“What if Hollywood wasn’t run by cis white men? What if queer people and people of color and other 'Otherized' people had access to the tool of protagonism throughout our lives? Who would we be if we had grown up watching movies made by people like us for people like us? That is the privilege, the ambient sense of belonging, that heteronormative society has enjoyed. I am so excited to see what happens when these brilliant filmmakers get to share powerful stories through their perspectives and lived experience.”
- Jill Soloway, 5050by2020 co-founder
Two of 5050by2020's founding principles are empowering artists and storytellers, and turning the traditional "cis white male gaze" on its head by telling our own stories through an intersectional gaze. In the hierarchy that is Hollywood, it's incredibly difficult to get a piece of film made without it passing through the filter of a white dude -- whether the screenwriter, casting director, producer, director, actor, editor, sound person, studio head, agent, distributor, film critic -- you get the gist. It's clear how much of a unicorn truly intersectional media is – and thus, we set out to make it, and Queeroes, in partnership with them. and Topple Productions, was born.
Jill Soloway, 5050by2020's cofounder, and Meredith Talusan, Executive Editor of them., wanted to make magic together for quite some time, and the idea of short films through an intersectional lens felt both timely and crucial. It was then that the idea struck: "What if we make this just as much about empowering artists early on in their careers, as about giving them space to tell their stories?" We paired mentors from within 5050by2020’s incredible advisory council, and matched them with emerging filmmakers to provide a culture of support and feedback that cis-white-men float on, but is all too rare within marginalized communities. And thus, Zackary Drucker united with Jill Soloway, Chelsea Woods with Lena Waithe, and Natalia Leite with Tanya Saracho. The videos you'll find below are the products of these filmmakers' genius, lifted up by icons who've been around the block. This is only the beginning, and we're so excited to finally be able to share these with you!
Mother Comes To Venus
Mentee & Director: Zackary Drucker Mentor: Jill Soloway
Central & Broadway
Mentee & Director: Chelsea Woods Mentor: Lena Waithe
Kiki & the Mxfits
Mentee & Director: Natalia Leite Mentor: Tanya Saracho
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Pulling Back The Curtain
While truly intersectional media is so rare at the moment, our hope is that Queeroes makes legions of young "otherized" folks feel truly represented for the first time. We hope it encourages them to speak a little louder, to share their experiences in their own lens, to create their own art, and to feel worthy of being not only portrayed in media – but the protagonists of their own stories.
To that end, we created a deeply diverse and inclusive cast and crew. For many, this was the first time they'd worked on a set in which marginalized community members were the majority, and women, trans people, and nonbinary folks were in top decision-making positions. It was an eye-opening, moving, healing experience for all involved. To feel safe and supported on film sets – let alone in any workspace – is not something we, the "Otherized," take for granted. It's also not something we're ever going to let go of again. We are each others' Queeroes, and we've got each others' backs as we usher in this new world order.