It was supposed to make a splash the world over — 19 men in sexy photos, raising funds for global gay rights causes — but now theMr Gay World Calendar is in danger of failing.
The calendar photos came from a photo contest during the Mr Gay World Competition 2009 back in February in Whistler, BC.
John Hewson, the Vancouver-based producer of the calendar, is feeling frustrated and disappointed. “Thousands of hours have been put into this project,” he says. “We have amazing images and good mission. We have stretched our team and photo-editor beyond reason. We need the cash and expertise to help us finish what we started.”
At the root of it all is a funding shortfall of nearly $200,000. John hoped 19 sponsors — one for each page — would shell out $7,000 each to fund the calendar. That money would fund the promotion and printing costs, leaving all the proceeds to charity.
So far, Hewson has had trouble finding even just one sponsor. “We’ve had four or five companies express interest, but they’re all waiting for the first one to take the plunge.”
But he’s not willing to give up. He hasn’t ruled out changing the project all together, making an online calendar, or something people could order custom made.
“The final product that I’ve seen so far is phenomenal,” says Dean Nelson, one of the executive producers of this year’s Mr Gay World. “The artistic vision that they had and wanted to create was absolutely awesome.”
Nelson believes the calendar would best work in an electronic format. It would “not be ideal, but more economical. It could turn into a coffee table book. We’re looking at a couple different print options.”
Many of the models in the calendar have expressed their disappointment, and note that the photoshoot was a highlight of their weekend in Whistler.
“The calendar itself was a chance for the public to get a longstanding view of the delegates of who they are and what they stand for,” says Ben Edwards, Mr Gay Australia. “I think it’s a big letdown on the part of the commercial bodies in our community.”
Hewson believes there are people and firms out there who are willing to make this calendar happen, and he’s holding out for a big corporation to come forward.
“We can have fun celebrating the gay world each year at the national and international events,” he says. “All while helping move the world forward towards being a more friendly place for us all to live equally, in harmony.”