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From the start of queer comics in the underground scene to Alison Bechdel & mainstream acceptance as told in a documentary film.
From the start of queer comics in the underground scene to Alison Bechdel & mainstream acceptance as told in a documentary film.
450 backers pledged $41,529 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The recent box-office success of Wonder Woman and Black Panther are proof that audiences are hungry for more diverse stories from the comics. And while they have yet to conquer your local cineplex, there's a whole community of LGBTQ artists and writers that has been working tirelessly for decades to tell queer stories through the comics medium.

cover art by Maurice Vellekoop
cover art by Maurice Vellekoop


How it started

In 2012, cartoonist Justin Hall curated the anthology No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, which featured milestone contributions by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer comics creators.

Jen Camper, Diane DiMassa, Alison Bechdel, Rob Kirby, Joan Hilty, and Howard Cruse 1990
Jen Camper, Diane DiMassa, Alison Bechdel, Rob Kirby, Joan Hilty, and Howard Cruse 1990

Now, Justin's Lambda Literary Award-winning and Eisner-nominated collection is the inspiration for a documentary film directed by Peabody Award-winning and national Emmy-nominated filmmaker Vivian Kleiman. This feature-length film will bring stories from the comics off the page and give you a personal introduction to the dynamic artists and writers who paved the way.

Alison Bechdel, Justin Hall, & Vivian Kleiman
Alison Bechdel, Justin Hall, & Vivian Kleiman

We're in striking distance of completing filming on this documentary and we need your help to reach the finish line.

Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel
from "Oppressed Minority Cartoonist" by Alison Bechdel
from "Oppressed Minority Cartoonist" by Alison Bechdel

First, a little about us

       WATCH THE TRAILER: nostraightlinesthefilm.com

Producer/Director VIVIAN KLEIMAN is a documentary filmmaker who has received the George Foster Peabody Award (TV’s top honor) and a national Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement. A short documentary that she Executive Produced was nominated for an Academy Award. Her longtime film partner was Marlon Riggs (Tongues Untied).

Co-Producer JUSTIN HALL is an Associate Professor of Comics at the California College of the Arts and a Fulbright Scholar. He's a pioneer historian of LGBTQ comics, curating major shows at the SF Cartoon Art Museum and Berlin's Schwules Museum as well as writing for academic presses such as the Cambridge University Press. He’s also a recognized artist in the field, with work appearing in the Houghton Miflin Best American Comics, SF Weekly, and Best Erotic Comics.

Cinematographer ANDY BLACK has worked on award-winning documentary films including: Scout’s Honor (Tom Shepard), 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. & Mrs. Kraus (Steven Pressman), Speaking in Tongues (Marcia Jarmel/Ken Schneider), and Sicko (Michael Moore). His work has been broadcast on MTV, BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Explorer.

Advisor Hillary Chute is an expert on comics and graphic narratives at Northeastern University. She is noted for her work with the legendary cartoonists Art Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel.

Advisor Ramzi Fawaz teaches queer theory and LGBTQ literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics.

Advisor Jenni Olson is a filmmaker, author, and LGBTQ film historian. Her film The Royal Road premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

We've made great progress

Thanks to the San Francisco Foundation, California Humanities, and the Berkeley Film Foundation (plus a few amazing, individual donors):

We filmed Alison Bechdel, creator of the award-winning Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For, at her mountaintop home in Vermont.

We filmed with Howard Cruse, the Godfather of LGBTQ Comics, and his partner of 40 years, Eddie, at Howard's home base studio in Western Massachusetts.

Howard Cruse
Howard Cruse
from "Stuck Rubber Baby" by Howard Cruse
from "Stuck Rubber Baby" by Howard Cruse

In San Francisco, we shot with the effervescent Mary Wings, creator of the first lesbian comic book.

Mary Wings
Mary Wings

We have filmed energetic mini-interviews with a new generation of artists:

  • the talented and handsome Ed Luce, creator of the hugely popular Wuvable Oaf
Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce
Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce
  • Bay Area trans artist Emeric Kennard, who spoke of inhabiting "the space in-between"

  • African-American artist Ajuan Mance, based in Oakland, CA, who describes her political art as inspired by stained glass

  • Syrian-American artist Nicole Georges and her canine sidekick Ponyo
  • Bronx artist Ivan Velez, Jr, one of the first openly gay creators to break into mainstream comics
Ivan Velez, Jr.
Ivan Velez, Jr.

But we're not there yet!

Shooting a film with high production value and locations across the country is expensive. We need $38,000 to complete principal cinematography.

Vivian Kleiman and Andy Black
Vivian Kleiman and Andy Black

The extra expense of bringing cinematographer Andy Black to each location is worth the aesthetic continuity of the film. Then there are the usual expenses: a camera package with lights; sound equipment rental; and administrative costs such as insurance, bookkeeping, and rent for our office when we're in production.

Justin Hall and Andy Black
Justin Hall and Andy Black

Our Kickstarter Goal

Cartoonists are notoriously shy, so we have to brave the rainy streets of Portland, Oregon and the crazy, energetic bustle of Manhattan to gather these stories. 

Your support will make it possible to film at least two out-of-town shoots:

Rupert Kinnard
Rupert Kinnard
  • In Portland, Oregon we'll interview queer comics legend Rupert Kinnard, creator of the first gay/lesbian African-American comic strip characters: the Brown Bomber and Diva Touché Flambé. Wheelchair-bound due to a car accident, Rupert produces work that is influenced by disability.

  • In Manhattan, we'll visit with inimitable Lebanese-American lesbian cartoonist Jen Camper.
Jen Camper
Jen Camper
  •  After we exceed our goal, we'll film a pick-up shoot with Alison Bechdel in Vermont. We'll go to the Bronx and film with Ivan Velez, Jr. and we'll also film an epilogue with Eisner Award-nominee Scout Tran in her amazing San Francisco studio.
Scout Tran
Scout Tran

Comics, like any medium, are at their best when they reflect the complexity and diversity of the real world, and we're excited to have the chance to spotlight the people who are bringing that authenticity to the comics page. With your help, we can give these stories the big screen treatment they deserve.

Want to help but can't donate?

Please share the link with friends and help us reach our goal! Sign up on our website to be part of this journey so that you can be the first to get news about the film.

www.nostraightlinesthefilm.com

It's all or nothing!

Remember! If we don't make our goal, we forfeit everything.

Rewards for our wonderful backers!

Because we only offer rewards that we can deliver while we're still in production, we can't offer the usual rewards like a digital screening of the film. Instead, we thought of creative ways to thank you for joining the team.

Thank you!

Questions? Shoot us an email at:

viviankleiman@gmail.com or justinrobinsonhall@me.com

Want to make a tax deductible donation in addition to the Kickstarter?     Click over here: Catticus.org

Risks and challenges

This film team is known for bringing high quality projects across the finish line. Although we don’t know when the film will be finished, or exactly what length it will be, we do know:

-All proceeds from the Kickstarter campaign will go directly to finishing the filming phase.

-We've exhausted the foundation route for funding documentary films and now we must turn to you -- fans of comics, friends of ours, art patrons -- to help us complete the filming phase.

All creative projects have risks. If we fail to make our Kickstarter goal, we will have to abandon plans for additional filming.

However, we will complete the film. We do have 2 wonderful queer film lovers who are poised to help with completion funds when we reach the final post-production phase. So there's support waiting for us further down the road.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    PAL

    Every little bit helps! To thank you for supporting NO STRAIGHT LINES, you'll get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    FRIEND

    You'll get exclusive video of Co-Producer/Professor Justin Hall discussing pages from Alison Bechdel's FUN HOME and Howard Cruse's STUCK RUBBER BABY, arguably the two most important LGBTQ graphic novels discussed extensively in the film.

    Alison Bechdel’s cat, Donald, will lend her signature "meow" to be your distinctive new ringtone!

    You'll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    FRIENDS OF HOWARD

    A SPECIAL REWARD TO CELEBRATE HOWARD CRUSE'S BIRTHDAY ON MAY 2!

    You’ll receive a digital edition of the book that started it all, NO STRAIGHT LINES: FOUR DECADES OF QUEER COMICS, containing over 300 pages of comics from the some of the world’s greatest LGBTQ cartoonists, an essay by editor Justin Hall to put it all into historical context, and a forward by filmmaker Lana Wachowski (THE MATRIX, CLOUD ATLAS, SENSE8).

    You’ll also get the “Donald” ringtone, a social media shout-out, and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    TEAMMATE

    NEW REWARD!

    You’ll receive a digital edition of the book that started it all, NO STRAIGHT LINES: FOUR DECADES OF QUEER COMICS, containing over 300 pages of comics from the some of the world’s greatest LGBTQ cartoonists, an essay by editor Justin Hall to put it all into historical context, and a forward by filmmaker Lana Wachowski (THE MATRIX, CLOUD ATLAS, SENSE8).

    You’ll also get the “Donald” ringtone, a social media shout-out, and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ALLY

    You’ll get streaming access to Marlon Riggs’ landmark experimental documentary TONGUES UNTIED (featuring additional camerawork by Vivian Kleiman). Marlon was a close friend of artist Rupert Kinnard and wrote the forward to Rupert’s B.B. AND THE DIVA collection.

    You’ll also get the “Donald” ringtone, a social media shout-out, and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    COMPATRIOT

    You'll get digital editions of QU33R (the sister anthology to NO STRAIGHT LINES featuring many legendary and up-and-coming LGBTQ cartoonists) and ANYTHING THAT LOVES (the first all-bisexual comics anthology), along with an exclusive, digital, hi-res illustration by Justin Hall celebrating the history of LGBTQ comics!

    You’ll also get the “Donald” ringtone, a social media shout-out, and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $69 or more About $69

    SEXY DATE

    NO STRAIGHT LINES doesn't include queer erotica, but we didn’t want to ignore the genre altogether. So we’re offering a signed copy of HARD TO SWALLOW (the deluxe gay men’s erotic series by Co-Producer Justin Hall and Dave Davenport, with lots of special guests). PLUS you’ll get a signed copy of Justin’s zine DIRTY DRAWINGS.

    You’ll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    ACCOMPLICE

    Get invaluable insights from the masters! You’ll get streaming access to highlights from the Queers and Comics conference featuring Alison Bechdel and Howard Cruse, with topics ranging from which pens and ink they use, to their guiding aesthetic principles.

    All with an exclusive new introduction by QiC creator Jennifer Camper and co-organizer Justin Hall.

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    CO-CONSPIRATOR

    You’ll get a high-res digital file of the NO STRAIGHT LINES film poster, signed and personalized to you!

    You’ll also get the “Donald” ringtone, a social media shout-out, and access to backer-only updates.

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    INFLUENCER

    You’ll get an archival quality print of a photograph from the film NO STRAIGHT LINES, photographed by the amazing cinematographer Andy Black, so you know it’s going to be gorgeous and perfect for framing.

    You’ll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

    You'll get a signed copy of the book that started it all, NO STRAIGHT LINES: FOUR DECADES OF QUEER COMICS, along with an exclusive new bookplate to celebrate the film.

    You’ll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    COLLABORATOR

    You'll get admission to a private work-in-progress screening of NO STRAIGHT LINES either in person or via Internet screening with Q&A.

    You’ll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PEAS IN A POD

    Be a cartoon character! We’ll use your reference photo and include you and your fellow backers in panels of an original comic by a prominent queer cartoonist.

    You’ll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    BESTIES

    Enjoy lunch with the filmmakers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, or New York, or a virtual meeting (depending on your location) plus you’ll get a prominent “thank you” on our website.

    You’ll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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    COMPADRE

    A cartoonist will prepare a personalized cartoon for you, Plus you'll be listed in the FILM CREDITS and get a prominent “thank you” on our website. Among the possible artists who have offered their services are comics powerhouses Sina Grace, Elizabeth Beier, Diego Gomez, and Nicole Georges.

    You’ll also get a social media shout-out and access to backer-only updates.

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Funding period

- (30 days)