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A film about disappearing stories of women who fought in Nicaragua's Sandinista Revolution, and their continuing struggles for justice.
A film about disappearing stories of women who fought in Nicaragua's Sandinista Revolution, and their continuing struggles for justice.
467 backers pledged $60,180 to help bring this project to life.

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MEMORIAS DEL FUEGO: Women and Revolution in Nicaragua

$60,180

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Thank you so much to all our backers! We made our goal, and we start filming again this October. If you backed the campaign, you can stay posted by liking and following our Memorias DEL FUEGO page on Facebook! If you were too late to donate to Kickstarter, good news! We are still raising funds for post-production. On our Non-Profit page with NYWIFT, you can use a credit card to make a tax-deductible donation here: http://www.nywift.org/article.aspx?ID=5180  THANK YOU!

¡Muchas gracias a todos nuestros patrocinadores! Hicimos nuestra meta, y empezamos a filmar de nuevo este mes de octubre. ¡Si usted donó a la campaña, le enviaremos más actualizaciones a partir de octubre, y por favor, verifique y les gusta nuestra página de Facebook para las actualizaciones de Memorias DEL FUEGO también! Si usted era demasiado tarde para donar a Kickstarter, ¡una buena noticia! Todavía estamos recaudando fondos para la post-producción. En nuestra página sin ánimo de lucro con NYWIFT, puede utilizar una tarjeta de crédito para hacer una donación deducible de impuestos aquí: http://www.nywift.org/article.aspx?ID=5180  ¡Gracias!

MEMORIAS DEL FUEGO is a feature-length documentary about the stories, struggles, and triumphs of Sandinista women in Nicaragua who refused to conform – changing the face of their country. They played a vital role in winning the Sandinista Revolution of 1979, but four decades later they are still fighting for social equality. We knew we had to try to film these stories, so we went this April using only our savings and borrowed equipment to capture what we could, and found more than we imagined.

These women's stories are being written out of history in Nicaragua, please help us document them before they vanish. Some of these women take different positions within "Sandinismo," but with your help we can also document other perspectives and contributions before they disappear. Although some are no longer living, we can still reach former combatants and FSLN members, including those of humble origins, who risked their lives fighting in the Revolution but have never been interviewed. Why did they fight? Did they get the changes they hoped for? We need your help to reach rural areas and to finish documenting their untold stories.

MEMORIAS DEL FUEGO es un documental sobre las historias, luchas y triunfos de mujeres sandinistas en Nicaragua que se negaron al conformismo - que cambiaron la faz de su país. Por favor ayúdenos a preservar los logros de estas mujeres para que no desaparezcan. Algunas de estas mujeres toman diferentes posiciones dentro del "sandinismo" hoy en día, pero con su ayuda también podemos documentar otras perspectivas y contribuciones antes de que sean olvidadas. Aunque algunas ya no están vivas, todavía podemos contactar a las ex combatientes y miembros del FSLN, incluyendo a las de origen humilde, que arriesgaron sus vidas luchando en la Revolución, pero nunca han sido entrevistadas. ¿Por qué lucharon? ¿Realizaron los cambios que esperaban? Necesitamos su ayuda para llegar a las zonas rurales y para continuar la documentación de sus historias ..

THE WOMEN:

Photos of Sofia and Dora María by Margaret Randall, Photo of Margarita courtesy of Margarita I. Montealegre, Photo of Claudia courtesy of Claudia Gordillo
Photos of Sofia and Dora María by Margaret Randall, Photo of Margarita courtesy of Margarita I. Montealegre, Photo of Claudia courtesy of Claudia Gordillo

THE FILM:

Women comprised a remarkable (even by today's standards) 30% of the FSLN army and high command, which in 1979 overthrew the brutal dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. The Revolution brought together diverse groups of women seeking change, from every class of society and level of education. Fighting against Nicaragua's economic disparity, social injustice, and pervasive domestic violence, they worked in all capacities in the war: Commanders, Doctors, Messengers, Weapons Transporters, Combatants, and Photojournalists. 

HOW DID THEY FIRST TAKE A STAND?

Dora María Téllez was a medical student who trained in guerilla warfare in Cuba before leading the National Palace Operation and commanding a full army battalion. 

Gioconda Belli was a young mother who worked as an advertising executive in Managua while covertly organizing large intelligence operations and transporting weapons and documents across borders.

Mónica Baltodano led the final battles of the Revolution as a member of the high command. She fought while pregnant, and was imprisoned for a year during which she was beaten and shackled naked for 10 days in solitary confinement. 

WHY DO THEY PERSEVERE?

Although they won the war, four decades following the victory, the ideals these women fought for have still not been realized.

Rape, murder ('femicide') and domestic violence against women are increasing, and a majority goes unreported or unprosecuted. Nicaragua has the second highest rate of domestic violence in Latin America, with 1 in 3 women reporting physical abuse according to Casa Alianza. A study in the Journal Social Science and Medicine claims that over 50% of married women in the city of Leon have experienced abuse, and of those women 80% did not seek help.

Our film will examine these women's activism beyond the Revolution; their evolving struggles against this violence and what some consider to be an autocratic government today. In different ways, all of these women continue to fight; crusading for women's health and safety, writing books published all over the world, and running political parties. Each of their stories proves how multifaceted, how substantial, and how expansive one life can be.

Despite their continuing struggles for a just society, these women all spoke of the joy they felt fighting for the future of their country.  

WHY WE NEED YOU:

For our documentary to properly honor the women who fought in the Sandinista Revolution, we need to go back. With your support, we will finish capturing the stories of the inspirational women we met, explore their activism today, and interview the combatants from rural areas who have never shared their testimonies. It is crucial we are able to seek out women in remote areas, where the guerrilla warfare took place.  

To pursue these goals, we need funds for transportation, housing, food, equipment rental, and hiring local crew members. There is also a set of risks and logistics singular to filming in Nicaragua. Here's video of the earthquake that began while we spoke with Lea Guido:

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During our brief time there in April, we faced extreme weather, theft, unsafe housing, and numerous instances of having to unpack our rental car to pass damaged roads. To head back, we have budgeted for equipment storage, insurance, secure lodging, and safe transportation. 

WHO WE ARE:

Jenny Murray traveled to Nicaragua last year, and after returning to research and share what she found with Laura, they were both shocked to learn these women's stories were not widely known. Jenny convinced Laura for three months that even with no financial support they could go down and capture these stories on film. She graduated from Columbia College, Columbia University in New York where she studied Philosophy, Photography, and Latin American Film. After working as a licensed Associate on Watermill Trading's stock trading desk, she wrote and directed three films. The most recent was selected to screen at Anthology Film Archives in New York City this January in New Filmmakers New York Winterfest.

Laura Tomaselli has shot, produced, and edited documentaries for publications including The Atlantic Monthly, SAVEUR, and Vice Magazine. In the past few years, she has also completed trailers for several documentary films centered on domestic and global social issues. “Anita” reframes the notorious controversy between Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas which launched the discussion on workplace harassment, “Call Me Kuchu” depicts the lives of openly gay Ugandans and the persecution they face, and “The Invisible War,” which exposed the scope and severity of sexual assault in the American armed forces and was nominated for an Academy Award.

THE BIG PICTURE:

To us, the appeal of this project is twofold: in many ways these narratives are unique, singular to the Revolution, to the complex social and political history of Nicaragua that continues to shift. Simultaneously, these women's past and current efforts constitute part of a shared global history, where the struggles for gender and social equality bind all societies irrespective of language or cultural distance. By contributing to our Kickstarter for MEMORIAS DEL FUEGO, you are helping preserve these women's stories, and helping us to share them globally.

Nora Astorga
Nora Astorga
 

TO KICKSTART THIS FILM:

How does this work? When you donate to Memorias Del Fuego on Kickstarter, we only get the donation if we meet our goal. If we don't reach our goal, we receive $0, and you donate $0.

Our Minimum Goal of $57,000 is the least we need to proceed, but exceeding it allows us to hire both a local Nicaraguan camera person and producer, utilize higher quality audio equipment, shoot with better Canon cameras and lenses, continue into initial editing and post-production, and to start acquiring rights to crucial archival images and footage. These elements will create a richer film to do justice to these women. If we exceed our goal, we plan to have a cut of the film this year to start submitting to festivals all over the world, to share these stories as widely as we can.

Another valuable way to contribute is via social media. Please help us spread the word on Facebook, Twitter (#DELFUEGO) or by emailing a friend! THANKS SO MUCH!  BESITOS!

REWARDS:

Our perks support artisans' work (disclosure: perks may not be these exact items, but will be similar based on available quantities)

IN TANK OR TSHIRT! Entonces means "And then" or "So..."
IN TANK OR TSHIRT! Entonces means "And then" or "So..."
Masaya masks
Masaya masks

$5,000 Perk: 11x14" Photographic Print by Susan Meiselas
$5,000 Perk: 11x14" Photographic Print by Susan Meiselas

Risks and challenges

There is a unique set of risks and logistics for filming in Nicaragua. During our brief time there in April, we faced earthquakes, extreme weather, theft, unsafe housing, and numerous instances of having to unpack our rental car to cross unpaved roads. To head back, we budgeted for equipment storage, insurance, secure lodging, and safe transportation. Since we already shot a lot of footage in April and have already begun editing, we should be able to complete a cut of this project this year. It will be a great adventure, hope you can join us!

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    ¡VIVA! We will write you a personal THANK YOU email with a digital still from film and enroll you in our list for behind-the-scenes email updates about the project.

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    SI SI SI: We will mail you an old-school Nicaraguan POSTCARD, of volcanoes or one of the cities we travel to, signed by the filmmakers. Plus personal THANK YOU email with a digital still from film, and behind-the-scenes email updates.

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    FUERZA: Two handmade Nicaraguan friendship bracelets, link to special vintage Nicaraguan music playlist AND a set of one-of-a kind digital still photos we take in the green countryside, at the people’s revolution museum, and at blue back road pool halls. PLUS Rewards #1 & 2

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    ¡YO NO ME RINDO! YOUR NAME IN FILM CREDITS & DVD copy of film. PLUS TOTE BAG and Rewards #1-4

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    LUCHA ARMADA: Especial Nicaraguan REGALO BOX: "Entonces" T-SHIRT or TANK, Local Traditional MASK from Masaya, Original TOTE BAG. PLUS Rewards #1-5

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    COMANDO: Live Forever - In a mural in Esteli - Nicaraguan graffiti artist will immortalize your name in a cultural wall mural that YOU sponsor! We will send you a polaroid photo of YOUR NAME in your Regalo Box. PLUS Rewards #1-6

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    ¡SI, PODEMOS! VEN A CENAR Dinner & Concert tickets on us, for YOU + FRIEND at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY (Accommodations to & in New York not included) Filmmakers’ treat night of your choice tbd with us. PLUS Rewards #1-7

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    INCREíBLE: OFFICIALLY SPONSOR the film! Your name, or your company's name, in Film Credits as an Official Sponsor AND Dinner or Brunch for 4 at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY (Accommodations to & in New York not included) Filmmakers’ treat day of your choice tbd with us. PLUS Rewards #1-7

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    RELAJACIÓN: Nicaraguan Relaxation Package: Full-Size Handwoven hammock, large bag of gourmet Nicaraguan Coffee, Handcrafted ceramic mug from Masaya, Large Handwoven Beach Tote Bag. PLUS Rewards #1-7

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    ¡SIEMPRE! Associate Producer Credit IN FILM and ON IMDB. Plus 1 11x14" Rare Exhibition-quality Photograph Print by Susan Meiselas, see below. PLUS Rewards #1-7

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    Vamos to Nicaragua! Visit us on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua for 3 days while we film in September or October, get a lesson in filming with camera on location, dates t.b.d. with filmmakers (we take care of housing and transportation in country, you provide flights). Join us to see the country while we film. PLUS Associate Producer Credit IN FILM AND ON IMDB. PLUS Rewards #1-7

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    ¡SI, GANAMOS! Full Executive Producer Credit IN FILM and IMDB. Plus 1 11x14" Rare Exhibition-quality Photograph Print by Susan Meiselas, see below. PLUS Rewards #1-7

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Funding period

- (27 days)