About this project
Dear friends and supporters,
Thank you for visiting this campaign! WORLD FAIR is my first film, and it’s a project that's close to my heart. The film took root through my work in museums, where I first saw some of the archival films created by everyday people at the 1939 New York World's Fair. I was (and am) totally captivated by the human experiences, modern design, and vast spectacle captured in these vibrant, color films. I'm also interested in the purpose that world's fairs served, inspiring hope for many Americans during a troubled decade. At fairs held across the country in the 1930s, people could imagine a different world.
This film focuses on one world’s fair in particular—New York, 1939. I dug through news stories and oral histories to find people to interview. And to illustrate their memories of being at the 1939 fair, I culled scenes from hours of archival footage. WORLD FAIR is more than a film about an event; it's a tribute to storytelling, to collecting, and to the memories of five, lovely people—Ephraim, Helene, Stanley, Seymour, and Jim.
I’ve been lucky to work with a super talented team in the making of WORLD FAIR, but we’ve gone as far as we can go on our own, and now we need your help! $13,000 is the minimum needed to finish this film and bring it to the big screen. Our essential expenses are described below.
Because Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising platform, if we don’t reach at least our minimum goal, then the project won’t get a dime of your generous pledges. Please give anything you can, and pledge early. And please help spread the word!
ABOUT THE FILM
WORLD FAIR celebrates personal history and amateur cinematography through a singular, spectacular event. In 1939, on the heels of the Great Depression, millions of people traveled to a former ash dump in Queens, New York, to catch a fleeting glimpse of a better future. WORLD FAIR is a short, impressionistic documentary that weaves together the memories of former fairgoers with colorful, archival Kodachrome footage, transporting viewers to the futuristic and hopeful realm of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
As a meditation on memory, the film celebrates the stories contained in photographs and home movies, in hand-drawn illustrations, and in the objects we collect and save. With a mix of fondness and melancholy, the film's five characters—now in their eighties and nineties—reflect on the fair’s purpose at the end of a tumultuous decade.
MEET THE TEAM
Amanda Murray (Director/Producer) has been a producer with Wicked Delicate Films since 2011, working on WORLD FAIR, THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO, MISSING MODERNIST, THE GREENING OF QATAR, and community-based marketing for THE CITY DARK. She was a curator for the Lemelson Center at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, and has worked with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, National Building Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and National Trust for Historic Preservation. She earned a B.A. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, and an M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University.
Ian Cheney (Co-Producer/Cinematographer) co-founded Wicked Delicate Films LLC in 2005. After earning a B.A. and M.A. from Yale University, Ian co-created, co-produced, and starred in the feature documentary KING CORN, which was released theatrically in 60 cities and awarded a George Foster Peabody Award. Ian subsequently produced and directed the award-winning documentaries THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE (2008), TRUCK FARM (2010), and THE CITY DARK (2011).
WHERE WILL THE FUNDS GO?
1. ARCHIVAL RIGHTS AND TRANSFERS. Historic footage is essential to the look, feel, and theme of WORLD FAIR. One of the main characters donated his own 16mm footage for our use, but the majority of the archival footage must be licensed from professional repositories. Your contributions will help cover the costs of rights and high-resolution digital transfers. Having the rights will give us the freedom to screen WORLD FAIR for public audiences far and wide.
4. LAUNCH OF A COMMUNITY SCREENINGS CAMPAIGN. Part of the Kickstarter funds will be used to launch a grassroots screenings campaign to bring WORLD FAIR to community-based venues like museums, historical societies, and libraries. Our team will be producing press kits, posters, postcards, screening toolkits, and DVD screeners, and basically keeping USPS in business by shipping these materials to dozens of community venues and film festivals.
Whether or not you can make a pledge, please share this campaign through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and emails to your friends. If you have any questions about the project or how to donate, or ideas about potential funders, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us at www.worldfairfilm.com.
Risks and challenges
Archival footage is much of the heart and soul of WORLD FAIR. Archives and private collections around the country are home to dozens of hours of footage created at the world's fair. It will be a challenge to gather archival footage from various sources, and get rights to all of the different clips we'd like to include. Identifying which footage will work best in the film is only *part* of the challenge; we will need to obtain high-resolution digital transfers, and legal agreements to actually release the film.
One potential setback in releasing the film is timing. We would hope to complete the final sound mix and color correction in time for our film festival premiere. But professional studios are often overloaded, and post-production can take longer than expected. This is one reason we need to complete a successful fundraising campaign and finish the film in plenty of time for spring and summer film festivals.
Once WORLD FAIR is finished, the next challenge will be bringing a short documentary to broad audiences. Since short films don't often run in your local movie theater the way that feature films do, a grassroots, community-based screenings campaign will be essential to the film's reach.
What will this campaign look like? We will invite museums, historical societies, cultural centers, libraries, retirement communities, schools, and other organizations with relevant interests to screen WORLD FAIR, and in some cases pair it with a complementary educational program. WORLD FAIR can be a tool for broader community engagement around themes of personal history, preservation, and amateur cinematography and photography.
Coordinating a dedicated community screenings campaign takes a lot of time and energy, and the costs of producing and shipping materials add up. Our team will be able to apply what we've learned from working on past campaigns for feature documentaries, and from working across the humanities, museum, and nonprofit worlds. But before any of this can happen, your contributions are essential to our finishing the film.
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