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The Best Queer Batman Parody You Almost Never Saw

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The Best Queer Batman Parody You Almost Never Saw

I used to host a web series called Popular Topics with Vera Drewthe only web series with the express purpose of getting Vera Drew sponsored by Hot Topic.

Did it meet that purpose?

Hot Topic never sponsored me, even though the show had a small niche following. They ended up following me on Twitter. Now I just want to officially say that my door is closed. They are no longer welcome to sponsor me.

So you found money in another way.

It was during that show that I announced that Bri and I were making The Volksjoker. It didn’t go viral. It didn’t even go mildly viral. It just got a lot of attention from different artist circles, which was so cool. It was just like, oh my god, okay, this is what the movie is.

It is a mixed media film. Are Natural killers or Pink FloydThe wall. It’s a coming-of-age Batman parody, but it’s also a big colorful collage of an impressionistic media hellscape.

But also one that has a common thread in your story.

My face is on camera for most of this film. It’s my story, it’s my life, but mythologized.

I really wanted everyone involved to feel like they were putting forward their own personal artistic vision just because everyone was so invested in the idea. I think it already felt like everyone’s movie. The Volksjoker– it invites you to say: okay, I want to be part of this magic and what about my identity, can I put into this?

Did people end up volunteering?

It all started on a voluntary basis. As the scope of the project grew, it was like: I can’t justify having all these people working for free. So I ended up doing a cash crowdfunding. I raised about $25,000, which was great, but that all ended up going towards our shoot. Our shoot only lasted five days, which is crazy.

So that money burned through really quickly, and I thought, ‘Well, now I have this movie with 1,600 VFX shots in it and an army of people who want to help me finish it. How am I going to do this?” So I did what they tell you never to do – they told me this on my first day at film school: I took out a huge loan to finish this film.

I imagine this was to pay you and everyone else.

I will go completely on the record and say that everyone who worked on this was phenomenally underpaid, including myself. Many people ended up not taking money when it was offered. Then there were people who said, ‘You know what? I will definitely accept this amount.”

“I have to pay rent.”

Yes, exactly. I never wanted this film, which is anti-capitalist, very pro-labor, very pro-queer, very pro-sex worker, to ever exploit anyone involved in it. We all walked away feeling more than anything blown away by the attention the film received. I think everyone involved is like, “Gosh, I just thought this was something weird I did with my boyfriend.” (laughs) Don’t know. It’s really magical, I think.

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