The Man on the Fifth Floor:3 Decades in the Chelsea Hotel A Project of Documentaries
A riveting story of New York City, the Chelsea Hotel and the LGBT experience from the '70s-'90s.
"A documentary that must be made about a man whose story must be told." OUT Magazine
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS supports our film.
The city was charged with an energy that sprang from the atmosphere, the same creative, madcap energy that thrived inside the Chelsea Hotel, a microcosm of everything happening in the city.
No one embodies those years more than avant-garde composer Gerald Busby. Busby has lived it all and he unabashedly tells it all, from sex, drugs and success to HIV, AIDS, crack addiction, food stamps, welfare and recovery.
On December 16, 2007 I opened The New York Times and discovered avant-garde composer Gerald Busby, featured in their Neediest Cases section.
The article pointed out that "Mr. Busby lives on $658 a month from Social Security, supplemented by $78 in disability payments and $156 in food stamps." Why was this man who had accomplished so much in need of help from The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund?
Here was my friend, a vivacious, intelligent, Yale educated piano prodigy, protege of Virgil Thomson, recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Aaron Copland Foundation, composer of Paul Taylor's RUNES, Robert Altman's 3 Women and a long-time resident in New York's legendary Chelsea Hotel featured in The New York Times Neediest Cases section.
WHAT HAPPENED?I had to find out.
Little did I realize that December day that I would begin to make "a movie that must be made about a man whose story must be told."
The groundswell of support from both Gerald and everyone around us has been extraordinary. The archival material I have access to, from his childhood in Texas to NYC from the 70s- 90s, is spellbinding.
We have an almost completed rough cut and a strong, professional team which includes two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Lucas as Story Consultant. Executive Producers include Gail Yancosek and Susan Iger, both Emmy award-winning television producers.
Kevin Schreck is our Co-Producer and rough cut Editor. His first feature film as Producer/Director, Persistence of Vision, received dozens of Official Selection awards around the world - from the London International Animation Festival to the Melbourne International Animation Festival, from the DOC NYC Festival to Buffalo International Film Festival and many more.
I am equally proud to have my good friend Ann Northrop, co-host of the long running TV show GayUSA, as our Consultant.
We have the rough cut, the team and the talent. We need the money to pay for the research and licensing of the rich archival footage and period music integral to the film, legal fees and color and sound correction.
UPDATE: BIG NEWS! We have a Distributor! They will Premiere the film in N.Y. C. and show it in art houses throughout the U.S.
Please make a 100% tax deductible donation today.
-Jessica Robinson, Director
Jessica Robinson, Director
Gerald Busby, 2014
The Man on the Fifth Floor: 3 Decades in the Chelsea Hotel is one man's surreal survival story and an ensemble story of a lost Bohemia.
The movie vividly captures the zeitgeist of New York's social history with thrilling archival footage and interviews with Edmund White, Larry Kramer, Paul Goldberger, Paul Taylor, Adam Gopnik, Brad Gooch, Craig Lucas, Linda Troeller, Lisa Rosen and others.
The current nostalgia for New York from the 1970s - 1990s is at fever pitch: there's Patti Smith's award-winning book Just Kids, now a Showtime TV series, Edmund White's recent New York Times feature "Why Can't We Stop Talking about New York in the Late 70s?" Brad Gooch's Smash Cut, City on Fire, Garth Risk Halberg's current best-seller and Vinyl, a new HBO series about the music culture of New York in the 1970s. That's just for starters.
The time is NOW to tell this story.
Your donation of any amount is deeply appreciated.
For more about the film and to see more photos and video clips please visit our website: www.busybusbyfilms.com
For the full article click the following link http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-last-living-bohemian-in-chelsea-tells-all
Gerald Busby in the Chelsea Hotel, 1977
Gerald with his mentor: celebrated composer Virgil Thomson
Gerald with his partner
Gerald and his partner Sam Byers, 1976. Sam died of AIDS in 1984
Patti Smith when she lived with Robert Mapplethorpe in the Chelsea Hotel
Gerald Busby's story is intimately connected to many important chapters in America's history: life and art in the Chelsea Hotel, the AIDS and crack epidemics, composing music, Medicaid, Social Security, Welfare, addiction and recovery.
Status of the Film
We have received a generous grant from The Wege Foundation, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS .
However, we need additional funds secure legal rights for all of the amazing archival footage and music.
If we meet our goal we will have the film in Festival by Spring, 2017. YES, we are that close.
And that's where YOU enter the picture. All donations of any size are deeply appreciated.
ACT NOW! HELP US TAKE THIS FILM TO FESTIVALS THIS YEAR!
Supported by 14 Donations:
I Gave $50I so want to see this film! Gerald is extraordinary. Good Luck!
I Gave $50
I Gave $100Gerald is a treasure!
I Gave $5,000...."wonderful, compelling and does certainly tell a story that in many ways intersects with BC/EFA’s work." Tom Viola, Executive Director
I Gave $100I want to see this film about my wonderful friend Gerald Busby. Nothing could make me happier!!! Good luck with the project!
I Gave $50
I Gave $50Keep going JR!
I Gave $25"Those were the days my friends, I thought they would never end & the band plays on in memories." Alex Porter - Headliner 1970's & 1980's
Hoping to see this in SF!
AnonymousI Gave $50Interesting subject. Promising trailer. Can't wait to see the final cut.
AnonymousI Gave $300