ROAR is a documentary about finding your people, exploring the rise of the furry community as a sanctuary for those feeling different or alone, especially those who identify as neurodivergent or LGBTQIA+. Follow journeys of people who have lived from the outside looking in, searching for belonging in a creative and often misunderstood subculture known as the furry fandom.
We were introduced to our local furry community by some remarkable Minnesotans and through sharing their story, we learned that a higher percentage in the furry fandom are both neurodivergent or LGBTQIA+. We wanted to explore those with intersectional identities searching for belonging. In short, how do we find our people and what does it mean when we feel we truly belong?
The main setting for this film is at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, one of the largest furry conventions in the world.
“Denied companionship by our peers. We turned to the next best thing we had. We turned to the happy, smiling, accepting faces of the cartoon characters we saw on Saturday mornings. Who are we? We are adults who never forgot our old friends,” said Dr. Conway, Anthrocon’s top furry and CEO.
Take “Tank” the lion, the fursona or furry avatar for Gabriel, a 20-year-old transgender man from Orlando, Florida, where the Governor just banned gender-affirming care. In a lion costume, Gabriel began to explore his masculinity in ways his family couldn’t accept. In his words, he found his ‘roar.’
“It’s scary being a transgender man living in Florida. It’s a terrifying thought that my life is in danger. Being a furry is an escape. I can be a strong lion and fight for my life,” said Tank.
Chrysanthemum, a disability advocate from Maine, uses a pink power wheelchair and lives with Tourette’s Syndrome.
“I actually feel I’m being treated as an equal here, this really doesn’t happen,” said Chrysanthemum. “People are coming up to me and they’re like, ‘I love your outfit and that it matches your chair. You’re absolutely rocking it.’ It’s just magnificent.”
We connect with this story because of our own children.
Ben: As the parent of queer kids, including a transgender son, I am inspired by the inclusive, accepting world that furries have provided for so many.
Lindsey: My son is on the autism spectrum, and also has ADHD and anxiety. Parenting him has expanded my heart and rebuilt me from the inside out. He teaches me about new, wondrous worlds and how to accept others exactly as they are.
The impact of ROAR could be a ripple in the pond, allowing someone to see themselves on screen, or inspiring them on their own journey of self-acceptance, to find their voice and their people.
Lindsey Seavert and Ben Garvin have formed a premier storytelling partnership in the Midwest. Their creative work together— with Garvin as director of photography and Seavert as a writer and producer—has earned awards from the highest levels of journalism, including a duPont award from Columbia University in New York City, which is considered the ‘Pulitzer Prize’ of broadcast journalism, for their documentary, LOVE THEM FIRST, on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
As a creative team, they approach their work as human beings, not just filmmakers, and recognize each subject has a unique story to tell. Seavert is a longtime journalist and documentary filmmaker based in the Twin Cities and has scripted and storyboarded hundreds of award-winning pieces.
Garvin has been named Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists Photographer and Journalist of the Year and understands that for any story to truly resonate, characters are paramount. His background in film, lighting and still photography help bring his work to life, giving it an aesthetic that is both human and beautiful.
Their work as a team is authentic, immersive, observational and intimate. They share guiding principles of truly listening, of elevating underrepresented voices through a desire to understand and influence action in others. Seavert and Garvin make it a priority to center BIPOC voices and diverse communities that in turn creates a strong emotional connection sparking authentic awareness and change in the hearts and minds of every audience.
Lindsey started her own video storytelling company, Seavert Studios, while Ben leads his own media company, Ben Garvin Media. Together, they launched a documentary brand, called Tiny Window.
Both Seavert and Garvin are residents of Minneapolis, Minnesota where they live with their families.