Tomorrow will be three years to the day since we funded the Chuck Holmes documentary, and after several production runs, several more fundraising runs, a deskful of credit cards and a heck of a lot of digging in archives later, I'm thrilled to say we have a cut. We've begun submitting to festivals and grants, with a plan for a 2015 festival run.
We still have a lot of work to do — music and news footage rights clearances, graphics and credits, a final round of editing before we have a final lock, but I'm incredibly pleased with how far we've come, and incredibly thankful about all of you who have supported this project in various ways. Over the next few months, we'll be uploading clips from the movie and — eventually, a premiere date.
To hold you over, I'm attaching shot of Chuck from an OUT Magazine profile from 1996.
For more frequent updates, click over to our Facebook page:
Telling Chuck's story has been a longer journey than we ever imagined, but also more rewarding. I'm thrilled to announce that a finished film is finally in our sites!
Last week, we watched the first rough cut of the film — 3.5 hours — and are now in the process of cutting it down and shaping the story. After over four years of research and nearly 50 interviews, this is a major milestone. Over the next month and a half, we'll also be laying in news footage, photos, music and film footage.
Which brings me to even better news — we've located the original prints of those Falcon films, and have begun the process of preservation and restoration. We've transferred the original print of the Other Side of Aspen (SFW pic attached), and it's so good that Falcon has agreed to do the rest of the transfers themselves. Those early Falcon films are crucial records of gay life post-liberation, and for those of you who haven't seen them, they're incredible.
More good news: though the film isn't yet finished, we're already in discussions with distributors and festivals. I expect to have more good news for you in the coming weeks!
Many of you gave to this project because you were Falcon fans. Others, because you were fans of gay history (and probably a few because I guilted you personally). Whatever the reason, we can't thank you enough.
Some of you gave because you knew Chuck personally. To those who did know Chuck, I have a special request: images and records of Chuck are very limited. In part because of the danger involved with making these films in the 70s and 80s, Chuck wasn't often photographed. Over the next month, I'll be tracking down photos, documents and anything else that will help bring Chuck and Chuck's story to life. If you've got anything that might help, please reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org)
And for more updates, follow Chuck's story on Facebook:
We'd hoped to have the t-shirts and stickers out to you by the holidays, but last week we got a note from the rewards producers — due to "content issues," they were rejecting our order. I'm not sure what that means (their terms of service forbid pornography, though this only qualifies in the most general way), other than we're now looking for a new place to produce the t-shirts and stickers.
That said, the other rewards have started shipping. IMDB has started updating the pages with credits and thanks, the posters have shipped. If you haven't responded to our surveys yet, please do — while the film itself won't ship til we're finished, we want to get the rewards to you as soon as possible.
This time last year, we were scrambling to find the money to begin filming the Chuck Holmes story in earnest. This year, we're finally getting ready to send out the rewards. The movie isn't finished yet — in fact, the delay in rewards is because we originally hoped to send it all out together — but we didn't want to keep you waiting any longer. In the next few weeks, we'll be sending out the t-shirts, the posters, the stickers and other backer rewards we dangled in front of you last year — hopefully in time for the holidays.
In the next day or so, you should start seeing backer surveys in your inboxes requesting information so that we can fulfill the rewards: stickers, t-shirts, DVDs, posters. IMDB is updating their databases with credits — our producers, our special thanks, our stars — so keep any eye out for your names and let me know if we got anything wrong.
In the meantime, thanks for being patient. We'll be filming final interviews for the documentary in January, and finishing up the edit in the spring. This has been (and continues to be) one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things I've ever done —with your help, we're finally going to be able to bring Chuck's history, our history, to light.
Thanks again for all your help, and patience and please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.
Just as we were starting the project, I reached out to director Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito, I Am Divine) and asked him what we might expect. "Three to five years," he told me, "and fifty thousand dollars — if you're lucky."
We, of course, knew better. This was going to be a breeze. We'd have it all done in half the time, and with none of the money. Three and a half years later, we're pretty humbled. (I remind Jeffrey about it every time I see him.) We planned for the film to be finished this summer — but it turns out that documentaries have a funny way of telling you when they're ready. Just as we were closing one section of the story, another door opened — long lost footage of Chuck, voices from the past we'd thought were gone, unexpected hurdles and unexpected opportunities. So the film we hoped to have to you by September, along with the rest of your rewards, will be a bit longer in coming — right now we're hoping to have it wrapped by the early next year — but it's also going to be better.
We're working hard to get it done in the next few months. I'll keep you up to date as we push through, and I'll be better — through these updates, through the film's Facebook page — about what we're doing. In the meantime, thanks for bearing with us, and thanks — as always — about helping us tell this story.
P.S. While you're waiting for ours to be done — I encourage you to support Jeffrey's Kickstarter for I AM DIVINE (and, if you haven't, to check out Vito, which premiered this summer on HBO)