About this project
HELP US REACH OUR STRETCH GOAL OF $8,800 AND EVERY BACKER GETS A DOWNLOAD OF A PARKOUR VIDEO WE ARE MAKING!
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STORY & DESCRIPTION
This documentary will feature the journey of two American inner-city students and their martial arts teacher to Wudang Mountain in China. This trip evolved from a martial arts and health class in a drop-out prevention program that was taught by Dr. Mike Cermak, co-founder of the Green Dragons. The Green Dragons uses martial arts to train discipline and focus but adds an environmental perspective by learning to grow healthy and sustainable food with students from kindergarten to high school age. The film will be built around the story of the students and how martial arts and environmentalism help them find their path in an urban public school system.
The goal for this project is to show, from the youth perspective, the challenges faced in urban public schools and make a clear statement for the power of combining the physical, mental and environmental in education. Other films and documentaries such as Waiting for Superman, Freedom Writers, Boys of Baraka, and March Point have highlighted the difficulties of urban schools as well as shown some interventions that have done well. This documentary will fit within this genre of urban education and programs for urban youth of color, but have an added martial arts and environmental twist.
"The Way of The Green Dragon" is a working title inspired by Bruce Lee's 1972 film "The Way of the Dragon." This is a reality-based documentary so we are not sure yet what direction our story will take us. It is possible the title will change as we find insight on our journey. That's the beauty of documentary! The general goal is to show how natural martial arts can be and it's healing potential for urban youth (and everyone). Please send ideas for concepts and motifs if you are interested, everyone who supports us will get an early sneak peek at the film!
FILM DETAILS & PRODUCTION
This trip will take place in late June 2013 but we have already started filming the work of the two students, Vanely and Cedonne, during their classes and work with other Green Dragons youth programs. The funding for this project is needed to help get the students to China, pay for our stay at the school, and to add some film and recording equipment to our toolkit. We have a school selected called Wudang Dao run by Master Bing, a 15th generation Taoist Master. Master Bing runs one of the few schools on Wudang Mountain and we were lucky enough to meet him in person when he was doing workshops in New England. He is hosting us as part of a special teacher training session in June. He has a program ready that involves kung fu, tai chi, and meditation training as part of each day. We will also be seeing the classic sites like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.
Master Bing also has a full vegetable garden and the whole week will be vegetarian. This will help us explore the full Green Dragons training as he has agreed to let us help him with cooking and gardening! This part of the trip will help us film the environmental and natural part of the training.
Learn more about the Green Dragons in this video:
The film is targeted for 30-50 minutes and will feature the ongoing interviews with all involved in the project as we build our bodies and minds. We also plan on having a ton of good martial arts training montages to highlight the art and show our progress. Filmmaker Mike Cermak has a PhD in the Sociology of Environmental Education and has produced dozens of videos with urban youth about their environmental and education experience. He also has one short film "Planting For Peace: Bury Seeds, Not Bodies"(2010) that he produced and co-wrote with urban youth about their connection of gardening with movements to stop gang violence (read an article about the program behind the film here).
Please help us make this project happen! We have some nice kickbacks for donors including tickets to our opening night, private lessons in kung fu, tai chi and even Parkour, private screenings and a guaranteed copy of the film.
Risks and challenges
Traveling to China will be no small feat, and the many logistics of travel are one hurdle we face. Fortunately, we will have our host, Master Bing, write us a letter welcoming the project to help us secure the travel visas. All involved in the project have passports and are ready to go!
Besides travel and funding the other aspects of the project are secure. They mostly involve filming in Boston after we return which is pretty straightforward. If for any reason we can't make it to China we will include this process in the film and start raising more funds for next year. We still intend to make a film about all the Green Dragons programs and summer camps.
Another risk is that one of us gets injured during training here or abroad. Injury in martial arts training is inevitable and we often view it more as "conditioning." This risk is another part we will incorporate into the film should any injuries occur and plan to show any recuperation process to add to our theme of healing (cross your fingers for us!).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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