About this project
*You can see this band play on December 15th or get the DVD for just $25* Look to your right >
Check out videos of the band in the Updates.
The award winning film WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING has offers for both a theatrical distribution and a PBS broadcast. In order to take advantage of those offers, we must first clear both music and archival rights and provide the distributors with proof of errors and omissions insurance.
Septentrional 63rd anniversary concert Cap-Haitian Haiti.
WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING tells the story of Haiti’s history – from Columbus to the earthquake -- through the music and memories of the country’s oldest and best-known big band Septentrional. For six decades this 20-piece band has been making beautiful music -- a fusion of Cuban big band and Haitian vodou beats – that turns out thousands of fans each time it plays. At 65, Septentrional has already survived fifteen years longer than the expected Haitian lifespan, its trumpeters, drummers, sax players and guitarists making music through dictatorships, natural disasters, coup d’états, and chaos. They embody a particular Haitian trait – the ability to find beauty in places of darkness.
The story of Septentrional and its continued existence in a place where little survives – not governments, monuments, art works, cities, lives nor even the very landscape – is uniquely Haitian. It is also one of the rare positive stories to come out of a county that has suffered so many hardships. Through its sweeping narrative, infectious music, tension-filled encounters and the musicians’ passionate dreams, the film goes to the core of what makes Haiti one of the most fascinating countries in the hemisphere. When the Drum is Beating allows the viewer to see, feel and hear the passion, commitment and joy of Septentrional’s musicians, and through them, the unique Haitian spirit.
We made this film to give a different access point to Haiti than the stories of poverty and unrest which so often we see in the media. We wanted to show both the broad context of internal and external failures that created the Haiti that is struggling so hard today, and also show that Haitians are not defined by that context, but are living the same dreams, hope and aspirations of people everywhere. Your support of this film will help bring a positive message about Haiti to the world, as well as help insure the survival of Septentrional, one of the last surviving Haitian institutions.
Ti-Bass and the When the Drum is Beating crew in Limbe, Haiti. Photo: D. Morel
With support from organizations like ITVS and NPBC, the Sundance Documentary Fund and private individuals, combined with the efforts of a group of dedicated people who worked for little, and in many cases no pay, we completed the WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING. It premiered at the Tribeca Film festival in April, and over the past five months has screened and won awards at festivals all over the world, including Hot Docs, Silverdocs, Traverse City Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival, Festival des Films du Monde and DMZ Docs, Korea. On the strength of the films festival performance, it has been offered a theatrical distribution deal by First Run Features and has been programmed by PBS’s Independent Lens.
These are opportunities that come to only a few documentaries each year, but in order to take advantage of these opportunities we need to pay Septentrioanal for the right to use their music. During the making of the film, the band generously gave us access to their 400-song catalog of recordings they have been building for 65 years, and let us record any live music they played. We made a commitment to the band that if we finished the film and it was picked up for broadcast, we would license their music for use in the film at a fair market rate. We also need to pay for the right to use the extensive archival moving and still images that are in the film, and acquire the “errors and omissions” insurance that is required for all films that are broadcast.
In addition, the film has now been selected for competition at the prestigious International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) for this November. This is the biggest non-fiction film festival and market in the world, and will give us a chance to offer the film to literally hundreds of international broadcasters and distributors. Again, we cannot do this if we haven’t paid for the music and archival images.
WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING has been seen by thousands of people during its festival run. We now have the opportunity to bring its message of hope and promise to literally MILLIONS of people around the world. But we can only do this with your help. Please consider contributing today.
HOW YOUR MONEY WILL HELP
Your money will help put the film in theaters and on American public television, ensure international distribution, and provide a huge financial boost to one of the last surviving Haitian cultural institutions.
Here is a breakdown of the how the funds will be used:
Pay the band a licensing fee for the use of their music in the film. We promised Septentrional that if we finished the film and got distribution the band we would license their music from them for use in the film. In addition, we will contribute an addition 10% of the funds we raise over our $65,000 target to ensure the continuing survival of the band.
Licensing fees for the almost 23 minutes of archival used in the film. This footage needs to be licensed before we can put the film on the air on in theaters.
Pay For Errors & Omissions insurance.
Pay for making a Digital Cinema Project (DCP) to put the film in theaters.
Pay for recording and mixing a Haitian Creole version of the film. The Dominican Republic Film Festival is organizing a series of free outdoor screenings in Haiti for November. We would like to create a version of the film that is entirely in Haitian Creole so every Haitian, whatever the level of literacy can see the film.
Kickstarter charges a 5% fee for running the campaign and their are cost associated with all the incentives we are providing.
We have come a long way, but cannot get this important story, a story that will be seen by millions, out to the world and insure the survival of an important Haitian institution. Please consider helping in any way you can.
If you are able to contribute financially we have amazing incentives to the right. If you can spread the word about our Kickstarter campaign to your friends, on Facebook, or to strangers in the grocery store we would be eternally grateful!
It may seem strange that a film so successful still needs funding, but this is the state of independent documentary filmmaking in the world. Independent documentary making does not follow a capitalist model, which judges success by the dollars a product makes in the market place, but more of a NGO or non-profit model, which judges success by the number of people it reaches and the change it effects. Because of all the film’s success so far, we have the opportunity to have the film reach millions worldwide. People are interested in programming it and airing it everywhere. However, the challenge is ours to raise funds to complete the film so it can get to the audiences and change their lives.
WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING IS A SURE BET
WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING has already received acclaim but needs your help to reach the larger world. Your donation will go to a project that once it makes it’s budget is guaranteed distribution on television channels all over the globe and will play in cinemas in many countries! You can help ensure that this happens.
HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands. In other words, if we don’t raise our goal of $65,000, we lose everything. Once we have reached our goal we will contact you to get your address and then we will start working on getting those awesome incentives (at right, ahem) to you!
HOW TO PLEDGE
Just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. You must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded.
Because of how Kickstarter is structured (you are receiving goods or services for your pledge) most pledges are are not tax deductible. If you are interested in making a larger contribution to the campaign, we have a mechanism for making donations of $5,000 and above tax deductible though our 501c3 fiscal sponsor. Please contact me directly for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If funding fails, all pledges are canceled and that's that. Your card is not charged, it’s like nothing ever happened. We hope this doesn’t happen! Those 90 days will fly by, donate today!
Yes! We can and we need to.
Of course! We will contact you once funding is complete to gather information so that we can get your incentives to you. Just let us know then the name you would like to donate under.
Yes and Yes! Just click on the Amazon Payment Button and you will see that you can pay with a credit card from any country! But you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. If you have any problems just contact us.
Become an Outreach Partner. Spread the word about the film in your community and receive a special Outreach Partner credit on our website. We’d love to discuss partnering with you, your organization, your community to help get the word out about the film. Please contact us and we’ll get the collaborative juices flowing!
And of course we need your help broadcasting the Kickstarter campaign. Facebook it. Tweet it.
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