Help us finish the film. We are almost there!

A gay composer's story of survival in New York through the best -and worst -of times.

The Man on the Fifth Floor: A Project of Documentaries

A riveting story of New York City, the Chelsea Hotel and the LGBT experience from the '70s-'90s.

Status of the Film

We have received a generous grant from The Wege Foundation, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS .

However, we need additional funds to secure legal rights for all of the amazing archival footage and music.

If we meet our goal we will have the film in Festivals by Spring, 2018. YES, we are that close

And that's where YOU enter the picture. All donations of any size are deeply appreciated.

What others are saying:

"This is strong stuff.......It's a story like no other I've seen."
Craig Lucas, playwright/two-time Pulitzer nominee.

"A documentary that must be made about a man whose story must be told." OUT Magazine

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS supports our film.

NewFest supports our film.

Director's Statement

On December 16, 2007 I opened The New York Times and discovered avant-garde composer Gerald Busby, featured in their Neediest Cases section.

The article pointed out that "Mr. Busby lives on $658 a month from Social Security, supplemented by $78 in disability payments and $156 in food stamps.

Here was my friend, a vivacious, intelligent, Yale educated piano prodigy, protege of Virgil Thomson, recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Aaron Copland Foundation, composer of Paul Taylor's RUNES, Robert Altman's 3 Women and a long-time resident in New York's legendary Chelsea Hotel featured in The New York Times Neediest Cases section.

WHAT HAPPENED? I had to find out.- Jessica Robinson

UPDATE: BIG NEWS! We have a Distributor! They will Premiere the film in N.Y. C. and show it in art houses throughout the U.S.

Please make a 100% tax deductible donation today.

-Jessica Robinson, Director

Jessica Robinson, Director

Your donation of any amount is deeply appreciated.

For more about the film and to see more photos and video clips please visit our website:

Gerald Busby with his partner Sam Byers

Robert Altman's 3Women, score by Gerald Busby

Patti Smith when she lived with Robert Mapplethorpe in the Chelsea Hotel


Gerald Busby's story is intimately connected to many important chapters in America's history: life and art in the Chelsea Hotel, the AIDS and crack epidemics, composing music, Medicaid, Social Security, Welfare, addiction and recovery.


$65,950 Raised
65% towards $100,000 Goal

Supported by 14 Donations:

  • janette m.
    I Gave $50
    I so want to see this film! Gerald is extraordinary. Good Luck!
  • Gwen D.
    I Gave $50
  • Paula K.
    I Gave $100
    Gerald is a treasure!
  • Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
    I Gave $5,000
    ...."wonderful, compelling and does certainly tell a story that in many ways intersects with BC/EFA’s work." Tom Viola, Executive Director
  • Martine A.
    I Gave $100
    I want to see this film about my wonderful friend Gerald Busby. Nothing could make me happier!!! Good luck with the project!
  • Allen F.
    I Gave $50
  • David H.
    I Gave $50
    Keep going JR!
  • Agent/Officer Thomas A. P.
    I Gave $25
    "Those were the days my friends, I thought they would never end & the band plays on in memories." Alex Porter - Headliner 1970's & 1980's
  • Lana N.
    Hoping to see this in SF!
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $50
    Interesting subject. Promising trailer. Can't wait to see the final cut.
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $300