YouTube is unfurling the rainbow flag for Pride Month, set to release a trio of original documentary films available for free worldwide on the platform.
The lineup includes “State of Pride,” from Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, premiering May 29; “Stonewall Outloud,” from StoryCorps and World of Wonder, premiering June 26; and “This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous,” the 2017 doc about the transgender female YouTube fashion and beauty vlogger, which YouTube will make available free to watch from June 5-30.
YouTube’s strategy going forward is to make all originals available on the free, ad-supported side, in some cases only in certain windows outside the paywall.
“State of Pride,” which YouTube announced last year, features Raymond Braun — who previously led YouTube’s LGBTQ outreach efforts — as he travels to Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Tuscaloosa, Ala., to interview a diverse group of young LGBTQ+ people 50 years after the movement’s seminal uprising at Stonewall Inn in New York City.
One of Braun’s subjects is Troye Sivan, the South African-born singer, songwriter, actor and YouTube creator who has helped define the LGBTQ+ experience for a new generation. “State of Pride” also includes original performances by the 23-year-old singer. “People have been doing this for a long time,” Sivan says in the film, referring to the community’s decades-long fight for civil rights. “We owe it to our elders that we get to be here today.”
The documentary is directed by Epstein and Friedman, developed and produced by digital studio Portal A. “State of Pride” had its world premiere the opening night of SXSW 2019. “We’re honored to tell these stories that capture what Pride means to young people today, and to work alongside legendary directors like Rob and Jeff,” said Nate Houghteling, Portal A co-founder and executive producer.
“Stonewall Outloud” is based on the public-radio documentary by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay. Broadcast on NPR in 1989, “Remembering Stonewall” was the first documentary on the 1969 event. The new YouTube documentary will bring the original audio recording to life with contemporary voices in the LGBTQ community, featuring YouTube creators and celebrities (who are yet to be announced). “Stonewall Outloud” is slated to premiere June 26, exclusively on the World of Wonder YouTube channel. The documentary is directed and produced by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey of World of Wonder, whose other productions include long-running reality TV series “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“We believe we stand on the shoulders of our elders. Without their bravery and sacrifice, we would not have the freedoms we enjoy today,” Barbato and Bailey said in a statement. “In ‘Stonewall Outloud,’ it’s our intention for their voices to live on, so that we do not take what they sacrificed for granted and so that we continue to fight for the freedom and dignity of LGBTQ+ people all over the world.”
In addition, YouTube will make original documentary film “This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous” available for free for the first time on on Gigi’s YouTube channel from June 5-30. Previously, it has been available to subscribers of YouTube Premium.
The film, directed by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple, portrays the intimate journey of Gigi Lazzarato. She began life as Gregory Lazzarato, posting beauty and fashion videos to YouTube from his bedroom, before coming out in 2013 as a transgender female to millions of fans. Executive produced by SelectNext, the film made its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
YouTube for years has touted its platform as providing a place for LGBTQ people to share their stories and connect with others. Two years ago, it triggered a backlash from the community after the discovery that YouTube’s Restricted Mode option was blocking videos with LGBTQ themes (including a lesbian couple reading wedding vows to each other). YouTube said it had been “unintentionally” filtering out the content and said it updated its systems to fix the issue.
As part of announcing the 2019 Pride Month lineup, YouTube released a new trailer for “State of Pride” (watch below or at this link):