SAN FRANCISCO – In 1999, International Ms Leather owner Amy Marie Meek (owner 1995-2006; IMsL 1993) expanded the annual IMsL Weekend to include a new contest: International Ms Bootblack (IMsBB). At the time, it was the only international forum in which woman-identified individuals could demonstrate their bootblacking skills in order to compete for an international bootblacking title. Since then, women bootblacks have gained increased visibility and taught Leatherfolk of all walks that skills and passion hold more significance than sex or gender when it comes to loving, maintaining and preserving leather.
In April 2013, IMsL will host its 15th IMsBB Contest, award its 15th title and celebrate the current titleholder and 13 previous titleholders who maintain this tradition and who have worked hard to open doors for all women bootblacks.
We wish to celebrate the art of bootblacking, the individuals who hold the IMsBB title and commemorate the 15th IMsBB Contest by filming a documentary that marks this moment in Leather and Leatherwoman history. In crafting and sharing this film, we hope to contribute to discussions regarding the ways the Leather community bootblacks help preserve our traditions, culture and community all while illustrating the transformative power of collaboration.
This will be IMsL’s second documentary on contemporary Leatherwomen. IMsL’s 2011 film, Sisterhood of the Sash: International Ms Leather at 25 (Glenda Rider, Executive Producer; Kink Academy Kali and Graydancer, Director and Editor), played nationwide at the CineKink 2012 film festival and at several LGBTQ film festivals across the United States.
In IMsL’s second film endeavor, “High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack,” Executive Producer Glenda Rider (IMsL Owner, 2007-Present and Co-Producer) and Producer/Director Christina K. Court (IMsL Historian and Archivist) plan to use footage and photographs from the past 15 years’ contests, interviews, and celebrations and integrate it with new interviews and the 2013 IMsL Weekend and IMsBB Contest footage in order to create a comprehensive documentary about the rise of woman-identified bootblacks. It is IMsL’s hope to circulate its second film more internationally so that bootblacks across the world receive the love and recognition they deserve and so that the journey of woman-identified bootblacks is more thoroughly understood and celebrated.
This Kickstarter project will help fund the pre-production costs and the costs attributed to all filming scheduled to occur during the IMsL 2013 Weekend. We also anticipate that donations will also help pay for the initial film editing phase of the project.
If you are unfamiliar with bootblacking or have never seen a bootblack in action, please take a moment to watch our short Kickstarter film: we hope you will see just how beautiful and honorable the art of bootblacking is and how good a bootblack can make you feel about your boots and sense of self!
International Ms. Leather