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Breaking ground: LGBT-themed show ‘Eastsiders’ finds global appeal on Netflix

Hard work pays off – just ask Kit Williamson.

In 2012, Williamson began the series “Eastsiders” on YouTube.

The Emmy-nominated series is now part of the Netflix family.

The fourth season begins to air on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Williamson pulls triple duty on the series where he stars, writes and directs.

“Being on Netflix, the show has found global appeal,” he says. “It’s a challenge producing the show independently. My husband and I produced it out of our living room. We crowdfunded to make the final season.”

Kit Williamson stars, writes and directs the series “Eastsiders,” which begins streaming its final season on Netflix. (Courtesy of Anderson Group Pr)

In fact, Williamson and his husband, John Halbach, turned to Kickstarter, where $140,000 was raised from fans.

“Eastsiders” is set in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, the first season followed couple Cal, played by Williamson, and Thom, played by Van Hansis, as they struggled with infidelity and substance abuse.

It also explored the relationship between Kathy, played by Constance Wu, Cal’s best friend, and her boyfriend, Ian, played by Halbach, as they reach their six-month anniversary.

After airing only two episodes on YouTube, the series was picked up by Logo TV.

After its second season, the series was sold to Netflix, where it will end with the fourth season.

“It’s great, especially for an LGBT show,” Williamson says of the series’ popularity. “It’s really rare to sit with characters over a long time and to have six years go by. With Cal and Tom, the show is really about long-term queer relationships. What does it mean to stay together? How do you grow together? How do you know you’re meant to stay together? That’s really what the final season is about.”

Williamson says the series is a dialectic on love.

“There are so many relationships focused on the show,” he says. “The show has a philosophy that there is no one path to love. It’s an agnostic view of love.”

For the third season, the series shot in 16 states. The second season featured a few scenes shot in New Mexico

Williamson hopes to get back to the state to shoot a project.

“It’s so gorgeous, and I sing New Mexico’s praises in the second season,” he says. “It’s like you get out of West Texas and the skies open up and you’re in New Mexico and it feels like a painting. I’d love to bring more projects to the area and create some solid work.”

Williamson began his career on Broadway in the revival of “Talk Radio.”

It was quite a change from where he grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was bullied in school for being different.

He is also known for starring as Ed Gifford in AMC’s hit drama “Mad Men.”

With all the hats he wears, Williamson is hoping to start some new conversations with LGBT-themed films.

“I’m interested in telling queer stories, queer stories about places like where I’m from don’t exist,” he says. “The industry has this huge blind spot for queer stories and stories from the South. I think we can have those types of films because the world has changed. We couldn’t have done something like this 10 years ago.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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