As proud supporters of Chicago's LGBT community, students at TFA recently produced this powerful film inspired by the It Gets Better Project, featuring Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chef Art Smith, Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts and other prominent Chicagoans. Recent TFA graduate Jacob Wilson reflects on the experience of working on this project, and what his involvement means for him.
In Chicago alone, one in three schoolchildren experiences bullying. Even more startlingly, one in four bullied youths seriously considers suicide. For individuals targeted for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, it can be hard to believe that their experience will improve with time.
Those of us who worked on the film wanted to produce a piece featuring high-profile LGBT individuals and straight allies from Chicago to demonstrate that life exists beyond the confines of early education--a message that had personal relevance to me even before I was brought on for the film's post-production.
"Every It Gets Better video takes on the personality and message of its creator. To me, that’s one of the most striking and important aspects of the campaign: personal connection."
- Jacob Wilson
Mayor Emanuel, who danced ballet as a child, recalls being picked on by other boys who presumed he was gay. Since then, he's worked with President Obama in ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and passing hate crimes legislation through Congress.
Arthur Johnston, co-founder of activist organization Equality Illinois, relates especially to the It Gets Better Project. As a young man, he had serious thoughts of suicide which stemmed from not knowing where to turn for acceptance of his sexuality. To help guide similarly conflicted children and teens, his candidly shared his struggles and perseverance on-camera, explaining how he found a place for himself among the LGBT community in Chicago.
- Despite growing up in a small and conservative town in Nebraska, Laura Ricketts draws inspiration from the wholehearted acceptance of her family. Marriage and family are important things to Ms. Ricketts, who has a child of her own. She continues to be astounded by how quickly marriage equality is becoming a real possibility for LGBT couples nationwide.
About the Author: Jacob Wilson (Film + Broadcast graduate, Class of 2012)
Jacob Wilson is a graduate of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy’s Film + Broadcast program, with a double-focus in post-production and screenwriting. Prior to TFA, Jacob received a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he majored in Political Science.