About this project
About Duty Free: A Documentary Film
After working every day of her adult life, my mom - a single mom - was fired from her job at age 75. To help her deal with the pain of this loss, I encouraged her to write out a list of all the things she could never do while on the clock, and one by one, we ticked the items off her bucket list. Throughout these adventures, my mom really lived -- she took a hip hop class with a "Hamilton" dancer; she finally got to visit her sister's grave in the UK; she reunited with her daughter and the granddaughter she hadn't seen in a decade. But without an income, the realities of unemployment loomed.
The documentary tells the story of this growing tension between freedom and a lack of security; it highlights the universal, and inevitable, role reversal of parent and child. And it shows the reality of life today for middle-class senior citizens.
One day, every one of us will need to step up for our mothers, in some way. Whether the Mom in your life is your biological mother, adopted mother, father, grandmother, teacher, or neighbor, let's give all of them an experience that they'll never forget. With your support, millions of sons and daughters around the world will watch "Duty Free" and be inspired to make memories with their mothers that will further bond them together.
More broadly speaking, we are living in a society that is leaving older generations behind. As demand for established skills shift and social security and pension plans remain woefully underfunded, the future well-being of older generations is unclear.
Upon successful completion of our Kickstarter campaign, we will partner with a recognized streaming service to maximize the film's reach and foster empathy for our mothers everywhere -- they are our gems!
About the FIlmmaker:
I've made a career out of telling important stories both in front of, and behind, the camera. I've contributed on-camera pieces to CNN, HLN, MTV, CBS and more, around pop culture and social justice issues. I've written for outlets across the lifestyle space, and created my own publication, Swagger, which now has over 1.5MM fans. Though I've told longer-form stories professionally, this is my first documentary.
In today's oft-divisive world, I know this is my opportunity to tell a powerfully true story about someone we can all get behind: our moms. Along with an experienced production team, I'm excited to create an impactful movie that we believe speaks to millions.
About My Mom:
My mom has worked in hospitality her entire adult life. An immigrant from the outskirts of Liverpool, she arrived to the States in the late 60s as a cultural ambassador to from England; she taught Americans an English song, an English dance, and how to cook and typical English meal. She's gone on to spend decades at numerous Boston hotels in Housekeeping, and spent twelve at her most recent job. My mom has one daughter who lives in England, and two sons, both on the East Coast.
Use of Campaign Proceeds:
Our Crew: I'm so grateful to be working with a wonderful, passionate, and talented group of videographers, audio professionals, and editors (shout outs below!). They all need to get paid fairly. But beyond capturing the footage, we'll need sound engineers, color correctors, and other post-production staff to make this as beautiful as anything you've seen on Netflix or another service.
Our Bucket List Items: The biggest-cost items are behind us. All seven of the future bucket list items will happen in the US (less cost!), but will require travel and associated fees to execute. Some upcoming bucket list items include skydiving, walking the Boston Marathon route, and returning to my mom's first home in Detroit.
How Many More Shoots: I estimate seven more bucket list shoots, with four shoots slotted for unplanned moments that require filming. Given my mom's shifting life, it's important to be ready to capture raw moments that no one could have expected. Most of these shoots will require a crew of four, around the country.
Estimated Delivery: We plan to wrap up the larger shoots by the end of 2017, and edit through much of 2018. Estimated delivery is Fall 2018. My mom and I will not be using ANY of the funds for personal use.
*Crew shoutout: Thank you to EVERYONE who has helped to make this happen -- Mom, Meredith Chin, Joey Dwyer, Barbaros Kaynak, Pierce Jackson, Ben Phelps, Miguel Rodriguez, The Sweet Family, Hope Easterbrook, The Carneys, The Mitchells, Cassandra Alcide, Joe Regis, Nimchy Regis, Jen Chadwick, The Nolans, The McCarthys, Nicole Ahern, Jen Gomo and everyone else I've called, emailed, asked for help, etc throughout this process!
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we'll face is being there for the twists and turns that come with my mom's current life situation. Without a consistent job and uncertainty with her housing, so many factors are at play. I want to be there to capture as many as possible to show what real life is like for her. Your donations will make it easier to drop everything and capture authentic moments in real time.
Luckily, I've found various folks along the way, from filmmakers to editors, to storytellers, and production managers, who are excited for this project and happy to help me see it to completion. If you want to help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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