About this project
What is Out in Alabama?
Out In Alabama is a feature-length documentary about the incredible communities in Alabama where LGBT rights are embraced, despite the history of obstacles. It is our goal to share these stories in the hope of inspiring further acceptance of the LGBT community, not only in Alabama, but worldwide, as well as reigniting the universal responsibility for compassion.
In the face of the stark conservative atmosphere, through the years, Alabama has cultivated communities with an active LGBT presence, complete with an annual gay pride parade and pride week celebrations, a bustling nightlife, community funded resources for LGBT youth, program funding for gays and lesbians, inclusion in Civil Rights exhibits, and more.
Out in Alabama will provide an intimate view of the people who courageously defy prejudice, allowing intolerance to dissipate into understanding. It will serve as an example of how easy it can be to simply love a perceived enemy, and to rise above bigotry—like a butterfly—transcending preconceived notions. Plus, it will highlight how we all survive with the simple kind help of friends, family, and sometimes even strangers.
Who's behind it?
Bonnie Blue Edwards is a filmmaker and theatre producer based in NYC, who got her start through the storytelling juggernaut The Moth. Since premiering in 2012, Bonnie has been the associate producer of Helen & Edgar—the New York Times rave review one-man-show by the poet and playwright Edgar Oliver. The performance has since been showcased at the renowned Public Theater, and is planning an international tour. Over the past year, she has also helped produce a number of shows at the historic Century Club with an assortment of talented and award-winning artists. Recently, Bonnie worked alongside Oscar-nominated actors and producers on the set of STEALING CARS—a coming-of-age independent feature film slated for release in 2015. She also produced a Dorothy Parker period-piece short film, A TELEPHONE CALL, that is currently in post-production. *Read more about Bonnie and the inspiration behind Out in Alabama in this article from Birmingham's Weld Magazine.
CONSULTANT: CYNTHIA WADE
Cynthia Wade won the Academy Award and sixteen additional film awards for her Cinemax/LOGO short documentary FREEHELD, about a dying policewoman fighting to leave her pension to her female life partner. This film is now in production as a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page and Zach Galifianakis. In 2013, Cynthia received her second Oscar nomination for her HBO documentary MONDAYS AT RACINE, about a hair salon that caters to women undergoing chemotherapy. Cynthia’s 2014 short film SELFIE went viral and captured 5 million viewers within the first 10 days of internet launch. Cynthia’s 2010 short documentary BORN SWEET, about a Cambodian village poisoned with arsenic well water, won 17 festival awards worldwide. Her HBO feature-length film SHELTER DOGS, about the ethics of euthanasia at a rural animal shelter, won 5 festival awards and was broadcast in 7 countries. She is the director of the feature-length documentaries LIVING THE LEGACY (Sundance & IFC Channels), GROWING HOPE AGAINST HUNGER (Sesame Street Prime Time Special, Emmy Winner), and GRIST FOR THE MILL (Cinemax). Her camerawork has been seen on HBO/Cinemax, PBS, A&E, AMC, The History Channel, LOGO, Oxygen, MTV and Discovery. Cynthia holds an MA in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University and BA cum laude from Smith College.
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: BREN COOMBS
Bren Coombs is based in Los Angeles and is always up to something, or twenty, in the marketing and entertainment worlds. She has worked with many of the best in the business and has had the opportunity to help make many projects become reality. She likes to keep her interests varied, taking on projects in film, television, radio, stage, and the web, wearing many hats from art department to publicity and everything in between. She also keeps busy photographing and interviewing on red carpets, writing for various publications, producing events, and managing social media account for businesses and celebrity personalities. She is currently creating a web series and is attached to several upcoming films.
CINEMATOGRAPHER & EDITOR: JEANETTE SEARS
Jeanette Sears is a New York-based filmmaker, transplanted from a small town in Ohio, and moved to New York to pursue her passion for filmmaking. While attending the City College of New York, she began a documentary project, GENERATIONS OF SILENCE, which is currently in production. The film examines the experiences of four LGBT veterans and their struggles in serving in the US Military from before, during, and after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She is also an instructor for the I WAS THERE film workshops, teaching veterans to make films, as well as in pre-production for a documentary film, THE UNKNOWN PLAY PROJECT. Jeanette has always had an interest in anything involving a camera–this stands true today.
Where is the money going?
• Development- Research, planning, creative brainstorming
• Pre-production- Permits, insurance, legal fees
• Production- Crew, food, housing, equipment, transportation & travel
• Post-production- Editing, mixing, music, distribution, promotion
For the whole shebang and completing the entire documentary, our budget is approximately $150,000. So the portion we are seeking through Kickstarter is going to, well, kickstart the process (see what we did there?!). Further development and initial footage are essential for finishing development, plowing through pre-production, and getting a taste of the first round of production. Even more, we can start digging through the beautiful assortment of stories that have presented themselves for potential key subjects.
Can we raise more than $25,000? Yes! Can your Alabama town be in the documentary? Yes, if we have the money and demand we will go anywhere in Alabama with a good story! Can your city be part of the perks (screenings, ambassadors, private parties)? Yes, let us know where and we'll try our darndest to bring 'em to ya!
Hopefully we will make it past our goal, and get even further into the documentary--bringing it to you as soon as possible while also making a compelling film! Expenses all add up quickly, and we are keeping everything bare-bones. We’re willing to sleep in our cars and live on applesauce to make Out in Alabama happen.
Why are we making this documentary?
Because we feel these stories are important. Because we are members and allies of the LGBTQI (and any other letter or person who identifies in that category) community and we want to show that we are thriving. Because time is of the essence, as these stories are happening right now. Because the world deserves to see examples of love and acceptance. Because there is someone somewhere who needs to see this film to know that they are not alone and that they belong. Because there is someone who will see it and will then understand. Because love is love, and all human beings are human beings.
The people and atmosphere in Alabama are rich in stories that will simply blow you away. Plus, director Bonnie wants to give a round of applause to the awesome folks making a positive impact in her home state. If such a huge amount of change can happen in such a surprisingly short amount of time in such unexpected places, then, by golly, it can happen anywhere!
Because, unfortunately, we are not independently wealthy. And because it takes a village… Also, because we have some really rad perks, prizes, and surprises to share with the village and as Bonnie would say they “Ain’t no joke!” (That‘s Alabamian for “they’re really cool.”)
How can you be involved?
DONATE Every little bit helps.
SUPPORT Can’t donate, but still want to help? Introduce us to people who live in Alabama, tell us about a product that may want to sponsor us, put us in touch with a celebrity who might want to get involved, help us put together an event. If you have an idea, get in touch with us; we would love to hear it!
SHARE Spread the love. If you can't donate, encourage people who can. Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Share this video anywhere and everywhere, and make sure you give them a link to this campaign!
How can you keep up with the film?
• Follow us on Twitter at @OUTinAL
• 'Like' Out in Alabama on Facebook
• Donate so you get Kickstarter email updates!
Risks and challenges
It’s all or nothing, or as Bren would say “Go big, or go home!” (It’s a Texas thing). If we don’t get the full amount of our goal, we don’t get any of the money.
But aside from this obvious risk, completing the project will surely present many other challenges. There will be people who do not like that we are making the film, and that is a risk and challenge in itself. However, we feel that the stories and our endless passion for the project will surpass the obstacles before us. We will be creative problem-solvers, authentic storytellers, community builders, and become, ourselves and through our supporters, pioneers of progress!
Because we have high hopes for this documentary and plan on submitting it to film festivals across the world, some perks (such as screenings and video downloads) will not be available until submissions are completed. Otherwise, we aren't eligible for the fabulous recognition we're aiming for (which would be a major bummer)! So hang tight and send us good luck vibes! And we will work our hardest to get things to you as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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