A documentary about wild animal trainer Emanuel "Junior" Ruffin, and other relatively unknown African American circus performers.
Dear Uncle Junior Project Supporters,
Unfortunately after 80 days of fundraising on Kickstarter we have only raised $545.00 of our $30.000.00 goal. On August 28th the campaign will end and the money pledged will be returned. Needless to say this is a very disappointing. However, we are revamping our campaign and will relaunch again in September! Our new campaign will offer better gifts, as well as interactive events and performances with cast members from The Uncle Junior Project.
WHY SHOULD I DONATE? That's a valid question. The Uncle Junior Project started in October of last year. After the passing of Emanuel "Junior" Ruffin I became passionate about telling the stories of African-American circus performers. You already know this much; On the other side, I have been paying for ALL expenses for T.U.J.P. out of pocket. My team consists of 4 amazing people, who believe in the project, and have cut their day rates in half or have volunteered their time in order to bring T.U.J.P. to life.
We cannot do this alone, and without funding the completion of T.U.J.P. could take years .
Please join me! Spread the word about The Uncle Junior Project, and take 2 minutes of your time and "LIKE" The Uncle Junior Project page on Facebook. These simple actions actually help us in major ways..
THANK YOU for your support!
The film will feature interviews with African-American circus performers and pioneers: Pa-Mela Hernandez and Denise Aubrey the duo “Satin”, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus first African-American aerial act. Ameera Diamond who recently in 2003 became the nations first African-American female tiger presenter; and Cedric Walker the founder and CEO of the UniverSoul Circus, the country’s only African- American owned circus.
*Aerialist Susan Voyticky for "The Uncle Junior Project".
AFTER THE FILM IS COMPLETE THE PROJECT GOES ON! Complete individual interviews and footage of every performer will be donated to the Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and the Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York!
100% of your generous gift will go towards traveling, filming, editing expenses, and preservation of a unique part of American history.
WHO IS UNCLE JUNIOR?
Emanuel “Junior” Ruffin was the protegé of the world famous wild animal trainer, Clyde Beatty. Starting out as a circus “cage boy” at the age of 13, “Junior worked under Beatty “breaking” and training lions and tigers for the Clyde Beatty Wild Animal Circus. By the age of 20, Junior worked his way up to performing center ring under the name “Prince Bogino”. A name given to him by Beatty; who believed that white audiences would accept Junior if he were a foreigner, not African- American. Performing during segregation in the deep south, Junior dealt with a lot of racism. He later recalled audiences members cheering for the tigers to “get that nigger.”
Despite this, Junior continued to break color barriers holding down the positions of star lion and tiger trainer, adult elephant act trainer, baby elephant act trainer, big top tent boss, lot superintendent, master welder, head truck mechanic and truck driver for the Hoxie Bros. Circus. In 1972, he was in charge of, the world’s largest big top circus tent as Tent Boss for Circus Vargas. He headed the transportation department on the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus blue unit. Which resulted in Junior becoming the first, and only highest ranking African-American department head in Ringling Bros. history; and in January 2010 Junior broke another barrier by becoming the first African-American to be inducted into the Ring of Fame. The highest honor a circus performer could achieve. Just 8 months following that, Junior passed away at his home in North Point, FL. He was 72 years old.
*Emanuel "Junior" Ruffin interview by Lane Talburt.
It’s not just African American or circus history, It’s AMERICAN HISTORY!
Thank you so much for checking out our campaign!
Veronica Blair & The Uncle Junior Project Team
“The Uncle Junior Project” is a feature length documentary that weaves the story of wild animal trainer Emanuel “Junior” Ruffin, with aerialist Veronica Blair’s journey across America to document and archive relatively unknown African-American circus performers. The film through intimate interviews will capture their unique stories of life on the road, and under the big top. What inspired them to run away with the circus, and how do they fit into an ostracized realm of entertainment, where African American performers are not traditionally present
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $30,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on August 28, 2011.
May 30, 2011 - Aug 28, 2011 (90 days)
Pledge $10 or more
Thank You! You get a shout-out on our Facebook page!
Pledge $20 or more
"The Uncle Junior Project" movie poster!
Pledge $50 or more
DVD of “The Uncle Junior Project”, movie poster, and shout-out on our Facebook page!
Pledge $100 or more
DVD of “The Uncle Junior Project”, movie poster, and your name on the list of donors of the “The Uncle Junior Archives” at the Circus World Museum!
Pledge $250 or more
DVD, movie poster, name on donors list at Circus World Museum, and a still of your favorite performer from the movie!
Pledge $500 or more
DVD, movie poster, name on donors list at Circus World Museum, still from the movie, and name in the film’s THANK YOU credits!
Pledge $1,000 or more
ASSISTANT PRODUCER! Assistant Producer credit in the film (credit only), and ALL of the above!
Pledge $2,500 or more
ASSISTANT PRODUCER! Assistant Producer credit in the film (credit only), a review of the rough edit of the film, and ALL of the above!
Pledge $5,000 or more
PRODUCER! Producer credit (credit only), review of rough edit, and ALL of the above!
Pledge $10,000 or more
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER! Executive Producer credit (credit only). Your very own complete archive of performers for your personal library, plus ALL of the above!