films worth of subtitling. This is a major commitment, and one that we believe deserves compensation if at all possible. If we don't reach the $8,000 goal, we will try to find one or more volunteers to help us make the subtitles happen. However, hiring someone means that they can give us their dedicated time to do a high quality and complete job that they might not be able to do for a volunteer position.
No problem! For all backers, after the campaign is over you'll get a survey asking you what name you want listed. You can put your name, a psuedonym, a friend's name (with their consent), or just type "Anonymous."
Pledge $5 or more and you can have their name listed on the website
Pledge $40 or more and you can be listed in the film credits as a Kickstarter Backer
Pledge $150 or more and you can be listed in the film credits and on IMDb as a Contributing Producer
Pledge $250 or more and you can be listed in the film credits and on IMDb as an Associate Producer
Pledge $500 or more and you can be listed in the film credits and on IMDb as an Executive Producer
I would have updated the $150 and $250 level rewards to specify this, but because some people have already claimed those rewards I don't have access to change them.
Is that a trailer? You should improve the sound / production values / conveyance of emotion / font choice / etc.
Thanks for your feedback, there certainly are a lot of things we hope to improve, but to begin I want to clarify that the above IS NOT A TRAILER. It is a series of clips without touch ups from footage that was shot before the concept for the film was completely fleshed out. The finished product will have a year or more of improvements.
Even then I'm sure it won't be perfect or there may be many potential improvements to be made. It's easy to envision an idea; it's completely different to bring it into reality. I've found in any creative process it's easy to be dragged down by what a project could be, endlessly re-drafting, re-shooting, and never releasing anything. I want to see this idea become a reality. Obviously I want it to be the best that it can be and feedback and criticism is welcomed, especially when paired with offers of help, connections, resources, or other support. But please keep in mind that the clip above is not presented as the apex of my abilities. And some decisions have been made specifically with this campaign in mind rather than as the final product. For example, while outlined impact font may not be the best for a film title screen, it is rather useful for a kickstarter project image - especially when the image is commonly shrunk to 200x150 pixels.
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