Creator of Gay Athlete Love Story Wants To Expand it Into A Full-Length Film

Credit: Screenshot from Original "In the Dark"

Every now and then, I like to check out Kickstarter and GoFund me to see what kind of cool LGBTQ+ stuff people are making. What new movies and web series are on the horizon? What gay themed comics are waiting to be made? What can I put my money behind?

And every time I go on those sites I am pleased to find that there is always some new LGBTQ+ themed project waiting to be funded. And there are always good ones that deserve to exist.

Just think about it, Beth David and Estaban Bravo would not have created “In a Heartbeat” if it weren’t for its Kickstarter campaign. And, Physique Pictorial, one of the original Beefcake magazines that built gay history by doing things like introducing us to Tom of Finland, is coming back because of a Kickstarter campaign.

This is all to say that we should all regularly check in on these crowdfunding sites because you never know when the next Moonlight will popup.

And as such, I, and my fellow Instinct writers, love to point you all in the direction of new Kickstarters that have gotten our attention. The one kickstarter that I’m directing you towards today is one that we’ve already touched on, but now we have a little update.

In the Dark was a short film that hit earlier this summer. The film’s description goes as follows:

“A gay college student, Austin, is hiding his sexuality from everyone in his life, until he meets Eric. Austin is instantly attracted to Eric's comfort in who he is. When they start a relationship, Austin may have to choose between keeping Eric in his life or keeping his secret.”

As for the creator, named Ryan Beene, the recent Texas Lutheran University grad saw a need for more LGBTQ+ representation. While certainly there is some good representation out there, Hollywood still needs work on making true, honest, and impactful stories and characters with an LGBTQ+ context.

So, Beene decided to be the change he wanted to see, as he told

“I’d recently watched Moonlight and Certain Women, both movies with queer characters. They inspired what I wanted to do with the film and the internal struggle that some of these characters faced. I wanted to tell the truth about what it's actually like for many people to come out, with the added layer of playing a sport and trying to be in a relationship.”

Daniel Saunders (left) and Ryan Beene / Credit: Screenshot from Original "In the Dark"

The short film was a modest success with coverage from gay sites across the internet, not just Instinct, but Beene wants more. He wants to turn it into a full-length film.

As such, Ryan Beene has started up a Kickstarter, which you can find here, to help make that dream a reality. All of the money collected will go towards paying for equipment as well as paying the cast and crew.

In addition, we were lucky enough to get a word in with him and to ask a few questions about this new Kickstarter and his hopes for the project.

What is it about this particular story that resonated with you?

RB: I don't think we get the young first love story told from the gay perspective, and that is something kids should get to see. I think it's something everyone should see. We, as LGBT+ people, often don't get to experience first love as young as others do, because most aren't out or are afraid to search people out. So a sweet, gay, first love story is something I really want to see, so I thought I'd make one.

How do you think the story can connect with a gay and, more widely, LGBTQ+ audience?

RB: I think so many gay people will resonate with Austin, the main character. He's an athlete, which we know there are more and more gay athletes coming out. He is afraid to tell his parents, which every LGBT+ person can relate to.

And then you get to see a first love story, and there are other LGBT+ characters in the story. There are three lesbian/bisexual women in the script. The majority of the cast are people of color. I just think everyone should see a story like this.

How will turning the film into a full-length feature help and enhance the story?

RB: The plan was always for this to be a feature length. There is so much more to tell about Austin and Eric's personal lives and their relationship. From Eric's very complicated relationship with his father, to his life as an athlete, getting to see Austin and Eric just get to be happy and flirt and fall in love. With a short, it felt rushed.

But now you really get to watch this relationship unfold in a really sweet and more realistic way. I also think the layer of him being black is very important.  Not only for representation, but it also changes the story. Because we do have different experiences of coming out varying throughout the different races. And masculinity is more important in other cultures.

But should you support this full-length project? Well, Beene spent only $300 dollars to make the 35-minute short film that became In the Dark. Imagine what he could do with all the money collected through the Kickstarter. Or better yet, instead of imagining you could click over to the Kickstarter and see for yourself.

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