About this project
Documentary on Homeless Transgender Teens Aims to Change 'Hearts and Minds' DNAinfo "One in five transgender youths needs, or is at risk of needing, shelter, according to a report by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Yet they are often dismissed by shelters that welcome gay, lesbian and bisexual homeless youth."
BECOMING MORE VISIBLE on ACT.MTV - Becoming More Visible Aims to Open Eyes To Transgender Rights" @MTVact check it out!
The Huffington Post GAY VOICES Becoming More Visible is a groundbreaking film that hopes to elevate and generate awareness about the realities plaguing homeless transgender youth".
From behind the lens of photographer Josh Lehrer we will tell the compelling stories of five, homeless transgender teens. Their backgrounds are diverse, but their stories are strikingly similar. Rejected by their families and lured to New York City with the hope of finding connection and love, many of these trans teens instead find themselves again rejected and homeless. But is it their fault?
After years of exploring this topic we now want to turn an inquisitive lens to the society at large; a society that refuses to acknowledge a broad spectrum of gender expression and to ask them some pertinent questions:
•What do homeless trans teens have to teach our community about life, culture, family, safety and love?
• If trans people have been around since the beginning of civilization, why has our culture been the one to so profoundly let them down?
• What does this massive dismissal say about us?
• And if nothing is wasted in this world, then what are the lessons implied in embracing these kids, rather than casting them out?
• Would it mean we would have to become more loving, more celebratory, more open and more willing to cherish the differences in all people?
• And what, ultimately, does this out of hand rejection say about the responsibility that human beings have for one another?
Whatever the answers, it starts with, BECOMING MORE VISIBLE.
I met Kickstarter All-Star, Josh Lehrer just as his campaign for the Becoming Visible photography project surpassed its $30,000 goal. I was fascinated by his work, his compassion and empathy and the seemingly effortless way he was able to build trust and identify sparks of dignity in his subjects. The work was stunning and I knew in my heart that there was tremendous synchronicity between us. While we instantly fell in love, his concern that we never exploit or sensationalize the kids required a great deal of earnest discussion. My desire to make a film that transcends victimhood resonated deeply with Josh, and our partnership was born.
Josh and I are both parents. We know that in addition to emotional safety, kids want and need to be seen. Josh’s process of portrait making; trust building, freedom of expression and positive affirmation will serve as both a through line and structural platform for the film. Creating a propulsive narrative as the kids move from a socially imposed paradigm and transcend a binary definition of gender that allows them to become more fully integrated. At an earlier opening of the this body of work, Josh saw many of these teens see themselves in a new light, “lovingly depicted; a very real glimmer of the transforming and uplifting power of art.”
The film will culminate in a celebratory New York City opening of the photographic work interspersed with triumphs of the kids, both big and small.
The visuals of the film will echo Josh’s photographs. As Josh builds his work for the show, we will use the elements of his photography; the photo sessions in the studio and on location, the lights from the flash going on and off, the developing of his enormous prints in the chemical baths, the loop magnifying the images on the contact sheet, all as editorial devices. The visuals of Josh’s artwork, within the live action visuals will mirror the act of creation both material and human.
It is our belief that the responsibility for safety and celebration of all children is everyone’s responsibility. For trans people, the difference between visibility and invisibility can be the difference between life and death.
In what ways do we need to change to make the world a more hospitable place for all?
Please join us in this journey by supporting this documentary, as we cannot do it alone.
No contribution is too small. We have wonderful rewards from shout outs on our website and FACEBOOK page, to priceless photographs from the Becoming Visible series, to VIP access to gallery openings and film premieres.
While GIVING is what's going to GET this film made, SPREADING THE WORD is key in getting this campaign FUNDED. So please share this link everywhere imaginable, like us on FACEBOOK, or FOLLOW US ON TWITTERand please stay in touch.
“Transgender teens remain silent and invisible on the fringes of society. I want to bring these kids out from the shadows by giving them a voice and a safe space to express their individuality. I want to give them an identity and make the world see them for who and what they are." (Josh Lehrer)
And make sure to share this KICKSTARTER link, http://kck.st/1cWHQ9t LIKE us FACEBOOK & tweet here @bvthefilm
Risks and challenges
There are always some risks and challenges when setting out to make a documentary film. As much as you want the film to turn out the way you’ve envisioned it, the beauty and excitement of working in this genre, is that you must go with the flow, and let it somewhat write itself.
You are heading out into a world you think you know, but things always seem to change once you've gotten your feet wet. It’s critical to have a solid subject matter with compelling and intriguing characters; all willing to give you unlimited access and we believe we have that here with Becoming Visible the Film.
That said, we are dealing with a very personal and complex topic/subject matter, that is a challenge to convey on camera. Getting in to the heads and hearts of these transgender teenagers, and learning about what they are confronting both physically and emotionally from experts in the field, is not going to be easy by any means. Learning about gender and societies prejudices is also going to be somewhat controversial, and may get heated now and again, but this is what makes for compelling cinema and television. We know we have a story worth telling, so at the present, the biggest challenge we face, is raising the monies to make it.
With the money we hope to raise here on Kickstarter we can spend the next few months finding the best subjects to follow, and shortly thereafter, begin the initial production. The footage included in this Kickstarter video is only a seed to what we hope grows out of this project. The experts we have lined up, and the organizations/non-for-profits who have agreed to align themselves with this film project are stellar; and want to see this film made as much as we do.
Outside of this Kickstarter campaign we know we have a long road ahead; both making the film and securing additional monies, but Pamela French and Josh Lehrer are seasoned professionals, and confidently know they will get this film made.
Please note we will fulfill your Kickstarter rewards as soon as we can. If you have any questions or any suggestions as to how we can spread the word, by all means please contact us.
Thank you for your support!
WHEN DECIDING WHAT MONETARY NUMBER TO CONTRIBUTE TO THIS IMPORTANT PROJECT, PLEASE CONSIDER, NOT ONLY THE AMAZING REWARDS WE HAVE TO OFFER, BUT THESE IMPORTANT NUMBERS:
Of homeless or at-risk gay or transgender youth:
• 46 percent ran away because of family rejection due to their sexual orientation or gender identity
• 43 percent were forced out by parents because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
• 1 in 5 transgender people need or are at risk of needing homeless shelter assistance. Yet, homeless transgender youth are often dismissed by even some of those shelters that are welcome gay, lesbian, and bisexual homeless people.
(2012 Report - the Palette Fund, the Forty to None Project, and the Williams Institute and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 2007 report )Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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