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.”
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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credit card only if we raise our whole goal. All contributions are
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.
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.
There is a "send message" link at the top of our project page. Our email is http://mailto:email@example.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.
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!
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