It Gets Better Philly’s Video
Philadelphians joined a rising tide of voices worldwide in support of LGBTQ youth and call for an end to bullying based on perceived gender and sexual orientation identity with the filming of It Gets Better Philly’s Video.
On October 10, 2010 producers Mel Orpen, J Rudy Flesher, and Brian Wigganton hosted an open call for interviews at Philly Outfest inviting members of the Philadelphia community to record messages of hope and support for LGBTQ youth. The resulting It Gets Better Philly’s Video was edited from more than 50 interviews and features Philly Mayor Nutter raising the rainbow flag of diversity over City Hall, the first time this occurred over any US city hall.
Local media raved as It Gets Better Philly’s Video was covered in the Philly Inquirer, Philly Weekly, Philly Gay News, Philebrity.com, and was featured on the New Civil Rights Movement national blog, among other media coverage. We were thrilled when the "One Day on Earth" global documentary feature film projected contacted us to share our story with a global audience. We’re honored to represent the It Gets Better Project's message of tolerance and support for LGBT youth worldwide.
But Producer/Director Mel Orpen had an even bigger vision: "I believe in the power of film to educate, empower, and inspire. The response to the video has been so fantastic we started touring. We want to support anyone who’s inspired by this project to turn that inspiration into action." Orpen began touring with It Gets Better Philly's Video in June of 2011 with a standing room only debut at The Eastern Gathering hosted by the Naturist Society. That led to a invite to screen on the West Coast--and the It Gets Better Philly's Video West Coast Tour was born!
"I want every person who is inspired by our message of hope and support for queer youth and wants to take action to know what their options are. Whether it's donating to the Trevor Project or GLSEN (the charities supported by the national It Gets Better Project), volunteering for the organizations that support queer or questioning youth in their own local communities, or getting involved in local and national political legislative efforts to protect all youth, our goal is for anyone who attends one of our screenings to leave better informed and with greater resources than when they arrived," says Orpen.
About the filmmakers
It Gets Better Philly's Video was produced and directed by Mel Orpen, a professional filmmaker and community organizer/activist; writer/actor/activist J Rudy Flesher; and blogger Brian Wigganton.
Producer/Director Mel Orpen currently tours with It Gets Better Philly's Video.
We knew from the moment that we created It Gets Better Philly's Video that we wanted to create more than just a simple video. Instead we saw our work as both community action and a call to action not just for LGBT communities and our allies and any person who's ever witnessed an act of bullying and intolerance. By touring with our video, we get to share our experiences and resources, listen, and have a unique opportunity to collaborate and partner with other like minded organizations and people who inspire us, like you!
It Gets Better Philly’s Video West Coast Premiere and Tour brings together the excitement of a film premiere with the engagement of a community action meeting. Our goal is to share information and learn from each other by bringing impassioned advocates and community leaders together everywhere we tour.
Through our screening events we reach out to any person who is feeling alone or alienated and extend the message that It Get Better when we build communities where acceptance is the norm and bullying is no longer tolerated. To create a world where it now seems impossible to any youth who is questioning to commit suicide. We hope to inspire you to join us in our stand for inclusive identity equality and acceptance for all in whatever way calls to you in your community!
Your support and our promise
We’ve done the hard part and now we’re asking for your support. We shot It Gets Better Philly's Video with a professional budget of over $12,000, for a tiny fraction of that. This was possible due to the incredible generosity of our crew, who donated their time and equipment (3 camera kits, sound equipment, still photography, editing, office supplies, and the list goes on) and community donations. These paid for our Outfest event and video.
We now need to raise just $2750 more to fund our west coast premiere and tour. This covers complete travel and screening costs (flights, rental car, gas, food, housing, and event fees) across 13 days time. This will support us to hold our West Coast Premiere in Los Gatos, CA on 8/13; a TBA screening event in San Diego, CA; and attend meetings in Los Angeles to create additional screening events.
Our staff is 100% volunteer so every dollar you donate goes directly to support our screening events and travel costs. Any funds raised in excess of our goal will go directly to future screenings. (To learn more about upcoming screening events join our Facebook group)
We need your help to raise $2750 by September 7th, 2011. If we do not reach our goal, we will have to postpone our Philadelphia home town premiere.
Simply put our ongoing screening events will not be possible without your support!
There are many ways you can help: donate if you can, attend or volunteer at a screening, and repost this to your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter or via email.
Donations and Perks
We are grateful for your support. All donations over $50 get perks! Ranging from an autographed copy of It Gets Better Philly's Video on DVD; to reserved VIP seats for screenings to dinner with our director, Mel Orpen; to bringing a screening event to your home town; you get to choose your donation level--and perk! It's just our way of saying thanks. :)
Other Ways You Can Help
We are also looking for your favorite LGBT organizations in San Diego. If you have a favorite organization or media contact you’d like to share, please message us.
We also need help getting the word out via Facebook, Twitter, and email. So just sharing our post with your friends and family is a big help!