About this project
Bear Down is a feature-length documentary looking at the
phenomenon of Super-fandom from the perspective of Chicago Bears Super-fans. Over the course of two seasons, Bear Down
traces the public and private lives of a handful of Chicago Bears fans to whom
commitment translates to anything from tattoos, DIY museums and customized
school buses decked out with grills and karaoke machines.
Over the course of two years, we see into the personal lives
of each fan and how their fandom parallels their everyday existence. From Chicago’s unofficial bear suit wearing mascot
“Bearman” and his dedication to forest preservation to Tim “Da Bus” Shanley’s
tribute to his father through large-scale tailgating, each person’s
relationship to fandom reveals a deeper understanding of the human experience
and each individual’s stumblings and triumphs.
Bear Down investigates not only the personal stories of its
main characters, but also the social history of the phenomenon of tailgating,
the history of the NFL and its Chicago roots as well as the socio-economic
obstacles to fandom. From the
perspective of fans, we see the evolution of the NFL and its players from
groups of weekend hobbyists with working-class jobs to a class of
highly-trained athletes earning astronomical salaries.
Was Walter Payton a milkman? Did William “The Refrigerator”
Perry work in a factory? Who started the
rivalry between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, a rivalry dating
back nearly 100 years?
Bear Down has all the answers and more!
Bear Down is a story of love and commitment not only to a
sport but to the diverse and deeply-rooted social connection that can form
around even a team that doesn’t often win.
HOW WE WILL USE THE FUNDING
From Day One, Bear Down has become a reality through the
dedication of a small dedicated group of people mostly volunteering. With your support, we will be able to support
our team with and expand the story by covering production at away games
(travel, lodging and stadium tickets), purchasing a few pieces of much-needed
equipment and helping to fund the early phases of distribution for the
project. Other hidden but very serious
costs (estimated at $30,000) will come through licensing archival footage from
football games past and present, covering legal fees and obtaining location
releases so that we can get the best access to tell the story we want to share
with our audience.
Beyond that, we’re anticipating the cost of expanding the
film’s impact by paying for physical and digital distribution and promotion in
order to share this story with audiences around the world.
On a day-to-day basis, we’d like to provide our production
team with creature comforts like food, travel costs and the occasional cup of
Risks and challenges
As we look ahead, with the Chicago Bears out of the playoffs, we will begin looking more deeply into our characters. We are thankful to have a handful of kind individuals who have so far generously invited us into their homes to watch them as the work, cook and relax with their families. With our limited budget and with the volunteered time of a lot of individuals in front of and behind the camera, we’ve relied on the stars aligning with every weekend shoot. Despite the limited schedules of our production teams, we’ve been able to get access to enthralling and moving footage thus far. With some of our major costs covered, our production team will be able to devote more time away from our day jobs and slow the pacing of our storytelling in order to get to know our characters even more deeply. With the opportunity to spend many weekdays documenting their day-to-day lives at work and at home, we hope to depict and relate to our characters with the kind of measured empathy and understanding that only time can afford. Your contribution will enrich this film in many ways, material and emotional.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question?
If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.