The Great Griffon was founded in 2015 by David Beck as a response to the oppressive lack of substantial LGBTQ characters in mainstream entertainment.
A message from the founder
My initial encounter with producing came in 2014, when I co-produced the short film For Francis, which explores the relationship between a young boy who loves dresses and his intolerant father. Written by me, directed by Angelique Letizia, and produced by Starr Films, For Francis went on to much acclaim at several film festivals across America and Europe, including the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner, Athens International Film and Video Festival, Manhattan Film Festival, and the Peace On Earth Film Festival in Chicago.
The success of For Francis encouraged me, and within the next year I produced two very different projects: 1. the experimental satiric video short The Exalted with clothing designer Viktor Luna, and 2. the critically acclaimed New York stage revival of Animals Out of Paper by Rajiv Joseph, in partnership with YOLO! Productions. It was with Animals Out of Paper that the name "The Great Griffon" was born, though no clear mission statement had been developed.
After the achievement of these collaborations, I knew I wanted to form my own legitimate company, which compelled me to ask: What do I have to say as an artist? With the risk of sounding too lofty, I ultimately decided to venture down the not-for-profit path because what I had to say as an artist--and in particular a film maker--was of some urgency to society. Being a member of the LGBTQ community who happened to be in the field of entertainment, I realized I had a moral responsibility: to write and produce LGBTQ characters of substance. I knew I didn't want to make movies with a political or social agenda, but I did want to make movies about everyday people going through hardships that everyone goes through...the only difference would be that the main character(s) are LGBTQ. For example, why couldn't Michael Keaton's over-the-hill action star in Birdman be gay? Why couldn't Bradley Cooper's mentally unstable, hopeless romantic in Silver Linings Playbook be transgender? What about Jennifer Aniston's physically disabled grieving mother in Cake? Or Denzel Washington's alcoholic pilot in Flight? Are issues such as alcoholism, mental and physical impairments, fear of aging, and economic uncertainty relegated to only the "straight" community? Of course not.
So, is the world ready for such entertainment? We'll see...