Many of my friends in the LGBT community have had or adopted children, but very few children's shows exist where these young people can see representations of their families. I plan to help change that with my next film project: Family Restaurant.
I started thinking about the project a couple of years ago. I serve on the Board of Directors for L.A.-based nonprofit Outfest, the leading organization showcasing, nurturing, and preserving LGBT film images and artistry. Each July we have a Family Day, where we screen movies for children with LGBT parents. The young people love it, but I noticed there isn't much family-friendly film and TV for children that's specifically about LGBT adoption and parenting. Most of the mainstream media is about the controversy and drama, and very little is about the joy and happiness. Almost none of it is specifically for children.
When my good friends Alec and Jamie adopted a child from foster care, I started thinking more about what I could do to improve media depictions. Foster care can be very hard on children, and it's been amazing to see their son Zion blossom into an outgoing kid with remarkable humor and creativity. I chalk this up to the hard work and love of his dads. It's been a great joy to be Auntie Andrea and know such a loving household first-hand.
Jamie's a great producer who worked on the powerful LGBT documentary Bullied. We've teamed up to produce this new project. The story: each night at a family restaurant, all the condiments and table items -- ketchup, mustard, napkin holder, salt, etc. -- come to life and talk about their day. A toothpick dispenser named Picky sits by the register and keeps a lookout for any people. One night there are new neighbors: two ketchups on the same table. Picky gets upset because "that's not the way it's supposed to be." He complains loudly, even though everyone else tries to convince him it's OK. I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say it has a happy ending: Picky learns about tolerance, and the two ketchups become parents. The story is written to appeal to children ages 4 to 10, but we believe it will be entertaining for adults, as well.
We recently set up a Kickstarter page, with a modest goal. To our delight, we made our minimum fundraising goal in the first 24 hours, indicating a huge need. We've since set our sights even higher and hope to raise at least $10,000 by the end of March. This will let us feature even more LGBT families and make this look even more professional. We're almost to our new goal!
Anyone interested in LGBT rights knows that youth issues are now at the forefront of the movement. This is our chance to put something really sweet and positive out there.
Here's a promo (not a trailer or clip) that Zion helped us make:
To learn more, please visit our Kickstarter page.