Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 16, 2010.


I am John Wayne is a drama about a 15yr old black cowboy, "Taco", who avoids attending his best friend’s funeral by riding his horse to Coney Island.

Writer/Director: Christina Choe
Producer: Esra Saydam
Co-Producers: Mimi Jeffries, Gerry Kim
D.P. Andres Karu

The main character, "TACO", is a kid from North Philly, an impoverished neighborhood where drugs, violence, and unemployment pervade. He is part of a small subculture of black cowboys who tend to their horses in stables throughout the city, in the most unlikely places.

The film begins on the morning of his best friend’s funeral and follows Taco as he tries to avoid going to the funeral. Taco does everything he can to avoid dealing with his friend’s death and all the pain that comes with it. After ignoring his mother’s request to wear a suit, and his neighborhood buddies suggesting he seek revenge against the gang responsible for the shooting, Taco goes to his one escape: the horse stables. He takes his friends' horse on an adventurous ride through the streets to Coney Island, and eventually faces his friends' death.

I am John Wayne is essentially a meditation on violence, manhood, and loss in the inner cities of America. The film is a gritty, neo-magical realism drama, inspired by The Wire (season 4), Killer of Sheep (film by Charles Burnett), and Ratcatcher.

This project was a finalist for the SyFy development award and the winner of the Steiner Studios award. But, we need to raise the bulk of our budget through donations and your support.

This project is very personal for me and going to challenge me in every way. For those of you that have seen The Queen, this will be totally different!

THANK YOU! Without your support we will not be able to make this film.

Fiscally sponsored by Brooklyn Arts Council (please contact us if you'd like to give a tax-exempt donation.

A great link to a This American Life Episode about horses in North Philly:


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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    14 backers

    the cheap pleasure of seeing a kid ride a horse in the wild wild west streets of Philly and deserted ghost town of Coney Island PLUS a thank you credit on (website)

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    28 backers

    thank you credit on (website and DVD) and DVD of the film

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    22 backers

    thank you credit on film, DVD, and I am John Wayne t-shirt

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    18 backers

    thank you credit, DVD, I am John Wayne T-shirt, and production still booklet signed by director

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    6 backers

    All of the above plus 1 ticket to Columbia University Film Festival.

  • Pledge $2,000 or more
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    Associate Producer credit, invite to visit filming on set, 2 tickets to 2011 Columbia University Film Festival and the World Premiere at its first film festival. Also invites to after parties at film festivals whenever possible

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    All of the Above plus Executive Producer credit

Funding period

- (27 days)