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$25,673
pledged of $75,000pledged of $75,000 goal
158
backers
14days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, March 8 2019 3:00 AM UTC +00:00.

Todd StephensBy Todd Stephens
First created
Todd StephensBy Todd Stephens
First created
$25,673
pledged of $75,000pledged of $75,000 goal
158
backers
14days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, March 8 2019 3:00 AM UTC +00:00.

About

I first saw "Mister Pat" Pitsenbarger on the dance floor of The Universal Fruit and Nut Company, flaunting a sequined fedora that would make Bob Fosse blush. 

It was 1984, and I was a petrified 17-year-old, venturing for the first time inside the local gay bar in my hometown of Sandusky, Ohio.

Mister Pat was a revelation; proudly gay in a very different era.

My new film SWAN SONG is a love letter to the man who changed my life by having the courage to be himself. It's the third part of my “Ohio Trilogy” after the films EDGE OF SEVENTEEN and GYPSY 83.    

With your generous support here on Kickstarter we will shoot SWAN SONG on location in Sandusky this May. Our stretch goal of $125,000 will permit us to begin post-production immediately after we wrap.

Finding a lead actor who could do justice to my muse was a massive challenge. I wanted an actor whose own life experience would inhabit the role with authenticity and representation. I am thrilled to announce that Mister Pat will be played by another one of my idols – the fabulous Udo Kier. Udo has starred in such films as ANDY WARHOL’S DRACULA, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, and DOWNSIZING. He has worked with Fassbinder, appeared in most of Lars Von Trier’s films, and helped cause a legendary stir in Madonna’s SEX book.  

Along with Udo, I am excited to be working with many cast and crew members from my previous films. Stayed tuned for those announcements!

Both comical and bittersweet, SWAN SONG chronicles Pat’s escape from his nursing home and long walk across Sandusky for his last job – styling the hair of a former high society client for her funeral.  

SWAN SONG is an homage to small-town gay culture, which is rapidly becoming extinct. 

Recently, I discovered Mister Pat’s former salon was finally being renovated after all these years. Unearthed in the demolition was a massive collage of fabulous hairstyles Pat had decoupaged to the plaster. The look of the film is inspired by Mister Pat’s forgotten wall. 

I'm thrilled to be shooting SWAN SONG on location in my hometown. Sandusky has been through a lot over the years – going from thriving seaport to weathered rust belt and now making a big comeback. As my hero comes back to life, so does the color palette, and so does Sandusky.

No matter how lost you get, it’s never too late to remember who you are. 

Costume sketches by Kitty Boots
Costume sketches by Kitty Boots

Risks and challenges

Our cast and crew are excited to begin shooting in Sandusky for three weeks starting on May 20, 2019.

Factors such as weather and actors’ schedules can always affect a film’s start date. However, having successfully produced four feature films, I always have a Plan B waiting in the wings. If necessary, it will be possible to push the shoot back until later in the summer.

We are confident that reaching our fundraising goals will result in the creation of an unforgettable film!

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