The Studio One Forever Documentary is nearing completion despite delays from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As production continues, so do the fundraising efforts to help with licensing and postproduction as the documentary nears the finish line.
Studio One Forever Documentary is directed by Marc Saltarelli with Executive Producer Stephen Israel. Other producers include: Lloyd Coleman, Chris Isaacson, Stephen Saltarelli and Gary Steinberg.
The GoFundMe campaign added footage to their teaser trailer. The new video features familiar names like Thelma Houston, Sam Harris and original owner Michael Solomon. They also found famed Studio One go-go dancer Jimmy Johnson and got him to participate in the project.
A synopsis to the project is as follows:
STUDIO ONE was more than just a disco, it was mecca for gay men looking for identity in a world that saw them as outcasts.
In 1974, the disco craze was just beginning to sweep the nation when Scott Forbes, a gay optometrist, had a vision to open the first gay disco in West Hollywood. He wanted to give young gay men a sense of the Hollywood glitz and glamour they craved.
Everybody wanted to be at Studio One, but women and people of color were often denied entry. Protesters picketed the club entrance and a boycott happened. But the lines around the block only grew longer.
Before Studio One, gay bars were shuttered with secret entrances. Gay men faced hate and homophobia, police brutality and violence, even death. Studio One changed all of that. Once inside, young gay men would climb the Studio’s dark staircase, cast away their existential fears, and find Heaven.
Not satisfied with just owning a disco, Forbes’ turned part of the massive club into THE BACKLOT THEATRE, a New York-style cabaret show room. Suddenly, every major star of the era began frequenting the club, including Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Rock Hudson and more. It integrated gay and straight Hollywood for the first time, with many stars strolling over to the disco for a dance after the show. The Backlot put Studio One on the map! Outrageous comics Like Joan Rivers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Wayland Flowers & Madame, and Divine were regulars, while up-and-coming stars of the time, like Roseanne Barr, Rosie O’Donnell and Sam Harris were launched to stardom from The Backlot.
Their voices became a megaphone for our voices. And their support was the indelible strength we needed to conquer the AIDS crisis and champion gay liberation.
26 years since its closing, the building was set for demolition to make room for a billion-dollar luxury hotel development. An outcry from the community erupted. Survivors of a lost generation, now in their golden years, made their voices heard. Within the borders of West Hollywood, 10,000 people were lost to the AIDS crisis that ravaged the small community. These former patrons spoke out to save their past from being erased.
The Director and Producers need your help to finish gathering those memories and magic from the patrons and celebrities who knew it best.
To help with the completion of the Studio One Forever Documentary, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/studiooneforever.
Donors may remain anonymous or may choose to donate on behalf of someone they may have lost along the way.
To learn about films Fiscal Sponsor, The Film Collaborative, visit: https://www.thefilmcollaborative.org/fiscalsponsorship/projects/studioone.