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PORTRAITS is a documentary series about the lives and stories of contemporary gay heroes.

WHEN filmmaker Lance Levesque, reminisces upon his time as a young gay man, he remembers how difficult it was to be gay and feel as though he was alone in he world. “We don’t fit into many of the categories that you’re seeing on television all the time,” he says, “I don’t remember any real gay characters… Where are the programs that highlight gay people on television and share their lives and passions?”

With this in mind, Lance and the GHP team have taken off to produce PORTRAITS: THE GAY HERO PROJECT, an episodic documentary series celebrating contemporary lgbtq heroes. Inspired by Cinéma Vérité and improvisational filmmaking, Portraits consists of short docs, just long enough to capture our heroes’ characters, to document their stories, and experience a brief moment in their lives.

Every hero has a unique experience to offer. Whether it’s roaming the NYC streets with comic Cara Kiduff or thumbing through the photography portfolio of Bradford Noble in his Manhattan home, the viewer is given intimate access to their lives and perspectives. We’re excited to share these stories — from love to survival — collected from people who have found success by being who they are.


Where to Begin?

TO START, we began with our own heroes — artists and performers, friends and neighbors, the generous people who inspire others by being who they are, doing what they do. How better to begin than finding unexpected surprises in familiar waters?

In our pilot episode, we first encounter BRADFORD NOBLE, an international photographer who’s work has graced the pages of publications from Vanity Fair to Cosmopolitan UK. He’s lent his unique style to an extensive portfolio of supermodel photographs (such as Cindy Crawford, Kristy Turlington, Kate Moss, and Linda Evangelista), numerous magazine covers, and celebrity portraits including Alicia Keys, Josh Hartnett, Bea Arthur, William Shatner, Boy George, Donny Osmond, and Florence Henderson. Upon meeting Brad, you’ll soon notice there is so much more to him than photographic success. He is a writer, author, educator, life coach, and loving husband. Brad invites us into his NYC home and takes the crew on an adventure around the city.

"No one has expected me to fall into their category. I can find my own category, and that's what I love."
— Bradford Noble

"Anyone who’s considered different or other,
there’s a resilience there." — Cara Kilduff

Following Bradford, we travel a short distance to catch up with CARA KILDUFF. Cara is an actor, writer, comic, and the cohost/producer of Queens Public Television’s “Talking About” and the Friar’s Club. With a background in theater, she began her comedy career by moving to New York City and answering an ad in the Times for a comedy workshop. There she developed her first set of material and took to the stage. Cara has since performed at numerous venues and including the Gotham and Duplex comedy clubs. What becomes clear to anyone watching as we tag along with her, roaming the NYC streets and listening to her stories, was that Cara is not just funny, but embodies a special kind of quick wit and insight generally reserved for the stand-up greats.

"There was a time I was younger and not as confident. I wanted to conform and fit in... and I was different. I knew I was different." — Cara Kilduff

"Never in my wildest dreams, except as a kid, did I think I would actually be married." — Bonnie Bowman

We then head north to New Hampshire and stop in for a visit with BONNIE BOWMAN at her lake-side home, spending a weekend to talk to her about growing up, her time teaching as an out lesbian in LA’s schools, and her relationship with her late wife, Joan (1945-2012). Formerly an educator for the Los Angeles public school system, Bonnie retired to her New Hampshire property with her wife and companion of 36 years, Joan Dunning.

"With being gay, no matter where you live, you need a support system... I didn't know how important it was to get married until I put that ring on Joan's finger.”
- Bonnie Bowman

"Seeing as I was recording in their home, I felt it was important to give something back." — Daniel Cartier

Following Bonnie, we take off for snowy Exeter, NH to visit DANIEL CARTIER, a singer-songwriter, actor, and visual artist currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. He was discovered and signed by Elton John’s label Rocket Records during a winter of singing on street corners and subway platforms. “Live from New York: Subway Sessions,” was recorded shortly after, and proceeds from sales were donated to organizations benefitting the homeless. We were lucky to catch him in his hometown and talk about family, his childhood, music, and his passions.

"Many People who fall through the cracks of our society have no other place to rest their heads... Seeing as I was recording in their home, I felt it was important to give something back." — Daniel Cartier

PORTRAITS teaser #2

What's Next?

WHAT is in store for the future episodes of PORTRAITS: THE GAY HERO PROJECT? One of the greatest strengths of PORTRAITS is the generosity and support of our heroes themselves. The size and scope of the series continues to grow as new heroes confirm their participation. These include:

JOHN SCAGLIOTTI GHP took to the sea, following Emmy Award winning director and producer John Scagliotti as he ran the international Pride of the Ocean film festival. John is often considered to be the father of LGBT filmmaking having directed the award winning docs Before Stonewall (1984) and After Stonewall (1999), created the US’s first LGBT national television program, In The Life (1992-2012), and continues to be essential in the preservation of LGBT history with the imminent release of Before Homosexuals. While earlier docs cover Gay and Lesbian history from the 1920’s until the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and the birth of the Gay Liberation Movement, his latest reaches even further back, uncovering homosexuality’s ancient history.

MICHAEL SCHMIDT The man behind some of the most iconic wardrobes and jewelry in contemporary fashion, Michael Schmidt is a prolific designer whose meticulous craftsmanship and innovative materials have captured the imaginations of critics, photographers, and the public. His client list is extensive — Madonna, Deborah Harry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Janet Jackson, to name a just a few. His wardrobing has been nominated for an Emmy Award (Cher…at the Mirage, CBS), honored by NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pasadena Museum of California Art, he designed the world’s first fully articulated 3D printed dress, and continues to produce wardrobing for Madonna’s MDNA World tour, his 4th tour with the artist.

RICHARD MOVE Named a TEDGlobal fellow in 2010, Richard Move is an internationally acclaimed American dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and artist-scholar. Perhaps best known for his numerous performances and interpretations of dances by Martha Graham, he could easily be to the late choreographer as Glenn Gould was to Bach. His performance “Martha@…The 1963 Interview” (2011) was cause for a New York Times’ headlines to exclaim “Martha Graham Lives…” In addition to his performance work, Richard is the Artistic Director and Founder of MoveOpolis!, PhD Candidate in Performance Studies at New York University, lecturer in design at Yale University’s School of Drama, and professor of dance CUNY Queens College.

JAMES BIDGOOD Legendary director of Pink Narcissus (1971), James Bidgood’s photography revolutionized gay erotic art by combining themes of camp, identity, and desire with the glam aesthetic of the 1940’s and 1950’s. His themes and style continues to serve as an inspiration for artists to this day, namely the work of Pierre et Gilles, David LaChapelle, and Steven Arnold. Still producing work, James is represented by ClampArt in New York City and is the subject of “Velvet Vision: The Story of James Bidgood” from documentarian Bart Everly (director of Let’s Get Frank, 2006).

LITTLE ANNIE BANDEZ New York born Little Annie — aka Annie Anxiety — aka Annie Bandez O’Connor is a singer-songwriter, poet, pastor, painter, stage actor, and a recording artist who’s work spans from reggae to the avant-garde. First entering the scene as the teenage lead of Annie and the Asexuals at Max’s Kansas City in NYC, she has since collaborated with producers like Antony Hegarty (Hegarty and the Johnsons), Christoph Heeman, and Joe Budenholzer (Backworld), and composers including Baby Dee and Paul Wallfisch of Botanica.

JIMMY JAMES Nothing short of a vocal acrobat, Jimmy James made a career of inducing double-takes with his tributes of Marilyn Monroe, Cher, Judy Garland — just to name a few. His original album Jamestown is home to top 10 hit “Fashionista” which Billboard Magazine reviewed: “Once in a great while, a camp anthem squirms its way out of the gay ghetto into the pop-culture world at large…’Fashionista,’ by veteran New York performance artist Jimmy James, is so damn clever, it is hard not to offer a howling squeal of approval before clicking replay — again and again.”

At its core, PORTRAITS operates on the belief that everyone deserves to have a hero, and every hero deserves to have their story told.

By producing entertaining and insightful media about contemporary lgbtq heroes, we are working to fill what we believe to be a gap in media representation of the
lgbtq community.

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