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.
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
Sound design and mix
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
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