CONVERSION THERAPIST is an ultra-violent LGBTQ+ horror short about a pansexual, polyamorous trio who kidnap a "pray-the-gay-away" evangelical conversion therapist and torture him until he sees the light.
Filmed in late 2017, Conversion Therapist is the latest genre short from award-winning writer/director and film festival programmer Bears Fonte, who started coming out to friends and family as transgender during production. The film was inspired by the aftermath of the Orlando Pulse Massacre and the feeling of powerlessness that came with it.
We hope the film can reach a wide audience by playing major LGBTQ+ film festivals like Frameline and Outfest, as well as major genre fests like Fantastic Fest and Fantasia before being released online.
We are currently in post-production and still require the funds to pay for the film score, visual effects, color correction, and sound design/mixing.
It's important to us to get this film and its message out there, and to accomplish that, it needs to look as professional as possible. Our fundraising goal of $20,000 will be enough to finish the film (and pay for festival submissions, etc.), but remember, if we don't get it all... we don't get any of it...so please share the project with others. For us, this film is about giving a voice to people who have been silenced or fought to keep from being silenced, as well as a vehicle for increased trans visibility in the arts. Before going into production, Bears conducted a nine-month search for a transgender actor to play Salina, one of the three leads, and refused to cast a cisgender actress in the role because too many Hollywood films are made with cisgender actors in transgender roles. With Conversion Therapist, you can help us show Hollywood how to get it right.
Bears Fonté is a transgender writer/director and the founder and Artistic Director of Other Worlds Austin, one of the preeminent sci-fi film festivals in the world. In two years as the Director of Programming for Austin Film Festival, Bears helped shepherd 38 world premiere features and had seven films picked up for distribution at (or immediately following) the festival. Their current sci-fi short, Prenatal, has played 15+ festivals in five months, and their feature thriller, iCRIME, which they wrote and directed, was released on DVD, VOD, and streaming by Vicious Circle Films in 2011. Their last short film, the supernatural thriller Roadside Assistance, screened at over 69 festivals including Sci-Fi London and Dances With Films. Bears was also one of the producers on the Sundance jury award-winning short film The Procedure. Bears also self-produced two web series which have been seen by a combined ten million viewers.
Prior to arriving in Austin, Bears wrote coverage for independent producers and coverage services in LA and placed in nearly every single screenwriting contest out there. Bears received his BA from Carleton College in British Studies and Theatre Studies, and an MFA in Directing from Indiana University. They've directed over forty plays, including the Austin Critics Table nominee Corpus Christi, and the Austin Shakespeare Festival's Complete Works of Shakspeare (Abridged). They studied writing with noted playwrights Jeff Hatcher and Denis Reardon, and directed the first-ever professional productions by Princess Grace Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Don Zolidis and up-and-coming playwright Itamar Moses.
FROM BEARS: "I've never done this crowdfunding thing, though I think I've contributed to over 50 projects on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Seed & Spark. This is a really important film for me and I really want to get it right, so please consider supporting the completion of Conversion Therapist."
Sara Fletcher is a multi-media actress spanning several platforms, including TV, film, and web. Fletcher's TV career started on Comedy Central's Secret Girlfriend in the starring role; she also was the lead in the Josh Schwartz / Matt Miller CBS pilot Hitched. Some of her past guest starring and recurring roles on TV include: Perfect Couples, Friends with Benefits, The Glades, Family Guy, Grimm, Days of Our Lives, and NCIS: LA. Fletcher also started in the feature Minutes to Midnight alongside William Baldwin, Richard Greico, and Bill Moseley. She also played the lead role in LMN's hit MOW House of Darkness which took home the LMNies Best Feature Film award. Currently, you can see her on Awestruck TV's Mom-Tested, which is part of the Awesomeness TV network.
Sara has worked with Bears on a number of projects, including the 2010 feature film iCrime, as well as the shorts The Secret Keeper, Roadside Assistance, and Prenatal, which together have played a combined 125 festivals.
Originally from Manitoba, Michael has been performing for most of his life. At a young age, he got his start in theatre, then migrated west to Vancouver to pursue work in film and television. He is also a singer/songwriter who has released two albums of original music. The video for his song “Change in the Weather”, directed by Jason Bourque, was nominated for a Leo Award.
Michael first met Bears in Austin, Texas, while doing the festival circuit with the film Black Mountain Side. They had discussed the possibility of working together for some time and the opportunity finally arose with Conversion Therapist.
Most girls are all sugar and spice, and everything nice; Evalyn Jake is coffee and cash, and enough female hormones to sync up a sorority house. Born in Michigan, Evalyn credits her funny and creative mother for bestowing a vast vocabulary, quick wit, and uncanny ability for fashionable entrances—heads do turn. Evalyn's medical transition began at age 15, just as she entered high school, with the full support of her family. Transitioning allowed her to become the confident, vivacious woman she already felt herself to be. At 17, Evalyn began modeling in Manhattan after signing with Trans Models, New York's first transgender modeling agency. Exposure through Trans Models and its founder, Peche Di, is what brought Ms. Jake to the attention of director Bears Fonte, who had been searching for months for the perfect trans women actor to fill the role of Salina in Conversion Therapist. Evalyn found working with the Conversion Therapist cast and crew one of the most exhilarating, exhausting, and rewarding experiences of her life. Not only was she grateful for the privilege of working on such an important project, but the experience has put her on a new path.
FROM BEARS: "With a transgender role, it was important to me to find a transgender actress, rather than a cisgender female wanting to play transgender. After an exhaustive nine-month search, I found Evalyn, and knew I could finally set a date to shoot. I can’t wait to introduce her to you."
Jordan Morgan is an actor born and raised in Trumann, Arkansas. Acting in a black-box production of Macbeth at the University of Arkansas inspired him to pursue a career in film and television after receiving a B.A. in Theatre in 2014. He has appeared in a variety of network television and film, with his most recent credit, Psycho Brother-In-Law, airing now on Lifetime. Jordan is a proud dad to a handsome puppy, Blue, and enjoys exploring the world, the food found there, and making it count with his family and friends.
Eleven year old, Hailey Weddington, had the fortunate opportunity to work with Bears on Conversion Therapist. Hailey has performed in films, commercials, and theatre for the past three years. She hopes for more opportunities to further her skills.
J. Brad Wilke is a co-founder and principal of Smarthouse Creative where he designs and executes digital, social media, & film distribution strategies for filmmakers and other creative entrepreneurs. Brad holds an MBA from the University of Washington's Foster School of Business, a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington's Department of Communication, and a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Brad is also the co-founder of social livestreaming platform Wonderstream, the tech nonprofit Flash Volunteer, as well as an award-winning filmmaker, produced feature-length screenwriter, and artistic director of the Portland Film Festival.
Jacob is a Cinematographer based in Seattle. He studied at California College of the Arts pre-college program before getting awarded a scholarship to attend The Art Institute of Seattle. His work has been shown at Cannes, Tribeca, SXSW, Sundance and TIFF Film festivals. His work has also been featured on publications such as Nobudge.com, Rolling Stone, and Vice’s i-D. He has photographed commercial campaigns for Rogers Wireless, Paypal, REI, Amazon and other major companies.
Leya brings a passion and unique flare to every makeup occasion. Whether its getting a star ready for a premiere, or creating exciting ghosts and ghouls, each and every makeup application is a one of a kind experience. Her credits include the television series The Sixties, My Haunted House, and My Crazy Sex. She has worked for CNN, HBO, Lifetime, LMN, A&E, BIO, TLC, Disney, and ABC.
Canadian composer and Toronto resident, Steph Copeland broke ground as a producer while touring the U.S west coast and performing hundreds of shows in North America under the pseudonym "Perilelle”. In 2013, Copeland took on the role of composer for the indie film "Antisocial" which won her nods from critics. The first of 4 film scores she produced in 2013. Shes is a classically trained vocalist and member of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada. Her film scores include Bite, Antisocial 1&2, Ejecta, Bed of The Dead, Let Her Out, The Drownsman, The Heretics, and Bears Fonte's last film Prenatal.
Please see the reward list for everything we would love to give you as a thank you for your support, These include credits in the film from Special Thanks to Executive Producer, access to early (shitty) cuts of the film, annotated pdfs of the shooting script, and our exclusive 'Angel of Retribution' logo on dog tags and t-shirts.
GET YOUR VERY OWN CONVERSION THERAPY VIDEO!
At our highest level of support, we will create a personalized video just for you, starring one of our angels of retribution. You pick the topic - Want to cure your addiction to Real Housewives? Want to stop eating peanut butter? Want to convert yourself to beleiving Trump should receive a Nobel Prize so you can have dinner with your parents? You tell us, and we will create a 2-3 minute video just for you, written, directed and edited by Bears Fonte and starring a 'therapist' of your choice (Justine, Salina, or Clay).
Risks and challenges
Our greatest risks (involving actual production) have already been overcome. We've shot the film and are 90% of the way through editing. Our success in this Kickstarter campaign will determine how we're able to proceed. If we're successful, we'll be able to finish the film the way we envision it (and before the end of the year) making it eligible for a festival run in 2019. If we do not achieve our goals, the film will not look as professional and will also take much longer to complete.
Either way, the message is important and we need to get this film out there - and you can help us do that by making a contribution today.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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