Fifty years after the historic Stonewall uprising, YouTube personality Raymond Braun teamed up with Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk, The Celluloid Closet) to travel to diverse communities across the U.S. for an unflinching look at LGBTQ Pride in America. The result of their efforts is the new documentary from YouTube Originals, State of Pride.
Braun’s cross-country road trip takes him to big cities and rural towns where he chats with younger LGBTQ festival-goers who may not know exactly what “Stonewall” really was about and what it means to our history.
Stops along the way include Pride events in San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The producers say they wanted to make sure to represent a range of LGBTQ stories from iconic Prides in large cities like San Francisco to smaller celebrations in places some people may not even know there are Pride festivals, like Tuscaloosa, which was hosting only its third Pride when the producers visited.
The visit to Tuscaloosa made the producers and Braun realize how much LGBTQs in larger cities might take for granted.
“There in Tuscaloosa they’re really creating it and having to create it from nothing,” Friedman recently told LGBTQ Nation. “That was really kind of a wonderful thing to see that in its infancy and why it means for the community there.”
In an interview with Solzy At The Movies, Braun shared that the filmmakers chose Salt Lake City because they “really wanted to explore how religion intersects with the LGBTQ community and Pride because it’s often used as a justification for discrimination against queer people, and so it was important for us to tell that story as well.”
Braun says he was inspired to be a part of the film after his experience on the GLAAD Southern Stories tour, where he worked with GLAAD to interview LGBTQ people about living their queer lives in the Deep South.
Jeremy Blacklow, Director of Entertainment Media for GLAAD, raved about the new film: “Raymond Braun and this documentary truly get to the heart of what Pride represents 50 years post-Stonewall.”
The film also features an interview with out singer/actor Troye Sivan and original music performances.
State of Pride was the Centerpiece Screening at the QueerX Fest in Los Angeles on Saturday where it was honored with a Revry Visibility Award.
State of Pride is now streaming on YouTube, or you can watch here.