HOW TO BECOME AN EXTREME ACTION HERO tells the story of Elizabeth Streb, who many have called the Evel Knievel of dance. Streb’s choreography, which she calls “PopAction,” intertwines the disciplines of dance, athletics, boxing, rodeo, and Hollywood stunt-work. The result is a bristling, muscle-and-motion vocabulary that combines daring with strict precision in pursuit of the public display of “real movement.” In 1985, Streb founded the world-renowned, award-winning dance company STREB, and in 2003, she established a home for it at S.L.A.M. (STREB Lab for Action Mechanics) in Brooklyn, NY. S.L.A.M.’s door is literally open for the community to come in and learn to fly.
I have been a close friend of Elizabeth Streb for twenty-five years. Recently a light bulb went off for both of us: Why don’t we make a film together? Streb has given us complete access to her life and permission to document the STREB Company over the course of a year.
HERO will defy the traditions and expectations surrounding documentary film just as Streb has tested and transformed dance performance throughout her career. Using thirty years of archival video, plus comic book-style animation and HD footage, this film will trace Streb from scrappy youngster to movement visionary, ultimately creating a fabric of meaning through which viewers can approach their own mental and physical limits.
You ask, "I wonder how people perceive movement?" and I think that the disaster – the failure of flight or the ultimate crushing and disintegration of the human body – is really what movement is all about.
HERO is about to take off. $40,000 will help us launch. All of the money raised on Kickstarter will go towards production costs, including:
1. Filming in London as Streb and her company prepare for and execute One Extraordinary Day, a series of daredevil performances throughout London during the Cultural Olympiad. Legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles, who practically invented the documentary form, will be shooting with director Catherine Gund in London.
2. Pulling together the Streb archive. We have boxes of VHS and Beta tapes, CDs and DVDs, spanning 30 years of Streb's work. We need funds to research, digitize and license this footage for use in the film.
3. Cutting a trailer. With our footage from London and the archival video, we will be working with our editors to cut an action-packed trailer. We need this for fundraising and development, as well as to get the word out about the film.
When people give money on Kickstarter, they want to know that the project is going to happen. We can say with 100% confidence: this film is happening! Our track record backs us up, too.
I have been a filmmaker for twenty-five years, and my production company, Aubin Pictures, has produced six feature-length documentary films. The films have broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens, the Sundance Channel, and Discovery’s Planet Green. They have screened at festivals, theaters, schools and museums around the world. Making an independent documentary film takes a lot of time, work, and commitment. We have the skills and experience to make it happen.
We are incredibly grateful for any amount you can donate (all donations are tax-deductible!), and we can't wait to share the film with you.
“My adventure in life began with action, and I know it will end with action.”
- (45 days)