Love, slavery, and survival are at the center of an interesting new Indiegogo short film campaign we came across recently entitled “Masquerade.” Filmmakers Andrew Hawkins and Mauricio Mena need help telling the story of an enslaved couple named Ellen and William Craft who escape to freedom undercover, wife pretending to be a white man, and husband pretending to be her slave. The story is further complicated by a gay love triangle involving William and his master which really flips the traditional slave master narrative on its head. This one is definitely worth checking out, and sharing with your circles.

We took some time with project Director and Co-writer Andrew Hawkins to answer some important questions about the project and this moving love story.

What is the most intriguing real life fact you’ve learned about Ellen and William Craft as they escaped slavery together?

The attention to detail they employed for their disguise is bold and mesmerizing. She wrapped her hands and face in bandages and took on the specific physically of an invalid white man suffering from rheumatism.

What is the benefit of flipping the American master/slave narrative in order to show the “gay side of things”?

Anytime someone has power over someone else, there’s a wide variety of scenarios in which that could play out. But we’ve been prepped to think by traditional storytelling that pretty much all slave master relationships were of a certain flavor. This movie will help introduce the idea that slave/master relationships were truly much more nuanced and complicated and, obviously, that they were not all based in a purely heterosexual context.

What sort of danger did Ellen and William face if they were ever caught?

As runaway slaves, they could have faced anything from death, torture, violence, abuse, imprisonment… since they were pieces of property, they would have had to endure whichever cruel act of punishment their slave owner ultimately chose to carry out.

What do you hope your audience and supporters of the film get from Masquerade?

I hope audiences are inspired by William and Ellen Craft, they are true revolutionaries with conviction, independent thought and massive amounts of bravery.

To support “Masquerade” via Indiegogo, go here.