Revry launched last summer and started as a passion project.
"We have this idea. We just kind of talked about it and then went to friends and family and said this is what we want to do," says Alia Daniels, the COO and co-founder of Revry. "We got that initial investment to get us into development."
That idea was a streaming platform for queer stories.
"Everybody's story deserves to be told," says Daniels. "But oftentimes it's not being told by [queer people] so you don't always get the nuances."
A case in point is the web series "Her Story" about trans women living in L.A. It's created by Jen Richards and directed by Sydney Freeland, who are both trans.
"It was a trans story that wasn't about transitioning," says Freeland. "Which is what the majority of the narratives are. And for myself I transitioned in 2004 which is several years ago. Yeah it’s gonna be 13 years. I remember reading that script and being like, I didn't know that I wanted this."
The idea for Revry came when Apple TV changed its settings so that anyone could create a streaming platform. It was a chance to carve out a space for queer people specifically to see themselves represented on screen. Now the app is available on a variety of devices for $4.99 a month.
Revry’s chief business officer, Christopher Rodriguez, says that it’s important to consider queer audiences, not just queer representation. "Netflix is coming out with "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." They're rebooting that. But it's like well the thing about "Queer Eye" is that it was never intended for gay audiences. It was intended for straight audiences," he said.
On Revry, you can watch queer stories in Hindi, Hebrew, Portuguese and many other language. One example is a web series by Singaporean writer and director Leon Cheo, called "People Like Us."
"The term "people like us" or PLU is actually a very local regional term," says Cheo. "It's used in Malaysia and Singapore. It's akin to the term 'queer,' so it's like 'Hey, are you PLU?'"
Cheo talked about People Like Us in his North Hollywood apartment, where he moved after finishing the series in Singapore. He decided to license it to Revry because the platform is available in countries that make it very difficult to access LGBTQ stories. He says:
"I believe they mentioned countries like Russia and China which to me is surprising and not surprising at the same time because, well, Russia for one has famously banned LGBT content and then in China services like YouTube, Google, Facebook, the usual stuff we're all used to is also banned or blocked off. So unsurprisingly, Revry, which provides LGBT content, is popular in these countries because they don't have access to such content. And for a show like 'People Like Us,' it's originally on YouTube and still on YouTube, but people in China wouldn't be able to see it because they can't access YouTube. So with Revry they now can."
Filmmakers like Cheo and Freeland have been waiting for the chance to tell the stories of their own communities rather than having other people tell the stories for them.
"I’m also Native American and it's been forever that you have people who aren't necessarily Native American telling stories about Native Americans, you know," says Freeland. "So basically you're kind of telling the story from the outside in and now it feels like there's a little bit of a shift where people are being able to tell their stories from the inside out."
The platform also gives people within the queer community a chance to be educated about other parts of the queer community. "We intentionally really didn't separate things out by L-G-B-T," says Daniels. "It's separated out by, here's a series, here's our horror section, here's our comedy section, here's our drama. It's not necessarily by what letter is represented by the show, it's just this is a place where you can find queer content altogether."