In the fall of 2004, writer/director Jennifer Bechtel was inspired by a gay-straight alliance from a nearby high school to start thinking about why there are few (if any) movies with strong gay characters in them that are not rated R. It seemed to Jennifer that, just at the age when young people begin to explore these questions of self-identity (frequently late pre-teen, early teens), they were blocked from most media that would reflect their experiences and concerns on the big screen. A powerful connection to the gay community and a concern for the many recent tragedies in the lives of GLBTQ youth across the country led Jennifer to start working on two new screenplays.
One of these screenplays was Leading Ladies, a sparkly, whirlwind dance extravaganza that Jennifer co-wrote with Erika Randall-Beahm, who went on to direct and produce the film with her husband, Daniel Beahm. In the past 18 months or so, Leading Ladies has played at more than 40 festivals across the country and around the world, and was released on DVD in September 2011. (more info at www.leadingladiesmovie.com)
The other screenplay that Jennifer started at that time was Scary Normal . This movie is a family coming-of-age comedy about Chelsea, a teenager who just wants to be seen as normal. However, with the strange lifestyle that her family lives as her stepdad completes his indie horror movie projects, she spends much of her time frustrated and embarrassed by her family. Then, along comes Danielle, a sometimes brash, almost always self-confident young lesbian who has been kicked out of her own family because of her sexuality. Through their friendship, Chelsea starts to realize the true value of friends and family who love unconditionally.
With the help of some very generous friends, we raised the moneyand resources necessary to film the feature in June 2012.
We shot the film entirely on location in Champaign, Urbana, and the surrounding areas. We premiered at the MBLGTAC Conference at Michigan State in February, 2013.
Thanks for your support!