We are a grassroots movement: Please join our social media campaign. Give RATCo more opportunities to have their voices heard by:
1. Tweeting Ellen:
@TheEllenShow Will you dance with us? #DanceWithRATCo #IWill @IWILLDANCEMovie goo.gl/2HUIsB
2. Facebooking Ellen. Note: make sure you tag Ellen and the I Will Dance page using @ before their names. If it doesn't turn blue, it's not tagged.
@The Ellen DeGeneres Show, May RATCo have this dance? @I Will Dance: The Documentary #DanceWithRATCo #IWill goo.gl/2HUIsB.
Watch the Trailer:
What is the story?
There's a new movement in Selma, Alabama. Teens are dancing their defiance, silencing statistics, and overcoming obstacles. I WILL DANCE tells their story.
Random Acts of Theatre Company (RATCo) is more than a theatre company. To the girl who doesn’t know where she’ll sleep each night, it’s a home. To the boy who prefers singing and dancing to football, it’s a safe place. And to all the young people who are finding their voices there, it’s a movement.
Against the backdrop of segregated institutions and the social ills that come along with extreme poverty (including underperforming schools, rampant teenage pregnancy, and a murder rate that is five times higher than the national average) RATCo Selma’s young people are breaking the familial and societal norms modeled around them.
Among the cycle breakers highlighted in the film are Semaj, Tori, and Macio. Semaj is a bright student and gifted writer in a place where being smart is seen as a weakness. Tori captures hearts effortlessly through her humor, rawness, and spunk. And Macio "writes" through dance and is as interested in the famed New York cupcakes as he is in seeing a Broadway show.
In a city where young peoples’ fate seems predetermined by their circumstances, I WILL DANCE is a defiant proclamation not to be another statistic, teenage parent, or gang member.
The film follows RATCo Selma's journey to New York City. There, they share their stories through an original show written and choreographed by the participants themselves. Around every corner and with every skyscraper, monument, and museum, there is a discovery. But their greatest discovery is their own voice.
Are there some cool rewards?
Heck yes!! Check it out:
How did this film get started?
(A note from Director, Joseph East)
I knew very little about Selma when I first visited in 2008, but when I arrived I was thrust into the town’s rich history and even more staggering present.
The most enduring images of Selma come from what became known as Bloody
Sunday, when a sheriff’s posse on horseback brutally attacked nonviolent
civil rights activists.
Crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge today isn’t all that different from 50 years ago and while times have changed, too many things have stayed the same. In a city that remains a worldwide symbol of overcoming oppression, schools are still segregated, the last city council president was a white supremacist, and murder is so common that it rarely makes the news.
It's a tough place to grow up. Kids are recruited by gangs before the fifth grade. Graduation rates are low. College attendance is even lower. Drugs, gang violence, and teenage pregnancy rates are high.
While today, you may not see racism as blatant as a brick through your window or a lynching, there is still a racist undercurrent in Selma and the effects can be felt in the stores, supermarkets, neighborhoods– everywhere you go.
During that first visit, I saw a statue (erected in 2001) dedicated to a Confederate General and "Grand Wizard" of the Ku Klux Klan, a memorial to WWII veterans with names listed under "white" and "colored," and a Confederate flag waving in the cemetery.
My first reaction was, “WAIT. THIS IS STILL HAPPENING IN AMERICA?” In a place where people like John Lewis, C.T. Vivian and Bernard Lafayette fought so hard for freedom in our country, here we were, almost 50 years later, struggling with the same types of injustice.
Kids grow up with these subtle (and some not so subtle) messages. For most kids, there is little hope of leaving Selma or breaking free of these fierce and devastating cycles.
During my trip, I saw all of that, but then I also saw RATCo. I quickly realized that the program was a beacon of hope in Selma--a refuge for kids of all ages and circumstances. All were welcome. This wasn’t an organization where the kids would show up, be there for a few hours and go home. For a lot of the kids, this was home.
I met the kids and began to hear their stories. Some had no running water at home or food in the refrigerator. Some came from homes with dirt floors and many experienced sexual abuse and/or absent parents.
Witnessing the despair left me feeling sad, angry, troubled, and not quite sure what to do with it all. But after spending time with RATCo, I became inspired to tell the story. One week in Selma and my life was changed. I couldn't erase what I had seen. I had to document it.
I joined RATCo's first trip to DC and New York City and started filming for the documentary. There was no name for the film, no budget, and only a few resources. But this was a story that needed to be told and nothing was going to stop me from telling it.
With this film, we want to make sure Selma's young people have their voices heard. There is a lot of darkness in the world, but RATCo makes it a little brighter. There are so many young people around the world just like the ones in RATCo searching for purpose and a place to belong.
We want to empower young people and adults alike through this powerful story of love, overcoming, and hope.
I WILL DANCE is a labor of love. Up to this point, we have financed the film ourselves covering the costs of film equipment, travel expenses, food--you name it. But we are at the point in our filmmaking journey where we need funds to cover the costs to complete the film, and we wanted to give everyone on Kickstarter the opportunity to contribute to this important story and join the journey with us. Your contributions mean the world to us. Thank you for dancing with us.
Who's on the team?
There is a large team supporting I WILL DANCE behind-the-scenes. Here are just a few of the collaborators on the film:
JOSEPH EAST: Director/Cinematographer/Editor
An avid lover of all things love, laughter and dance, Krisi is thrilled to be joining the team in creating this feel-good film. She has been a Producer and Production Manager for the last several years and has worked on a wide variety of projects from big to small, with both national and international clients such as ABC, Discovery and The Oceanic Preservation Society (Oscar Award Winning Producer's of The Cove). She is currently adventuring in the German film and television market and is thrilled to be involved with I WILL DANCE from across the pond.
How will the money be used?
Your generous contributions will go toward finishing funds for our film. This includes:
HIRING A COMPOSER: In a film, music helps define character, create rhythm, enhance the emotional moments and bring the story to life. The musical score is an incredibly important part of every film, including I WILL DANCE.
SOUND DESIGN/MIXING: This is one of the final stages of making the movie where all the elements of dialogue, sound effects, music and image come together and blend in a seamless way so the audience can enjoy a smooth overall experience. An essential step in the process!
FILM FESTIVAL SUBMISSION FEES: We plan to submit I WILL DANCE to film festivals both small and large, and most festivals require an entry fee. These costs add up quickly, and with our budget we want to make sure we can submit the film to as many festivals as we can.
MUSIC LICENSING FEES: In the film, RATCo dances to a lot of music, including popular songs likes Dynamite, Wavin' Flag, and We Found Love. In most cases, permission is required to use these tracks in the film, so we have built these projected costs into our Kickstarter budget.
What else can I do to help?
Every dollar helps. SHARE this page with everyone you know! Also, share the following pages:
THANK YOU for pledging, sharing and joining the I WILL DANCE team!!!
Risks and challenges
When you set out to make a film, especially an independent film, there is always risk involved. Post-production setbacks, unexpected costs and distribution challenges are all possibilities as we work toward completing the film in the coming months.
This said, the I WILL DANCE team is 100% committed to seeing the film through to completion. If we successfully complete our Kickstarter campaign, it will put us on track to finish the film by April 2014 to begin submitting to film festivals and seeking distribution.
We will do everything we can to deliver the very best film we can to you, in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)