On October 30th, 2006 the awareness of the Free Hugs Campaign gained worldwide notoriety when Oprah Winfrey hosted its founder, Juan Mann. Juan went on to discuss his reasons for that first time going out in Pitt St. Mall in central Sydney with his iconic Free Hugs sign. After going through life, suffering from multiple personal blows with depression, he went out and quietly urged onlookers to connect. Finally, after the first 15 minutes of skeptical viewers, it came down to a little old lady who walked over and embraced Juan and his message. He went on to say, “I Felt like a King,” when describing his experience. Since then, the movement has grown to a vast community of people who want to help others realize that sometimes all it takes is an embrace to make another feel like they matter. It’s euphoric!
Imagine the difference one could make with a simple hug. Those who are starving for recognition for their time here on Earth, who simply want to belong to something, have found it in the humility and kindness of others. We are all connected through similar human experiences; most walk through life feeling alone and disconnected. This has become a world where everyone feels they must choose a side, furthering the distance between us, and we want to show you that you don’t have to. We are all people, looking for love and acceptance, and a small embrace that can create big change in the way a person walks through their day, or their life, is a mission we must all strive to complete. We want to do this for the next generation of individuals who are growing up in a world where we rarely look people in the eye. Kids are glued to their phones and game systems, parents to their computers, and they walk down the street without ever having to communicate to another soul.
In this light we want to bring the connectivity of humanity back into your living room, into your hearts, and into your mind. We want to CULTIVATE KINDNESS and make it a priority. There is no problem in this world that cannot be solved by giving a Hug.
It is the little things, not the big ones, that make the most difference. We are the culmination of everyone we have ever met, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, we can affect even the smallest of changes in the way a person goes through their life. With that notion, is it not in our best interest to show love and respect to your neighbor (and when I say neighbor I don’t mean just your physical neighbor in the house next to you, I mean the man who sits next to you on the train or the woman serving your food), fostering a new generation of acceptance. I always say children give the best hugs because there are no limitations within them that we don’t put there ourselves. No points of view that we don’t share with them in their growing up. They are born innately able to love without discrimination. If this project accomplishes nothing else but to make aware that our own misgivings effect future generations, I would say we have accomplished a great deal.
This project is vast in what it wants to achieve. We want to show that within this simple act, the simple embrace of another human being, we are connected past countries and continents, past races and creeds, that we are able to accept that we all need the same thing; LOVE, the universal language… which also happens to be math. ☺
In the words of Ellen, “Be kind to one another!”
During the filming process, we will take our viewers across oceans and continents, arranging get-togethers of the many people who are involved in this act on a daily basis, and attain interviews and multiple points of view from around the world. With what we raise in funds we will not only be filming a documentary, but we will also give our viewers a web series that offers behind the scenes features and the crew’s daily life on the road. The webisodes will feature special Backer appreciation and interviews, also giving exclusive shout-outs on our progress throughout the filming process. Given the fact that we have limited our trip to 20 planned locations, we will not limit the amount of places that we can go to if a donor wants to pledge $1000. So if someone living in Toronto or Rio de Janeiro wants to donate in that perk bracket we will go there despite it not being on our scheduled itinerary. If we go over our goal we will take suggestions from those who want to contact us and put in a vote for their city/country, and after our new target goal has been reached the most votes will unlock the new location.
Now you don’t need us to schedule an event, in fact we encourage everyone to do this on their own if they want to. The more participants who want to go out there and do this by themselves the better; it means the message is getting out there without regard to our own action, and any act of kindness is a welcome thing. However, should you choose to donate, you become forever involved with what we are trying to accomplish, and that is a group… albeit a large one, can come together in a common goal of cultivating kindness. I mean, Kim Jong Un? Someone give this guy a hug, right?!?
Any and all questions or comments are welcome.
Now, if you're unconvinced about the advantages of giving and receiving Hugs, please look at our proven list of attributes that may sway your opinion:
The Benefits of Hugging~ Boosts your immune system, builds self-esteem, fosters self acceptance, alleviates tensions, helps curb appetite, lowers blood pressure, increases nerve activity, releases endorphins, they're portable, costs absolutely NOTHING, requires no special setting or equipment, feels Great...
...and the best reason of all? ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!
HUGS IN THE PRESS!!
Our first article that appears in a free NH magazine was a great help to our project, and we would like to thank Jeff Mucciaroni for some very uplifting writing. Thank you so much.
A Worldwide Embrace: NH Filmmaker building connections across the Globe.
In absolute truth, i owe my want to being a filmmaker to Drew Barrymore. Back when i was attending High School in Nashua, NH it all came down to a single day, in a single place, with a single person; despite the fact that i had skipped school that day and went down to my local diner to grab a chocolate shake. She came through Nashua during our election season, filming a documentary of her own about getting the younger generation interested in voting. I was there as she asked the patrolling candidate questions with trepidation and i realized then that i wanted to do what she was doing, despite her momentary fear. She was there to ask a very intriguing question, "Why don't more young people vote?" In that question, and in her curiosity to find the answer, i found my purpose. Curiosity did not kill my cat, it nurtured it. Thank you Ms. Barrymore for lighting the flame in this young filmmaker's life, and Thank you Dad for my love of Chocolate Frappes and my inherited stubbornness.
I first became
interested in Free Hugs while I was traveling overseas, having joined a group
in London, i had the incredible privilege to connect with strangers on the
street and share a quiet moment with them. I fell in love with this concept and
truly believe that we are the culmination of everyone we have ever met and that
a single Hug can change the world.
Did you know that hugs can save lives? Well they do, and in my case they did. Sometimes, it's all people need. A hug, a smile, a wink, or a handshake, these simple RAKs (Random acts of Kindness) can change a person's day in an instant. Our documentary on the Free Hugs Campaign is geared toward showing how a hug can change a mood or your day, and is most definitely changing worlds everyday.
I am immensely proud to be a part of this project and if you help us out you will be too!
I wanted to become involved in this business when I saw the movie Jurassic Park as a child. Now, I know that is not the most artistically sound piece of entertainment, but for me it changed my life. I thought that if they could bring dinosaurs back from the dead, they can do anything. It made me believe *I* can do anything.
Rewards for Backers
Rewards $1- $30 each have items that can be sent out shortly after the Kickstarter page is complete and the pledges have come in. The rest of the rewards, minus the ones that directly involve the backer in the filming process, wont obviously be available until after the documentary is finished shooting, and some not until the festival season is complete. One very special Reward is the actual Free Hugs signs that we travel with, they are country/language specific, and offer the Donor a real life prop that helped change someone's day.
Where the Funding Goes
Our funding goal
is set at the bare minimum for the completion of the project and will cover all
of the crew’s travel expenses, food, gear and equipment. The Director and
Producer will not be collecting a wage on this project so all of the funds can
be directed to making the best film possible.
The funding will
go as follows:
Food, Gas, Housing, Airfare
website, Post-Production, Festivals
If we should go
over our goal the funding will be dispersed for better production value with
such things as music/score/soundtrack, extra locales, better equipment
upgrades, and the hiring of specialists in their fields. We aim to give you all
the best of us and this project.
We thought to
ourselves, when coming up with new ways to keep people involved during the
filming process, how we could do that? As a result, the Webseries was born. We
will be shooting monthly webisodes, available on our Youtube channel with
exclusive progress reports to our backers during filming. We will let you in on
behind the scenes features, special Donor shout outs, interviews and an insight
into our journey around the World, spreading Free Hugs and love.
With our perk
rewards tied into the filming process you can have the option to donate and in
return you can be our cameraman/woman for the day. What you shoot is
guaranteed, at the very least, to be on one our webisodes and might just make
it on the finished film. The goal here is to bring the Donor right into the
thick of the filming process, be directly involved and share this wonderful
experience with us. The more donors we have in this perk bracket the more
webisodes we can offer to the world, making not just monthly installments, but bi-weekly or even weekly episodes.
With the nature of our project being a ‘community style’ documentary film, shot almost entirely by the participants, we thought this would be a perfect funding platform to get more people involved and excited about the prospect that they…or YOU, can be a filmmaker too. And also, with the worldwide reach of the Free Hugs campaign, everyone involved will be connected in this deep and meaningful subject. After all, it’s all about spreading the Love and bridging the gap between different cultures and people. Kickstarter is the perfect tool to bring people together in a common goal so we can “Cultivate Kindness.”
Going Past Our Goal
Our goal is set as such to allow us to travel to 20 separate locations, 10 major cities in the USA, and 10 major cities east and west of us. The locations for our US tour are:
Boston* (Hometown Advantage)
We leave from the States and travel outward to:
If we go past our goal, for every $5,000-$10,000 increment, we can add other locations to travel to, host an event, and shoot a special Webisode. That footage will be comprised and could end up on the finished film. Donor’s will have the opportunity to suggest a specific location, however we will already have the first few selections as goals to unlock. So, instead of sticking to East and West, we can expand North and South.
From our hearts to yours, we thank you for allowing us to touch those in need of a really great Bear Hug.
Risks and challenges
As kickstarter is an All-or-Nothing venue, we truly appreciate your time and consideration to donate to our project. We thank you for watching our video and supporting the selfless efforts of every past, present and future participant, Hugger and Huggee.
This is a documentary that is filmed throughout an entire world’s worth of locations, cultures and people and is inherently grand and hopeful. With a ‘community type’ aspect of filmmaking we intend to immerse everyone in the documentary process who becomes involved with the project. This can almost guarantee a tangible experience for the viewer because most of them become our filmmakers and participants. Our permanent team, the team that is actually in every single location, is small, but as we travel and hug, our crew family grows exponentially. This makes for a never before seen- worldwide- family of filmmakers, because everyone who involves themselves in our project becomes part of our filmmaking team, whether they’re holding one of our cameras or hugging a stranger on the street.
"The High Five": does for your hands what hugs do for your arms. This pledge amount gets you a special Thank You in the end credits of the film and a free subscription to our monthly e-newsletter that gives you to-date progress, new photos, articles, and special updates on upcoming locations.
"Here It Is" A special edition signed DVD copy of the film, "One Size Fits All," or a Digital download. Add to that, signed postcard from the crew, end credit Thank You, e-newsletter subscription, and a GIANT Karmic Hug. International Huggers add $5.
"The Sneak Attack" Special Edition Bluray with special Behind the Scenes featurettes. Add to that, signed postcard from the crew, end credit Thank You, e-newsletter subscription, and a GIANT Karmic Hug. International Huggers add $10 for Shipping.
"You Name It" Put your name on the vehicle that tours the US. We will also feature a 'In Memorium' section of the car for those who make a donation on behalf of someone they miss or have lost. Also includes a signed postcard, Movie Poster, and a special Thank You on the end-credit scroll.
"One on One" Skype it up with the Director of the film for a one on one interview and a special Thank you for your wonderful donation. Also receive your name on our tour vehicle, choice of Bluray/DVD/digital download copy of the finished film (after Festival season) and a signed Postcard. International Huggers please add $10
"The Bear Hug" Be featured on a Thank You edition of a Webisode where you can either interview or be interviewed by the crew. Also includes a signed original postcard, DVD or Bluray copy of the film, Free Hugs tshirt, and a special Thank You on end credits. International Huggers add $10.
"Big-Daddy Hug" Join us in recognizing your wonderful contribution and become an honorary Producer, getting credit on the Film. Also includes all perks listed above. International Huggers please add $10.
"The Big Squeeze." Crew member for a day. Grab a chance at joining this fabulous crew and be our cameraman/woman for a day. We come to you and set up a Free Hugs event in your hometown, you shoot whatever you want, and what you film will end up on either a special webisode or the end product, the film "One Size Fits All."
"The Shutter-Bug Hug." 5 original framed pictures from the journey to spread love and hugs to the world, also signed by the crew. Add to that, every perk that came before. (Karmic hug, end credit thank you, e-newsletter, signed postcard, Skype call, Tshirt of your choosing, DVD or Bluray copy of the film, Producer's credit, a special webisode interview, and your name on our US tour car if you so choose, please specify if you would like to stay anonymous). International Huggers please add $10
"The Hometown Hug." A special VIP invite to the Hometown premiere with a special Dinner and drinks to Thank you properly. Add to that, the e-newsletter, special end credit thank you, postcard, skype call with Director, Free Hugs tshirt of your choosing, DVD or Bluray copy of the film, Producer's Credit, the special feature on our travel webisode, the "You Name It" perk, and a great big hug from yours truly. Travel expenses to be payed for by the Donor.
"The Latin-Lovah" Get a one of a kind keepsake/prop from the documentary, the actual "Free Hugs" sign which will travel to every single Spanish speaking location and be featured on the film. Also we will put together an On The Road care package, with a little trinket from every stop along the way. Add to that a Producer's credit, Skype call with the director, Name on our tour car, Bluray/DVD or digital copy of the finished film, Both Tshirt designs, movie Poster, Newsletter, and a signed postcard.
"Le French Baguette" Get a one of a kind keepsake/prop from the documentary, the actual "Free Hugs" sign which will travel to every single French speaking location and be featured on the film. Also we will put together an On The Road care package, with a little trinket from every stop along the way. Add to that a Producer's credit, Skype call with the director, Name on our tour car, Bluray/DVD or digital copy of the finished film, Both Tshirt designs, movie Poster, Newsletter, and a signed postcard.
"The Route 66" Get a one of a kind keepsake/prop from the documentary, the actual "Free Hugs" sign which will travel to every single US location and be featured on the film. Also we will put together an On The Road care package, with a little trinket from every stop along the way. Add to that a Producer's credit, Skype call with the director, Name on our tour car, Bluray/DVD or digital copy of the finished film, Both Tshirt designs, movie Poster, Newsletter, and a signed postcard.
"The Group Hug." A large Book of Hugs filled with original photos and the signatures of every single Hugger and Huggee we crossed on the journey. A timeless and beautiful keepsake. Add to that, every perk before this (with exception to the Free Hugs signs/props, however does include our On The Road care package). Limit of only 2 because that's a lot to travel with.