There are plenty of crowd-funding campaigns for TV and film projects, but as the demand for diversity and inclusivity becomes front and center, creators are starting to make content that fulfills that demand for representation of marginalized communities. For filmmaker Kellie Madison, she has taken a different approach with a commercial spec that includes the highly underrepresented gender fluid community.
Under the umbrella of the LGBTQ+ community, those who identify as gender fluid are flexible in their gender identity. For Madison, she wanted to shine a light on this community and instead of making a short film, she thought a commercial would have a wider impact. “Advertising has a profound influence on our subconscious minds and shapes societies perception of what is deemed ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal’,” she told Deadline. “Creating a commercial designed to promote gender and LGBTQ inclusivity could have an enormous impact on shifting global consciousness, paving the way for breaking gender stereotypes, hence decreasing stigma and hatred.”
The current spec commercial is for an unnamed fragrance, but with Madison hopes that the gap will be filled via an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign and provide visibility for an underserved audience. Madison is very much an ally and included the help of many from the LGBTQ community including the two lead actors Mads Paige, who identifies as gender non binary and Blake English who is gender fluid, as well as producer David Dubinsky, an ally and avid supporter of the Trevor Project, JQ (Jewish Queer) and the Los Angeles LGBTQ center. Kiara McCarthy also serves as producer.
“When I found out about this project, it meant so much to me simply because when I came out as non-binary, it hit pretty hard that there wasn’t room for us in the industry,” said Paige. They add that there were a lot of heteronormative expectations when it comes to Hollywood and that bringing the message to the commercial field and working with allies like Madison means everything to them. “It’s a crazy feeling when you feel seen and respected.”
The project, titled “Eclipse” is a type of advertising is called Cause Marketing, which is a type of corporate social responsibility, in which a company’s promotional campaign has the dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society. It broadens the social conscious horizons of the consumer who can now choose to buy products from companies that support a cause.
“Understanding gender, and the words one uses to communicate their gender identity is a continuous evolution,” said Madison. “Young people today have a significantly different understanding of gender than previous generations and societal ideas about gender affect every critical aspect of their lives. Therefore, it’s important, now more than ever, to educate people about all gender identities to make room for growth and a greater acceptance for all while we continue to evolve and gain insight into our true selves.”
Watch the teaser below.