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Ira Sachs' KEEP THE LIGHTS ON is a new film about gay life and love in New York City. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on June 11, 2011.

Ira Sachs' KEEP THE LIGHTS ON is a new film about gay life and love in New York City.

About this project

I began working on Keep the Lights On with my co-writer Mauricio Zacharias because we were both frustrated by how few films exist that reflect life as we have known it as gay men living in New York City. I also wanted to make a very personal film, in the vein of some of the filmmakers that I have most loved, artists like Jean Eustache, Jacques Nolot, Chantal Akerman, and that great film-memoirist Ingmar Bergman. Inspired by the ten years of my last relationship, Keep the Lights On tells the story of two men torn apart by addiction and secrets, but bound together by love and hopefulness. It's a story fueled by shame that I intend to make shamelessly.  My hope is that when completed Keep the Lights On will be an honest new work that can be added to the short list of dramatic films that have been made about the contemporary gay experience.

What's the story?

1997. Ben is another gay man in New York trying to make a connection through a phone sex line. He meets Nick - closeted, handsome and with a girlfriend attached. From the start, this casual encounter extends itself into a hopeful moment between potential lovers. As Ben negotiates life as a documentary filmmaker, his relationship with Nick, a precociously young lawyer in a prominent publishing house, becomes more than just a fling. Nick breaks up with his girlfriend and soon the two men move in together and start to build a home. But over the years, they discover that it’s easier to get out of the closet, than it is getting rid of its shadow. Nick’s drug use gets out of control, as Ben becomes increasingly sexual compulsive. After 10 years together, Ben realizes that it’s not the relationship he needs to save: it’s himself.

Why Kickstarter?

Hard as it is to believe, a film about gay life in contemporary America is rarer today than it’s ever been. Films like Brokeback Mountain and The Kids Are Alright were not, unfortunately, followed by a flood of new movies in our cinemas depicting queer relationships. From the start, we knew that to tell a story like this we would need the support of friends, families, gays, straights, filmmakers, film-lovers, the socially-committed, the generous-minded.... any one who would be interested in seeing a frankly explicit film about intimate relationships like this one get made. Thus, Kickstarter!

Keep the Lights On has recently received an Annenberg Grant from the Sundance Institute, as well as generous support from local vendors and institutions, and many, many individuals.  But having successfully raised a good portion of our budget, we are now at the point we really need your help. If we can reach our $25,000 Kickstarter goal we will reach our funding needs, and can start shooting our movie this summer. With your help, we are confident you'll see the movie at a theater near you in the year 2012!  And when you buy your popcorn, and the lights start to dim, you'll have the extra satisfaction of knowing that you were a real part of bringing this new work to the screen.

We thank you in advance for considering being a part of this project. All of us who are working on Keep the Lights On feel grateful for the community that we are a part of, and for the support that we continue to receive.

Ira Sachs, co-writer & director

The painting used for KEEP THE LIGHTS ON is by Boris Torres. To see more of his work, go to:



Yes! Once you donate to our campaign, you may want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount. To do so, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our campaign page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a new incentive.


Yes! Exceeding the goal would help us pay for more of the costs to finish the film.


No. Only you and the project owner will be able to see your pledge amount.


Yes, you can pledge from anywhere.


Yes! To "gift" your reward to someone else, please follow the normal process with the pledge and payment in your name. Once we've reached the deadline, we'll send you an email requesting the information we need to fulfill the reward (address, etc.) At that time, please reply with the contact info for the person that is to receive the reward and we'll follow through!


If our goal isn’t met before the deadline, we don't receive any of the pledges. Your credit or debit card will not be charged.

You can send us an email through this kickstarter website OR you can contact us directly at


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    32 backers

    The reward of knowing that you have been a real part of bringing one new work of queer cinema into the light.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    55 backers Limited (20 left of 75)

    Above + special thanks on the KEEP THE LIGHTS ON website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    73 backers Limited (27 left of 100)

    Above + an actual on screen "thank you" in the credits of the film, so when the movie is over, all your friends and lovers (and exes) will know that you were a part of getting this movie made!

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    46 backers Limited (4 left of 50)

    Above + you will also receive a poster of the film signed by the cast and the director. It's going to be classy, and look good in your kitchen, or bedroom.

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    11 backers Limited (14 left of 25)

    Above + be the first on your block to own a complete set of the films of Ira Sachs (including THE DELTA, FORTY SHADES OF BLUE, MARRIED LIFE, and a collection of rare shorts).

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    10 backers Limited (10 left of 20)

    Above + an invitation for two to a NYC cast and crew screening of the film. Meet the creatives behind the scenes before most of your friends have even heard about the movie.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    Above + either a drink with the director at Julius's, the oldest (and best) gay bar in New York City or brunch at Morandi, 7th Ave & Waverly Place, in the heart of the Village. Scintillating and revealing conversation promised!!

  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Above + 2 tickets to the NYC opening night premiere + after party; put on your sequins and join us on the red carpet.

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    This is the glam prize! All of the above + 2 tickets to the world premiere of the film and the celebration afterwards (travel and accommodations not included). Previous films by Sachs have played at Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, and New York Film Festivals. Wherever it might be, we invite you to join us, the actors and the creators, to celebrate the world premiere!

Funding period

- (30 days)