ONCE UPON A TIME there was a passion project called White Alligator. It told a comedic story of racism and stereotyping in the entertainment industry.
It was a tale about not fitting into society's "boxes."
Its main character was Juanita Perez, a white-skinned Puerto Rican actor, who moved to New York as part of a reality show documenting her rise to fame in the big city.
This passion project is my personal story of what I went through after I graduated from college and started pursuing an acting career. To be blunt, my ethnicity and the color of my skin cost me career opportunities and financial losses, not to mention deep emotional suffering.
For many years, my career progress was impeded as industry professionals considered me too white to play Hispanic (read: the maid, the crack addict, or the stripper) and with a name too Hispanic to play white (read: the girl next door).
Take a moment to ask yourself how you feel when you see this:
This is what White Alligator is about: the prejudices we unconsciously carry, which Hollywood films, through their homogeneity in casting and storytelling, have fed us.
Our film focuses on the entertainment industry, which thrives on and perpetuates stereotypes. We audiences swallow these up, isolating us further and preventing us from progressing as a society.
I believe that we can move beyond our individual enclosures and simply deal with each other as human beings.
Interested in helping us continue with this story?
Thanks in part to last year's Kickstarter campaign, we were able to raise the funds needed to film White Alligator. We wrapped this spring...
... and the footage is amazing. We sincerely believe that this movie is going to change the industry.
$10,000 will get White Alligator completely edited and ready to be packaged and sent to festivals. There will be costs after that (for PR, legal, festivals, etc.), but Kickstarter is "all or nothing," so we're setting a modest goal. Let's not stop there!
Here is a breakdown of where the money will be going:
An EDITOR will cost us several thousand dollars to assemble the footage in a creative way to make this story even more exciting (if that’s even possible!).
We also need to get a professional TRAILER made (i.e., not by Stu, my husband and co-producer, fooling around on iMovie with me in the background telling him what to do... which is how we made the little gem above).
In addition to a picture editor, we need a SOUND EDITOR (at a cost of several thousand dollars), who will mix the audio files we have recorded to make the film sound professional (i.e., cut out the screaming children in the park and the airplanes in the middle of very emotional scenes).
We need a COMPOSER because music is a vital part of any movie. This will cost at least a couple thousand dollars.
And we need a GRAPHIC DESIGNER to design the poster and other marketing materials so we can effectively advertise this film.
Speaking of advertising, we need to pay a PUBLIC RELATIONS firm to help spread the word on White Alligator.
A well-orchestrated PR campaign will help the movie get selected for and seen in FILM FESTIVALS. This, combined with the effort of some crackerjack LAWYERS, will allow White Alligator to gain an audience so it can get distributed and in movie theaters… so that more people can see it and be inspired to change the world.
I hope this has inspired you to help us. Thank you for your support! We can't do it without you.
Written by Viviana Leo
Directed by Raquel Almazan
P.S. What's with this WHITE ALLIGATOR?
As a white Hispanic in New York, Juanita encounters person after person who believes that all Hispanics are dark-skinned (not to mention from the ghetto and dangerous) -- just as many people think that all alligators are green. But just as white alligators exist in nature, so does Juanita, green eyes and all. The white alligator has become Juanita's totem, and this beautiful creature is now linked to my film's message.
- (30 days)