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Filmmaking meets civil rights activism in The Tolerance Project, a documentary of counter-protests of Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church.

Thanks to Take Back Topeka for their support.

The Tolerance Project is an experiment in film as activism. Our feature-length documentary, to be released in early 2014, will chronicle and organize anti-hate activism in Topeka and nationwide.

There are many documentaries about Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps family. Their beliefs are well known, and we are not interested in getting to the bottom of them. There are, however, few works focusing on the lives he's shattered and the people he's hurt. That's where we come in.

We'll speak to people in Topeka and around the country about their experiences with the Phelps and tell their stories. We'll organize counter-protests to marginalize the church and mitigate their ability to harass and humiliate.

We'll post stories and video shorts on the Web, and in January 2014, we'll present our feature length documentary, The Tolerance Project.

Our vision for The Tolerance Project is ambitious, and we need a lot of resources to make it happen. Our $80,000 budget is broken down as follows: $40,000 for transportation, food, and lodging throughout the filming; $10,000 for video equipment; $8,000 in Kickstarter/Amazon fees; and the remaining $22,000 in production costs, including the making of the DVDs themselves. 

Countless news reports and specials, and several documentaries have examined Westboro Baptist's activities. Many groups across the nation have staged counter-protests when the Phelps have picketed. Topeka residents claim to abhor what the Phelps and Westboro Baptist do. But this would be the first attempt from a Topeka native to use the power of film and activism to take an official stand against their hatred. We're more than ready to rise to this challenge, but we need the funding to make this happen. Please, help us bring this project to fruition by contributing whatever you can, and by letting your friends and family know about The Tolerance Project

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest risk when dealing with the Phelps is that most of them are lawyers, and their firm Phelps Chartered is aggressive about pursuing legal action against their opposition. Intimidation is their business, and they are good at it. However, their unpopularity means there is no shortage of attorneys eager to take them on, and we are well-covered in that regard.

Another challenge is the travel schedule. They generally picket less over the winter, but even so the next two weeks they'll head to Dallas and Los Angeles. Most of our budget is for our crew to travel to these places so we can document the counterprotests and speak to the people Phelps is protesting against. We're able to travel somewhat more cheaply than the Phelps by virtue of our smaller crew.

Director Ash McGonigal has proven that he can do a lot with no money and little time. His animated web series The Adventures of Luke and Joe has run four seasons and a feature film with a total production cost of under $2000. This project requires somewhat more in the way of resources, and with your help we can neutralize the power of Westboro's hate.

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    2 backers

    Our heartfelt thanks and optional inclusion in our e-mail list for progress updates on The Tolerance Project and Westboro Tolerance Center.

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    3 backers

    A high definition digital download of the completed feature film, to be released early 2014. Also, our heartfelt thanks and inclusion in our e-mail list.

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    4 backers

    DVD of The Tolerance Project, along with our heartfelt thanks and inclusion in our e-mail list.

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    Combo pack! DVD of The Tolerance Project, delivered March, 2014, PLUS the digital download available in January, 2014. Also, our sincere thanks and inclusion in our e-mail list.

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    Special thanks on our Facebook page and our Web site's main page, plus a T-shirt, along with the DVD, digital download, and inclusion in our e-mail list.

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    Gift basket! DVD and digital download of The Tolerance Project, along with a T-shirt signed by Ash.

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    Here's where it starts to get really interesting. Here, Ash makes a video personally thanking you, and posts it on our Facebook page. Also, you get the gift basket in the $250 reward level.

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    We will include your name in the Special Thanks of the film's credits. You will also receive the gift basket from the $250 reward level.

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    Q&A with Ash: You'll get a Skype video call with director Ash McGonigal! You'll also have your name included in the Special Thanks of the film's credits, and you'll receive the gift basket.

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    Associate Producer: You'll be named as an Associate Producer in the film's credits. Plus, you'll get a Skype video call with Ash, and the gift basket.

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    Executive Producer: You'll be named as an Executive Director in the film's credits. Plus, you'll get the gift basket, given to you personally at a dinner held in Topeka, with a VIP screening of the film. (Travel to be paid by backer).

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Funding period

- (30 days)