In a rural, American town, kids face heartbreaking choices, find comfort in family bonds and dream of a future of possibility.
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In August 2011, I drove my cousin (and now co-director) Andrew Droz Palermo to LAX. On the way, we talked about our parents’ hometown of Rich Hill, Missouri (population 1393) and how hard things had gotten over the years – fewer jobs; the center of town falling in on itself; houses left in disrepair. Still somehow, it was a place of belonging and connection for us both.
After making BE GOOD, SMILE PRETTY, I’d been off the filmmaking track for few years, devoting myself to full-time motherhood. Andrew and I sat idling at the curb for longer than we should, imagining how we might work together.
By November 2011, we were in full pre-production mode. We soon narrowed our focus to three Rich Hill boys, each with a unique struggle. They and their families trusted us to capture the complicated relationships between poverty and family bonds, between community pride and desperation. We’d found our film.
With RICH HILL, I return to the same ground as my first film, but in a very different way. While the plot is dissimilar, the feelings are universal: we all want to know our place and who we are; we want to be a part of a family, however broken and scattered it may be; and we want to be part of a community, even if it is struggling. We want to belong.
– Tracy Droz Tragos
Please know that all the funding to date has gone directly into the costs of making the film - a year and half of production and months of editing. Your Kickstarter dollars go directly to invoices, supporting remaining weeks of editing, our music and other finishing costs of the film.
With your backing, you will not only be making a vital contribution to our direct finishing costs, you will be making a powerful statement that films like ours are wanted and needed. As a backer, you will have first-look access to our project as we near the finish line - and of course, the opportunity to see the film first, before it is released.
Our subjects can be tough kids - they know how to walk with a clenched-jaw stare like they have nothing left to lose. But if you get to know them up close, you see their insight, their humor, their pride, and their drive to survive. And despite the isolation and deprivation of their circumstances, they want what everyone wants. Their hope for a normal life and a brighter future persists: that their hard work will be rewarded, and that although there is no road map, even they can live the American dream.
Our film takes on an important social issue – but from a very intimate perspective. There are no outside experts – the kids themselves tell their story.
Thanks to the amazing support of the MacArthur Foundation, the Sundance Institute, and the Pacific Pioneer Fund, we've been able to take the film a long way.
Last fall, we were invited to be a part of IFP's Project Forum. This spring, we started editing and participated in the FIND Documentary Lab. In May, we brought on an amazing editor, Jim Hession (Co-Editor of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”). In July, we presented a 90-minute assembly at the 2013 Sundance Edit & Story Lab.
HEAR WHAT OUR BACKERS ARE SAYING
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Whenever anyone takes on an independent film, there are many risks. For example:
EMOTIONAL FORTITUDE - Will we work crazy long days with a wild focus? Yes. We cry; we walk around the block; but we're not giving up.
COMPLETION - Will we be able to fund the project? Will we EVER finish? This is precisely where you come in, Kind Backer. With your help - we'll finish!
REACHING OUR AUDIENCE - How can we make sure our film reaches our audience, especially kids and families in small towns across America? We have a plan for a low-cost, wide distribution - and we'd love your help spreading the word!
MAKING A DIFFERENCE - The ultimate challenge is to make a film that makes a difference, that raises awareness, that starts a conversation, and that has measurable impact. We are gearing up to find ways to have the film used by advocates and change-makers - and we are reaching out to you!
After working together for 2 years on RICH HILL, we know we are up for challenges. We’ve faced them – we’ve overcome them – again and again. And at the end of the day – we are not giving up! We just need your support to get us over the finish line. Thank you!
Good question! We will provide a link and password, and for a limited window of time (date forthcoming), you'll be able to watch our film. So grab some friends, popcorn and chocolate and enjoy!
All the funding to date has gone directly into the costs of a year and half of production and 6 months of editing. Your Kickstarter dollars go directly to our vendors - to pay for the remaining weeks of editing, our music, and other finishing costs of the film.
Once the film is made, invoices are paid, and income is generated, through DVD sales or a TV broadcast, the filmmakers plan to put a portion of those dollars into an outreach and impact campaign – and a portion directly to Andrew, Appachey and Harley, the subjects of our film.
There are wonderful people and organizations at both local and national levels working tirelessly to bring resources to small town and rural communities. Reach out to your local school, food bank, Child Advocacy Center and CASA organization.
Consider supporting these national organizations, who can have a big impact with their initiatives to improve the lives of at-risk kids and their families:
National Rural Education Association
The Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW)
Save The Children
Stengthening Rural Families
The Children's Defense Fund
The National Center for Children in Poverty
Ascend at The Aspen Institute
Teach for America
The Full Frame Initiative
The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Keep following our film – and stay on our web site: www.richhillfilm.com. We will be developing an impact and outreach campaign with our partners around specific ways you can become involved and lend your support. Also, if you don’t see your organization on our list – please be in touch! We’d love to learn more about the work you do – and share it with our backers!
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THANK YOU. Our eternal thanks - plus a digital thank you on our Facebook & Twitter!Estimated delivery:
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A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks from both Tracy & Andrew - post-marked from Rich Hill, Missouri!Estimated delivery:
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STREAMING COPY OF THE FINISHED FILM. A private stream of the completed film after our (knock on wood) festival premiere! Deepest gratitude, including a shout out on our Facebook & TwitterEstimated delivery:
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AN AUTOGRAPHED DVD OF THE FINISHED FILM + an advanced streaming link + postcard with a hand-written note from us! Plus we'll thank you digitally and in the film's credits!Estimated delivery:Add $6 USD to ship outside the US
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SWEET MUSIC FOR YOU. All of the cool stuff above - a streaming link - a DVD - plus a little music to get you through your day! We'll send you our original score digitally and lots of gratitude!Estimated delivery:Add $6 USD to ship outside the US
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A BEAUTIFUL FILM PRINT - All of the above, PLUS an 8 X 10 print from the film - representing Andrew's fine camera work, and a hand-written note on the back about its place in our film. Of course - we'll send our sincerest thanks, too!Estimated delivery:Add $6 USD to ship outside the US
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A BLU-RAY. Everything above (except the DVD!). You'll get our link to the streaming finished film before its release - a stellar film print - and an autographed Blu-ray. Of course, a hand-written thank you on our post-card. And for sure, lots of virtual love, too!Estimated delivery:Add $6 USD to ship outside the US
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A VERY NICE-LOOKING POSTER. Erik Buckham is designing an amazing poster right now. We'll share it with you as soon as it's done. But it'll be great - trust us. And for being such a generous backer - you will have your very own 18 x 24. Plus all of the above (Blu-ray or DVD - take your pick!). And a very big hug when we see you.Estimated delivery:Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
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DIGITAL BLISS - A digital download of our beautiful book, with film stills and essays. Plus a link to our finished film, as well as our score! And we will include you in our film's credits and give you lots of virtual love. Includes everything virtual and paperless above. No carbon footprint!Estimated delivery:
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A GORGEOUS PRINTED BOOK, autographed by us! With stills from the movie, and writing by Tracy, Andrew, and the editor Jim. Plus all of the above (DVD or Blu-ray). Details of the book are featured to the left - we've worked really hard on this one. We hope you like it!Estimated delivery:
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2 GORGEOUS BOOKS! These books are SO beautiful - how about two?! One for yourself and one for a beloved family member? We're most proud to share these with you! And 2 DVDs and 2 posters to boot!Estimated delivery:
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1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)
KEEN CONSULTATION. We'd love to share with you all we've learned about grant-writing, trailer-making, camera packages, editing and getting an indepedent film off the ground. You've got us booked for 4-hours! Andrew & Tracy will give you feedback on your project, your script or treatment, as well as the inside scoop on writing proposals, and hard-earned advice on moving your project forward.Estimated delivery:
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2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)
ALL WE GOT - A COMPLETE SET. You are amazing. Thank you. You get all the goodies listed above - except for the consultation - plus all of our previous work on DVD - Andrew's short "A Face Fixed," Tracy's Emmy-Award winning "Be Good, Smile Pretty" - AND all of Andrew's music videos, and a special compilation of the shorts he shot. A complete box set - it may not be Criterion - but we'll make it look pretty and extremely special!Estimated delivery:
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6 backers Limited (4 left of 10)
PRIVATE SCREENING WITH Q & A. You'll have everything above - plus us! With your own private link and with all those DVDs - you can host a screening. Heck, you can have your own film festival! We'll provide postcards for your guests, plus our virtual attendence - Andrew & Tracy will call in for Q & A on the phone or Skype. We can't thank you enough!!!Estimated delivery:
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1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)
TICKETS TO OUR PREMIERE! Wow. You are our hero. Thank you! We'll send you links of all our cuts along the way - invite you to private Google hang-outs. You'll receive private newsletters. Thanks galore. And then, when we are complete, two tickets to our world premiere festival screening. Plus everything above - times 2! (Travel and lodging not included)Estimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)
ANGEL BACKER! We are so glad to have you. You will get absolutely everything you want above - in whatever quantity we can provide - DVDs, posters, photo books, etc. Of course, you will receive uploads of all our cuts along the way, as well as e-mail updates, and status reports. And then, when we are complete, all the tickets that we can provide to our world premiere festival screening, a seat next to us in the theatre, a well-deserved "Angel Backer" title, a walk down the red carpet - and a big, big hug from us. (Travel and lodging not included.)Estimated delivery:
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1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER - Welcome to the team! We are thrilled to have you on board - and to honor your huge contribution to this film - at a time when we need it most - with a credit in the film's credit roll - and in the billing block on our posters, web site and print materials. All the goodies above - plus a framed full-size movie poster (27 X 39) with your name & well-deserved "Associate-producer" credit.Estimated delivery:
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1 backer All gone!
CO-PRODUCER - - Welcome to the team! We are thrilled to have you on board - and to honor your huge contribution to this film - at a time when we need it most - with a credit in the film's credit roll - and in the billing block on our posters, web site and print materials. All the goodies above - plus a framed full-size movie poster (27 X 39) with your name & well-deserved "Co-producer" credit.Estimated delivery:
- (29 days)