Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 9, 2012.

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A film about dancers with Parkinson's disease joining forces with a famed modern dance company to stage a unique performance

Project update

This past week has been spectacular for our Kickstarter campaign! Thank you again for the phenomenal support.  

As we approach performance week, we've decided to cover the performance itself with 4 cameras (!), which will give us exceptional perspectives on the individual dances. The filming we've done to date, the story that's unfolding and the success of the Kickstarter campaign have convinced us to think a little bigger about the final film. That's why I'm hoping we can continue to keep growing the current Kickstarter campaign.  My pledge to all you is that we will do whatever it takes to bring you a wonderful documentary, one that is worthy of all the talent, passion and courage that will be on display at the Mark Morris Dance Center in the weeks ahead.

My deep thanks for your continuing support. And as you can, please keep spreading the word about this project!

The Story

This is a story about two realms. One is occupied by some of the most acclaimed modern dancers in the world. The other is inhabited by a group of people with Parkinson's disease. This film is about what happens when those worlds intersect. 

For me, it's also a personal story. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's eight years ago, the third member of my family to receive that news. A few years after my diagnosis, my colleagues at Kikim Media and I made a film about Parkinson's for the PBS Frontline series called "My Father, My Brother and Me" (http://www.pbs.org//frontline/parkinsons/ ).  It was during that production that I first learned about the Mark Morris Dance Group's unique partnership with Parkinson's patients in Brooklyn. Later, I did a short profile of the group for the PBS NewsHour, but I've always felt there was a deeper story to be told. 

What we've filmed so far 

For the past year, we've been filming the group as it gets ready for its first public performance on November 11th, 2012. And as we've followed their preparations, we've watched a unique dance community emerge, one that has changed the lives of class members and professional dancers alike. Until recently, class instructor David Leventhal was one of the Mark Morris Dance Group's most acclaimed dancers. Now he's decided to leave his performance life behind in order to focus full time on the Parkinson's dance project. And the project has been transforming for class participants too. As Parkinson’s dance class member Reggie Butts puts it, “When the class begins, there are no patients. There are only dancers.”

What's next

PBS has expressed strong interest in the project, and a small grant from the NEA and two generous individual donors have gotten us this far. But we need your assistance to go the distance. We need to raise a minimum of $15,000 to take us through post production. With your help, we can bring this unique story to the screen, the story of a remarkable community of dancers, some professional and some not, who have come together to rediscover the meaning of grace.

We hope you'll watch our trailer and consider giving us your support. Thank you.

Key Personnel: 

Dave Iverson: Producer/Director

Eddie Marritz: Director of Photography

Editor: Josiah Hooper

Sound: Mark Mandler and Peter Ginsburg

Executive Producers: Shirley Kessler, Michael Schwarz, Kiki Kapany

  

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We will complete filming in November and then the task and the art of turning it into a film begins. We've collected some wonderful material and of course one of the great challenges in editing is being willing to let go of some of that same wonderful material. I've learned over time that you can't fall in love with a particular interview comment, a particular scene, a particular moment. Everything we include has to serve the story. It has to take us deeper, surprise us or move us forward.

We're also very fortunate to have such a gifted team to see this project through. Our very talented Director of Photographer Eddie Marritz has been a DP for all the major PBS documentary series including American Experience, Frontline and American Masters and my editor Josiah Hooper always brings a creative touch to the numerous PBS projects we've worked on together. And in the edit room I can also draw on the insights of my colleagues Michael Schwarz and Kiki Kapany at Kikim Media, who have produced 20 films for PBS and Shirley Kessler and Catticus Corporation who have sponsored more than three dozen films. They're smart, tough and insightful. I won't be afraid to ask for their take and they won't be afraid to give it.

There are always surprises and setbacks as you move through the editing process but I'm very confident of our ability to take this wonderful story and bring it to fruition.

FAQ

  • We'll be filming again in New York October 16 and 17th focusing on both rehearsal preparations and additional interviews. I'm looking forward to seeing the rehearsal of a new duet featuring two members of the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. It's being choreographed by John Heginbotham who's had an acclaimed performing career at Mark Morris and leads his own company. John's work recently received rave reviews in the New Yorker.

    And then we'll have another intensive week of filming November 4-11 culminating with the performance itself. I'll post more details about the shoots as they develop and please let me know if you have questions about the project. I'd be very happy to respond.

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    A set of 6 note cards featuring dance photos by the film's director of photography Eddie Marritz.

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    A DVD of the finished film (estimated July 2013), note cards and a free dance class with David Leventhal or John Heginbotham at the Mark Morris Dance Center

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    A DVD of the finished film, a copy of Dave's PBS Frontline film "My Father, My Brother and Me" and two sets of notecards

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    A special preview screening of the finished film along with a dinner reception hosted by Dave Iverson, Eddie Marritz, David Leventhal and John Heginbotham. A DVD of the finished film is also included

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Funding period

- (30 days)