By Neil Woulfe - Radar Senior News Director
Elliot London wants to thank you for making his dream come true.
It was only a few weeks ago that we first told you about this up and coming Los Angeles director/producer and his passion project -- a three-minute film called The Wedding Dance.
At that time, London estimated the cost of his short film to be approximately $10,000. He decided to take the unusual and creative step of using social media to try and raise money for the project. In return for contributions, London promised to give donors a credit on the film -- either as an associate producer, producer, or executive producer, depending on the size of their pledge.
Since Radar first published its story in January, London has realized his dream of making his film, but with shooting just completed, he’s found the budget to have grown in excess of $12,000, so if you’d like to get involved, there’s still time. Donations can be made until Friday, February 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT. to his website.
The film -- a heartfelt, and at times funny, look at marriage equality -- is a truly a labor of love for London. Born in Australia, but raised in America, the 31-year-old says growing up gay was not always easy, especially in Rockford, Illinois.
RadarOnline.com chatted with London about his journey from America’s Heartland to Hollywood.
Radar: You just shot the film last Sunday -- all in one day. How did it go?
Elliot: It went beautifully. We had such an incredible cast and crew that gave their heart and soul to the production. Working with one day can be very difficult. So many factors can impair the shoot such as weather, the biggest being sunlight. When you shoot in the middle of winter you get a much shorter window of sunlight. We stayed on track all day with only cutting two shoots. Losing two shoots is considered really well on a one day shoot.
We were honestly blessed with a great location. Over the past six years in film making, I have never come across such generous people who gave us full run of their own home.
I would have to say that this piece came together like a dream. I look at the footage and I can’t get over how beautiful this piece will turn out. I have to really thank Sandra Valde (Cinematographer) who has believed in me as a director and continued to support me over the years.
Radar: To all those people -- including many strangers -- who helped fund your film, what would you like to say to them?
Elliot: From the bottom of my heart I cannot thank you enough. You made me realize that as people come together, we can still support and create art. I understand what it is like to make a choice on giving up your hard earned cash. To have complete strangers take blind faith in me, words cannot describe the feeling. To have people that have been in and out of my from childhood to present, thank you! My ultimate goal is to make this your film and to make you feel proud of it.
With that being said you have all given me the courage to create our next film which is a feature film about coming of age during a time of bullying. Friend is a film about a journey of Brad who is dealing with life as a teenager in 2012. Finding himself, accepting himself, finding love, dealing with heartbreak. The goal is to start the fundraising on Valentine’s Day with our indiegogo campaign with a $200,000 budget. BUT!!!!! I feel that if this film is to get funded by the public than I need to give back the majority of the profit made from this film to charities. This way not only are you giving $1 to a film, but at the end of everything that $1 will than go towards great charities to help educate.
Radar: When will The Wedding Dance be released, and where can people watch it?
Elliot: Valentines Day:) I feel that this is a perfect day to release a story that is about family, friends, and loved ones. The Wedding Dance will be available online through Youtube. The link to the video will be available from my youtube channel which is youtube.com/theelliotlondon Like me on Facebook to keep up to date on filmmaking.
Radar: Tell me more about The Wedding Dance. What is it about, and why were you inspired to do it?
Elliot: The Wedding Dance is a short film that is going to show you a different prospective of equality. I really want to give you a full synopsis, but I can’t only because of the reason that I like a surprise ending. It’s becoming my trait. (Laughs) ... I can promise you though that it won’t be your average wedding that you dread to go to.
I am just inspired because the timing is right. We are in a in culture where this topic is being talked about by the masses.
It will be powerful, yet light-hearted. I have a gut feeling that this short really will hit the straight audience and show the gay community differently. It’s all about the twist, boy do I like a twist!
Radar: Your budget for The Wedding Dance initially was a modest $10,000, although its grown to more than $12,000. You’ve been using social media to help fund the project -- asking for contributions as little as a dollar or ten bucks. However, larger donors can actually get a credit on the film. Tell me about that.
Elliot: I really want people to feel like they are a part of something by involving them. If you are willing to part with your hard earn dollars than you should have every right to be involved with a project.
I look at it two ways -- first, you are supporting a community. Second, you are supporting the arts. A lot of people have jobs that do not let them leave an office. What is more exciting than coming to a set and seeing live art being put together with passion and hard work?
Radar: This is not your first film gay-themed film. Tell me about your short, 306.
Elliot: 306 was a piece that I had to get out of my system. I have been really inspired by foreign films over the past -- Won Ka Wai’s In the Mood For Love and Lou Ye’s Spring Fever that I was so fortunate to see at Cannes Film Festival. These movies really pushed boundaries in cinematic and storytelling. I thought to myself, "How can I take all my experiences in life and tell a story that can invoke emotion on a deeper level?"
I think of when I was in my early 20s -- bartending, being crazy and sleeping around. I look at gay culture, and how young dates older, and vice versa. One chases stability and another chases youth. Now I take pen to paper and I create a story, where a confused kid uses the number one currency in the world -- SEX. What most surprised me of this script when I finished my first draft was “What happens if I take all the dialogue out, can it be powerful?” So I did. It took me a whole six months working a second job at Starbucks to pay for this project and it was worth every cent.
Radar: It is difficult attracting a broad audience, meaning both gay and straight, for a film that’s gay-themed -- or is that changing?
Elliot: Difficult. It is easy for me to see content that is for a broad audience because it is available everywhere. How do you get that broad audience to see gay content? It is introduction though complex characters written in broad audience shows. This will relate to my answer in the next question. All I can say is television is our key to bringing interests into our gay-themed projects. But being completely honest, it’s about relating to characters. This is why I feel that gay cinema is so important. It is more important for me to have a kid with his mother see a gay-themed film -- to help overcome the internal homophobia of being gay -- than a theater filled with housewives.
Radar: As an out-and-proud filmmaker, how do you see the power of film in changing people’s attitudes toward the LGBT community?
Elliot: I am incredibly lucky to be alive and see such amazing changes in acceptance with media over the past fifteen years. I remember when I was 16-years-old, trying to secretly checkout gay films from blockbuster to now being able to see Tom Ford's Single Man on the big screen. It’s all about exposure. The more we are out there, the more we will be seen. You really have to give the credit to the TV industry over the past few years. They have changed and bought attention the community. They have paved the way and help closed the gap.
Radar: Is that part of your inspiration for being a filmmaker? To open people’s minds while telling interesting stories?
Elliot: If you look at 306, it can be a double-edged sword for me. It shows a really vivid, realistic side of someone’s life. This was a really risky script I put together that I knew was going to invoke conversation. I have to look at it as positive though, if I offend people and they talk about how could someone have unsafe sex. I know that this person is aware. Hopefully that one person will have that conversation with their partner. There are many hidden closets and people wrestling with demons.
There are many slices of sub-culture life in the LGBT population. So many stories to tell and so many people to inspire. I would rather work at two jobs putting funds together to tell stories than anything else in this world.
Radar: Finally, where do you see yourself professionally in the next ten years?
Elliot: I just want to be working. In this economy, anyone my age just wants to be working. I see myself creating a new gay film label that will keep telling our stories and bring new young filmmakers to light. An Oscar wouldn't be bad, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!