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The tale of a miraculous friendship between a young Iranian artist & the proprietor of the last all-night candy store in NYC.
Please join us as we grow at CandyStoreMovie.com !          The tale of a miraculous friendship between a young Iranian artist & the proprietor of the last all-night candy store in NYC - follow @candystoremovie. Dance Party: discotehran.nyc
Please join us as we grow at CandyStoreMovie.com !          The tale of a miraculous friendship between a young Iranian artist & the proprietor of the last all-night candy store in NYC - follow @candystoremovie. Dance Party: discotehran.nyc
383 backers pledged $61,325 to help bring this project to life.

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$61,325

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** Ray pays astronomical costs to serve the community. The month we are successful, we will buy Ray an urgently needed ice cream machine.**

Arya, a young Iranian filmmaker worried about deportation, walks into a New York candy store late at night seeking a milkshake. He chats up the owner, a kind-spirited, wild-hearted old Puerto Rican named Ray Alvarez - and in a strange twist of fate, Ray turns out to also be an Iranian refugee, living in disguise. So begins Arya’s new American dream, of making soft-serve for wayfaring drunks and 5am misfits - and a most unlikely friendship is born.

“The Candy Store” is more than a tale of exile, more than a love letter to the vanishing flavors of old New York. It is a poetic testament to resilience in the face of fear and loss. It is a transcendent story of finding home in the most unlikely of places.

When I discovered that the so-called “Ray Alvarez” is actually from the same town as my father - Tabriz, Iran - I began recording our conversations, and helping him work the ice-cream machines late at night, so Ray could get a chance to sleep.

Ray came to USA with the Royal Iranian Navy. Upon their departure, Ray jumped off his ship and swam back to Virginia.

He’s been running Ray’s Candy Store 24/7 since 1973 in New York City. We bonded inside a time capsule: not only was the Candy Store the kind of cheap all-night New York hang-out that Iggy Pop might have sung about, but it was secretly infused with frozen elements of Ray’s Persian past. Soft serve, still alive, and sprinkled with the poetry of Omar Khayyam.

My kinship with Ray became the catalyst for this film.

photo by Frank Sun
photo by Frank Sun

Though threatened by gentrification, at 85, Ray still brings the warmest hometown hospitality to the East Village. He feeds the homeless, takes in the strays, and tells stories with a boundless love that keeps me coming back. Ray believes we need to take care of each other. I was lucky enough to capture the joy he brings to so many. This film is meant to shine a light on the resilience of the human spirit that rises above pain and conflict.

Making this film has been a labor of love. It has received support from patrons of the Candy Store who cannot wait to see their local hero on the big screen.

With a travel ban in effect, and rising tensions between Iran and the West, I feel it’s imperative to show the potential of Iranian (and other) immigrants as resilient purveyors of beauty, poetry, and the American Dream.

photo by Bob Arihood
photo by Bob Arihood

With high rents washing away the soul of our cities, I also want to show the value of keeping small businesses like Ray’s alive. Without Ray’s, even great cities like New York lose their flavor. With Ray, we can all be family.

Four years ago, I turned on my camera, to understand how a man like Ray could survive decades of hardship and come out okay. Four years later, I turn off my camera deeply humbled. It is my hope that your spirit will dance like Ray’s. But first - we need your help to finish this movie.

We are close, but it cannot happen without community support. Your donation at this very moment brings us one step closer.
All contributions go directly to completion: hiring an award-winning editor, renowned composer, as well as paying for a sound mix, E&O insurance, color correcting, and licensing.

A place like Ray’s is the equalizer that brings people together from all walks of life. In launching this campaign, I invite you to find shelter inside Ray’s, where time stands still, and we are all kids again.

Any and all amount go towards bringing this story to light.

Thank you متشکرم

Arya, Ray, and The Candy Store team

illustration by Eunsoo Namkung Jeong
illustration by Eunsoo Namkung Jeong

The Candy Store team includes Ari Gold (Producer), Mario Ducoudray (Producer), J. Faye Yuan (Producer), & Carmen Anton-Garcia (Associate Producer).

Cover photo by Frank Sun, titles created by Mani Nilchiani

PHOTOS IN THE REWARDS: 

LIMITED EDITION PRINTS FOR BACKERS WHO DONATE MORE THAN $1000 (From Arya's photo series called "Dreams of Another")

Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"
Limited Edition from series "Dreams of Another"

Risks and challenges

I’ve spent hundreds of hours with Ray, and have gathered a vast collection of material in form of videos and interviews. Making a film is arduous, and making documentaries even more so. It’s not easy to make it with no money.

I lived and breathed in his candy store along with hundreds of others whose lives he’s touched. With your help completing the film, we have the potential to touch thousands more.

Today Ray is 85 years young. I celebrated three birthdays with him, and there is a chance he will outlive us all. I want the world to hear Ray's message of happiness and freedom, and I want him to watch the film and bring him joy— the same way he brought it to us for decades.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Rainbow Sprinkle Karma

    You're the sweet sprinkle on our ice cream cone. Thank you! That's some good Karma!

    Includes:
    • Karmic Thank You!
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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Tuxedo Twist

    It's Arya's favorite flavor at Ray's! we'll post a note of appreciation and send you a personal thank you from us. Everyone will know you're a dedicated fan!
    Tell us your preferred social media: Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

    Includes:
    • Social Media Thank You
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    DISCO TEHRAN JUNE 4th

    Welcome to Disco Tehran - a funky warm discothéque with live shows in the Lower East Side on June 4 along with a personal thank you and shoutout on social media! Your name will be on the DJ’s guest list. When the party is close to over capacity, only Kickstarter contributors will gain entry, per doorman’s discretion. Travel not included.

    Includes:
    • Priority Entry to Disco Tehran Party (June 4)
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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    DISCO NIGHTS

    Due to popular demand, DISCO TEHRAN will now be a monthly pop-up discothéque featuring live bands and curated DJ sets. Your name will be on the DJ’s guest list. When the party is close to over capacity, only Kickstarter contributors will gain entry, per doorman’s discretion. Travel not included.

    Includes:
    • Priority Entry to Disco Tehran
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Candy Store Citizenship

    You are now a citizen of the Candy Store! In addition to social media congrats and priority entry to Disco Tehran (until 6/4), you'll receive a digital certificate of your candy store citizenship - personalized with love from Arya and Ray.

    LIMITED TIME OFFER: The first 25 Candy Store Citizens will receive one ice cream cone with 3 toppings of your choice redeemable until August 31st, 2018, courtesy of Ray.

    Includes:
    • Personalized "Candy Citizenship Certificate" with Ray
    • LIMITED OFFER: Three Topping Ice Cream
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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    DISCO TEHRAN SPECIAL EDITION

    In addition to a certified thank you and social media shoutout, a special mention is in order on our featured Donor Wall.

    LIMITED TIME OFFER: The first 50 contributors will receive invitations to a Kickstarter-exclusive Disco Tehran Special Edition - the grooviest summer party in town hosted by Arya and Co.

    Includes:
    • Special Mention on our Donor Wall
    • LIMITED OFFER: Invitation to Disco Tehran Special Edition
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Candy Store Musical

    Join the Candy Store Musical, and you'll receive two gems from Arya's favorite musicians - private links to albums by the film’s composer Sahba Aminikia and Myo Crypt's psychedelic album "Minutiae”
    All that jazz plus everything above exclusive of limited time offers.

    Includes:
    • Sahba Aminikia´s "Final Answer"(Recorded w/ SF Girls' Chorus)
    • Myo Crypt´s "Minutiae"
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    The Fan Club

    Welcome to The Candy Store Fan Club - where your late night munchie dreams are realized!
    In addition to candy store citizenship, you will receive a digital download of Arya’s first film and his curated playlist (It's a really good playlist!)
    Your name will also appear in the end credits in the SPECIAL THANKS section of the film.

    LIMITED TIME OFFER - the first 100 fans will receive a private link to psychedelic video art made by Arya for your next all night house party.

    Includes:
    • Official Thank You on Film Credits
    • Arya's Personal Playlist
    • Digital Download of Arya's First Film
    • LIMITED OFFER: Psychedelic Video Art made by Arya
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Midnight Poets’ Society

    You’re a romantic just like Arya and Ray.
    By joining our Midnight Poets’ Society, you’ll receive all of the above* (new candy store citizenship certificate, new albums, new personal playlist, just to name a few) PLUS a framed and signed photographic print by Arya.
    You will also receive via private link never-before-seen interviews with Ray - the East Village hero.

    *Excludes limited time offers.

    Includes:
    • Framed and Signed Photography Print by Arya
    • Unreleased Interviews with Ray
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Inner Circle

    Come to the Inner Circle and receive everything above ( 2 new albums, a framed photographic print, unreleased interviews with Ray) as well as behind-the-scenes footage of The Candy Store.
    We will also mail you an autographed poster of the film upon release - postage on us!

    Includes:
    • Signed Film Poster
    • Behind the Scenes from the Candy Store
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Ray's Groupie

    It's like being a groupie to the Ice Cream God! you’re in for a handmade treat. In addition to all of the above paraphernalia*, we will send you a handmade print from Arya’s Private Collection of photographs as well as a private invitation to VIP bottle service for 8 of your friends at Disco Tehran Special Edition. Travel not included.

    *Excludes limited time offers.

    Includes:
    • Handmade Print from Arya's Private Collection
    • VIP bottle service for 8 friends at Disco Tehran Special Edition
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    East Village Hero, I love you!

    "I love you!" is Ray's contagious catch phrase. Be his Kickstarter hero, and we’ll send you all of the above * PLUS a copy of Ray’s Candy Store family album!

    You will also be invited to have dinner with Arya in the East Village followed by an ice cream party at Ray’s.
    (Travel not included)

    *Excludes limited time offers.

    Includes:
    • Handmade Ray’s Family Photo Album
    • Persian Food with Arya in the East Village & Ice Cream at Ray’s
    • All Previous Rewards
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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Candy Store Gala

    It's better than the Met Gala! In addition to Associate Producer credit, you will receive VIP treatment [4 Tickets] at The Candy Store’s NYC premiere and after party. (Travel not included) You will also receive all candy store offers above - limited incentives included.

    Thank you! :")

    Includes:
    • AP credit
    • 4 tickets to the NYC premiere & after party
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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Omar Khayyam

    You've joined the master poet's league.
    You will be given Co-Executive Producer* credit in addition to 15 tickets to the NYC premiere and after party. (Travel not included) Everything above inclusive. Thank you for making my dream a reality!

    *NOTE: The purchase of 3 of these rewards by one person will bump that person's credit to EXECUTIVE PRODUCER.

    Includes:
    • Co-Executive Producer Credit in the film
    • 15 tickets to NYC premiere and afterparty
    • All Previous Rewards
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Funding period

- (39 days)