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A documentary that explores education inequality as a global issue in black communities.
101 backers pledged $5,175 to help bring this project to life.
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Baobab Flowers is a documentary that explores education inequality as a global issue in black communities. 

Students from Amelia Kerr School in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Students from Amelia Kerr School in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Baobab Flowers is a personal documentary that blends poetic and observational footage following the journey of two high school teachers: Storm Foreman (Nyanza Bandele) in Philadelphia, United States, and Priscila Dias in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Director, Gabriela Watson Aurazo, immerses herself in a journey to make the connections between communities of the African Diaspora. Through a female perspective, the documentary intends to address the similarities of black women, the impact of low quality education in the black community and the struggle to achieve equality in education.

Nyanza and Priscila have a fascinating story! They are not only educators, but single mothers, community leaders and they both practice religion of African roots. In the educational sphere, they discuss racial and social inequality with their students, the value of embracing their Afro-descendent identity and they also encourage them to pursue their goals as challenging as they can be. 

Despite being in two different countries, Nyanza and Priscila show that black communities face similar issues, and as black women they have bonds that unite them although they have cultural differences. Ultimately, they are examples of how black women are a source of inspiration despite being at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. This is why it is crucial that their story is told now!

Why is it that underserved Black and Brown communities have such a gap of educational opportunities? How can we make a school that values and reconnects with our African Ancestry? What is the importance of black women as educators in our communities? These are some of the issues explored in Baobab Flowers.

The inspiration behind the name "Baobab Flowers"

The baobab is one of the tallest trees common in some countries in the African continent, and now it remains a symbol related to a Pan-African sentiment. A legend says that the enslaved Africans had to walk around that tree before crossing the Atlantic to forget their names and culture. The teachers are strong like the Baobab tree; they are source of sustenance, spirituality, fuel, and identity for their communities.

Meet the Characters

Priscila Dias Carlos
Priscila Dias Carlos

Priscila is an Afro-Brazilian Historian, mother of two, and a local organizer. Her family migrated from the northeast of Brazil before settling roots in the city of Sao Paulo. She is a History teacher at Amelia Kerr, a public school in one of the highest poverty areas of São Paulo, where most of the students are of African descent. Her main goal is to "decolonize" her students' minds promoting critical thinking of racism and the social conditions that surround them. Her intention is to create a learning environment where students feel proud of their identity.

Storm Foreman (Nyanza), Philadelphia based teacher
Storm Foreman (Nyanza), Philadelphia based teacher

Storm Foreman, is an African American born and raised in Philadelphia. Nyanza Bandele is the African name she has chosen for herself. A mother of three, Nyanza was an English teacher at Overbrook High School and Edison High School, both challenging schools with a lack of resources where most of the students are Black and Latino. She incorporates black culture in her curriculum to make her students connect with their own history. Now, she is a Social Studies teacher at a Homeschool Collective where her daughters are enrolled. Nyanza is also an activist in NGO Reconstruction, which develops training primarily for black youth and former convicts. 

Students at Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia
Students at Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia

Film director Gabriela Watson Aurazo is a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) candidate at Temple University. This is her second documentary film and its completion will mean the fulfillment of her degree.

Gabriela and Hannah (DP) during interview with Nyanza
Gabriela and Hannah (DP) during interview with Nyanza

Gabriela: “As an Afro-Brazilian, the access to quality education lead me to many important experiences, at the same time most Afro-descendants around the world have their lives limited because they don´t have the same opportunities I did. As a person of the African Diaspora with a multi-cultural background I'm passionate about connecting with other Afro-descendants. I want to contribute to a cross-cultural dialogue that can help communities to support each other. This is the main goal of my film projects. I’m deeply inspired to tell the story of Nyanza and Priscila through Baobab Flowers, as I believe black women have a key role in keeping the values and positive identities in black communities." 

Click here to check out Gabriela's past work.  Below is the latest project she co-directed, AfroTrip: Brazil, a web-series featuring up and coming artists and activists from the Black social movement from three main cities of Brazil: Sao Paulo, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. 

The need for this film

The lack of access to education in Black and Brown communities is a global problem, one of the results of systemic racism.

Pervasive ethnic and racial disparities in education follow a pattern in which Latino and African Americans underperform academically. The challenges Afro-descendants in both the United States and Brazil experience in education are similar. It is necessary to bring light to these disparities so that we can come up with effective solutions for our communities.

In Brazil, many college age young adults are still in high school. Similarly, in the United States, when all grade levels are combined, black students are nearly three times more likely to be held back than their white peers. 

The Impact: Building Community

Baobab Flowers speaks to a variety of issues and groups such as disparities in education, the connections of black women and the African Diaspora, and religions with African roots, such as Ifa and Candomble.

Our intention is that Baobab Flowers will serve as a catalyst for dialogue and change. Once the documentary is done, we will plan an outreach campaign to screen the film in the communities involved, film festivals, and universities, in order to help to spark the discussion on inequality in education and the importance of black women in our communities. Baobab Flowers will be a source to showcase the results of systemic racism, results of the social politics chosen by Brazil and the United States. 

We are proud to have a diverse crew, especially supporting the idea that women of color should be behind the camera. Your donation to this project will not only support just one individual, but a whole community of producers committed to social justice. 

Help us make this film!

Making a film is challenging! We need your help to secure funding for the final stages of production: We have used our personal resources for production costs up until this point. We have covered 50% of the footage, and we still need to finish shooting in Philadelphia and Sao Paulo. Our immediate goal is to raise $4,500 to cover production costs such as crew, transportation, traveling, equipment and meals.

Our stretch goal!

We aim to go beyond and reach our stretch goal of $7,000, which will allow us to pay for the post-production expenses such as the editor, color correction, sound mastering and film festival submission fees. 

Any donation will help our campaign, from big to small. But here are a few other ways you can help! 
  • Donate and choose one of your unique perks! 
  • Help us spread the word by sharing our campaign on social media 
  • Ask your friends to donate to our campaign 
Thank you!   
      

Team 

The entire team is formed by artists, filmmakers and art-educators committed to using art to inspire social change. Check out our bios!
Director/Producer
Gabriela Watson Aurazo, a Brazilian of Afro-Peruvian descent is a filmmaker and educator. She holds a BA in Communications and has background experience in Production of Broadcast TV Journalism and independent media focused on Afro-Brazilian culture and black identity. She directed Nosotros, Afroperuanos (We, Afro-Peruvians), that was screened in many countries around the world. Gabriela also directed the webseries Afro-Trip: Brazil and produced other documentaries. Check out her past projects here. Currently, Gabriela is finishing her Master in Fine Arts (MFA) in Film and Media Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Creative Producer  
Melissa Beatriz Skolnick is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia storyteller, who uses these platforms to bring awareness to social justice and human rights issues that are often ignored. Since 2010, she has been working with nonprofit and community based organizations throughout Philadelphia, while using media as a tool for community building and storytelling.

Producer
Joyce Prado is an awarded Brazilian filmmaker, and some of her work includes: webseries Empoderadas (co-direction), short film Fábula de Vó Ita, 2015 (co-direction); the short film Sol Timore AV (producer), Series Rua 9 (Writer) and the short film Walls Between Us, 2014 (Writer and Producer).

Directing & Production Team / Collaborating Artists

Renata Martins (Assistant Director), Ana Julia Travia (Producer Assistant), Liliane Braga (Consultant), Mark Kaercher (Line Producer)

Hannah Angle (Director of Photography), Tomires Ribeiro (Director of Photography), Renato Candido (Director of Photography)

TIMBALONA (Music), Marco ZX (Graphic Designer), Cleonice Fonseca (Dancer)

Risks and challenges

Completing a medium length documentary is no easy task.

How can you be sure we will complete this film?

It has already received the Green light!
Baobab Flowers is Gabriela's MFA Thesis Project so it has been approved and it is being mentored by a group of established filmmakers, her professors, members of the MFA Committee.

Supported with grants!
Gabriela also received a grant from Temple University that covered part of the production costs, so to supplement our funding we are doing this Kickstarter campaign.

Accountability
On the strength of the early stages of this project, Gabriela was awarded fellowships and grants including the 2014 Fingerlakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) Fellowship and a 2015 Flaherty Seminar Fellowship. She also received a scholarship from the Black Women Film Network (BWFN) in Atlanta, GA, in 2014 and she was a recipient of the Deans Grant (2013, 2014) and a Production Grant (2016) from Temple University.

The film is real!
The film is already in production. We shot 50% of the documentary, we need your help to finish the project with the best production value possible.

We have a professional and passionate team!
All of the members of the team have the experience and passion necessary to finish this project. Check out our bios.

We are already building community!
Baobab Flowers is connecting to people. It's vital to remember that the communities related to the teachers of the project Nyanza and Priscila, plus a community of artists and supporters have already formed around it. Your support is making that community grow and we are so grateful for it.

We want to be able to film the most compelling and polished footage. With the production costs covered through this campaign, we will be able to maximize the chances of presenting a film that is engaging both visually and story-wise.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Muito obrigada! Endless Gratitude
    Every little bit helps our journey. You will receive a special shout out on our social media.

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    5 backers
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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Baobab Tree seeds
    E-mails with news and updates on Baobab Flowers as it progresses plus a special shout out on our social media.

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    11 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Food for thought
    An exclusive list of books and films related to education and black culture that inspired this film.
    + Updates on Baobab Flowers film as it progresses
    + Shout out on our social media

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    12 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Music to your ears
    Download the original sountrack of Baobab Flowers by Philadelphia based and Sao Paulo musicians

    + List of books and films that inspired Baobab Flowers Film
    + Shout out on our social media

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    25 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Watch it first!
    A preview of the film via online streaming
    + Download the original soundtrack of Baobab Flowers
    + Shout out on our social media

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    13 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Afro-diaspora journey package!
    Official Thank You in the credits
    + A photo journal with the most memorable moments of the 3 year production process of Baobab Flowers Film
    + Download of the original soundtrack
    + List of books and films that inspired the film + Shout out on our social media

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    8 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Baobab Flowers Film Poster - stick it on the wall
    An exclusive PDF of Baobab Flowers Film poster
    + All previous perks mentioned on the $70 package

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    7 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Baobab Flowers DVD!
    You got it! You will receive a DVD copy of the film to watch as many times as you want

    + All the perks from the $100 package

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Baobab Tree small plant
    You are feeding this project and we will treat you. You will receive a copy of the DVD film
    + A customized bookmark from Baobab Flowers project
    + A PDF of the film's poster
    + A photo journal of the film
    + Download of the original soundtrack
    + List of books and films that inspired the film + Shout out on our social media

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    The tree is blooming!
    Great choice. You will get 2 customized post cards of the film
    + A customized bookmark
    + A PDF of the film's poster
    + A photo journal of the film
    + Download of the original soundtrack
    + List of books and films that inspired the film + Shout out on our social media

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Baobab Flowers Film Premiere
    Let´s party! The film is done and we will celebrate it. You will get 2 invitations to the Private Film Premiere in Philadelphia
    + A PDF of the film's poster
    + A photo journal of the film
    + Download of the original soundtrack
    + List of books and films that inspired the film + Shout out on our social media

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    1 backer
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Building community in Philadelphia
    Give back to the community. If you donate this perk we will offer a free storytelling workshop to the Philadelphia community
    + 2 invitations to the private premiere of the film in Philadelphia
    + A photo journal of the film
    + A PDF of the film's poster
    + Download of the original soundtrack
    + List of books and films that inspired the film + Shout out on our social media

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

    Associate Producer credit
    on IMDB
    + 2 invitations for the private premiere in Philadelphia (travel not included),
    + A high definition (HD) digital download of the completed film
    + A photo journal of the film
    + A PDF of the film's poster
    + Download of the original soundtrack
    + List of books and films that inspired the film + Shout out on our social media

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    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Executive Producer credit
    on IMDB
    + 2 invitations for the private premiere in Philadelphia (travel not included)
    + A high definition (HD) digital download of the completed film
    + A photo journal of the film
    + A PDF of the film's poster
    + Download of the original soundtrack
    + List of books and films that inspired the film + Shout out on our social media

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    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (45 days)