A Transgendered Black Drag Queen's struggle in the South and how she becomes a hero to a former Evangelical southern belle from Alabama
‘i need a hero…’ is a 90-minute documentary film (currently in development). The hero of our story is Ms. Venus, a 53-year-old Transgendered Black Drag Queen from Memphis, living in Mobile.
In my early 20's, seeing Ms. Venus perform inspired me to follow my dreams. Ten years later we go on a journey with myself—a white, straight, Southern, former Evangelical—and Ms. Venus. We will examine how homophobia, gender inequality and the good ole' boys club affect women and the gay community. As we explore our heritage through our narrative, her costumes, and my photographs, we will get to see the South as it was and the South today.
Ms. Venus' story is one of courage and resolve against oppression and adversity to become a hometown hero. We will witness the incredible strength of the human spirit and also the toll it has taken – we will see the hero behind the mask.
Our story illustrates the value of human connection, the power of friendship, and shows how we can create change around us. In a world where we are constantly told to conform to the status quo she will truly inspire. Changing hearts is the first step and you can help us show the masses a human being - not a statistic, not a sin, and not a mistake! Audiences will fall in love with Ms. Venus.
We will be using a portion of the profits from the book & film to start a fund for the Mobile, Alabama Gay & Lesbian Center.
Why does this story need to be told?
Recent hate crime statistics show that race and sexual orientation are still first and third highest causes of hate crimes in the United States. This film, however, is less about numbers and incident rates and more about one person's experience living it. It is through our love and connection with the lead character that we can truly understand the impact of discrimination.
In regard to sexual orientation, state-level support and health services are still quite limited in the South, and there is still a lot more work to do with legislation around the country. The James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act introduced by Obama in 2009 was just the first step. One hope for this documentary is to bring this issue to the forefront, and one day create a Gay and Lesbian Center in Mobile. The South has given much in terms of culture and music, and I would like to give something back to the place that gave me so much.
What is our Kickstarter goal? What will the money go to?
Our goal is of $50,000 is the bare bones we need to make this film. Funds will go towards hiring of equipment/crew, our trip to Memphis to return Ms. Venus to the place where she was born and follow her as she relives her childhood, travel expenses to and from Los Angeles, gallery shows, post production, festival entries...the list goes on and on! The more we raise the more we can spread this important message about equality across the nation and internationally.
The more we raise the better our music can be. The south is the birthplace of American Music! In addition to original music, we hope to license songs from Tina Turner, Fern Kinney, Big Mama Thornton, Erykah Badu, and more. (These are all black women from the south!)
Costumes - Scarlett O'Hara and more!
Can we exceed the goal?
Yes yes yes! Our Kickstarter goal is just the bare bones minimum needed to tell this story. The extra funds raised will enable us to improve the production look and quality, use better equipment, and expand our marketing campaign. This will then open the door to distribution deals to get this incredible story out there!
Can donors increase pledges once they have been made?
Absolutely! If you have already donated, and are signed in to your account, then instead of a green “Back This Project” button on our page, there should be a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click that, and you can enter a new amount or choose a new incentive!
How can I contact you?
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org – feel free to email with questions, comments. We would love to hear from you!
How can I follow the campaign?
In addition to updates on Kickstarter you can also follow the campaign on:
- Like our facebook page and invite all your friends: facebook.com/INeedAHeroFilm
- Change your profile picture to our campaign poster (see FB page).
- Follow us and tweet about the project: https://twitter.com/INeedAHeroFilm
- Mention us (@INeedAHeroFilm) in your posts
- Hashtags to use: #INeedAHero, #MsVenus, #DevinFord
- Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/ineedaherochannel
You can also help us by:
- Share the link of our campaign to your networks: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/devinford/i-need-a-hero
- Write about us on your blog and or newsletters.
- Write to your local and online media about us.
Who is involved?
You can read my full bio underneath the rewards, but here is a little about me and the team.
Devin Ford - Director
Born in Alabama, Devin Ford has been pursuing the arts her entire life. Devin is a graduate of The Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. She has studied under internationally known fine art photographer Jane Gottlieb and celebrity shutterbug John Russo.
Devin has since become a political activist and community leader. She has served as on the boards of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the National Women’s Political Caucus LA/Westside, and the West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference. In addition she is a member of the Ebell Wilshire Women’s Club, whose mission is to encourage and participate in educational and social growth for Los Angeles.
Her award-winning work has been commissioned by a division of the Rockefeller Foundation. Devin’s work has also been featured in many publications including the LA Times.
Steven Cabral - Assistant Director, Cinematographer (Los Angeles)
Steven is a professional actor with over 10 years experience in the industry. He has appeared in TV shows from Australia to the UK. He lives in Los Angeles now and met Ms. Devin Ford whilst shooting the Inferno book trailer.
A close friendship developed and they inspired each other creatively. Devin had asked Steven to help film some preliminary footage for the trailer and realized he had an excellent eye for storytelling. They also discovered what a great team they were, coming from two completely different perspectives.
While filming, Steven developed a unique bond with the subject of the documentary and gained her trust and acceptance. He knew this story had to be told and has worked tirelessly ever since to get this project made.Cari Searcy- Cinematographer (Mobile, AL)
Bethany Weber - Composer http://www.bethanyweber.com/www.bethanyweber.com/Welcome.html
Ulf Bjorlin - Trombone
Nate Light - Upright Bass
When do we plan to release the documentary?
We are planning on a premiere of the documentary for Fall 2012 at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
'i need a hero...'
'Auntie Sam- This is America baby!'
B-Bob's Mobile! You gave me Ms. Venus. Special thanks to Jerry for your kindness and hospitality. If you want amazing entertainers, great drinks, and friendly people, go to B-Bob's in Mobile, Alabama! http://b-bobs.com/home.php
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center! Thank you for your support and showing Ms. Venus what her community can become. You save more than lives! http://laglc.convio.net/site/PageServer
Andrew Emmett, Drian Juarez, Katie Pomerantz, Vic Gerami, Bill McDermott, Hany Haddad
Mom- You are amazing! You made me who I am, always give your support, and gave me the gift of photography. Love You!!!
Thanks to the best sister ever, Kim and my Daddy-o!
To my friends... This project has truly shown me that moving to Los Angeles was right for me. The friends I've made have become my family and I love you all very much. I could not have done it without ya'll!
Steven Cabral- to say I could not have done it with out you is the understatement of the year. You are the brother I dreamed of as a little girl and more talented than you know. Love you!
Mara Schmid- thank you, thank you, thank you. You have been an amazing friend and supported me in more ways then you know. xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoox
Jane Gottlieb- my friend, my mentor. You gave me confidence and friendship when I needed it most. I love you!
Jayme Richburg, Chris Cooper, Juli Logeman, Lee Walkup, Liz Grove, Dionne Neish, and Conor Holness.
Even though we will not meet our Kickstarter goal, we made great progress. We have booked screenings, events, media, & received private investments. We are heading to Mobile on May 28th to start photographing & filming!
You may have noticed we went quiet, but not because we were giving up! This story is about adversity and so it's fitting that Ms. Venus & I had life events get in the way during the campaign. We have decided to cancel the Kickstarter campaign for now and may relaunch later.
We would love to get feedback from you so that in the next phase we can be even more successful. If you would be willing to answer a survey email me at: email@example.com
Thank YOU for your feedback & support! We would love to keep you up to date on the project. See below our progress so far...
Love, Devin & Ms. Venus
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center- The Village Gallery Photography Exhibition Los Angeles, March 7, 2013
Received Private Investors
Signed Book Editor (more details coming soon)
Signed Executive Producer (more details coming soon)
Booked 3 screening (when & where coming soon)
Party with 'i need a hero...' & The Underground Experience Los Angeles, October 2012 special Performance by Ms. Venus and see a sneak preview our film, along with the preview of the television version of Uncle Earl and the Underground experience
Frock Magazine, NY Summer Issue
WeHo TV- West Hollywood Women's Leadership Conference Devin Ford on panel, Trailer Screened along with Sundance's Push Girls http://weho.org/index.aspx…
KLED FM- Los Angeles (91.1 FM) radio interview Devin Ford interviewed by Uncle Earl on the Underground experience http://www.kledlive.com/ or you can find the link at http://www.ultimateunderground.com/
Memphis Flyer Bianca Phillipshttp://www.memphisflyer.com/MemphisGaydar/archives/2012/04/19/film-drag-queen-with-memphis-roots-needs-funding
West Hollywood Patch, Cherry Davis http://westhollywood.patch.com/blog_posts/patch-blog-i-need-my-own-transgendered-black-drag-queen-to-be-my-guardian-angel#_=_