I started production on 13 BOX about one year ago, during my junior year at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I wanted to make a vérité style film with one camera, one mic, and one creator. I first met the men and women at 405 McMechen in March 2011 and spent the next 6 months following C Shift night and day. When they worked, I was there - except when I had class, of course. From early morning to mid afternoon and from mid afternoon to early morning, I hung out with the firefighters of Engine 13 and Truck 16, ready to follow them to all the fires in Baltimore. I had planned to shoot all summer but never anticipated actually needing that much footage.
Turns out, I am what firefighters refer to as a “white cloud.” When I was there, fire was not. I came in day after day, hoping to catch that infamous, multi-alarm fire. At first I didn’t get so much as a trash fire. Sure, box tones came out, the gong rang, and I went running camera in hand, ready to catch the moment, only to pull up to a building with a very confused resident answering the door. “No, I didn’t call you guys... there’s no fire here.”
At first it was the running joke that when I showed up, they’d be able to sleep through the night. They started to enjoy my visits. After several months with no more than a puff of smoke, I started to think I might actually have some celestial power over fire. Dubbed “Miss Fire Prevention,” I started to worry whether I would finish filming by September.
I ended up getting a few more fires before I finished production, but none that rivaled the images viewers expect when they think of firefighting: no Ladder 49 multi-alarmer or Rescue Me explosive blazer. Committed to my vérité film, I knew that I had to show the reality, even if the reality was that I didn't get any big fires. I showed an early edit to my thesis teacher and classmates in the fall of 2011, producing a less than enthusiastic response. “Where’s the fire? How can you have a documentary about firefighting with no fire?”
With just over a month and a half to make a film out of 34 hours of footage I started to panic. Apparently panic works for me, because I found a way to put my film together. I found footage that I had previously overlooked or ignored and put together a new ending. The film was still real. It was the reality of working at one of the busiest firehouses in Baltimore. A reality that all firefighters know. Sometimes you get fire, sometimes you don’t.
I made a film that I was proud of. I made a film that I hoped all the firefighters could be proud of. I made a film about the firefighters at Engine 13 and Truck 16 in west Baltimore during the spring and summer of 2011.
Now that 13 BOX is finished I’ve been working to spread the word online. I have been reaching out to firefighters all across the country to generate interest in the film and I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses. Problem is, now they want to see it! Two ways I can achieve this are FILM FESTIVALS and DVD PRODUCTION. If I can get the film into festivals, it can screen in other cities and if I can make DVD copies, well, that one is obvious.
I’d like to send the film to as many festivals as possible but, when each festival costs anywhere from around $20 to $60, I’m going to need help to make it happen. I’d like to raise around $800 to pay for festival costs. In addition, I’d like to raise another $400 to start DVD production. The more you give, the more festivals I can apply to and the more DVD’s I can produce!
If you donate you can get:
An online shout-out on the film’s blog, 13box.wordpress.com, that lets all our followers know you donated.
A hand written thank you note that I will personally send to let you know what it means to me that you donated.
A print of the poster from the premier screening last December, signed by the designer, Djamika Smith and the director, Olivia Flick.
A limited edition screen printed poster signed by the artist responsible for the poster, Maria Rigden.
A DVD copy of 13 BOX.
A special edition DVD copy of 13 BOX with special features.
A limited edition screen printed tee (any size you want).
HOW IT WORKS
I've asked for $1,300 to make my goals possible. You can donate as little or as much as you want but you only have 30 days to do so. If I don't reach my goal of $1,300 by the end of that period I don't get a cent and you get to keep what you donated. So help me reach that goal and you'll get to enjoy the reward! Knowing you helped an independent film get out into the world! Oh and you'll also get posters, t-shirts, and DVD's, depending on how much you give.
Olivia Flick, Director, 13 BOX
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