Jewish Resistance in the Streets of Warsaw, Poland during the Nazi occupation. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on December 16, 2013.
About this project
Director, Orestes Matacena, and I, Orna Rachovitsky, have seen so many movies about World War II, the Holocaust and the Nazis. The Jews were always the victims in these stories. We remember them as scared, helpless, prisoners in the concentration camps, weak and grossly malnourished. It is upsetting to say the least.
Very few oppressed people will stand up and fight against their oppressor.
Orestes wanted to see in a movie what his Aunt Flora did in Italy to a Nazi General. Aunt Flora slapped the General in the face a few times. The Nazi General was in such shock that he didn't do a damn thing about it. He just stood there, like a stone statue as aunt Flora walked away. Later on she was arrested, but that's another story.
Orestes and I always wanted to see a movie where Jews fought against the Nazis and did some damage. There were only a few movies that even mentioned the Resistance, and so little was made about the Jewish Resistance specifically.
We were having this conversation one day about the Jews fighting against the Nazis. We were amazed at how the Partisans forged the way, saved so many lives and risked so much. They had barely enough food to survive, let alone firepower to stop the Nazis. They fought in the forests, roads, everywhere they could shoot a gun, throw a grenade... they were the ultimate soldiers. We agreed that Hollywood really hasn’t addressed this topic much, we found it pretty perplexing, even disturbing. And, all of a sudden Orestes announced that he has to write a movie about this. He asked how he could continue to complain when he has the means as a screenwriter to actually write the movie he always wanted to see!
So he did. It's called SWASTIKA.
SWASTIKA is about the Jewish Resistance in the streets of Warsaw, Poland, during the Nazi Occupation.
What we want to accomplish by making SWASTIKA is to tell a story that has never been told in cinema history. SWASTIKA is considered to be historical fiction. The main characters are fictional, but the setting, manners, social conditions and period details are all drawn from actual history.
For instance, as part of the Lebensborn Project, more than two hundred and fifty thousand babies and children were abducted by the Nazis in Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, and given to German families to help create a "super race." Imagine being a parent, living under military occupation, and your child is taken away by force, right out of your arms, only to never see them again. Imagine being that child that is kidnapped. Or imagine that you had to live in a ghetto where food, medicine and necessities were prevented from entering. This is exactly what happened in Poland; but so much worse.
The atrocities of the war are mind boggling! The Nazis stole people’s money and jewelry, forced them to do hard labor, starved, beat, tortured and gassed them. Their skins were even used to make lampshades! The list of evil goes on and on…and we ask WHY would anyone do such things? And we just can’t conceive of any answer; JUST PURE EVIL.
We discovered along the way that a lot of people don't know that many Jews fought in the resistance along with Gentiles to stop the Nazis. 5.3 million Poles were murdered during the German occupation; half of these people were Jews. The Resistance efforts in general were astounding, active all over Europe. Men, women AND children participated.
In fact, we later discovered that many people don’t even know what the Swastika symbol means or where it originated. (We have a little video that shows this.)
The movie SWASTIKA is dedicated to all Jews and Gentiles who were part of the resistance against the Nazi occupation in Europe, the Middle East and Africa during World War II. The Nazis had quite a reach in the world and were sure to dominate if they weren’t stopped in their tracks.
The movie we want to make will have all the ingredients that movie goers expect when they go to see a film: Drama, Action, Humor, Twists & Turns, so they can have a real movie experience. We have to compete to make a great movie and then again to get it into the theatres.
All movies search for a truth, writers try to reveal something that heightens our awareness about a subject or event. They want us to ask questions and maybe even apply the events and outcome to our lives. The writer has to be creative and exercise artistic license, but make the story plausible, accurate and authentic to the period. And they, above all, must make the audience RELATE to what they’re seeing. Orestes took great care to make the most important thing in the story about love and friendship, two things we relate to daily all of our lives.
SWASTIKA is a wonderful love story of an American Jew and a gorgeous, intense, fearless Polish-Jewish woman who was part of the Polish Resistance. It is also about a very strange yet amazing friendship between the American Jew and a Nazi General. For love and friendship, how far does one go to be loyal? Where does one draw a boundary? And how many of us have a real friend or real love that is unconditional? A relationship that is real and deep in our hearts. It’s like dancers, where one dancer falls into the arms of the other and trust that they will be caught. Sounds simple, yet it’s not.
So we’re setting out to make SWASTIKA. We want to make the very best movie we can. This is why we embarked on the Kickstarter path. Backers will be part of our dream to tell this important story. Thanks to the backers, this generation and the ones that follow will know what happened in World War II.
You will help us keep the candle lit to remember, so that the atrocities the Nazis committed will never happen again. Anywhere.
And, by being a generous contributor and being part of this dream, you as backers will be entitled to "Thank you perks." Our way of saying ‘Thank You’ for your contribution will include various things like: DVD’s; Lunch or dinner with the stars; An autographed screenplay, and pictures; A beautiful Certificate to hang on your wall; Invitation to the red carpet premiere, just like the stars, with lights flashing in your eyes and paparazzi all around you. And for a sizeable contribution, like $10,000 dollars; we can offer additional credits and perks.
We would love to be able to raise as much as $5 million dollars, but we set our goal to $500,000 knowing that we have to be realistic…somewhat anyway. We can make SWASTIKA for $500,000 dollars and make it look like $50 Million dollars. We can try anyway and come pretty darn close.
However, if we want big stars, we need big money. We know what you may be thinking by now. $500,000 is not that much, and even $5 million dollars is not that much by Hollywood standards. Nowadays, some movies cost $200 million dollars. Orestes knows; he has acted in those big budget movies!
But remember, there are many stars and very few of those movies made. A $5 million dollar budget is enough to have a couple of stars. We hope our backers can push this movie onto another level. We’re open to pledges starting at $1, and we’re going to push hard no matter what.
We are sure that you'll be proud to be part of this profound and entertaining journey.
Below is the poster of our movie.
Risks and challenges
The keys to making a movie are tenacity and perseverance, among other things like patience, lots of it. We would love to raise a few million dollars because that opens the door to being able to hire some name actors, stars. Theatrical releases are reserved for movies with stars, whether they are famous actors or directors. Like “Life of Pi” had no stars, but the director is Ang Lee, a known and accomplished director with two Oscars on his mantle not to mention other awards. On the flip side, many Hollywood movies have accomplished directors that are not a household name, but the actors are huge stars. Most average viewers can’t name the directors of the Hollywood movies, but they know the movie stars. That’s what drives Hollywood. Studios have the big bucks to release their movies, into theatres, spend HUGE dollars on marketing, and also have the machinery that makes stars and then uses them as the selling tools to make us go see them.
WOW! Sorry we had to break it down that way, but that’s why it’s so important to support independent films. Many name actors who want to work in non-mainstream movies are an integral part of getting independent movies made and distributed. So we appreciate Hollywood “branding” because it spills over into our independent world. And there are also many actors who want to direct, and they will never have the opportunity if it weren’t for independent movies. Here’s a short list of actors who have directed films: Warren Beatty, Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Jodi Foster, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, and Barbra Streisand (a mega talent that has won Oscars, Grammy’s, what else is there to say?).
If we fund our goal, we can make the movie and it will be great. If we exceed our goal, that’s even better. Remember, we have to use part of the budget to pay Kickstarter and the backer rewards. Then, we make our movie. That’s why we’re going to give it our best effort to make it, and then some. We will have enough to get a name actor or two that will help us not only make the movie great, but the movie will have a better chance of getting distribution…another strange little animal.
Let’s back up a second, so you understand. If we go the conventional route and try to raise money through an investor, they will want to know who we have attached to the film. When we approach the talent’s representation, they want to know how much money we have. But, wait! We need the talent attached in order to get the money. And we need the money in the bank, literally (they ask for proof of funds!), to get the talent.
So, now you know why we’re on Kickstarter, going straight to the moviegoers, and bypassing an exhausting way to get a movie started.
Here’s the other challenge: getting into a festival. We have been selected to small festivals before with our previous work. But getting into Sundance and other notable festivals is super difficult for the average indie filmmaker. The film festival world has also become another vicious cycle, so we’re taking it one step at a time. First raise the money we need to make the movie with some name actors. Once we have the talent attached we can start our little PR machine and make enough of a splash to garner some attention and a theatrical release. You need to get into thousands of theatres to make any money, but you need the money to get into the theatres…you see where we’re going with this…again? It’s a vicious cycle. That’s why making movies has associated with it risks and challenges.
BUT! If a movie is made with just the right budget, not too big and not too small, just the right name talent, not too big and not too small, then the rest can fall into place. There has to be a balance. Spend some money, and in the right places. That’s what we know how to do very well! And that’s the plan, despite the risks and challenges.
We have made several features before, and we have a well established system for accomplishing our projects. We have faced so many challenges while making our movies with very limited resources and manpower, yet we always finish what we start and make a product that is well received. All filmmakers have their war stories, including us. As we mentioned, the keys to making a movie, besides the creativity, are tenacity, perseverance and a lot of patience. The bottom line is that we cross the finish line. That’s why we are cut out for this crazy and fun business!
Thank you for considering our project. We look forward to building a family of backers that will be part of an unforgettable and important experience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We will pay our fees to Amazon Payments and Kickstarter, produce SWASTIKA and deliver all the rewards granted to each backer as per the estimated delivery date.
Once we reach our pledge goal and qualify to be funded, we will prepare to enter the Pre-production phase of the movie. This will most likely be within 30-60 days after we have been funded and are able to access production funds.
The movie is estimated to be released within one year from the Pre-production phase.
If we are not able to reach our pledge goal, then none of the backer pledges will be processed. In other words, your credit card will not be charged. We will re-evaluate how close we are to our goal and decide on re-submitting our campaign for pledges or moving to another plan in order to produce SWASTIKA. Hopefully we won't have to do that.
If we exceed our pledge goal, this will allow us to cast bigger names in the lead roles, get additional equipment or other things needed for the production and employ more people in the cast and crew.
Depending on the reward, we have estimated the date of delivery based on when production can begin. Email updates begin soon after our Kickstarter launch and continue throughout the filmmaking process. Many of the rewards can only be presented when we actually release the movie. So whatever the pledge amount, the reward will be delivered on or around the estimated delivery date.
The digital rewards will be sent by email. The online stream of the movie reward will be available through our service for our Kickstarter backers.
We will provide a questionnaire in which backers can specify their t-shirt size and other possible information such as physical mailing address for the mailed rewards.
So far we are limiting the selection to one design for now. We may offer additional selections.
Physical rewards like DVDs and T-shirts will be shipped using the United States Postal Service (USPS) for Domestic backers and USPS International rates will apply for International or foreign backers. However, the carriers might change to ensure that backers receive their rewards with the best service and value.
Yes, there are shipping fees involved for both domestic and international destinations to deliver some of the rewards. We will do everything in our power to keep the fulfillment service at the lowest possible cost.
Pledge rewards are not cumulative, and, therefore, we ask that backers please keep this in mind when they decide which pledge to make. However, if you change your mind you can always sign up for a different pledge amount.
Do I have to pay for my travel if my reward involves attending a party, screening or visiting the set?
Yes, travel is an expense that must be paid by backers if they wish to attend any event that is in their backer rewards package.
Yes, the actors that agree to work on our movie will know that they have to spend a little extra time signing pictures and posters.
Although Orestes mentions in the video presentation that we may offer an extra role as one of the rewards, we decided that it would not be fair to offer this after all. Like in so many movies, there is always a chance that the scene involving the extra will be cut out of the movie or changed. It would be nice to even offer a Featured Extra role that may include a close up, but this also may be subject to change. Since we cannot promise the scene will be used in the movie, and we want to offer rewards that backers can keep, it seemed better to just not offer an extra role as a reward.
If I attend an event, as part of my reward package, will considerations be made for Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher or any other food options?
At this time we will consider offering Vegetarian options at our events, but unfortunately, unlike the Airlines, we cannot accommodate all the various specialized options like Vegan, Kosher, Low Sodium, etc.
We are offering backers who pledge at the $10,000 level an Associate Producer credit as a reward for their large pledge. This reward will enable a backer to give input in different phases of the production, but they will not be involved in making qualified decisions on the film.
We will coordinate our schedule and location and offer you some options. Remember that travel expenses will be the backers' responsibility. Each day of filming presents new scenarios, so it will be an exciting experience.
- (47 days)