Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A documentary about one of the most influential women in lesbian history you’ve never heard of.
A documentary about one of the most influential women in lesbian history you’ve never heard of.
250 backers pledged $61,078 to help bring this project to life.

About

AHEAD OF THE CURVE project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$61,078

250

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

With a fist full of credit cards, a lucky run at the horse track, and a passionate need to bring her community together, Franco Stevens launched Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine ever published. AHEAD OF THE CURVE celebrates lesbian and queer women’s visibility from the early 90s to the present. When Franco learns that Curve magazine and her own legacy face extinction, she turns to three modern day activists to understand queer intersectional visibility work today and determine her path forward.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE is fiscally sponsored by The Film Collaborative, a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.* 

Our North Star

We are guided by Franco’s values: all expressions of womanhood are beautiful and all women who love women have a place in our community. An outgrowth of the pioneering work that women like Franco did in the 90s and 00s has been our ability to define ourselves in ever more specific terms. We’ve made enormous strides expanding the range of LGBTQ stories into the broader cultural consciousness. At the same time, our community longs for stories of our lineage that unite us as we face new attacks on our rights. AHEAD OF THE CURVE tells the story of a woman who worked to expand the notion of how a lesbian can look, act, and be. 

Today's activism may look different than it did in the 90s, but it serves the same purpose. We are more visible than ever, and we have to use that visibility to continue to claim our space and our rights. 

As we look to the future, we honor our past, celebrating both that we stand upon other women's shoulders and that our own shoulders are strong enough to support someone else. 

Why We're Making Ahead Of The Curve

We're making this film because our community too often feels splintered and we need to come back together now. Society has come a long way since Franco Stevens launched her magazine, but as LGBTQ folk we face a strong backlash today. As in the past, queer women, women of color, and non-binary folk are leading even as our government unleashes a barrage of anti-LGBTQ legislation aimed at rolling back our hard-won gains and erasing recognition and protection of LGBTQ people entirely. Our community has been immersed in an important intergenerational conversation around the words we use to describe ourselves, but that charged work has left too many feeling disconnected.

Visibility and representation are the most powerful tools in existence to protect LGBTQ folk and build a sense of belonging, and Franco knew this 30 years ago. Her work helped move the nation forward socially and politically by creating space, visibility, and empathy for anyone who identified as lesbian. 

photo courtesy of Lesbians Who Tech
photo courtesy of Lesbians Who Tech

The Story 

Growing up, Franco never saw any representation of queer women and she didn’t even know it was possible for a woman to be gay. When she realized she was a lesbian, it changed the course of her life. 

In 1990, Franco created a magazine that was a safe place for lesbians. It arrived in a brown wrapper every month bringing news and images of strong, diverse women; the beautiful richness of her community. Today, you can find Curve on the newsstand next to Self and Cosmo. But for its subscribers, it ships in an opaque wrapper -  because it’s still crucial to protect queer women’s anonymity and safety.

 Franco just learned that the magazine is in trouble, and after years of retirement she is wading back in to figure out if there is a way for Curve to continue serving the community. She reaches out to educator Kim Katrin Milan, YouTube star Arielle Scarcella, and slam poet Denice Frohman to learn about where lesbian community is today. Kim shares the powerful cultural shift in which queer women and Women of Color are increasingly seen as the authors of their own experiences. Denice talks about how important it is that we feel connected to a lineage of strong queer women, and the beauty of coming together in community to share our stories and our truths. Arielle explains how young queer people today feel more trust for authentic stories shared directly.

Should Franco rally the community to keep the magazine going? Should the print publication evolve into another entity that supports lesbian visibility? Or is it time to let it all go? With the imminent demise of her magazine bearing down, Franco reconnects with her original mission to guide her decisions. 

What Drives Us

1) The LGBTQ community is under attack. "VISIBILITY is the most powerful tool we have to protect ourselves!" -- Franco Stevens 

2) Our history is being erased. It's up to us to make LGBTQ history visible and INSPIRE the next generation of badasses.      

3) Diversity is our super power. Curve elevated and celebrated a diversity among queer women that’s expanded today in myriad ways.

4) Our production will inspire change. "That is how we are going to change things in Hollywood," Melissa Etheridge's spouse, TV Producer Linda Wallem, exclaimed when she saw our ALL FEMALE-IDENTIFIED CREW!     

5) This is a great story! AHEAD OF THE CURVE is a catalytic CELEBRATION of how far we have come and what we need to do next!  

 Where The Dough Will Go

Your contributions will help us finish AHEAD OF THE CURVE. Here are the post-production necessities that your donation will contribute to:

                               Remaining editorial work
                               Music composition
                               Sound design and mix
                               Graphics 
                               Color correction  

Meet The Team

The AHEAD OF THE CURVE crew is all female and gender non-conforming.   

Director Jen Rainin's work in film is focused on building community, deepening understanding of social justice issues, and telling great stories. Her executive producer credits include STAGE LEFT (2011), a documentary about the history of theater in the Bay Area, and TWO SPIRITS (2009), a documentary about gender identity in Native American cultures which aired on Independent Lens. 

Producer Rivkah Beth Medow is an award-winning filmmaker who has created, directed and produced documentary, broadcast, commercial, and non-profit productions including SONS OF A GUN (2009); BEING GEORGE CLOONEY (2016); and THE NINE (2016).

Cinematographer Svetlana Cvetko is an award winning cinematographer with a dual focus in documentary and fiction. Her credits include INSIDE JOB, which received the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary, INEQUALITY FOR ALL (Sundance 2013); RED ARMY (Cannes 2014).

Composer Meshell Ndegeocello is an authentic musical thinker and an uncompromising artist. A bass player above all else, Meshell brings her warm, fat, and melodic groove to everything she does and has appeared alongside the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, Billy Preston, and Chaka Khan. Meshell's composing credits include QUEEN SUGAR and THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD. 

Editor Jessica Congdon's credits include the award-winning feature-length documentary DOLORES (Sundance 2017). She produced, wrote and edited the documentary films THE MASK YOU LIVE IN (Sundance 2015) and MISS REPRESENTATION (Sundance 2011) with Jennifer Siebel Newsom. 

Consulting Producer Lauren McBride is an independent film producer from Atlanta, GA and is currently based in Oakland, CA. She is a 2017 Sundance Creative Producing Lab Fellow and a 2018 Film Independent Producing Lab Fellow. Her first feature film, SELAH AND THE SPADES, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. 

Contributing Cinematographer Clare Major is a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker based in Oakland, California. She has filmed on four continents and specializes in stories that illuminate the lives of women and the intersections of cultures. She was Director of Photography on WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS, which premiered at SXSW in 2019. 

Contributing Cinematographer Mariam Dwedar is an Egyptian-Filipina cinematographer and filmmaker. Mariam was recognized by DOCNYC, America's largest documentary festival, as one of '40 Under 40' rising stars in documentary filmmaking.

Timing Is Everything

We are in a sprint for the finish line! We are submitting this film to Sundance in September 2019, so we've got a lot to do. Between now and September, we will finish our edit, compose the score (yay, Meshell), license sweet tunes from the 90s, create the sound mix, color correct, and submit. Phew! That's why we need your help now! 


Let's Be Friends

AHEAD OF THE CURVE is our story. Help us share it with the world! Check out our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CurveMagMovie for all the latest news. And please share widely!

*In accordance with IRS regulations, The Film Collaborative (TFC) issues tax receipts for all donations of $250 and over. CROWDFUNDER and credit card processing fees are deducted before TFC receives the funds. TFC issues tax receipts on the amount they receive.

Risks and challenges

With any kind of film project, there is risk of delay. But we have every confidence that we will complete this project and your support will help!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    News and Updates + Social Media ShoutOut

    Get the latest AHEAD OF THE CURVE News and Updates plus all of the behind the scenes anecdotes, images, and clips. We'll also include your name in a social media shout-out expressing our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Welcome to the team!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Digital Postcard + Social Media ShoutOut

    We'll send you our custom digital postcard AND include your name in a social media shout-out expressing our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

    Plus Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    Streaming Link to Completed Film

    Streaming Link to the completed film.
    Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    59 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    ROCK THE RAINBOW

    Set of Franco's favorite Classic Freedom Rings as featured in Curve magazine strung on a necklace. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    WISH YOU WERE HERE

    POSTCARD SET: 6 Classic Deneuve and Curve covers in postcard form! Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR

    Exclusive digital download of the kickass original AHEAD OF THE CURVE soundtrack composed by the exquisite Meshell Ndegeocello. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    INSTANT ACCESS

    1-year Digital Subscription to CURVE magazine, the nation's best-selling lesbian magazine. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    FRANCO'S SECRET STASH

    Receive two vintage Curve magazines signed by cover girls from Franco's own collection. Could include Toshi Regan, Suzanne Westenhoeffer, Elvira Kurt, Michelle Wolff, Megan Morris, Dani Campbell, or Courtenay Semel. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    SIGNED L-WORD COVERS

    Receive one very special issue of Curve signed by L-Word cast members from Franco's private collection. Could include Leisha Hailey (Alice), Pam Grier (Kit), Daniella Sea (Max), Sarah Shahi (Carmen), Rachel Shelley (Helena), Janina Gavenkar (Papi), or Ilene Chaiken (co-creator).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    LESBIAN CHIC

    Custom designed AHEAD OF THE CURVE t-shirt. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    VINTAGE LESBIAN CHIC

    Limited edition vintage Deneuve t-shirt. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    11 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    FRANKLY DELICIOUS

    Set of 3 of Franco's home made jams (flavors tbd this summer). Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    RARE MELISSA CURVE COVER

    A very rare Melissa Etheridge Signed Curve magazine: Dec 2005 edition from Franco's own collection. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    RARE JENNY SHIMIZU CURVE COVER

    A rare Jenny Shimizu signed Curve magazine: Sept 1996 edition from Franco's own collection. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    RARE TEGAN & SARA CURVE COVER

    A rare Tegan & Sara signed Curve magazine: July/Aug 2009 edition from Franco's own collection. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    FRANKLY FABULOUS

    Limited edition 11"x17" print of iconic first issue back cover signed by Franco Stevens. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    14 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    CLOSER TO FINE

    A rare autographed Indigo Girls CD: Poseidon and the Bitter Bug from Franco's personal collection. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  18. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    HOLD THE PHONE

    Get a personal thank you call from the founder of Curve herself. Have you always wanted to talk with Franco? Now's your chance! Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  19. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 175 or more About US$ 175

    CLEXACON 2020 FRANCO-STYLE

    2 passes to Clexacon 2020 summit in Las Vegas with Franco's guide to make the most of your experience (travel and lodging not included). Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  20. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP

    Be a part of the movie! Make your screen debut with a cameo in AHEAD OF THE CURVE when we film at the 2019 San Francisco Dyke March (travel and lodging not included). Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  21. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    OUT AND PROUD IN SF

    Walk in the San Francisco Dyke March 2020 with the AHEAD OF THE CURVE filmmakers (travel and lodging not included). Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  22. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    I'M THE ONLY ONE

    Very Rare - One of a Kind Puzzle (vintage football theme) completed, signed, and put back in box by the exquisite Melissa Etheridge herself. It's a Springbok - Melissa's favorite brand. Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  23. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    FRANKLY FABULOUS

    Tickets to west coast premiere of AHEAD OF THE CURVE and invitation to exclusive VIP party (travel and lodging not included). Plus Digital Postcard + Custom Social Media Shout Out, and Kickstarter backer news and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)