Lady Like

San Francisco, California | Film Feature

Documentary, LGBTQ

Luke Willis

2 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $29,692 for production phase 2. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

146 supporters | followers

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Lady Like is a docu-fiction film starring Lady Camden about how drag is a critical tools for hope, purpose, and healing in the queer community. It is an important story to tell now, as our community's civil liberties are under attack in multiple far-right extremist states.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

This film aims to offer a message of hope and healing for every queer person who grows up dreaming of a place where they can be free to be themselves. We are also planning a social impact campaign that will get this film into communities that are being directly targeted. @ladylikethemovie

The Story

We did it!! We raised 148% of our goal!!! Thank you to all of you for making this happen.


If you missed the opportunity to support Lady Like, don't worry, you can still make tax-deductible contributions on our fiscal sponsor's website and we will honor all of the incentives listed here on Seed and Spark.

http://thefilmcollaborative.org/fiscalsponsorship/projects/ladylike


LADY LIKE is fiscally sponsored by The Film Collaborative, a 501(c)3 organization. ALL donations to this campaign are tax deductible.


With our stretch goal we will be able to expand our production budget and increase production value. Specifically, it means we will have more resources for production design, costumes, hair and makeup, and we will be able to get closer to paying the crew their actual rates. We might even be able to add a day or two to the production schedule and include more screen time for our favorite Lady! 


We also want to reach 250 followers before the campaign ends in order to unlock filmmaker incentives from Seed and Spark’s partners that have a value up to $9,000.


So please keep helping to spread the word!




Lady Like is a genre-blending docu-fiction feature film about Lady Camden’s rise to international fame - an origin story - but underlying the broader arc of becoming famous, Lady Like investigates the tragedy and trauma that compels Lady Camden (aka Rex Wheeler) to create fantasy and joy. It is not only his calling but a necessity that he be Lady Camden.


Rex Wheeler’s search to be part of something beautiful has been his way of processing hardship and trauma. Because the fantasy and the fiction are so critical to Lady Camden’s/Rex’s story, the film will blend documentary filmmaking techniques with scripted fictional fantasy filmmaking techniques. The non-fiction story of Rex going from an unknown local drag queen to an international celebrity will be interwoven with a fantasy story of Lady Camden, born out of a glittery dumpster explosion in the Castro, and her quest to find her way back home with the help of a young boy named Rory. We explore the trauma of childhood bullying, the tragedy of Rex losing his brother to suicide as a young boy, and how the performing arts are a powerful tool to find hope, healing, and community for young people.


Both narratives collide in a climax in which Lady Camden rescues Rory from a group of middle school bullies and whisks him away to roller skate into the clouds of G-A-Y Heaven. With the help of Lady Camden, Rex finally rescues his inner child.




In the wake of the far-right extremist attempts to dismantle LGBTQI+ civil liberties and limit freedom of speech for our community, drag has become a radical act of resistance necessary to defend our civil liberties. It is critical right now to tell stories of the immense healing potential of drag to combat the hateful division being sewn by recklessly power-hungry far-right politicians. 


Lady Camden’s commitment to and passion for drag as a vehicle to build community and provide healing is why a deeper dive into her backstory is so vital. This story is exactly about how drag and free expression helped a young boy to heal, survive, and thrive through horrible childhood trauma. It takes a vulnerable inside look at an artist who desperately needs drag in order to create a joyful world worth living in, even after suffering unbearable hardship.

We urgently need stories like this - an authentic human story of the incredible power of performance art to transform and save lives.


Rex Wheeler and I have collaborated on many short film projects since before his premiere on RuPaul’s Drag Race. During the season, we created a series of short films to coincide with key moments of her time on the show, and my inspiration for this feature documentary came out of those films, in particular, I Don’t Need a Reason.



While working on these short films, I learned about the traumas in Lady Camden’s childhood that compelled her to find escape in the fantasy of the theater. It resonated deeply with me as a gay man who grew up in the Deep South in the 90s and also found my sanctuary in the theater. I realized Lady Camden doesn't create fantasy, beauty, and joy because she wants to, but because she needs to. 


This story is so important to me because, like Rex, I was bullied endlessly and I also experienced the loss of several family members to suicide. It was a confusing and difficult childhood until I found the theater - just like Rex. The theater saved me and so many others around me. It gave us purpose and hope.


I am so excited to be collaborating with Lady Camden again on Lady Like, our first feature film!



Lady Like has completed phase 1 of principal photography, which is the documentary footage. We followed Lady Camden around the world in 2022, from San Francisco to Sacramento to Las Vegas to the U.K. We captured moments inside clubs like G-A-Y Heaven, and Beaux, and in hotels in New York, London, and Los Angeles. We even got to return to the Royal Ballet School at White Lodge. Then we received hundreds of fan videos from you, the army of Camderinas who have been filming clips of Lady Camden along her journey as well. The documentary narrative is in the can!


Now we are in editing phase 1 of 2. The plan is to get the documentary edit tight so that we can be very strategic about how the fictional narrative weaves in and out of it. Phase 2 of production, which will be the fictional elements of the film, is planned for October 2023. This crowdfunding campaign is critical to getting us through the current phase of editing and ready to film phase 2 of production. We need to pay our editor for the several months it will take to sort through and edit all the current footage, secure rights to the music that Lady Camden is going to perform to in the next phase of production - hopefully we can raise enough for some really iconic songs, and hire a lawyer to make sure we have a clean "chain of title" so we can legally distribute the film when we are finished. Anything we raise beyond our campaign goal will go straight into phase 2 of production costs like location, cast and crew pay, meals, hair, nails, wigs, costumes, insurance, camera, production design, location permits, and the list goes on. SO MUCH TO DO!


We plan to have a final cut by the end of November 2023. A festival premiere in early 2024, and then we are packing our bags and bringing Lady Camden on the road with the film to screen at local theaters across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia.


July: Finish the edit of documentary footage.

August and September: Pre-production for phase 2 production.

October: Phase 2 production for the fictional narrative.

Early 2024: Festival premiere! 

Summer 2024: Lady Like screening tour coming to a city near you!




ALL donations to this campaign are tax deductible. In accordance with IRS regulations, The Film Collaborative (TFC) issues tax receipts. Crowdfunder admin fees and credit card processing fees are deducted before TFC receives the funds. TFC issues tax receipts on the amount they receive minus the fair market value of the incentive you select.


Also, many companies offer matching contributions to 501c3 organizations as a benefit to their employees. Be sure to check if your employer will match your contribution.


We can accept an in-kind contribution and will offer incentives based on the expected value of the in-kind contribution. Other forms of contributions include:


  • Airline Miles or Hotel points for cast and crew travel
  • Cast and crew accommodations in San Francisco in October 2023
  • Food and gift card donations for cast and crew meals in San Francisco, CA
  • Gift Cards for production expendables and crafty (Target, Amazon, Walmart, etc)
  • Wine donations for the cast and crew wrap party in October 2023


To make an in-kind donation you can use the "Make a Loan" button next to an item on the Wishlist. Or if you don't see the in-kind donation you want to make on the Wishlist, please email [email protected].



Following and sharing this campaign means the world to us. Even if it is the only contribution you can make, we are extremely grateful. There are so many wonderful things that can come just from getting the word out about this important and beautiful film. If you can take five minutes to sign up for a Seed and Spark account and follow this project, that is a huge help because Seed and Spark has some amazing benefits based on our following on the platform. Then if you have another 2 minutes, follow our Instagram page and share the campaign on your story. Who knows who might see it and open a necessary door to get us to the finish line.


@Ladylikethemovie

#LadyLike



Stay well, stay healthy and most of all, stay lady like as f#*!

Wishlist

Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Production Design and Props

Costs $2,500

Remember that time we built an ice cave? "What's the budget? $5? MARVEL!" -1st A.C., Amelia Asilis

Cast and Crew meals.

Costs $1,000

We can't all be skinny legends.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Legal Representation

Costs $1,000

Taking care of business, hunty! So we can legally share and distribute the film once completed.

Editing

Costs $4,500

this is where the magic happens!

Music Scoring

Costs $2,000

So the music isn't just playing in Lady Camden's head.

Music Licensing

Costs $3,500

Because what's a drag queen movie without a sickening lipsynch performance?

Cast and Crew Travel

Costs $1,000

So we don't have to take a horse and carriage to the ball - SF for phase 2 production in October.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Costs $4,500

Camera and lighting equipment for phase 2 of production in October in SF.

About This Team

Lady Camden (she/her) - Leading Lady

After a rollercoaster journey of self discovery while creating iconic TV moments, Lady Camden has become one of the true breakout stars of RuPauls Drag Race season 14. Actor, dancer, choreographer… this gal is one busy lady! While she spends most of the year traveling the world kicking, pirouetting and pas-de-bourse-ing she proudly calls the gayest city in America home- San Francisco.

Before stepping into the Werk room Camden began her career as a professional ballet dancer Sacramento Ballet and Smuin Ballet before becoming a working freelance choreographer and an acting teacher with First Take Acting. Since finishing as the runner-up of Season 14 Lady has gone on to tour with Werq The World, produce music and continues her choreographic work in the ballet world.


Luke Willis (he/him) - Director/Producer

Luke Willis's award-winning short films have been screened at more than 40 film festivals around the world, including Academy Award and BAFTA qualifying festivals like Outfest, Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival, BFI Flare, and NewFest. Several of his films can be seen on Nowness and Here TV. Luke comes to filmmaking after 20 years in the theater, 10 of which were spent as a classical ballet dancer for the San Francisco Ballet and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. In 2014 he retired from ballet to pursue his other great love of writing and directing. He honed his craft while studying in the Production division at USC School of Cinematic Arts, and afterward developed his passion for queer cinema while working as an assistant on the 2019 Tribeca Audience Award-winning feature documentary Gay Chorus Deep South. Luke loves stories of magical realism, romance, and adventure, and as a gay man who grew up in the conservative South in the 90s, is committed to stories of hope and healing for queer communities and all historically excluded communities.


Matt Burke (he/him) - Cinematographer

Matt Burke is a cinematographer in LA. His work has been shown in festivals in the US, UK, and Hong Kong. He draws inspiration from Wong Car-Wav, Jean-Pierre Jennet, and Ruben Östlund among others. In his free time, he builds custom furniture. 


Carter Feuerhelm (he/him) - Editor

Carter Feuerhelm is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a BFA in Film & Television Production. He primarily works as an editor and can be found near the front row of your favorite independent movie theater. Due to his work experience, he has most recently been overheard telling onlookers the colorful history behind the nation’s first medical marijuana laws.

Carter has edited two feature films that premiered on Netflix and a docu-series that premiered at the Tribeca Festival. He was invited to the Library of Congress as a finalist for a prize in documentary filmmaking and firmly shook hands with Ken Burns. He also created a viral short called Girl Has to Poop During Class, You Won’t BELIEVE What Happens Next which has more than 32 million views on YouTube. He believes in high art and low art and their beautiful collision.


Current Team

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