If there were a way to go back and correct the one thing you’ve come to regret most in life would you, could you, should you? Eric’s Already decided, he just didn’t tell anyone.
Length: 30 minute episodes
Director: Eric Hensman, Pilot, episode 1
Producer: Craig Bettendorf, Matt Papilli, Ivan Silva, Kai Morgan
Writer and Creator: Craig Bettendorf:
Craig Bettendorf, no novice to LGBT subject matter spent the better part of the 1990s as an activist specifically within church communities, organizing, promoting and finding the common ground and understanding necessary to form acceptance and inclusivity for members of the LGBT community. This work led him to be among the principle signatories of 1996's National Freedom to Marry Resolution (predecessor to Marriage Equality) denouncing the Federal Defence of Marriage act as well as the honor of presenting to the students and faculty of the Harvard Divinity School in 1999.
The pilot episode of Treading Yesterday opens as a present day drama however by midpoint the timeline resets to 1988, in a historical fiction format, during a period in time when monumental anti-gay backlash had been orchestrated. The series clearly benefits from Bettendorf's personal experience as both a gay man and former LGBT community activist as the storyline juxtaposes 1988's intolerance of Gays with present day acceptance while at the same time revealing the inherent challenges existing in both environments.
Key cast: Mili Rakic, Kai Morgan, Liam Silbernagel, Jax Buresh, Kyla Sylvers, Carlos Clemenz, Patrick Reilly, A.B. Farrelly, Braxton Tomeck, Steven Scholz, Joh Reed II, Sean Bowe, Raphael Dirani, Kingsley Uwode, Mark Anthony, Katie Freeman, Jonathan Verd, Kyle Patrick Darling.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): The show is currently found on Vimeo On Demand although the producers are working to find a permanent home via a premium channel or streaming service.
Funders: Craig Bettendorf, writer & creator, sold his home and other future retirement assets in order to fund the production of the pilot and ensuing season one episodes.
Made in association with: Independently made from start to finish.
Release date: Pilot episode, December 24, 2015, on Vimeo On Demand
Congratulations! Why did you make your series?
Treading Yesterday was originally written for my friends Matt and Ivan, both Millennials who have read every episode and who are members of a generation that has little frame of reference as to the struggle that achieved today's broader acceptance of LGBT civil rights. Even today as we celebrate the reality of same sex couples being able to marry throughout the United States the tremendous backlash from those in opposition is reaching warp speed velocity.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this series?
We believe that Treading Yesterday is both entertaining and thought provoking. Further we believe that it will play an integral part in the conversation regarding the role of LGBT persons in society.
How do personal and universal themes work in your series?
Treading Yesterday plays out through a multi-decade storytelling witnessed through the eyes of Eric, a soon to be middle aged gay man, who has lived what appears to be a charmed life. The pilot episodes opens as a present day drama, however by midpoint the timeline resets to 1988, in a historical fiction format, during a period of time when monumental anti-gay backlash had been orchestrated. Eric’s journey is about redemption and fulfillment, both topics which often weigh on individuals as they reach his stage in life.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
Because this series has been self-funded its production has remained true to the writer’s vision. The cast and crew came aboard giving voice to the writer’s vision by adding their talents. Although small casts (3-5 recurring characters) and few locations (2-3) are currently typical in series now being produced, Treading Yesterday was committed to presenting its story over two separate timelines (1988 and present day) and therefore retained a recurring cast of 20 with no fewer than 20 locations shown in its pilot episode.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Supporters of the show enjoy the hones portrayal of LGBT life while at the same time the timeline changes allow those not present during the LGBT fight for equality to view and understand some of the hardships that came before them. We are truly free due to the hard work of those that came before us.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Only in that the thirst for positive LGBT programming is so great and almost entirely overlooked by current media programming (both TV and film).
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
There are several billboards popping up across Los Angeles calling for more visibility of LGBT characters and storylines. Very little in the way of programming has changed as LGBT rights have advanced. LGBT roles are often portrayed as less-than. This series shatters the paradigm by offering developed characters without pretense in a direct & undisguised way.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Journalists for sure to help get the word out that there is a fully developed LGBT series currently in production in need of a permanent home. Distributors would also be helpful in that respect as well. We envision the series finding a home on a premium channel or streaming service.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this series to have?
If Treading Yesterday helps to create a path for additional LGBT programming to be created and launched while at the same time meeting the needs of the current audience, we will consider the show a success.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
This series juxtaposes today's environment of LGBT acceptance with the most recent example of the late 1980's when monumental anti-gay backlash had been orchestrated. We believe that our series is both entertaining as well as thought provoking and that it will add to the conversations now occurring in the United States and around the world regarding the place of LGBT people in society.
Would you like to add anything else?
We would like to offer our gratitude for your interest in our show and for the energy and perseverance you put into supporting independent film through we are moving stories.com
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Craig Bettendorf is currently writing season two of Treading Yesterday.
Kai Morgan has two series concepts and one film in various stages of development.