About this project
Help us finish our documentary about ALM, America's first Muslim fraternity!!!Dear Friends,
Thanks for visiting our Kickstarter page! For the past 6 months, we've been directing and producing a documentary about Alif Laam Meem (ALM). Through the experiences of these young men, this film explores the Muslim American identity, as well as the challenges of living by faith in a secular society. To date, our work has revealed to us the community's deeply felt sense of responsibility toward one another, their love and resilience in pain and loss, their individual longing for true companionship and romance, and their ability to have fun without disrespecting their elders. It makes for a funny, rich and inherently complex film. We really believe that this story contains truths that have the power to change lives for the better.
Our work to date has been a labor of love, and we're happy to announce that by year's end, we will have a collection of stories within this story that will be full of life and totally unforgettable. We are seeking $50,000 to get us through the next year -- to meet our modest overhead expenses, upgrade our equipment and travel with ALM as the story requires (see RISKS AND CHALLENGES for more details). Your contributions will enable us to simultaneously start post-production and continue shooting for the remainder of the year. That way, when Spring 2015 rolls around, we will have a film ready for festivals and distribution.
For those of you who are new to Kickstarter, it is a funding platform for creative projects. It is driven by an all-or-nothing formula: If we don’t raise our goal of $50,000 in 30 days, we get nothing. If we reach our goal, we will finish the film within a year. 30 days go by very fast. If you are able, please pledge TODAY – it helps us build crucial momentum. We promise to keep you updated on our progress, during this campaign and beyond, and of course we welcome feedback and comments.
Lastly, we want to get people talking about this project, so please share our Kickstarter page with anyone who might be interested! If you are hungry for more, you can check out the fraternity on Facebook and keep your eyes peeled for fragments of their story on the radio, television and online. As filmmakers, our lives have lead us to this story in a unique way -- we all face many trials and failures, and we are grateful beyond words to be in the position to share this story now, at such a relevant time in history. We will do so with all our hearts and minds.
Dylan Hollingsworth and Wheeler Sparks
In February 2013, American Muslim identity took root in a new form: #Muslim Fraternity. Alif Laam Meem, the first national Muslim fraternity in American history appeared out of nowhere at University of Texas at Dallas. For most of the young members, it is a hub for traditional Muslim values that not only gives you the freedom to make the most of your college experience, but also aligns you with peers of equal purpose. As in: "What's your purpose in life?"
It might mean more to you if your parents aren’t from here. Many of the guys in ALM are first and second generation Muslim-Americans. Many have not travelled, and wonder what other parts of the world are like. Most of them make each of the five daily prayers, or at least try to. They are genuinely interested in becoming better Muslims, and pursue that desire in part through the liberal institution of their fraternity. Through ALM, each member joins the others in the midst of life's greatest challenges. Each members' presence strengthens the collective desire to engage life through love and service toward friends and neighbors, as well as one another.
Each initiated member sought ALM as an expression of their desire for authentic Muslim community in college. The members lean on one another to remember rituals, hold one another accountable and learn what it means to live in community. Drastic differences of opinion exist, but the members' singular willingness to accept one another as they are empowers the group as a whole to face issues often considered taboo in faith communities: Domestic violence, say, or alcohol and drug abuse. The foundational philosophy of their brotherhood aims to balance the community with a broad spectrum of culture, opinion and belief.
ALM has been featured in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Public Radio International and NPR, to name a few. Their publicity, if nothing else, is an indicator of the fraternity's relevance to this secular age, when many Americans struggle with what it means to live in community and by faith. We hope our documentary is an unbiased likeness of the fraternity. That is to say, watching it should leave you feeling like you know these young men the way we have come to know them. That being said, we also hope to represent the desire to live a worthy life common to all people. In many religious and spiritual communities, ALM being no exception, faith offers the faithful an opportunity to expand their hearts and change reality as they know it.
Our New York Times Piece & More
You can follow Alif Laam Meem on Facebook and please feel free to share this page and their story with as many people as possible.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT US?
- Make a pledge today via Kickstarter. Any contribution, no matter how small or large, will make a difference. And all contributions will be rewarded! Please check out the donation tiers to your right to find the level and gift that’s right for you.
- Spread the word by telling your friends, family and social networks about our film and this Kickstarter campaign. Please send the URL of this page with a heartfelt endorsement to everyone you know! "Like" and Share the link on Facebook!
- If you have other ideas how to help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are examples of some of the beautiful images that you can receive either as a postcard or fine art print as a reward for helping make this project happen.
Risks and challenges
We are grateful to have a strong a relationship with many of the fraternity members. We live near them and do our best to stay in the loop with the collective and individual goings on. We would like to get to know other members better, and in order to do that, we need more time.
1) We started shooting September of last year, on our own time and dime. We've donated countless hours and resources to this project over the past six months. With your help, we will be able to devote more time to the story as we follow these young men toward whatever closure their lives present to us. Over the next year, members will get married, have children, graduate, and so much more. Life is happening to these young men! Your gift enables us put our time and energy where our hearts are -- Your support is invaluable in this regard.
2)Acquiring and maintaining the right equipment has been a great challenge for us. We have managed to cobble together a setup that gets the job done, but we have many needs. Your Kickstarter contributions afford us a much needed upgrade -- neutral density filters, lenses, camera stabilizers, an upgrade to our audio hardware, and so on and so forth. It's boring but it's our lives.
3) Another big challenge for us has been the fact that the fraternity is opening chapters at San Diego State and Cornell University; we would like to get to know these chapters and spend time with them, especially when the ALM founders visit. Your contributions will help get us on the road. These interactions are an opportunity to capture a broader portrait of the fraternity as they share their ideals with new chapters in new cities. We would also like to follow a member to his family's country of origin, and/or visit another member on a study abroad program. Your support makes capturing these beautiful details possible. We cannot do it without you!
We are grateful for support of any kind -- a link, a post, a dollar, even a pat on the ole back. We sincerely appreciate your time and attention, and look forward to sharing more of our story with you. It's been a fun journey so far -- we expect nothing less from the future!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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