My name is Connie M. Florez, director/producer of The Glades Project a feature documentary. I have been researching for almost 9 years in libraries, museums and historical societies. Combing through microfiche, newspapers, articles, photos, film footage and magazines from 1959 – 1985. I sleep, eat and dream of this project since I began our research in 2003 to document a forgotten time far, faraway known as Historic Chinatown Honolulu. I have collaboratively worked as a producer and/or director on 30 + film projects and this one film project – The Glades Project is my passion project.
As an indigenous filmmaker I love searching for truth in story and history, and the fire that moves our souls through a collaborative creative process, and always, always... revealing and learning more.
WHY THIS STORY?
The Glades Project is more than just a documentary. It is about the unyielding human spirit and voices of those that survived during a time when being true to thine own self was breaking the law. Free to be mahu, transvestite, drag queen or transgender was adored and loved by the busloads with tourists, entertainers, movie celebrities, military men and our very own communities. So why did we have a Hawaii state law that condemned, jailed and violence towards the mahu community for being different during the 60s-70s.
When I began researching the nightclub the Glade Show Lounge located on Hotel Street in Old Chinatown Honolulu during the 60s it was like digging up the past. When I would ask Hawaii entertainers about that era of time they immediately lit up. What amazed me was how people remembered the beautiful drag queens and mahu performers however the button they wore on their chest was like a badge of honor, if you survived the violence, murder and bigotry.
The more I researched the history of the times, the more I realized how vital these stories are to the resilience of a marginalized community when Hawaii’s major tourism and population growth was booming. We had more cranes for construction in Waikiki and Honolulu than the entire world during 1969.
So trying to ethically and culturally oppress the mahu community by wearing a label that read I Am A Boy or I Am A Man was a way for tourists, foreigners and military GIs to know they are with a man dressed a woman.
In 1963-1973, if you didn’t have that label to identify yourself it was called the “intent to deceive” and you were arrested on the spot and a $500 fine. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not include our Hawaiian mahu community for the basic shelter, education, health and welfare. Each story is fearlessly and emotionally told for the very first time on camera. With your support in completing the project for post production and archival footage we can as an 'ohana complete this undaunting project towards continued healing. More than anything to have our history for our future generations and to honor those before our time with this project.
HELE ON! (moving forward)
Our trailer is just the beginning of the images and archival footage that so many of girls have provided in affirming that their stories are told with eloquence and honesty. 6,000 plus images have been donated to make this film possible, along with original footage from 1971 at the Glade Show Lounge. We have interviewed almost 100 hours of footage and travelled across the United States searching the girls from the first show at the Glade Show Lounge to the closing. But we still need more moving images to complete this task. We are continuing to put Call Out for 8mm and 16mm film images from the Glade Show Lounge and the girls.
We have completed a work-in-progress cut for community screenings and outreach in getting the word out about Indiegogo.com/thegladesproject for our crowd-funding goals. Sign up for our FaceBook and Twitter accounts for updates and screening information in September/October during our Indiegogo campaign for The Glades Project.
HOW YOU CAN MEA KOKUA? (how you can become a benefactor, supporter, helper)
We have established an amazing line-up of perks hoping and praying for your contributions and pledges. Please take advantage of our perks/rewards for your generous gifting to our humble project.
Your generous contribution will support our team in completing post-production for:
historical footage & clearances,
composer and sound design,
production assistants and interns,
final historical research,
and more importantly to tell a very powerful part of Hawaii’s history never seen by the people. Most of all carrying the message of hope, beauty, family-ohana, passion for living and standing up to do the right thing! … even when despair & bigotry was present.
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