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A documentary following one family dealing with the influx of immigrants and refugees in the whitest state in the nation, Maine.
A documentary following one family dealing with the influx of immigrants and refugees in the whitest state in the nation, Maine.
134 backers pledged $11,200 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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About the Film: 

Maine–the way life should be: lighthouses, lobsters, rocky coastlines, the changing leaves. This is where the Tepler family has made their home for almost 30 years. They live on a street called "Homeplace," where the cell service is spotty and the pine trees outnumber the cars. Nothing much happens, and nothing much changes. 

Last June, Maya Tepler received a text message from her sister, Erika, saying, “By the way, we have two new brothers.” Their parents, one the child of Holocaust survivors, had opened up the family home to two Burundian asylum seekers, Franck and Jessy. In an instant, the family was at the center of a surprising – and controversial – new trend: Maine, one of the oldest, whitest states in the nation, has become a destination for refugees and asylum seekers, particularly from Africa and the Middle East. A state that practically prides itself on insularity has been suddenly forced to face difference on an unprecedented scale. 

From Away will follow the family as they navigate their first years together. We will see the Teplers redefine what it means to be a family, and we will see the challenges they face in their whitewashed town. Against a backdrop of looming anti-immigrant sentiment, From Away asks: What do you do when your neighbors start looking a little less familiar?

The Tepler family circa 2007
The Tepler family circa 2007
The Tepler family circa 2015
The Tepler family circa 2015

Our Needs: 

Our Kickstarter campaign is crucial to the success of our film. With your help, we will able to continue filming in Maine this winter and prepare for grant applications. Your generous contributions will go towards the following: 

Crew: We are working with talented professionals who need to be paid fairly for their work. 

Travel Costs: Most our team is New York based, so we face significant costs (car rental, gas, etc.) for our trips to Maine. We are lucky enough to have friends and family in Maine who help with our accommodations, which will help us keep down our costs. 

Equipment: We will be purchasing and renting equipment, and associated insurance.

Other Ways To Give:

If you would prefer to make your donation tax-deductible please visit the website of our fiscal sponsor, Women Make Movies. The link below allows you to give directly to our fundraising campaign. If you give through their website, but are interested in any of the rewards, please let us know and we will make sure you are given your due!

http://www.wmm.com/filmmakers/sponsored_projects.aspx?cmd=fm

Other Ways To Help:

Even if you don’t have dollars to spare, you can be a vital part of our project. Please follow us on social media.

Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FromAwayTheFilm/

Follow us on Instagram: from_away_the_film 

And on Twitter: @fromawaythefilm 

Watch and like on Vimeo:  https://vimeo.com/148869000

Share this link, tell your friends, tell your cool aunt, tell your weird neighbor, approach random people who seem interesting and tell them all about the project! When people start to talk about the global refugee crisis, tell them about your friends who are making a movie about it! Seriously, anything helps, and we appreciate anything you do!

Contact us at fromawaythefilm@gmail.com

The Team:

Maya Tepler (Director) 

Maya currently lives in Brooklyn, but she was born and raised in Topsham, Maine - she is the only member of her immediate family who currently resides outside the state. After graduating with a BA from the University of Pennsylvania she moved to New York City, where she currently works as an associate producer at Show of Force. Prior to that, she was working at Ark Media on Finding Your Roots, the PBS series hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Maya is so inspired by her parents, her brothers, and her sisters, and she hopes you will be too.

Megan Peck Shub (Producer)

Megan Peck Shub works on Finding Your Roots, the PBS series hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Until recently, she was a Researcher and Production Assistant at Ark Media in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to working in film, Megan had a career with British Airways. As a writer, Megan has freelanced with publications including Fodor’s, the American National Biography (a project of Oxford University Press) and the Orlando Weekly. She also contributed as a field researcher and writer to ChinaVine.org, a multimedia project recording China’s disappearing folk arts. Megan studied Humanities and Religion at the University of Central Florida.

Natalia Warchol (Producer)

Natalia Warchol is an Associate Producer at Ark Media in Brooklyn, New York. She currently works on School of the Future, a NOVA special for PBS. Prior, she was an Associate Producer on Finding Your Roots, the PBS series hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Other credits include several short fiction films as the First Assistant Director, Art Director, Wardrobe, and Key PA. Natalia holds a BA in Film Production from Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Natalia was born and raised in Poland, where she studied PR and Media Management at the University of Warsaw and Film and TV Production at Warsaw School of Advertising. She currently resides in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Risks and challenges

We are still in the early stages of production. We have a lot of fundraising to do, a lot of stories to follow, and we face obstacles of logistics, crew, and timing. Our biggest challenge is that none of the team is currently based in Maine, and we want to make sure we are present for all the moments we want to include.

But we are determined and optimistic. Our intimate, unusual access to this story will help us throughout the process. The content is extremely topical, and we think audiences will connect with these characters.

Not only do we have the support of our family and friends, we also have mentors and consulting producers who are excited to guide us through this process. With your help and generosity, we're confident we will make a film you will be proud to have been a part of.

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    Not only will you get your own copy of the film, we will also send you a digital set of our favorite production stills, and with a setting like Maine, they are sure to be beautiful!

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    Ticket to an exclusive, advanced screening in NYC. In summer 2016 we will be screening early footage of the film, accompanied by the film’s composers, Threefifty Duo (Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick). *Travel and accommodations not included.

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    Ever wanted to see your name in the credits? Well you just earned yourself a 'Special Thanks' credit in the film!

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    Have you ever wanted to know what goes into making a documentary? Are you curious about our process? Join the production team for dinner in NYC or Maine and we will give you the behind-the-scenes lowdown. *Travel and accommodations not included.

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    Come have dinner with the Tepler Family! Denise is an amazing cook, and you will get to meet the people who were the inspiration for this project. *Travel and accommodations not included.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Celebrate your generosity with a weekend getaway in Maine! Stay with Erika Tepler in her beautiful South Portland home (which she rents out regularly on Airbnb). Located just a short drive from The Portland Headlight, L.L Bean, and the best lobster roll you will ever have. *Travel not included

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    You just earned yourself an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit. You are an integral part of the "From Away" team!

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Funding period

- (30 days)