November 8, 2012 (LOS ANGELES) Award-winning writer/director Del Shores (Sordid Lives, Blues For Willadean, Queer As Folk) has announced that his next feature film project will be a film of his play Southern Baptist Sissies funded entirely through a crowd-sourcing campaign with IndieGogo to tell the hysterical and heart-wrenching story of four boys growing up gay in the Southern Baptist church and their individual struggles to reconcile their sexuality with the anti-gay teachings of the church. The campaign is live now at: www.indiegogo.com/SouthernBaptistSissies .
The original play production of Southern Baptist Sissies received rave reviews in Los Angeles during its sold out run in 2000 and became the most awarded play of the year, winning the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding LA Theater Production, as well as multiple LA Weekly Awards, Los Angeles Critics Awards, LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, Backstage West Garland Awards and Robby Awards. The play has been produced by theatre companies across the country, including Shores' own 2006 revival and the 2006 national tour.
The film will star original cast members Leslie Jordan (Emmy winner Will & Grace), Dale Dickey (Spirit Award winner Winter's Bone, True Blood, Blues For Willadean), Rosemary Alexander (Sordid Lives), Ann Walker (Sordid Lives), Newell Alexander (August: Osage County, Sordid Lives) and Joe Patrick Ward (composer for Blues For Willadean and Sordid Lives: The Series). The four sissies will be Emerson Collins (Sordid Lives: The Series), Matthew Scott Montgomery (Yellow, So Random), Luke Stratte-McClure (Yellow) and Willam Belli (RuPaul's Drag Race, Nip/Tuck).
"Over the years I have had more requests for a film of Southern Baptist Sissies than any of my other work because the impact of the message on audiences was so powerful," explains Shores. "With the challenge of independent film, especially gay-themed films, we've found a way to shoot this with an ultra-low budget and we're asking the fans of the play, gay men and women who experienced the hate of the church and anyone who simply believes that gay and questioning youths should not be taught by pastors, churches and parents that they are going to hell for being gay to help us get this film made." The cast and Shores share their thoughts in the fundraising video:
Shores is producing the film through his new company, Beard Collins Shores Productions with producer Emerson Collins (Blues For Willadean) and executive producer Louise H. Beard (Blues For Willadean). The film is being entirely funded through online contributions to their campaign on the film fundraising site Indiegogo. www.indiegogo.com/SouthernBaptistSissies .
Shores is using the impact of social media to create awareness of the project. "I'm using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help share the message of this piece and fight the hatred and vitriol coming from churches, pastors, Chik-fil-A, Focus on the Family and other supposedly faith-based organizations."
Leslie Jordan, reprising his Ovation award-winning role as "Peanut" adds, "We have a sitting U.S. President on the side of the LGBT community, but what has not changed, and where we will always need work is religious-based bigotry." Producer Emerson Collins, also playing the lead & narrator of the film continues, "Which means across the country there are ten-year-old boys and girls sitting in pews being told that who they are is a sin that will send them to hell, and there are fifteen-year-old adolescents with religious parents hearing the same message that they are 'less than' which breeds a self-hatred that some never recover from."
Dale Dickey, also an Ovation Award winner for her performance as "Odette" confirms, "The fact that this kind of intolerance is still going on in today's world is maddening to me. And I'm not going to sit back, I'm going to stand up and fight for what I believe in. It's so important to give people hope."
Shores continues, "We've started a video campaign called 'I'm a Recovering Southern Baptist Sissy' to encourage others to tell their personal stories of surviving the hatred spewed by the church so those who donate to our campaign understand that the message of this piece is important and impactful. With all the talk of bullying LGBT kids and the rash of suicides in the past several years, the church is bullying these kids worst of all." Shores' own Recovering Southern Baptist Sissy video is at www.youtube.com/watch .
The film will be shot in ten days with three cameras in front of live audiences and Shores says, "I've been inspired by the excitement of a live audience like the old Playhouse 90 series. The audience interaction is a huge part of the comedy of this piece, and I want to embrace that in shooting live shows with three cameras and then shooting additional days for coverage. I want this to be a beautiful film of the experience of seeing the play live in a theatre." The film of the play will be shot at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood, California.
IndieGogo fundraising page: www.indiegogo.com/SouthernBaptistSissies .
YouTube embeddable fundraising video: www.youtube.com/watch .
Southern Baptist Sissies Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SouthernBaptistSissies .
Southern Baptist Sissies YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/SBSissies .
Southern Baptist Sissies on Twitter: @SBSissies .
ABOUT DEL SHORES
Shores has written, directed and produced for film, network and cable television, and theatre. His most recent film, Blues For Willadean, is an adaptation of his NAACP Award-winning play The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife. Blues For Willadean stars Beth Grant, Dale Dickey and Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer and is in limited theatrical release and available On Demand now. A film adaptation of his play Daddy's Dyin' (Who's Got The Will?) was released by MGM and Propaganda Films. Shores wrote and directed the film version of his play Sordid Lives starring Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan and Beth Grant with many of the actors from the original stage cast. Sordid Lives:The Series, a television series prequel to the film, premiered on Viacom's LOGO network in 2008 starring Olivia Newton-John, Rue McClanahan, Leslie Jordan, Beth Grant, Caroline Rhea and many of the original stage and film cast. Shores created, wrote, directed and executive produced all twelve episodes. Shores' seven plays have run for over six years collectively in Los Angeles where they all premiered and won numerous awards from GLAAD, the NAACP, the LA Drama Critic's Circle, LA Stage Alliance, LA Weekly and Backstage. Southern Baptist Sissies is the fourth of his plays to make the leap to film.