Gay Chorus Deep South: Airbnb made a documentary about gay choir
Airbnb has unveiled Gay Chorus Deep South, a documentary about the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus touring southern US states.
The online accommodation service has taken the unusual step of branching out into filmmaking for the feature-length documentary, which is set to premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 29.
Gay Chorus Deep South follows emotional tour across southern US
Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, Gay Chorus Deep South follows members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as they perform on their 2017 Lavender Pen Tour, in the wake of the 2016 election and battles over state anti-LGBT laws.
The film depicts the challenges the 300-person chorus, led by conductor Tim Seelig, faced as they took their music on a 10-day journey across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
A trailer for the film was released on Thursday (April 18), and a release explains: “They performed in churches, community centers and concert halls in hopes of uniting us in a time of difference.
“The journey also challenges Tim and other Chorus members who fled the South to confront their own fears, pain and prejudices on a journey towards reconciliation.
“The conversations and connections that emerge offer a glimpse of a less divided America, where the things that divide us—faith, politics, sexual identity—are set aside by the soaring power of music, humanity and a little drag.”
Film ‘tells emotional story in divisive times’
In a statement, Gay Chorus Deep South director David Charles Rodrigues said: “Making this film with Airbnb and the Chorus has been an experience of a lifetime.
“When we learned about the tour, I immediately saw a rare chance of telling an emotional story in divisive times.
“What we saw up close, was a positive movement of acceptance and belonging. It’s a humbling opportunity to premiere at Tribeca and most importantly to spread the Chorus’s message to the world.”
James Goode, Airbnb Head of Creative, added: “As a community, Airbnb is rooted in the power of people to people connections to drive belonging and this film tells that story.
“We believe that every person – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – should not only be treated with dignity and respect, but should be welcomed and celebrated.
“When we heard the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus was touring to sing about those values, we wanted to help amplify this shared mission of belonging.”
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus added: “We are proud to have Gay Chorus Deep South be the first documentary feature developed and produced by Airbnb.”
Airbnb has long taken a strong stance on LGBT+ inclusion, campaigning for equal marriage in Australia in 2017.
In 2016, the company hired Barack Obama’s former Attorney General Eric Holder to help craft its non-discrimination policies.
The company later launched a policy providing free alternative accommodation to guests who “anywhere in the world feel like they have been discriminated against.”