Cannes Lions

GAY CHORUS DEEP SOUTH

AIRBNB, San Francisco / AIRBNB / 2020

Case Film
Supporting Images
Supporting Images

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Airbnb's mission is to help create a world where you can belong anywhere. Since its inception, it has been a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community; whether traveling somewhere for the first time, or stepping out into the community you call home, everyone should feel acceptance, and your gender, sexual orientation, race, etc, should never hold you back. So, in 2019, on the 50th Anniversary of StoneWall, Airbnb partnered with The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir’s in creating and documenting one of the greatest travel stories of acceptance in our divisive times. They set out to create a piece of work that would inspire people to embrace their differences in order to create a more accepting world.

Idea

The award-winning Airbnb Creative Team sought out to create a beautiful, well-crafted, wide-reaching film that brought promise of belonging and acceptance, specifically following the divisive times we’re living in during this Trump era. GAY CHORUS DEEP SOUTH follows the journey of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and The Oakland Interfaith Choir on their tour of some of states with the most discriminatory laws in the USA. In attempting to screen in as many different global locations as possible, Airbnb and the filmmakers spread their message effectively, bringing their message to communities large and small alike.

Strategy

The filmmakers followed the SFMGC & OIGC on their tour of the states with the most discriminatory laws. They followed a few key chorus members, and their journeys to the hometowns and communities that had rejected them earlier in their lives. They filmed concerts, interviews, activism and support meetings along the way. The message behind the film is universal, so the target audience was anyone and everyone; those looking for inspiration to fight for equal rights for all, and those who might not agree with acceptance for all, so that they might be able to empathize more readily. The approach was novel for a documentary; instead of focusing on hatred, focus on hope and the basic human connection that binds us all. It is important to make space for the stories of those who have overcome adversity and can give hope to those who are going through the same thing.

Execution

The film crew followed the SFMGC on tour; 25 shows across 5 southern states in 8 days. They then followed this up with another tour of their own to capture remaining interviews. This was also supplemented with footage from San Francisco. When it was completed, it was immediately entered into consideration for film festivals and screenings across the US, and in May 2019 it premiered at Tribeca Film Festival (where it was given The Audience Award). It has since been in 132 festivals globally. The film was sold to MTV Documentary Films at the end of 2019, in the hopes that it might reach even more of an audience.

Outcome

Engagement: Over 5 million media impressions, so far. And hundreds of thousands of viewers at our screenings.

Impact: Over 1 million dollars raised for local LGBTQ non-profits fighting for equality. And a countless amount of hearts and minds inspired or changed by the film and the Chorus' music.

Achievement against business target: This tour and film went from the goal of creating local awareness in the South and a targeted audience in America to reaching a global audience of all ages and belief systems.

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