Sir Ian McKellen helps London South Bank University graduate Rhys Chapman, raise over £25,000 to produce a short film to highlight homophobia in football.

In September Rhys launched a campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to raise the production budget for the project, and this was given a boost when Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen agreed to lend his iconic voice to the pilot film.

Within just two months Rhys had raised the money he needed through public donations on Kickstarter, even attracting support on social media from other celebrities including Stephen Fry and Alan Carr. In another Hollywood tie-in, The Kevin Spacey Foundation also made a generous contribution to the funding total.

Rhys’ short film – entitled Wonderkid, will follow a young professional football player coming to terms with his sexuality and searching for acceptance in a hyper masculine environment. The film will aim to challenge the perceptions of athletes and highlight the pressure they face living up to the identity society has created for them.

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Rhys said, ‘It’s an honour to receive support from such influential and admirable individuals. Without their backing and the knowledge I received at LSBU, my vision would not have come to life so soon and I am truly grateful.’