FUNDED! This project was successfully funded on 15 November, 2011. Find other projects
- Visual Arts
Pit Stop is a 90-minute narrative feature film that tells the parallel stories of two gay men in a small Texas town. It also encompasses dramatically rich subplots with a diverse range of supporting characters. There’s Gabe: a construction foreman who’s getting over an ill-fated affair with a married man and finds solace in the relationship he still harbors with his ex-wife Shannon and their five-year-old daughter Cindy; and there’s Ernesto: a Latino factory worker in the midst of splitting up with his live-in boyfriend Luis as he receives news from the hospital that his former partner Martin is in a coma. At the end, when Gabe and Ernesto meet each other for a one-night stand–having endured all the struggles and heartbreaks and wondering if they’ll ever find love again–they face the possibility that they might just be meant for each other.
The idea for Pit Stop came about in 2002 when I was commuting between Dallas and Houston for the post-production of my first film, Happy Birthday. I started to think about the smaller towns in between the cities where I’d only stop for gas and coffee, and what it’d be like to live there as a gay man.
My curiosity led to further research online, where I discovered a whole community of “country queers” who live in different small towns and utilize the Web to reach out to each other. It is an interesting phenomenon: here are a bunch of gays and lesbians who choose to live in places that may not tolerate their lifestyles. Nevertheless, they manage to blend in seamlessly with the rest of their community, holding jobs as conventional as everyone else’s. They are mechanics, teachers, construction workers, and business owners. However, these small towners are not as “out” as the average gay urbanite. Being gay is part of their identity, but it’s not necessarily something they’d flaunt around town. A few of their close confidants may know, but for the most part, DADT (“Don’t Ask, Don’t-Tell”) is the prevailing attitude.
When I was writing Pit Stop, two elements that I consciously avoided when dealing with the subject matter were camp and sensationalism. My focus is simply on their humanity and their way of life, and not using the backdrop as a platform to express anything condescending (rednecks are so funny!) or political (the evils and tragedy of homophobia!). The integrity of this approach allows we the audience to fully relate to these characters as human beings and empathize with their emotional journeys.
At the core, Pit Stop is a film about the dynamics of romantic relationships: how they come together and how they come apart. It’s also about how the transient nature of relationships can shape and define us, and how they have the power to completely transform our lives. These themes are conveyed through the eyes of characters that are under-represented in cinema. Gabe and Ernesto are working class gay men who don’t live in urban areas. Yet, their plights in finding, losing, and rediscovering love are very heartfelt and universal.
Additionally, a number of Ernesto’s scenes will be in Spanish and minority characters (Hispanics, Asians, Middle Easterners) have a substantial presence throughout the film. This adds a multicultural flavor to the film that is both interesting and accurately reflects the increasing diversity of small town communities in Texas.
Pit Stop is currently in development. The film is produced by James M. Johnston (Sundance Producing Lab Fellow), Eric Steele (Texas Theatre co-owner and operator) and Kelly Williams (former film programmer of Austin Film Festival). The script was selected out of hundreds of entries to participate in the Outfest Screenwriting Lab in 2009 and the project was recently awarded a $7,000 grant from Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund. We will begin auditioning actors in January 2012 and hope to lock the cast in February. We intend to begin production/principal photography in April and will have the film ready to submit to festivals in the Fall.
Please help us make this Texas film. If we don’t reach our goal, we don’t get anything. The amount raised here will all go towards our production budget, so your support is absolutely vital in getting Pit Stop made. Yen’s previous film Ciao (http://www.ciaomovie.com) had an extensive run in film festivals around the world and was picked up for both theatrical and video distribution. Ciao is currently available on Netflix and retailers everywhere and it is also distributed in Europe and Australia/New Zealand. It was especially popular in China (http://www.ciaomovie.cn). We believe that Pit Stop has even more potential to be a bigger success. Yen has transcended genre or category by crafting a universal story of love that’s set in a small Texas town, filled with nuanced and three-dimensional characters. Pit Stop is a film that deserves to be seen, and your contribution will make that happen!
Is this tax deductible? Yes. Every pledge that becomes a donation is tax deductible. You get to deduct the total amount of your donation minus the cost of the perks you receive. Upon funding, we will email you with all the details.
What does my pledge go towards? Strictly for the production/principal photography of Pit Stop (i.e. equipment rental, location fees, talents, etc.), which is the most crucial and expensive part of the filmmaking process.
What happens if the money isn't raised in time? If our goal isn’t met before the deadline, we don't receive any of the pledges. Your credit or debit card will not be charged.
Can we exceed our goal of $22,000? Yes. Exceeding the goal would help us cover more of the costs in the production of Pit Stop.
When will I receive my perks? If the project is successfully funded, you will receive an email that tells you when to expect your perks. Some perks will be sent to you earlier than others, depending on the nature of the reward and if they're contingent upon the production or the completing of the film (i.e. the photos, walk-on role, private screening, etc.), so please bear with us. You can track our progress by joining our mailing list.
What else can I do to help? Spread the word of our USA project campaign via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Every bit of word-of-mouth helps!