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Action architect Elizabeth Streb has re-invented the language of movement. HERO will re-write the language of documentary.
Action architect Elizabeth Streb has re-invented the language of movement. HERO will re-write the language of documentary.
213 backers pledged $40,643 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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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.

Elizabeth Streb performing "Breakthru," 1997
Elizabeth Streb performing "Breakthru," 1997

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.

Elizabeth Streb, 2012
Elizabeth Streb, 2012

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.”

Streb rehearsing in her studio, 1984
Streb rehearsing in her studio, 1984
STREB Action Heroes at the Annenberg Center, 2000
STREB Action Heroes at the Annenberg Center, 2000
STREB Company performing "Squirm," 2000
STREB Company performing "Squirm," 2000
STREB performing "Speed Angels" during One Extraordinary Day in London, 2012
STREB performing "Speed Angels" during One Extraordinary Day in London, 2012
STREB Company rehearsal, photo by Joel Bischoff
STREB Company rehearsal, photo by Joel Bischoff

FAQ

  • Elizabeth Streb founded the STREB dance company in New York City in 1985. Over the course of two decades, STREB has performed in theaters large and small and served as artists-in-residence at the world’s top art museums. At the same time, they have taken their slam-bam action out of hallowed halls and into the streets and sports stadiums. They’ve appeared in numerous public performances, free to all: at Grand Central Station in Manhattan; in front of the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island’s fairground; and under the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage where they flew above their audience, suspended from a 40-foot wall. They dove through glass as part of V-Day, an anti-violence-against-women event at Madison Square Garden; and mesmerized sports fans during halftime at a Seattle Sonics basketball game, and before the National Anthem over the pitcher’s mound at the Minneapolis Metrodome for a Twins/Yankees game. STREB has appeared on television, with David Letterman on CBS, surrounded by kids climbing walls on Nickelodeon, as well as in the one-hour documentary “PopAction,” directed by Michael Blackwood. They’ve won the love of generations of school children, sports lovers, TV watchers and thrill seekers, too—people who may never have felt welcomed in a dance environment.

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  • You are pledging to make a contribution which will go through to your
    credit card only if we raise our whole goal. All contributions are
    tax-deductible.

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  • Feel free to pledge anonymously. Set your Kickstarter profile name to whatever pseudonym you choose. This name is what the rest of the world sees in our list of Backers. Many of the perks are physical objects, so if you wish to hide your specifics from us, choose a pledge category without physical merchandise. You will need to disclose a financial identity to Amazon Payments but that won't be revealed on Kickstarter.

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  • Our campaign goal will cover filming in London, digitizing archival
    footage and cutting a trailer for fundraising from foundations. We've
    set ourselves the goal of $40,000 in 45 days. We think we can do it
    with your help! Of course, we need additional funds for production and
    post, so if we raise more than $40,000 in our Kickstarter, it will go
    to good use.

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  • There is a "send message" link at the top of our project page. Our email is http://mailto:info@aubinpictures.com and production office phone is http://tel:212-274-0551. We can be reached through our website: http://strebfilm.org or Facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/HowToBeAnExtremeActionHero. Please be in touch with any questions or comments.

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  • You can follow the progress of our film by staying tuned to our film's facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/HowToBeAnExtremeActionHero), twitter account (@AubinHERO) and website (ww.strebfilm.org). The action will continue FAR beyond our kickstarter deadline!

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    "Hero status" STREB sticker + A thank you on the film website + an EXTREME THANK YOU message!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    “Action Hero Status” STREB Wristband + STREB sticker + a thank you on the film website!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    “EXTREME Action Hero Status” STREB wooden toy plane + STREB sticker +a thank you on the film website!

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    "Human Bird Jeb Corliss status"
    STREB sticker + STREB light-up bouncy ball + your name on the film's website

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    “Daredevil Status” Postcard from London + STREB sticker + thank you on the film website. The filmmaker will send you a handwritten HERO postcard from the London 2012 Festival. Sign up for this one fast - it expires on July 15!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    "Daredevil Status" An original 5X7 print from London + STREB sticker + thank you on film
    website. What kind of magic happened in London? Get a peak, with this
    beautiful hi-res snapshot taken during ONE EXTRAORDINARY DAY --
    STREB’s daredevil marathon of events.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    “Extreme Arctic Swimmer Lynne Cox Status” A copy of Streb's book + STREB sticker + thank you on the film website. Feminist Press has donated 20 copies of Elizabeth Streb's 2010 memoir, filled with photos, stories and reflections of movement, space, gravity, as well as her life and art. Signed by Elizabeth Streb!

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    “Human Spider-Man Alain Robert Status” Drop-in class at SLAM + thank you on film website. Go to your limit! Visit SLAM, the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a group class taught by one of Streb's amazing dancers. No need to be scared . . . you'll love it.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    "Performance Art Pioneer Marina Abramović status" An original 8x10 photographic print from London + your name on the film's website.
    You will receive a one-of-a-kind photograph of the STREB performances at the London 2012 Festival taken by professional photographer and member of our crew Esy Casey.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    "Horse Diver Sonora Carver Status” STREB water bottle + thank you on the film website. It's important to stay hydrated when you are propelling up the sides of buildings. These water bottles are stainless steel and BPA-free.
    Est. Delivery: Oct 2012

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    “World-Renowned Stunt Man Jackie Chan Status” STREB sticker + 2 tickets to the next STREB show at SLAM in Brooklyn, NY + thank you on film website. Get the Streb treatment in person at the SLAM studio in Brooklyn. This season’s performances start in the fall.

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    “Niagara Falls Barrel-Rider Annie Edson Taylor Status” The social documentary box set + thank you on the film website. We'll mail you 5 of the Aubin Pictures documentaries: What's On Your Plate? + Motherland Afghanistan + A Touch of Greatness + Making Grace + On Hostile Ground.

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    “Homemade Airship Pilot Lawnchair Larry Status” A year of free movies at Maysles cinema + thank you on the film’s website. You get a one-year membership to the Maysles Institute, which means lots and lots of free independent film.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    “Best Female High-wire Performer Bird Millman Status” Set of Marvel™ Hero cookies, home-baked and decorated by the filmmaker’s son (featured in our Kickstarter video) + thank you on the film website. We will ship these cookies anywhere in the U.S.!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    NEW REWARD! "Gold Medal Gymnast Gabby Douglas status" Drinks for two on us. Bring a friend and join filmmakers Catherine Gund and Tanya Selvaratnam at the watering hole of your choice in New York City. PLUS, get signed DVDs of their films "What's On Your Plate?" and "Our City Dreams," and a thank you on the film website.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    "Master Performance Artist Tehching Hsieh status" Official copy of the finished HERO film on DVD + onscreen thank you in the film's credits.

    See your name up on the big screen in the credits of our film, and then own that legacy through receiving a copy of the DVD!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    “Magician & Escapologist Harry Houdini Status” STREB sticker + An invitation to the New York premiere + onscreen thank you. We will thank you personally in the film's credits, and thank you even more in person at the premiere!

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    “Professional Punch-Taker Cannonball Richards Status” Maysles/Aubin Pictures DVD box set + onscreen thank you + official copy of the finished HERO film on DVD + an invitation to the New York premiere.

    The DVD boxset includes 8 excellent documentaries or your viewing pleasure: Gimme Shelter + Grey Gardens + When We Were Kings + What's On Your Plate? + Motherland Afghanistan + A Touch of Greatness + Making Grace + On Hostile Ground.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    “Extreme High-wire Artist Phillippe Petit Status” Friend of Maysles Cinema membership + an invitation to the New York premiere + onscreen thank you + Official copy of the finished HERO film on DVD . This membership comes with a year of free films at Maysles cinema, invitations to special members only screenings, previews and events, your name listed in the Cinema lobby, and a Maysles Cinema Tote Bag.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    “American Daredevil Evel Knievel status” Come to the VIP reception of the HERO premiere party The guest list includes Elizabeth Streb, Albert Maysles, filmmaker Catherine Gund, the STREB dancers and you! + signed official copy of the finished HERO film on DVD + onscreen thank you.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    “Lucha Libre Wrestler Status” STREB sticker +Lunch with the filmmaker + onscreen thank you + an invitation to the New York premiere. Join the filmmaker for lunch at La Esquina, for tacos and Lucha Libre decor.

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    “Pioneer & Pilot Amelia Earhart Status” STREB sticker + Sit down for coffee with Albert Maysles and filmmaker Catherine Gund. Plus onscreen thank you + an invitation to the New York premiere. Have a question for legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles? Here’s your chance to ask . . .

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Funding period

- (45 days)