[EDIT 6/8: the campaign has been moved from Kickstarter to Indiegogo.]
Both love and family can take many forms—but few Jewish mothers expect their sons to bring home boyfriends, especially Roman Catholic ones.
This is the story told in the movie Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!!, an independent comedy film; premiering at the Montreal International Film Festival in 2009, it has received awards at almost every one of its showings. Its producers want to see it distributed in theaters nationwide, and to that end have started a campaign on Indiegogo.
The project page describes the movie as “a heartwarming and inspirational story, following a Jewish mother’s journey of accepting that her precious son is not only gay, but also dating a Roman Catholic man. This is a story of acceptance every family can relate to with a very simple message: ‘Love Is Love!’”
To put it less simply, Shirley Hirsch (Lainie Kazan) longs to see her son Nelson (John Lloyd Young) end up with the perfect Jewish girl, to the point of inviting over someone she hopes he’ll find suitable for Shabbat dinner every week. The truth finally comes out at a family wedding, setting off a heated feud between Shirley and father Martin (Saul Rubinek) over whose fault it is.
Though they try to accept and understand this new information about their son, every attempt ends in failure—until a dinner with the parents of their virtual son-in-law, Angelo (Jai Rodriguez), teach them compassion. At first, they still try to keep their son’s sexuality under wraps, but soon realize that’s not going to be possible when Nelson and Angelo decide they want to adopt a child—and end up making national headlines.
In addition to the awards that the film has won, it stars a cast with multiple accomplishments of their own. Shirley Hirsch, played by Lainie Kazan, is a Emmy and Tony Award nominee. Nelson is played by Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young; and his significant other, Angelo, is played by Emmy Award winner Jai Rodriguez. Additional contributors to the film include Emmy Award winner writer Bruce Vilanch and Grammy Award winning composer Desmond Child, who wrote a song especially for the movie and recorded it with British legend LULU.
To get their film really out there, the creators of the film have partnered with Hollywood theatrical distribution and servicing company Freestyle Releasing; though the cost of funding a nationwide release is high—the Indigogo campaign is looking to raise $500,000—it has already raised over $18,000, and it has until July 2 to reach its goal. As usual, there are incentives to contribute at every pledge level, from postcards and signed posters to “intimate dinners” with the movie’s cast and crew.
The movie’s writer/director/producer, Evgeny Afineevsky, told 429Magazine, “They often say that in a movie ‘the title says it all,’ but that is not exactly true—this movie is about love, tolerance and acceptance in the family. Where old traditions meet modern romance. It doesn’t matter whom your son is dating: a girl with different color skin or mentality, a boy with a different ethnicity or religion, maybe someone with cancer or HIV; we are all human beings and we are all equal! Behind the jokes in our movie and through the midst of the stereotypes that are still among us today, the true premise of love and acceptance is revealed in Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!”