Lilly Wachowski & Anarchists United Board Leslie Anderson Leather Archive Documentary From Shelley Gustavson And Curtis Matzke

EXCLUSIVE: Lilly Wachowski has joined the untitled Chicago-based queer documentary as executive producer under her Anarchists United Studios banner.

The documentary, which is in production and seeking donations and private investment, comes from directors Shelley Gustavson and Curtis Matzke and highlights Leslie Anderson, a conservator who studies a generation of Leathermen and Leatherwomen lost to AIDS. Deep within the basement of Chicago’s Leather Archives & Museum, Leslie works to preserve the items of queer elders left behind, as well as the memories of their community, while simultaneously going on a journey of self-discovery and reconnecting with people from their own life before it is too late.

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Anarchists United Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anarchists United Foundation, develops and produces film, TV shows and other media. Its core focus is on genre movies with budgets under $10 million, but the studio also will incubate bigger films, long form series, microbudget films and digital series along with various other opportunities in entertainment and media which support artistry, diversity, and equity. Additionally, the studio is curating a select portfolio of documentaries of which the Leslie Anderson film will be a part.

Wachowski has a long history of supporting independent projects in Chicago that elevate diverse voices and subject matter.

“We’re thrilled to have Lilly and her wonderful team help bring Leslie’s story to life,” said Matzke, who also serves as the film’s cinematographer. “It’s important now more than ever to talk about these personal stories and be reminded of the complex history of LGBTQ+ rights in this country.”

This marks the first collaboration between Matzke and Gustavson, staples of the Chicago film community who are best known for their genre work and independent screenwriting. The filmmakers immediately were drawn to the underlying metaphor of Anderson’s work as an archivist and how they view themselves as a relic left behind from another era.

“As someone who has known Leslie for years, I knew I wanted to help share their experience with an audience,” emphasized Gustavson. “We want to involve the community in the processes as much as possible, which is why we are raising funds now to expand the scope of Leslie’s story.”

This new round of funding will primarily be used to pay for travel costs and begin post-production with an intended release in 2025.

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