August 30th: New feature and photos from our friends in Canada!
August 25th: Live interview with BLOOMINGout podcast here (Aug 25, 2011, 37:35)
August 19th update: So honored Q&C made GLAAD's site, here!
August 17th Update: Click here to check out the film's front page spread in The Advocate!
August 11th: Check out the guest blog for Compete Sports Magazine!
"An honest to God rodeo with just a little more panache."
"QUEENS & COWBOYS: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo" will chronicle the 2011 season of the International Gay Rodeo Association through the lens of a straight, city-raised filmmaker. Roping and riding in 15 rodeos across north America this year alone, the IGRA's courageous cowboys and cowgirls brave challenges both in and out of the arena on their quest to qualify for the World Finals in October. And along the way, they'll bust every stereotype in the book.
But it's more than just cowboys and rodeos. The film will expose the world to the unsung LGBT community of both the old and new west. Examining where our country currently stands on the issue of gay rights, this uniquely American subject will explore how far we’ve come, and what challenges we still have ahead.
This documentary is still in progress and will continue shooting the remainder of the IGRA's season. The video on this site is merely a preview of the tone and overview of what I aim to deliver as a feature documentary film in early 2012. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been able to shoot it on my own and out of pocket. Which isn’t to say I’ve been without help – shooting on the cheap would not have been possible without the generous men and women of the IGRA, who have graciously opened their homes to me, given me rides to and from airports and bus stops, and gone out of their way to show me the country western lifestyle.
These experiences have made for the adventure of a lifetime and have privileged me to hundreds of hours of incredible footage. The funds raised on this site will be used to hire an editor to begin tying the stories together; the remainder will go towards finishing principal photography and the licensing of music and archival footage, which will enable us to legally exhibit this film anywhere in the world.
While I’m aiming to raise $35,000 to get this project safely into post-production, know that if I’m fortunate enough to exceed this goal, any amount above and beyond will be put to good use throughout post production. Extra expenses such as sound designers and composers, colorists, graphic design and promotional marketing are all luxuries that would ultimately make a stronger film and enable it to be seen by an even larger audience. Plus you still get one of those awesome rewards!
Please remember that Kickstarter is all or nothing – if we don’t reach our goal by August 31st at 9PM/pst, we don’t get any funds! So any help is appreciated – whether that’s $1, sending this Kickstarter link to one person or just pressing "Like" on Facebook. Regardless, thank you for taking the time to support this project!
For background on myself and the project, please read below. For more information on the IGRA, visit www.igra.com.
Despite living my entire life in the city, I've somehow grown fascinated by the foreign sport and culture of rodeo. It's like a window into our country's rugged past -- a place where tradition, pride and machismo thrive.
Last year, I left a development job in Hollywood in order to begin my career in directing. For my first script, I wanted to pen a project set in the world of rodeo -- one full of grit, badass country folk and iron-clad American values. So a year ago I began researching and photographing PRCA rodeos before I learned of the seemingly unconventional International Gay Rodeo Association. It had everything I set out to find and was more intriguing than anything I could make up. I'd never even considered a documentary before, but if there was ever a worthy motivator, this was it. And it's been an adventure ever since.
I showed up to my first gay rodeo in skinny-jeans, skate shoes and a baseball cap. Since then, this sheltered, straight city-dude has been on a steep learning curve. Each week busted a new expectation, brought on another surprise, or updated my understanding to things I thought I already understood. My time with the IGRA already has made me both a stronger person and a bull rider, two things that mean the same thing. I'm lucky that the IGRA welcomes anyone to compete and pledges to show anyone the ropes of rodeo -- so through the last several months of training, I'm thrilled to get the chance to compete in bull riding at the Best Buck in the Bay Rodeo, happening in San Francisco (Sept 10 & 11, 2011).
My experience on this film has shown me that no matter how open-minded we might consider ourselves, we can all use more exposure to lifestyles and cultures that differ from our own. My goal is to deliver this exposure through the unexpected impact the IGRA has made on my life in this uniquely American adventure. By mixing the incredible sense of humor of the men and women of the IGRA with their equally-poignant stories, I hope to tell a rich story that provides the same eye-opening experience to a global audience, both LGBT and straight.
The International Gay Rodeo Association has officially been ropin’ along since 1985 and currently has over 5000 members in 27 chapters around North America. The association puts on massive rodeos across north America using only volunteers -- and all their proceeds go to charity.
Each rodeo has 13 events, 10 you'll find at most standard rodeos (bull riding, chute-dogging, breakaway roping, barrel racing, etc) and 3 playful "camp" events that give the IGRA a fun and unique flare you won't find anywhere else. You don't have to be gay to compete in the gay rodeo -- IGRA rodeos are open to everyone -- gay, straight, cowboys and city-folk alike. But unlike traditional rodeos, the IGRA allows women and men to compete in all 13 events -- so in the IGRA you get to see, for instance, women bull riding and men barrel racing.
The IGRA promotes amateur participation in its rodeos, partly by the "rodeo schools" it hosts throughout the year so novices like myself can learn firsthand how to rodeo.
But the members who comprise the association are what truly set the IGRA apart. They are the most organically kind, welcoming and charitable group of people I've ever met -- and their stories deserve to be shared.
Thank you for helping me continue to tell these stories.
- (30 days)