Help me bring to life the heartbreaking story of the Bronx fire that took 87 lives and turned the American dream into a nightmare!
On March 25th, 1990, The Happy Land Social Club in Bronx, NY was filled with people having a good time. Music, dancing and laughter filled the place. At approximately 3:30am a fire would break out in the hallway which led to the only known exit of the unlicensed establishment. That night 87 people would die...but that was just part of the story. After more than 20 years, I would like to tell this story via a powerful, and dramatic documentary!
I am Jeff Warley, and I am the director of Fuego! The Happy Land Tragedy. The film will unravel the dark story of 87 people's American dream turned nightmare. The documentary will not only piece together the events of the night they perished in a social club in The Bronx, but it takes an in-depth look at how the story began. From the immigration of Cuban refugee Julio Gonzales, who would intentionally set the club on fire, to the tumultuous relationship he started with girlfriend Lydia Feliciano. The relationship would become abusive, and eventually the on again-off again relationship would come to an explosive head! In the film there are interviews with victims, relatives of victims, the attorneys, the detective in charge of the case and more. Explosive dramatic re-enactments, photos and narrative propel you through the fascinating details. Out of the ashes, rises a story that deals with the subjects of domestic abuse, immigration, fire safety, and a culture that was all but invisible. Fuego! is not just a story about a tragic fire, but about the hopes and dreams that died in it; while also giving some identity to the victims who came to this country for a better life only to lose it all, ironically in a place called "Happy Land".
As an independent film project we have already met and overcome many of the challenges that come with the production of this film. We've interviewed survivors, relatives of victims, attorneys, politicians, police and fire fighters. The next set of hurdles will come in the form of additional production and post production.
This is where YOU come in! This is what your backing will help with:
ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION- We will need to complete some of the shots that we could not get during principal photography for the re-enactments. We also have several additional interviews to complete as well.
POST PRODUCTION- This is not just limited to editing the film, but also includes the following: Color Correction, Animation, Sound Mixing, and licensing of copyrighted materials to help tell the story.
This story touches so many people and affected so many lives, that it needs to be told. If you would like to know more about this project please visit our Fuego! The Happy Land Tragedy Facebook Page and Website! Your support means so much to us, and you get GREAT thank you gifts for your contribution! Remember it's ALL or NOTHING...if we don't meet the full $12,000 goal we get NOTHING. If a project is not successfully funded on Kick Starter, then all of the folks who chose to back the project will receive their contribution back. We believe in this project and we believe in YOU! So together we can make it happen. Give us your support today-and spread the word!
Why this project?
Watch this short vignette with the Director and Executive Producer for the answer!
Read the Articles
Learn more about this true story. There are several informative articles on the Happy Land Social Club Fire. We've listed a few below:
- A River of Tears: Happy Land by Mark Gado
- New York Times: Rufugee Found Guilty of Killing 87 by Evelyn Nieves
- Happy Land Sad Ending by Juan Gonzalez
- Happy Land 5 Years Later by Juan Gonzalez
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The challenge of finding the proper venues to show a work such as this can be somewhat tricky. Promotion is key! Many of the victims of the Happy Land fire were from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize. They were part of an extraordinary and little known group of people called Garifuna.
(To learn more visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garifuna_people)
Since the tragedy, the Garifuna have developed a stronger presence and sense of pride within New York City and other cities in the U.S.
Due to the tremendous loss of so many young and hopeful immigrant lives, the fire had an international significance.
We worked with some of the Garifuna organizations here in the U.S. while shooting this film and intend to enter the finished product into international film festivals. Several of the Garifuna organizations have already expressed interest in setting up screenings in the countries where this incident had the most impact.
Timing is everything! At this stage we are working rigorously to complete this film for the 2013 Summer and Fall film festivals. The challenge will be to raise the necessary funds that will help us get to completion. We also recognize that the fulfillment of the rewards (should we get funded) is a process on which we need to focus during the same time period. We have designated several team members who will focus on that effort while the director and producers work to complete post production.
Should you decide to back this project, your contribution will be helping to bring this story to other countries around the world-so let's do it!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $12,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on January 31.
Dec 3, 2012 - Jan 31, 2013
Pledge $5 or more
Thank You from the bottom of our hearts for your support!!Estimated delivery: Jul 2013
Pledge $10 or more
Receive a "Thank You" email from the director, along with future progress reports! It takes many people to make a film, and even the smallest level of support will go a long way toward bringing this amazing story to life!!Estimated delivery: Apr 2013
Pledge $25 or more
Special "Thank You" Post Card signed by Director and Executive Producer(s) Also an email with a link to view the finished project on-line PLUS--digital download of Poster!Estimated delivery: Nov 2013
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Special "Thank You" Post Card signed by Director and Executive Producer(s). A DVD of the finished project complete with special features!! PLUS--digital download of Poster!Estimated delivery: Jan 2014Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or more
A personalized "Thank You" video expressing our appreciation from the Director to YOU for your support, sent directly to your email. (Yes we will be mentioning you by name!) PLUS-A DVD of the finished project complete with special features and a digital download of poster!!Estimated delivery: Jan 2014Ships within the US only
Pledge $200 or more
4 backers Limited (11 of 15 left)
Autographed official "Fuego!" poster signed by cast and crew PLUS-- DVD of the finished film complete with bonus features AND invitation for two to private screening event in NYC (travel and lodging NOT included-date TBD)!!Estimated delivery: Jan 2014Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $300 or more
0 backers Limited (15 of 15 left)
Name in end credits under "Special Thanks" PLUS--DVD of the finished film complete with bonus features AND invitation for two to private screening event in NYC (travel and lodging NOT included-date TBD)!!Estimated delivery: Jan 2014Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $500 or more
0 backers Limited (10 of 10 left)
Get ready for the "big time"! Get an Associate Producer's credit in the film, invitation for two to private screening event in NYC (travel and lodging NOT included-date TBD). PLUS--DVD of the finished film complete with bonus features AND 8x10 Autographed picture of Cast and Crew!!Estimated delivery: Jan 2014Add $15 to ship outside the US