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A personal documentary film about a daughter's search for the mother she never knew through their shared love of photography.
A personal documentary film about a daughter's search for the mother she never knew through their shared love of photography.
505 backers pledged $33,721 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$33,721

505

HELP US REACH OUR NEW STRETCH GOAL: $35,000!

Filmmaking is expensive! Our total budget is currently near $200,000, but may be higher depending on rights and usage costs. If we raise more than our goal, we can not only FINISH SHOOTING the film; we can start post production! We very much appreciate your support!

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ABOUT THE FILM

This project began when I uncovered some boxes of short films at my dad's house about the photographic icons Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Cornell Capa, Lisette Model, W. Eugene Smith, William Albert Allard, Don McCullin, and others. My mother, Sheila Turner-Seed had directed and edited the films in the early '70s. Since she died so long ago, I thought maybe I could learn more about her life if I retraced their origins.

Sheila's published photography programs.
Sheila's published photography programs.

I discovered that her raw interviews had been sitting like a time capsule at the International Center of Photography since 1979 when my dad sent them there for safekeeping. This led me to start A Photographic Memory, a film celebrating my mother's life and work, as well as ICP founder Cornell Capa's vision for photography. 

Excerpt from Sheila's typed transcript of her interview with W. Eugene Smith.
Excerpt from Sheila's typed transcript of her interview with W. Eugene Smith.

In A Photographic Memory, I go on a journey to learn – through our shared profession – about the mother I never knew but whom I so desperately need to know. My mother, Sheila, was an ambitious New York and London-based writer, editor and producer who died suddenly in 1979. I was 18 months old and she had completed, a few years earlier, a series of award-winning film programs about influential photographers that were co-produced by International Center of Photography founder Cornell Capa and Scholastic. After revisiting these photographers in New York, France and England or, if deceased, their closest associations, I am blending my mother’s 1970s interviews with my own footage, creating a posthumous mother-daughter collaboration that connects me to my mother while re-examining the course of the careers of some of the most influential photographers in the history of the medium.

Letter from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Sheila.
Letter from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Sheila.

WHERE WE'RE AT + WHAT WE NEED

Thanks to a generous donation from Richard Robinson and Scholastic in summer 2011, A Photographic Memory got off the ground and now is about ¾ of the way through production. We've traveled to France and around the US to interview key people, but now we need to raise at least $25,000 to complete shooting and begin editing this year. We still have several shoots to do: I will interview four contemporary photographers, as well as my mother's best friend in Alaska, who had a long conversation with her the day before she died and who remembers all of it. Funds will pay our film crew consisting of Director (me), DP (Daniel Traub), Sound PA (Mark Maloof), Editor (TBD) and production assistants. In the event we overfund we will be able to continue to pay an editor to get closer to a final cut, as well as get further along in the post-production process. Editing and post-production are the most costly and arguably important part in the filmmaking process, and our total budget is nearly $200,000. Your generous support will enable us to get closer to this project’s completion. We can't thank you enough for your donation, and we'd love your help spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and email!

GOODIES FOR YOU

Here's a sneak peak at some of the perks available at the different levels of contribution. This does not show all rewards: as images become available they will be added. Enjoy!

$500 Award: 8x12 Marilyn Monroe, 1956. Photograph by Brian Seed.
$500 Award: 8x12 Marilyn Monroe, 1956. Photograph by Brian Seed.
$35 award: Contact sheet from one of Sheila's many work trips to Alaska, where she did stories on Eskimoes and Alaskan lifestyles.
$35 award: Contact sheet from one of Sheila's many work trips to Alaska, where she did stories on Eskimoes and Alaskan lifestyles.
Film poster design
Film poster design
$150 award: 11x14 Vintage Flowers Archival Pigment Print (possible design)
$150 award: 11x14 Vintage Flowers Archival Pigment Print (possible design)
$250 award: 12 x 12 Limited Edition Archival Pigment Print by Rachel Elizabeth Seed
$250 award: 12 x 12 Limited Edition Archival Pigment Print by Rachel Elizabeth Seed
$75 award (option 1): Limited edition 8x10 archival pigment print by Rachel Elizabeth Seed.
$75 award (option 1): Limited edition 8x10 archival pigment print by Rachel Elizabeth Seed.
$75 award (option 2): Limited edition 8x10 archival pigment print by Rachel Elizabeth Seed.
$75 award (option 2): Limited edition 8x10 archival pigment print by Rachel Elizabeth Seed.

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Credits: 

Audio recordings of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Lisette Model, Cornell Capa and William Albert Allard courtesy International Center of Photography.

Special thanks to the team who is helping this come together:

Dick Robinson and Scholastic for their generous support to get this project off the ground! We can't thank them enough.

Editor: James Holland (with generous editing help from Joshua Sandler, Rachel Weaver and Cindy Leung)

Music by: Dave Merson Hess and Evelyn Davis

Production consulting: Jessica Wolfson

DP: Daniel Traub

Media: Marvin Orellana

Design: Maya Peraza-Baker

Interns: Kristen Bartley and Gavin McFarland

Brooklyn Film Clubbers and buddies (especially Josh, Anna, Cecilia and Amanda!)

Risks and challenges

As with any large scale film project, the road is filled with unforeseen challenges to be overcome. Potential challenges for this project include securing interviews with all of the photographers, family members and friends desired to complete the film, and then traveling to their locations to complete the shoots. These shoots require lots of research, planning and cooperation by all parties involved and occasionally there may be production delays due to unpredicted events.

If this project is successfully funded, we will be able to complete production. However, we will still be fundraising to complete post-production, which often takes longer (and costs more) than expected. With this in mind, our loose deadline to complete the film is December 2014, however this is subject to change based on the time and resources needed to pull it off. We will apply for film festivals and grants within the next year to make sure we finish what we started!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    JOIN THE COMMUNITY! - Thanks so much for your support - we'll keep you in the loop with exclusive film updates!

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    POSTER DOWNLOAD - Receive a digital download of our movie poster designed by Brooklyn artist Maya Peraza-Baker plus a shoutout on Facebook and project updates! Many thanks!

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    FILM STILL PRINT - Receive a gorgeous, archival limited edition 4x6 print from the 1940s Super 8 footage being used in the film, PLUS a shout out for your support!

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    FILM STILL PRINT - Receive a gorgeous, archival limited edition 4x6 print from the 1940s Super 8 footage being used in the film, PLUS a shout out for your support! Note: This print will feature a different (equally beautiful) vintage film still from the first sold out reward. Thank you!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEWS - Be among the first to hear outtakes from the Director's never-before-heard photographer interviews with your interview download. PLUS, get a digital download of the movie poster! Thanks so much!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    CONTACT SHEET - Get a beautiful, limited edition archival photographic print of a contact sheet made by Sheila Turner-Seed after her journey to Alaska in the early 1970's. See left for an image of what you'll get--images from this sheet will be featured in the film!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    MOVIE and MORE! - Get a digital download of the movie PLUS a hand-written vintage film still post card sent to you from the director! Thanks a million!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    LIMITED EDITION PHOTOGRAPHY PRINT - Choose from one of three signed, limited edition 8x10 archival pigment prints by Rachel Elizabeth Seed. Also receive a digital download of the movie and project updates. You rock!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    VINTAGE FILM STILL - Receive a sumptuous 11"x14" limited edition vintage film still (originally shot on Super 8 by Rachel's grandmother, Libby Turner, in the 1940's) print plus a digital download of the movie, digital download of the exclusively designed movie poster, a shoutout on Facebook and project updates! You're the best!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    COLLECTIBLE ART - Get a signed, limited edition 12x12 archival pigment print (see left for image) by Rachel Elizabeth Seed. Also, a digital download of the movie, exclusively designed movie poster digital download, and project updates. We couldn't do this without you!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PORTRAIT SHOOT - Enjoy a 1 hour portrait session in NY or Chicago (and receive a DVD of your images with printing rights) with Rachel, an exclusively designed movie poster by Brooklyn artist Maya Peraza-Baker, and get a digital download of the movie, plus Facebook shoutout and project updates!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    MARILYN MONROE - There's only one Marilyn, and only one of these gorgeous prints! Shot by Time Life London photographer Brian Seed, who appears in A Photographic Memory. 8x12".

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    EVENT SHOOT - Rachel will photograph your two hour event in NY, Chicago, Louisville or Bloomington (you get a DVD of hi-res images with printing rights), plus get a digital download of the movie and dinner with director in one of the above locations. (Shoot must be scheduled to accomodate all parties and contingent on Rachel's travel schedule.)

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

    PRIVATE FILMMAKING or PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS - Take 8 hours of private photography or filmmaking lessons with Rachel in NY, Chicago, San Francisco, Louisville or Bloomington (you may also give this to someone as a gift), 2 VIP film premiere passes (travel not included), a film credit, and digital download of the movie! We can't thank you enough!

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    PRIVATE SCREENING - Enjoy your own private screening for up to 10 guests in NYC with Director and available film crew Q + A, plus receive the exclusive movie poster and digital download of the film and project updates!

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    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER and MORE! - Get an Associate Producer title in the film, two tickets to the premiere (travel not included), dinner with the director in NY, Chicago, Bloomington or Louisville, a signed movie poster and a digital download of the movie! You are amazing!

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Get an Executive Producer credit plus two VIP tickets to the premiere (travel not included), dinner with the director in NY, Chicago, Louisville or San Francisco and a private photo shoot of your choice! Please contact us if you are interested in this level of support so we can discuss what's possible!

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Funding period

- (43 days)