A documentary about an American science teacher's quest to turn around a struggling school in rural South Africa.
$5K and Climbing!
A huge thank you to everyone who has pitched in to help Zuluhoops reach its minimum target in record time! While this is a terrific milestone and I am touched by the outpouring of support generated by this campaign, we need a lot more than $5,000 to finish the film entirely, so please continue to spread the word until our Kickstarter window closes on Sunday, May 13!
Zuluhoops is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the remarkable adventures of an American teacher who spends a year at a struggling school in deepest rural South Africa. Our film is in the home stretch. Funds raised by this campaign will enable us to refine our rough cut of the film and edit a new trailer -- a crucial step toward reaching the finish line.
WHAT EXACTLY IS ZULUHOOPS ABOUT?
At the height of his career, Ken Mukai left a comfortable teaching job at an elite LA high school to embark on a one-year Fulbright teaching exchange to South Africa. Like many do-gooders from the West, he arrived full of hope, energy and good intentions. But he soon found that his assignment was more than he bargained for.
Located in one of the poorest rural areas in South Africa, Ken’s new school has no electricity, no toilets, and no running water. His students speak limited English and most come from families who place a higher priority on herding cattle than on attending school.
Frustrated by the many barriers that dog him in the classroom, Ken vows to get through to his students using an entirely new approach: basketball. Before long, he has miraculously succeeded in building the first modern basketball court in the entire region. But can he teach his students to play a sport they’ve never seen before and coach them to victory in a few short months? Will success on the court translate into success in life? By the time Ken’s year is up, many surprising answers emerge.
WHY ARE YOUR MAKING THIS FILM?
I met Ken Mukai while I too was living in South Africa on a Fulbright filmmaking fellowship. Like Ken, I had encountered many cultural and logistical challenges during my time abroad. I had big plans to make a documentary about a high-profile land reform initiative, but my entire film was thwarted when the rebuilding project came to a complete stand-still (it remains incomplete to this day).
When my partner, John Neely, and I stumbled onto Ken's story, we were so captivated by his quest and the quirky cast of characters that surrounded him, we immediately dropped everything and moved to the rural outpost where he was teaching to get it all on tape.
We had expected to capture an engaging story filled with plot twists and colorful characters, but what we got was so much more. After struggling to come to terms with my own dashed expectations of what I would accomplish in South Africa, I began to re-examine my experience through Ken's story. What does it take to fully appreciate a culture that is vastly different from your own? What should your role be as a foreign embassador be -- to share your own cultural ideas and goals or to embrace the culture around you look for ways to serve its wants and needs? Is it the results you get that count, or the relationships you form along the way?
Zuluhoops provides a thought-provoking exploration of all of these questions. If you've ever lived and worked in a foreign country or hope to do so one day, I hope you will see this film.
HOW WILL THE FUNDING BE USED?
All of the funds received from Kickstarter will be put toward the cost of editing Zuluhoops. Editing documentaries is a time consuming process -- especially when the film is as spontaneous and unscripted as this one. I am lucky to have an exceptionally talented editor helping me and her ongoing involvement is critical to the success of the project.
HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?
1) I have set a goal of $5,000 and I given myself a deadline of May 13 to reach my goal. I would like to exceed that goal, since $5,000 will get us only part of the way to our full budget for this film. (The $5000 target is just enough to keep editing until we have a solid rough cut of the film and a new trailer -- a big milestone toward securing completion funds for the project and broadcaster interest but not the end of the road by any means.)
2) I welcome all donations, but those who give more will not only have the satisfaction of helping bring this film to life; they also receive a thank you gift.
3) If I don’t reach my goal, your credit/debit cards will not be charged and the project will receive no funds whatsoever. So please spread the word and encourage others to donate!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Our gratitude and updates on the project through this site.Estimated delivery:
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A digital download of Zuluhoops, a thank you on the official Zuluhoops website, and a sneak peak at scenes from the filmEstimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the completed film signed by the director, access to outtakes and scenes from the rough cut, and your name in the credits.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of Zuluhoops signed by the director, a sneak peak at scenes from the film, your name in the credits, and a preview of the rough cut in June 2012.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of Zuluhoops signed by the director, a sneak peak at scenes from the film, a preview of the rough cut in June 2012 and an associate producer credit in the film.Estimated delivery:
- (59 days)