About this project
UPDATE! We made the $25,000 goal!!!! Thank you everyone who's shared, or liked, or donated to us. It's been an amazing process and we're humbled and grateful. Of course, that doesn't mean we don't still need your support. Kickstarter an Amazon take about 10% of what we raise, and we'll probably be in the hole closer to 40K before this project is done. So please, if you still feel like backing the project, please do -- we may have made our Kickstarter goal, but we've got miles to go before we sleep. (But now we can at least nap!)
Chuck Holmes built a gay porn empire, then used that fortune to help fund the gay rights movement -- only to find that while his money was welcome, his association often wasn't.
"An extremely vivid documentary" - Michael Musto, Village Voice
With Falcon Studios, porn mogul Chuck Holmes changed the way gay men looked. Though the 80s and 90s, the Falcon style he propagated -- preppy, smooth, self-assured, blond -- was ours.
Chuck was gay porn's Hugh Hefner, a sauve charmer, a unrivaled businessman, a man with a taste for the finest things, be they Bentleys, boats or blonds, a man who never took no for an answer. But Chuck wanted to give back to the gay community that made him rich, only to find that while his money was welcome, his business was a liability.
Using his Falcon fortune, Chuck gave millions to organizations like the HRC, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, to politicians like Barney Frank and Bill Clinton, to the AIDS Memorial Grove. But despite the money and the philanthropy, Chuck himself never quite fit in himself. Though he was a prodigious philanthropist, he always feared that his 'dirty money' would be returned. And sometimes he was right.
We've got some great rewards for contributing to the project, including Falcon stickers, commemorative smut posters and vintage Falcon videos.
$5+ A sheet of four commemorative stickers!
$25+ a copy of SMUT CAPITAL OF AMERICA, our documentary short about the birth of the porn industry in the late 60s.
$50+ limited edition Seed Money t-shirt with the vintage 1980 Falcon logo!
And at higher levels, items like this signed, limited edition poster.
at $1000+, a producer credit on the movie!
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
For three years, we've shot interviews -- with Chuck's lovers, stars, fans and rivals -- but we've hit a financial wall. We need your help to us finance the final round of interviews, pay for footage rights and film transfers, legal fees and film editing so that we can take this to festivals and distributors next year. We've done this all without pay, but the expenses are too much for us to handle alone. We think this is an important part of gay history, and we need your help to complete it.
Falcon Creator Gets Doc! (Village Voice)
On Falcon's 40th Anniversary (AVN Magazine)
Chuck Holmes (1945 - 2000) (San Francisco Chronicle)
Check out our FAQ for more about Falcon, more about us, and why some random homosexuals are begging for your hard-earned currency.
We came across the story almost accidentally. Jack Shamama (Producer) worked at Falcon after Chuck's death, as the company was being prepared for sale. He watched as Chuck's history was (sometimes quite literally) thrown away. Chuck's name was on the Gay and Lesbian Center on Market Street, but even there, no one knew who he was. At the time, I was writing a lot about the industry and together with Ben Leon (DP/editor), we decided to start getting down the story of a company that was old as the first pride parades, and the dashing but complex man who'd helped found it.
For two years we've been interviewing Chuck's lovers, protogés, business rivals and stars (Chuck himself died of HIV-related illness in 2000). What we've found is a story more exciting than we could have imagined: obscenity busts, FBI raids, unrequited love, onyx dildos, Studio 54, gay brothels, Golda Meir, Sylvester, HIV, corn cobs, Qualuudes, Halston and Bentleys. Heady stuff, to be sure. But we also found Chuck's incredible generosity and commitment to the gay and lesbian cause -- a commitment that, perhaps because the politics of pornography are loaded, hasn't been recorded.
While we each have our own credits, together we produced the award-winning doc short SMUT CAPITAL OF AMERICA, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Frameline, NewFest and dozens of other festivals.
Falcon has been exceedingly generous with us, allowing us unrestricted access to their archives and providing us with much needed footage from the films. However, it's important for us to remain independent so that we can talk about all aspects of Chuck's life.
No. At this point, the budget only includes costs that we're paying out of pocket. It's possible that we'll receive a small stipend during final editing, but it's outside the scope of this fundraising.
No. We do have tax-deductible status for larger grant donations and for high level donations. If you're interested in making a large donation or are an instituion, please contact me http://mailto:email@example.com/.
Post it on Facebook. Post it on Twitter. Email friends. Give five bucks. We know times are tough, and we appreciate any help in getting the word out.
While the real reward is your contribution to gay history, we've got some amazing rewards to thank you for your generosity. Here are some of the images mentioned in the rewards section.
Smut History of SF (details about each item http://www.thebolditalic.com/MichaelStabile/stories/1080-sex-ed-)
A still from "Smut Capital of America" (view trailer http://vimeo.com/15198884)
Vintage Pins from 1984 Protest Against Bathhouse Closures (more info http://www.nytimes.com/1984/11/29/us/court-limits-activity-in-homosexual-bathhouses-in-san-francisco.html)
The Other Side of Aspen (1978) Platinum Edition
Thanks for all your help and generosity. Any questions, feel free to http://mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org/.
The conversations we've had -- with Chuck's friends, lovers, business rivals, admirers, stars (and some of them who are all of the above).
We've shot interviews with stars from Chuck's thirty years at Falcon: Jim Bentley, Tom Chase, Zak Spears, Matthew Rush and others. We've also talked to (but haven't had the time or money to shoot) stars like Kevin Williams, Chase Hunter, Kris Lord and Johnny Harden. Others we've located include Eric Manchester, Jeff Stryker, Jeff Palmer and Ken Ryker). Tracking down stars takes time, getting them on a flight takes money. While we've found dozens of stars, we haven't been able to shoot nearly as many. Of course, we have stories about dozens of others: Dick Fisk, Sky Dawson, Kurt Marshall ... the list goes on.
We've also shot Falcon directors (and pioneers in their own right) like Steven Scarborough, John Rutherford, Chi Chi LaRue and John Summers, and talked to John Travis, William Higgins, Chris Ward and Kristen Bjorn about Chuck's influence on them. Even John Waters, who met Chuck briefly but was a big fan of Falcon, chimed in.
And of course, we've talked to people who knew Chuck from the HRC, and some of the politicians for whom Chuck helped raise money. And people from all walks of life -- journalists, delivery boys, philanthropists and a-gays who helped us piece together this exciting gay history.
More to come!
We've shot about half the interviews we need, but we've got a long way to go. It costs a lot to make a documentary -- even on a shoestring. Some of the major costs include:
final rounds of interviews (including equipment and travel) transcription, research and legal fees footage rights (news footage can be up to $200/second) editing and post-production 8mm film transfers and equipment So far we've been paying for it with credit cards and favors. As much as we hate to admit it, we need help.
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- (46 days)