FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, THANK YOU FOR HELPING US REACH AND EXCEED OUR GOAL! WITHOUT YOU, THIS FILM WOULDN'T BE POSSIBLE!!
While this Indiego Fundraiser is over, you can still contribute via Paypal at
Every dollar helps us make this film the best it can possibly be!!!
As you know, over a year ago, I set out to tell the story about the largest gay mass murder in U.S. History: the arson attack that claimed 32 innocent lives at the Up Stairs Lounge in New Orleans on June 24, 1973. The tragedy did not stop at the loss of lives. There were also the delayed injuries: lost jobs, fear, public ridicule and severed families. The devastation was compounded by homophobic reactions and utter lack of concern by the general public, government and religious leaders. The fire permanently altered lives and was the root of many lifelong struggles.
"We felt paranoid, and felt the gay community was hated by the press and city fathers."
I'm very passionate about this story and I can't wait to share it with you. I am sure you will agree, that it is crucial to acknowledge, preserve and honor our history.
I am sure you will agree, that it is crucial to acknowledge, preserve and honor our history as LGBT people. Whether you live in New Orleans or not, this story should be incredibly important to you. We're all connected to each other. When we talk about our freedoms, our dignity, our struggles, everyone should care, because we are all connected.
Because of generous supporters like yourself, we reached our initial target goal! THIS IS AMAZING!! However, our production budget exceeds that figure and every donation over that target number is greatly appreciated!!
For those who don't know how crowd-funding works, I had to come up with a dollar amount I thought we could realistically achieve in a certain time window. If we didn't meet our goal, we'd get MUCH less than the amount donors pledged. We need every penny and I didn't want to gamble. So while our actual budget exceeds our IndieGoGo target, I was cautious when setting this initial goal.
As you can imagine, news footage and photo licensing is not cheap, We also have to cover the additional post production costs including color grading, audio mixing, score, narration, graphic work etc... We need your donations. I have a PROVEN track record for creating documentaries that make a difference. Upstairs Inferno: The documentarywill take us on a journey that will educate, enlighten and hopefully lead us to new revelations and possibly some closure. However, I can't do it without your help. Thank you!
In addition to the production expenses, we will be able to cover some of the post production expenses (editing, sound mixing, graphic work, voice over narration)
Thank you so much and I hope I can count on your support!
I'm very proud of the progress of the film and I know you will be too. UPSTAIRS INFERNO is poised to be the most comprehensive and authoritative film on the fire. Interviews with survivors and witnesses to the aftermath have been heart wrenching and insightful. Some of the people we interviewed haven't discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. I'm thrilled to say that many granted us exclusive on-camera interviews. UPSTAIRS INFERNO will be the only documentary about the fire to feature these pivotal players in one place. I'm sure you can already see how moving this film will be.
Documentary filmmaking is especially organic. You start with your initial story and set of key interviews. Along the way, if you are lucky, you discover and explore nuances to the story that you never could have imagined. In our case, whether it be through word of mouth or careful relationship building and diplomacy, we have gained access to key players who have never shared their stories about the fire before!!!!!! This includes survivors as well as relatives/close friends of victims.
We had to lengthen our production schedule to accommodate these new leads and to make up for bad weather delays we experienced in December. We are slated to film the remaining interviews soon! After that, it's time for post production.
The film is currently scheduled for a Fall completion. However, that is contingent upon whether or not we are able to meet our budget.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO FINISH!
The money raised in this fundraiser will go towards the expenses related to:
- Travel. We need to travel to the different areas where the survivors and key players live to film the interviews.
- The film crew
- Associated production costs, including equipment rental and insurance
In addition to the costs related to the upcoming phase of production, we still need to cover post production. That includes :
- Color correction
- Graphic Work
- Sound mixing
- Licensing fees for news broadcasts, photographs and supporting video footage. (Licensing prices around $60/second for video and approx $500 for newspaper photos)
Richard Hargrove said it best in a reader's comment section in the States-Item on June 30, 1973: "The tragedy eliminated some beautiful people from our city and unfortunately, most people will neither care nor recognize the loss." You are helping me change that. Thank you for believing in our efforts, trusting us and helping us honor the memories of not only the victims of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire, but also those who were left behind to cope with the loss. Together we can educate and enlighten people so that no life is ever marginalized again.
Read more about the history at www.UpstairsInferno.com
- Anticipated release date: 2014. Estimated run time: 90min
Thank you so much and I hope I can count on your support!
On gay pride weekend in 1973, a gay bar in New Orleans called the Up Stairs Lounge was deliberately set on fire resulting in the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. Despite that, I am willing to bet you have never even heard of it.
A victim who tried to flee the fire through a window, became wedged in-between the burglar bars, unable to escape. Helpless onlookers could only watch in horror as he burned to death. Police left his body hanging outside the window for some time.
Some bodies were never identified because their families were ashamed that they were gay. No one was ever charged with the crime. It appears that the fire had a devastating impact on the New Orleans LGBT community. While the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City only four years earlier united a community, the fire caused many in the New Orleans gay community to go into hiding.
When I first heard about this tragedy, I asked myself the question "Why isn't this story more prevalent in our culture? Why don't we know about it? It's as historic as the Stonewall Inn raid, but it doesn't exist in the common LGBT history narrative. I felt that needed to change.
RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE illustrated how powerful the film medium can be. A film puts a face to the issues and creates an emotional connection. In a sense, it makes it more real and more than just words in a newspaper or history book. Furthermore, movies have an infinite reach. They can impact lives beyond our communities and across the world. Under our direction,the UPSTAIRS INFERNO documentary will also be positioned to make a difference and change hearts and minds.
By partnering with government officials, schools, grassroots organizations and film festivals across the country, we hope the film will help strengthen grassroots organizations, engage local communities, educate youth and advance social change.
A documentary about the UPSTAIRS INFERNO is the logical follow-up project to our last film, RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE. The critically acclaimed documentary examined the controversial 2009 Texas gay bar raid that resulted in multiple arrests and serious injuries. Through RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE, I've built trust, respect and substantial credibility. We have experience and a proven track record for creating documentaries that make a difference:
- The film received glowing praise from U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana. She invited the film to screen at the 1st ever LGBT Pride Month Diversity Program for the North Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office.
- The Office of the White House and Department of Justice have requested screeners of the film. In fact, through the film's growing relationship with them, I am honored to say that my partner and I were invited to the White House in June 2012 for their LGBT Pride Month reception, where we had the opportunity to meet with staff who requested additional screeners.
- At the invitation of the U.S. State Department, RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE also screened in October 2012 to a delegation of 16 visitors from all over Europe participating in the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) focusing on “Advocating for Human and Civil Rights for the LGBT Community”.
- The documentary has been programmed in over 30 mainstream and LGBT film festivals, winning awards along the way. This includes four “Best” Film and three “Audience Choice” Awards. It is still playing on the film festival circuit.
- I am proud that the RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE film festival screenings have not only created awareness and inspired communities across the country, but have also helped build bridges between local LGBT communities and their law enforcement/city leaders. Many City Council members and/or Police representatives have attended local screenings.
- Many schools from across the country have requested the film to help teach the next generation of leaders.
Read more about the reach and impact we made with RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE on www.RaidoftheRainbowLounge.com
In the wake of RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE, I still have people's attention. I've also built solid relationships and a robust Rolodex of government officials and activists. This Up Stairs Lounge documentary provides an opportunity to advance our efforts to educate, enlighten and engage audiences with unfamiliar, but vital stories of our LGBT community.
As a filmmaker, I will share the story of the Up Stairs Lounge tragedy and its impact on the community. I've built a reputation of telling responsible and accurate stories and for separating facts from rumors. I will treat the story with compassion, but also with urgency.