Based on a book by the same name, Own Your Stupidity, the short film is about forgiveness. Facing constant disappointments from her biological father, Naomi’s adolescent years spiral out of control when she looks for validation in her father’s presence, and not with the material things he bought. Is her angst valid? Or is she stupid? If she doesn’t forgive her father, will her fiancé not take her at the alter? And most importantly, can Naomi learn to accept and love herself with the values instilled in her during her adolescent years raised by her maternal Aunt and Grandmother in a small town in South Carolina? Film dates are set to shoot in Alvin, SC August 12 and 13; and Brooklyn, NYC August 26 and 27.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY:
Can a woman survive in a world with so many different offenders? If she does, she is not exempt from the pain and the struggle. Life isn't that simple. I am Sids Ahky Stevens, self-published author of Own Your Stupidity. My book is about forgiveness. I am not over righteous. I am a woman that understands that the difference between people that have made mistakes, and people that are unapologetic, intentional offenders. I addressed them because my grandmother, she is referred to in my book as my ace of spade, did not raised a fool. My family was not spared in my story because blood does not guarantee loyalty, especially when I was "pimped out" by my biological father. My book explains what that expression means. I chose to use a pen name because I am still not accepted by my immediate family, and they will not be thrilled to know “my truth” as Ms. Iyanla Vanzant would say. I have been done wrong by many, but through his grace, I am healing, still here, and trying to be a better woman. My grandmother and my mother taught me great values, but it wasn't until I came to my womanhood that I can appreciate what I was taught. I lost my first-born child to SIDS, and that was when I understood how to let go of things. Life is too short to bitter over things that I can't control. I can own my stupidity because I don't have higher expectations from imperfect people. I don't need anyone's validation to feel complete. I am going to make it. I hope that I encourage you by hearing my story. I want to reach the younger generation and urban communities because I believe they can identify with it. ---- Sids Ahky Stevens (Author)
THE FATHERLESS GENERATION...
•85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
• 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse
– Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
Recent policies encourage the development of programs designed to improve the economic status of low-income nonresident fathers and the financial and emotional support provided to their children. This brief provides ten key lessons from several important early responsible fatherhood initiatives that were developed and implemented during the 1990s and early 2000s. Formal evaluations of these earlier fatherhood efforts have been completed making this an opportune time to step back and assess what has been learned and how to build on the early programs’ successes and challenges. While the following statistics are formidable, the Responsible Fatherhood research literature generally supports the claim that a loving and nurturing father improves outcomes for children, families and communities.
• Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
• Studies on parent-child relationships and child well-being show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.
• 24 million children (34 percent) live absent their biological father.
• Nearly 20 million children (27 percent) live in single-parent homes.
• 43 percent of first marriages dissolve within fifteen years; about 60 percent of divorcing couples have children; and approximately one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
• Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not. • Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.
• About 40 percent of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father’s home.
• Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.
• From 1995 to 2000, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes slightly declined, while the proportion of children living with two married parents remained stable.
Lee Antoine Smith, photographer and filmmaker lives in USA (SC). He started out as a dancer and actor for various productions in SC. Since then he has graduated from the University of South Carolina with a History degree. The love of film brought him into photography. Smithalee brought his first camera, a T4i but quickly found out that lenses were more expensive, so he started photography to learn the foundation of lighting. Since then he has fallen in love with the storytelling of through visual art of filmmaking.
Own Your Stupidity is a film that this generation can get behind. I am a product of growing up without a father, but it has granted me learning experiences. I have always loved story telling since I was a kid. This came from being the oldest and making up games for my other 5 brothers and sisters. In my heart, I have always played the middle. While most kids loved the hero or either the villain. I found a home in the individual that struggled between good and evil and never finding a home in either. With this conflict it was always easy to understand relationships have bad and good effects.
As a product of a fatherless home until the age of 13, I can remember growing up faster than some of my friends. Since I had to look after most of my brothers and sisters this helped with understanding the idea of trust, forgiveness and mercy. First I had to trust that my mother was giving her best and that everything will go according to plan. Even when things went sideways, somehow we were lead back to the path. I saw my father every now and again, and sometimes he would miss important moments. However, being the oldest I never had the opportunity to hold guilt or to blame so I was forced into learning the path of forgiveness. Forgiveness and mercy go hand in hand. This is a story that shows a pillar of the law of humanity. ----Lee A Smith
THE BIG PICTURE!
Our dream is to make this into a feature film so that we can bring this book, this message, and this conversation to the multitudes. Your donations will start the process. A successful festival run with this short will be the launching pad to accomplishing our ultimate goal!
MEET THE CAST:
KYLA M. (ACTRESS): Kyla is completing her Freshman year in a Brooklyn area high school. She is known for her infectious laugh, dance moves, hip fashion, and spirited personality. This is Kyla’s acting debut on screen.
LAUREN E BANKS (ACTRESS): Lauren was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. In 2009, Lauren attended Howard University, where she trained under the late Al Freeman, Jr., and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Theatre Arts Acting. Lauren recently completed a Masters in Acting at the Yale School of Drama, as a member of the class of 2017.
KIMBERLY McCLURKIN (ACTRESS): Kimberly was raised in Ridgeway, South Carolina and works as a freelance makeup-artist and actress and model with DeAbreu Modeling Consulting. She currently resides in Manhattan, and recently graduated from The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. This is Kimberly’s acting debut on screen.
MEET THE TEAM:
RHONDA WASHINGTON & SHAREE WASHINGTON (WRITERS/EXEC. PRODUCERS): Twin sisters Rhonda and Sharee both have B.S Management degrees from Clemson University. They have also furthered their education with MBA degrees from two separate institutions, and both currently work at an institution of higher education in Columbia, South Carolina. They also Co-Own and operate We Connected Productions LLC whereas they have written and produced five short films, and have produced half a dozen additional short films and webshows in their local area, as well as one independent feature film, Safe House: A Christian Story. They enjoy traveling, with Italy and South Africa as their favorite destinations.
LEE A SMITH (Director/DP): Lee is a native of Spartanburg, but grew up in Boiling Springs, South Carolina. After earning B.A. degrees in history and education at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Lee spent three years working with homeless students in Spartanburg School District Seven as a coordinator in the McKinney-Vento program. There, he honed his mentoring skills and currently assist Wofford College students in navigating their career paths. Lee is also a talented filmmaker, photographer and scriptwriter. Lee is known for No Ordinary Love (2017), Loved by a Ghost (2015) and Closely Detached (2017). He co-owns Smithalee Photography with his wife Arialle.
MATTHEW MERCIER (Editor): Matthew is an Editor, Director, and Writer known for Meatbox (2011) and People Not Humans (2013).
MICHELE POWE (ACTRESS): Michele is an actress, known for Jazz Hands (2012), Memory Foam Confessions (2015) and Butterflies Wake (2011). Most recently, she’s made guest appearances in television shows Shot’s Fired and Mr. Mercedes.
PAT YEARY (ACTRESS): Pat is an actress known for The Signal (2007), From Faith to Freedom (2012) and most recently, the short film, A Mother’s Plea (2016). She is currently filming a recurring role in a TV series.
MYRON DONLEY (ACTOR): Myron is an actor and model currently living in NYC and attending The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. He was raised in Kentucky, and was active in both sports and the arts.
We've put a lot of thought into our budget. Along with investing our own money and resources, see how we plan to use our Kickstarter funds
KICKSTARTER GOAL: $6,500 is the minimum it would take to make this project happen at a festival worthy level! It covers basic costs such as camera, lighting, and electric equipment rental, director of photography, sound engineer, crew, talent, hair/make-up, craft services, travel expenses, and editing.
STRETCH GOAL: $7,500 is the ideal amount it would take to make this project! It covers more than just the basics. It includes things like art design and better camera equipment that will elevate the production value of a film. It also adds funds toward the final tasks of music/color/sound design, and festival costs. We’ve budgeted for a set number of festivals, but meeting our stretch goal would allow us exposure to a wider range of audiences by covering additional fees, screeners, and office expenses. In short, if we can surpass our goal, we can improve the quality of our film and expand its reach!
HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS:
• We set a goal ($6,500) and a deadline (July 4).
• You pledge whatever you can to help us reach our goal and choose an awesome reward in exchange; Kickstarter will take your credit card info, but your card will not be charged.
• If we meet or surpass our goal by the deadline, your credit card on file will be charged, we'll receive our funds, and you'll receive your awesome reward. Yay!
• If we do not meet our goal by the deadline, your credit card on file will not be charged, we won't receive any of the funds, our story won't be told, and you'll miss out on your awesome reward. Boo!
• In short: we must hit our Kickstarter goal to receive any of the funds!
Risks and challenges
While various things can go wrong in the filmmaking process (and probably will), we believe our team has both the heart and experience to overcome any obstacles that may arise. We will ultimately make a film that you'll feel proud to be a part of! We do not take your generosity lightly and are fully dedicated to creating a high-quality film together.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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