About this project
A Feature Length Documentary Film about Susan Gapka
Susan Gapka is a trans activist and political organizer who has experienced great adversity. Growing up in a small town in Ontario was not an easy place for a child struggling with their identity. After high school, Susan left her tumultuous childhood home. The chaos of Toronto brought with it a new set of challenges and Susan ended up living on the streets. For ten years Susan fought to find stable housing and to kick her demons. With the help of housing and mental health organizations she found a permanent home where she was finally able to become the woman she had wanted to be for years.
Susan’s transition did not stop there. She received two post secondary education degrees while publically championing the rights of the transgender community. Through her tireless dedication she helped make significant legislative change. Among many other achievements, she helped to restore Ontario’s funding for sex reassignment surgery in 2008 and in 2012 “gender identity” and “gender expression” became protected under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Susan also became an advocate for community housing, speaking publically about its importance and how to improve conditions within existing infrastructure. Susan has never forgotten her own struggles and does everything she can to make sure other people do not have the same experiences.
This film tells Susan’s story. It connects her past to who she is today, while focusing on the changes she has been able to make for the transgender community. Most importantly this film follows Susan as she embarks on one of her greatest challenges, facing the hometown she would rather have forgotten.
WHY ARE WE MAKING THIS FILM? A note from the director.
For me, this film is about much more than someone who champions the rights of the transgender community. This film is about someone who has overcome extreme odds to dramatically turn their life around. It is about an incredible woman who dedicates all of her time to improving the lives of others.
I went to York University with Susan in 2007. She did not know who I was but I can remember her clearly. I think most people that went to York can. She was highly active in student politics and the student community, always at rallies and other political events. Susan was vocal about the causes that she believed in, running for student council and winning. I can vividly remember Susan marching through the halls of York, always in a rush and having a very commanding presence. She left a strong impression on me even if she did not know it.
Almost ten years later I was at the beginning stages of finding participants for a film about individuals involved in local politics. I decided to look up Susan to see what she had been up to. After a bit of research it became clear that Susan had moved on from the student community and was very active in local politics. I invited her to meet me for coffee. After just one meeting I knew I had to change my original film idea and instead tell the story of Susan’s life and work. This was the beginning of my relationship with Susan. Getting to know her has been a great experience. When she has been able to squeeze me into her busy schedule, I have come to know an intelligent, sensitive woman with a great sense of humor. Her dedication and work ethic motivates me, while the amount of energy she has baffles me.
This is an important film to make. Susan has an incredible story that is inspirational. Her life illustrates that no matter how bleak circumstances seem, changes can always be made. While it may be extremely difficult, Susan shows that it is possible to turn it all around. I cannot wait to share this story with the world and am so appreciative of any help to make this film.
WHERE WILL YOUR MONEY GO?
We are using the funds from this campaign to finish shooting our film. We have an amazing crew to pay, equipment to rent and a few other production related costs to cover. Take a look how we will be spending the money we raise:
WHAT WILL YOU GET? PERKS! Perks not gifts ;)
We have some great perks to offer for all levels of donations. All of the perks can be found along the right side of this page but here are just of few items that your donation can get you:
Pledge $5 or more
Thank you so much! For your donation you will receive exclusive updates and eternal gratitude
Pledge $30 or more
For your donation you will receive 2 tickets to the premiere of the film plus an invitation to the wrap party AND a signed photograph of Susan AND a shout out on social media from the creators of the film
Pledge $100 or more
For your donation you will receive a digital copy of our soundtrack AND an HD DVD of the film AND you will see your name in the credits AND an HD digital copy of the film AND 2 tickets to the premiere of the film plus an invitation to the wrap party AND a signed photograph of Susan AND a shout out on social media from the creators of the film
Pledge $500 or more
For your donation you will get the chance to help name the film AND a dinner date with Susan and the crew AND a copy of the script signed by the team AND a digital copy of our soundtrack AND an HD DVD of the film AND you will see your name in the credits AND an HD digital copy of the film AND 2 tickets to the premiere of the film plus an invitation to the wrap party AND a signed photograph of Susan AND a shout out on social media from the creators of the film
Pledge $3000 or more
For your donation you will receive an Associate Producer credit next to your name in the film AND you will get the chance to help name the film AND a dinner date with Susan and the crew AND a copy of the script signed by the team AND a digital copy of our soundtrack AND an HD DVD of the film AND you will see your name in the credits AND an HD digital copy of the film AND 2 tickets to the premiere of the film plus an invitation to the wrap party AND a signed photograph of Susan AND a shout out on social media from the creators of the film
Estimated delivery: January 2016
Pledge $6000 or more
For your donation you will receive a VIP screening experience during the premiere of the film (incl. hotel and dinner but not air fare) AND an Associate Producer credit next to your name in the film AND you will get the chance to help name the film AND a dinner date with Susan and the crew AND a copy of the script signed by the team AND a digital copy of our soundtrack AND an HD DVD of the film AND you will see your name in the credits AND an HD digital copy of the film AND 2 tickets to the premiere of the film plus an invitation to the wrap party AND a signed photograph of Susan AND a shout out on social media from the creators of the film
Estimated delivery: January 2016
WHO ARE WE? OUR ALL STAR FEMALE CREW
DIRECTOR- LISA RIDEOUT
Lisa Rideout is an independent documentary filmmaker, who founded Lifted Eyes Media in 2013. Lisa has directed three short films including I’ll Be Home, What Remains and While We Wait, which have screened in Canada. Her work has focused on how individuals cope with various forms of loss and grief. Alongside directing and producing her own short films, Lisa works as the Production Coordinator at the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) in Toronto, ON. Prior to working at the CFC, Lisa was part of the management team at Good Evidence, a Toronto-based non-profit organization that creates short documentary films, which showcase the stories behind community-based work. Lisa views film as a powerful tool to make complex social issues accessible. She received her MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University in Toronto, ON and her MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK.
PRODUCER- SASHA FISHER
Sasha Fisher is a Toronto-based independent producer. Producing entertainment for an audience is what excites her, and she is particularly drawn to documentary films. Sasha studied Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University and sought out the courses that focused on independent production and documentary films. Currently, she is producing a feature-length documentary called A Wild Ride Thru Haiti and a BravoFact called PYOTR495. Her recent work includes Make It Pop (Nickelodeon, YTV), Close Encounters Season 2 (Discovery Channel), Pay The Ghost (director: Uli Edel) Not Your Girl (Director: Reza Dahya) and Flamenco (Director: Gloria Kim) Documentaries are produced because someone finds a topic or issue so important that they dedicate a huge amount of time and effort crafting a story to inspire an audience to get involved or learn something new. This is what has led her to develop and produce this documentary about Susan Gapka.
CINEMATOGRAPHER- MAYA BANKOVIC
Maya Bankovic is a cinematographer based in Toronto, Canada. With a background in both documentary and fiction, the different genres she works in inform one another in aesthetic and approach. Recent film credits include the documentaries MY PRAIRIE HOME (Sundance '14, Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award, Canadian Screen Award Nominee) and THREE WALLS (Hot Docs, AFI Silverdocs, Canadian Screen Award Nominee), and dramatic films TRU LOVE (Inside Out Audience Award, 13 additional international awards, Canadian Screen Award Nominee), BROKEN HEART SYNDROME (TIFF '12), THE PEDESTRIAN JAR (TIFF '11) and SLIP, which was awarded the Kodak Award for Best Cinematography at the Canadian Film Centre's WSFF along with Best Experimental Film, and which was recently reissued by NOWNESS as part of the Director's Cut collection.
EDITOR -SIMONE SMITH
Simone Smith is a Toronto-based freelance editor. She fell in love with editing when she created and cut a fanmade backyard version of the reality show SURVIVOR at age 12. Professionally, she got her start in commercial post-production on campaigns for large national clients, including Tim Hortons, Walmart, Honda, Shell and Air Canada. In 2013, Smith edited her first feature, EVERYDAY IS LIKE SUNDAY (Pavan Moondi, director). She recently completed consultant work on the upcoming Coen brothers film HAIL, CAESAR!. In 2015 she has already cut six short films, and is currently editing her second feature ADAM’S TESTAMENT (Jason Barbeck & Rafael Kalamat, directors). Smith is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School and the Canadian Film Centre’s Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Editors’ Lab.
Risks and challenges
No film project is without its own risks and challenges but we are confident that we have assembled the right team to make this film professionally and within our deadline. Plus with our incredible Susan who is no stranger to the camera and has an important story to tell, we have no doubt that we will give you the story that we have set out to tell.
We know our fundraising goal is ambitious but rest assured that every dollar raised through this campaign will make this film come to life. The more we can raise, the better the film will be.
This film is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us and we want to give it our all. As this film started as a labor of love, we know we will make a film we will all be proud of.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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