Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 27, 2012.

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A performance based film project interrogating notions of gender. With James Franco, Barbara Hammer, and B. Ruby Rich.

Masculinity/Femininity is an experimental film based project that aims to question normative notions of gender.  Shot primarily on Super 8mm film (but simultaneously shot digitally and incorporating text-based elements), the project will operate as a cross between academic and practical critique -- acting more as a document of gender construction rather than a documentary about gender construction.

Here's the breakdown:

It all started as a short film that combined monologues that James Franco and Russell Sheaffer wrote and directed.  The 22 minute short film that resulted was screened for months as a part of James' solo show The Dangerous Book Four Boys in NY and Berlin and got some great reviews -- including being deemed the "best by far" by the New York Times.  V Man even said it was one of the pieces which demonstrated "irresolute, pop culture-inflected brilliance.”

James Franco in Masculinity & Me

Pretty immediately, though, Russell knew it wasn't finished.  There were still so many more people to talk to, so much more to say, and so many more performances to document -- and he's been working solo to expand the original themes into a larger project ever since.

The project aims to present prominent filmmakers, film theorists, gender theorists, and artists of all kinds with a few simple questions about their bodies and adolescence.   From there, each participant is asked to "perform" (in any way they like) a piece that deals with the issues at the heart of normativity and gender construction.  Each performance is profoundly different but, together, the project acts as a document of gender deconstruction and exploration, questioning the social binary commonly seen as Masculinity/Femininity.

So far, we've filmed (and are scheduled to film) some incredible performances with some phenomenal individuals (including Barbara Hammer, Monika Treut, Cheryl Dunye, Linda Williams, B. Ruby Rich, Susan Stryker, Pratibha Parmar, Jack Halberstam, Tom Waugh, John Greyson, M.M. Serra, Greg Youmans, Chris Vargas, Amy Villarejo, Harry Benshoff, Yvonne Tasker, Michele Aaron, and Juan Suarez -- with more to come), but we desperately need your help to continue.  We've been traveling and shooting as cheaply as possible, but we need funds to finish shooting (including travel costs, equipment costs, film stock, film processing and transfer) and to continue on to post-production (including an edit and sound mix amongst many other post-production processes).

$7,500 is the minimum we need to continue the project, it would get us through the bare essentials of production, but would not include any post-production costs.  The more money we raise, the more performances we will be able to film and the further along we will be able to get in post-production.

Cheryl Dunye (upcoming shoot)

Susan Stryker (upcoming shoot)

Pratibha Parmar (upcoming shoot)

Greg Youmans and Chris Vargas (upcoming shoot)

Barbara Hammer in Masculinity/Femininity

Juan Suarez in Masculinity/Femininity

M.M. Serra in Masculinity/Femininity

Michele Aaron in Masculinity/Femininity

Russell Sheaffer in Masculinity & Me

"Can't Stop Masturbating" by Russell Sheaffer (in a Kickstarter edition of 15)

Masculinity/Femininity in the news:

Masculinity/Femininity is Indiewire's Project of the Day!

Masculinity/Femininity on GLAAD's media blog!

Masculinity/Femininity on CampBlood!

Masculinity/Femininity on Indiana University's CMCL Blog!

Masculinity/Femininity on IMDB!

FAQ

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  • Pledge $2 or more
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    11 backers

    **JUST ADDED** Contribute $2 and get a limited edition postcard of one of the performers (a Super 8mm portrait) mailed from us to you. Your postcard will be of either James Franco, Barbara Hammer, or B. Ruby Rich (your choice). All higher level backers will get one, too!

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    6 backers

    STICKER: A really nifty "Masc/Fem" sticker, our eternal gratitude, and all of the project updates.

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    13 backers

    THANK YOU PACKAGE: Your name in the "Thank You" section of the project's website, a "Masc/Fem" sticker, and a hand written thank you note from Russell Sheaffer to you.

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    11 backers

    DOWNLOAD: A digital download of the film when completed (and available) PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    5 backers

    DVD: A signed DVD copy of the film when it's completed (and available) PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    PERFORMANCE: Be a part of the project: we want to see your performance! Russell Sheaffer will get in contact with you, give you instructions, and record your performance digitally (online). A segment of the project will be a collection of on-line video performances. PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    BOOK: A signed copy of one of your choice: Harry Benshoff's book Monsters in the Closet OR Yvonne Tasker's book Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers OR Amy Villarejo's book Queen Christina OR Juan Suarez's book Pop Modernism OR Women's Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks signed by M.M. Serra OR Captured: A Film and Video History of the Lower East Side signed by M.M. Serra OR B. Ruby Rich's book Chick Flicks PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    MOVIE: A signed copy of Monika Treut's film Gendernauts OR John Greyson's film Lilies (limited quantities of each, first come first served) PLUS the THANK YOU Package

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    CANT STOP: A 16X24 Super 8 portrait of the participant of your choice, signed and numbered by Russell Sheaffer OR a limited edition 16x24 print of "Can't Stop Masturbating" signed and number by Russell Sheaffer (in a Kickstarter edition of 15) PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    A signed copy of one of your choice: Linda Williams' Hard Core OR Linda Williams' Screening Sex OR Jack Halberstam's The Queer Art of Failure OR Jack Halberstam's Female Masculinity (one of each available). PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    PORN STUDIES: A brand new copy of Porn Studies signed by Linda Williams and Tom Waugh PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    EDUCATIONAL: A copy of the finished film (when available) with an educational license -- perfect for universities and libraries!

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    NEW QUEER CINEMA: A brand new copy of the New Queer Cinema Reader signed by Michele Aaron, B. Ruby Rich, and Harry Benshoff PLUS the THANK YOU package.

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    1 backer

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Credit in the closing credits, on IMDB, and two tickets to a screening of the film near you.

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    LECTURE: A screening of the film and Q&A and/or lecture for your group or institution (including universities and academic groups) with the director, Russell Sheaffer (once the project is completed), a copy of the finished film (when available) with an educational license, and your group or institution will be listed under the "produced with the support of" section of the film's end credits. Travel not included.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Credit in the opening credits, on IMDB, and two tickets to a screening of the film near you.

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    1 backer All gone!

    TREUT: Monika Treut's hand written performance script for the Masculinity/Femininity project, an executive producer credit in the opening credits of the film and on IMDB, and two tickets to a screening of the film near you.

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Funding period

- (60 days)