About this project
HELP US RAISE OUR PRODUCTION BUDGET. HELP US REACH OUR $85,000 GOAL.
Writing History, Making A Film
The early 90’s was a fierce time to be a lesbian in NYC. We were breaking rigid boundaries of past definitions of identity and lesbian nightlife thrived like no other time in NY’s history.
Nowhere did this empowerment emerge with such elegance and style than at the top of the stairs every Sunday night at Café Tabac. The media defined this event as the “birthplace of lesbian chic,” and outside sources continue its attempts to define our community. This film aims to write our own history as we lived it.
Sundays at Café Tabac is a feature film documentary that examines not only the event, but also the larger cultural and political context that made this salon gain “legendary” status over time. Set in the context of the gritty years of downtown NYC in the early 90’s on the heels of ACT UP and the war on HIV/AIDS, and the huge presence of lesbians in the media, lesbians were mobilized and organizing; we were liberating and redefining notions of “femininity”and self empowerment for all women.
Our film will juxtapose interviews with a vibrant collage of archival images along with stylized re-creations and animated illustrations that will translate the mood and aesthetics of those sultry nights. Café Tabac's unforgettable soundtrack and Me'Shell NdegeOcello's ORIGINAL score will further transport the viewer to the iconic salon.
What We Need & Why:
Our Kickstarter goal is set at $15,000, but we need to raise $85,000. It would enable us to finish the film by paying for EVERYTHING listed below. We want you to join us in our endeavor to make a beautiful and inspiring film. It is with our deepest gratitude that we thank you for making a pledge.
1. Supplementary scenes and titles: The Café Tabac world will be re-created through photographically stylized live action and animated illustrations. There are crews and creative personnel, meals, locations, transportation costs, styling & props, and additional equipment involved.
2. Travel costs for out-of-state interviews with "celesbians" and other important Tabac patrons: Flight and ground transportation
3. Rights clearances (music, images & footage): We need archival images and video footage to support the oral history that embodies our film. And Tabac’s song playlist was a crucial component of the event—we can’t tell the story without the music. They require usage clearances as well.
4. Film Score cost: ME’SHELL NDEGE OCELLO IS SCORING OUR FILM!!!! There are engineers, musicians and studios involved.
5. Post-productions costs: Minimal fees for post/editing technicians and meals, and ALL fees connected to audio post.
6. Marketing and Publicity
7. Submissions to Film Festivals
Wanda Acosta, Executive Producer and Co-Creator of this project is a stalwart icon in lesbian nightlife in downtown New York, creating some of the most unforgettable events and spaces that this city has ever seen. She was an owner of WonderBar, Starlight, and Clubhouse in Manhattan’s East Village. She also hosted and curated, events at Bar d’O, The Box, Indochine, Angels and Kings, BLVD, Liquids NYC and others. But it was through her Sunday night party with Sharee Nash at Café Tabac that she made her mark.
Film’s Timeliness & Timelessness
Enough time has passed where we can examine the early 90's from a historical standpoint, while still having access to direct sources and accounts. By staking Café Tabac’s place in history (and by extension, the community that emerged through it), we will draw its connection to the long lineage of invisible lesbian spaces throughout time and their crucial role in our community. As the internet, smart phones and social media have changed the landscape of social spaces and altered how we as a community interact and gather with each other, this film will provide a timely investigation for generations to come.
Karen Song, the Director, Executive Producer and Co-Creator of this film, was one of the many patrons profoundly inspired by Café Tabac. She and Wanda have been envisioning this project for years, but over the last year, the urgency of the project became unshakable. It was in response to changes we were witnessing all around us; and grew out of countless conversations on lesbian aesthetics and politics; we also wanted to celebrate some incredible people we’d lost along the way. The idea of the film inspired everyone we shared it with, and so the dominoes started to fall. And here we are, blazing, midway into the project. Help us finish it so we can share this inspired vision with you.
*Video Images of Mona's in San Francisco—Courtesy of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
Risks and challenges
As many documentary projects go, this is a labor of love for us the creators of this project, which means we haven't been getting paid to do it, it’s all been out-of-pocket for us, and the funds raised by this Kickstarter will go towards production. We are filling out grant applications, but the turnaround time for these highly competitive fund sources tends to be a year on average, so we can’t rely on them at this stage of production. Therefore, although this film is our primary project, we still have to juggle it with our respective jobs and personal responsibilities. Despite all this, this project has been unfolding at a steady and brisk pace, and we are optimistic that with our continued diligence and commitment, AND YOUR HELP, we can finish the film within our targeted time frame of within a year. Any potential setbacks will most likely be the result of sacrifices we have to make with time because of our limited budget, including the reliance on donated third-party services. WE ARE ALSO LOOKING FOR PRIVATE DONORS WHO CAN MATCH OUR KICKSTARTER FUNDS FOR A PRODUCER CREDIT OR ARE INTERESTED IN OTHER ARRANGEMENTS WE HAVE FOR AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT. Please contact us directly if you are interested or know anyone who may be. More funding means we can deliver the project sooner, with the high production value this story truly deserves.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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