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A documentary about a ballet school for the blind in São Paulo, Brazil.

*Vídeo com legenda em português e texto em português no final da página

Project:

"Looking at the Stars" is a USC Thesis Documentary about the first and only ballet school for the blind located in São Paulo, Brazil.  We intend to shoot in the Summer of 2013 and need the $16,000 in funds for travel, to shelter and feed the crew (5 people) and shoot the film (equipment, rentals, locations, etc.). We hope that the project will spread the inspiring stories of the school and the dancers. Please join us in donating to help make this film a reality!

Always look up and do what you love, that’s the lesson that Fernanda Bianchini teaches all her students. Fernanda started the ballet school for the blind program 16 years ago, teaching a dozen girls when she was only 15 years old. Despite people's disbelief, Fernanda has persisted in teaching the blind ballet and the Fernanda Bianchini's Association of Ballet and Arts for the Blind is now used as a reference all over the world.

The school is at a key moment in their history because of the advancements and steps they're about to make. In 2012, they moved to a bigger location in São Paulo, and the company performed at the Paralympics closing ceremony in London. In 2013, will perform, for the first time, at the Municipal Theatre, the most traditional theatre in São Paulo.

The film will document the people who participate in both the teaching and the learning of ballet for the blind. We will begin filming the rehearsals and performances of the ballet school in late May as the Ballerinas prepare for their biggest production to date, "Sleeping Beauty" at the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo.

It is an honor for our crew to document and witness such a monumental time in the school’s history.

“Olhando Pras Estrelas" (Looking at the Stars) is a USC Documentary Thesis Film directed by Alexandre Peralta and produced by Katrelle Kindred, Alexis Morrell, and Mayra Ometto.

The USC faculty mentor is Emmy award winning documentary director and producer, Professor Amanda Pope.  Her recent credits include the feature documentaries "The Desert of Forbidden Art" which she and Tchavdar Georgiev directed and produced; and Emmy awarded "The Legend of Pancho Barnes and The Happy Bottom Riding Club" which she directed.

What is the film about

This film is about young people and how passion has driven them to do something that seemed unreachable. It’s important to see these characters outside of the dance school, interacting with other people and places. This film is not only about the beauty of dance; it is also about the beauty of perseverance. We want the audience to feel as if they are right there with the characters. We want you to feel their struggles, challenges, and achievements.

If you want to watch a longer teaser and know more about the project:

The characters

Fernanda began teaching Ballet to the blind when she 15 years old. Her own dance teacher told her that this was an impossible task. Not only has she developed techniques on how to teach the blind to dance ballet, she is also the founder of The Fernanda Bianchini Association for the Blind.

Geyza lost her sight to meningitis when she was only 9 years old. Now a professional Ballet dancer and mentor, Geyza  teaches at The Fernanda Bianchini Association for the Blind. The young ballerinas  see her as an example of someone that they can mirror.

16 years old and shy, Talita blossoms when she dances. Born blind, Talita began the dance school at age 10. Like any other teenager Talita likes to listen to music and watch TV. She wants to be a ballet teacher and a singer.

How Your Donations will Help

  • Your donation will help to fly our crew from the University of Southern California to Sao Paulo, Brazil. With your help we will also be able to house and feed our crew for 25 days in Brazil. 

The funds will also help to pay for:

  • equipment rentals
  • transportation
  • transcriptions 
  • score
  • music rights
  • hard drives  

Your Contribution is Important! 

No donation is too small. We appreciate each and every one of you for taking an interest in our film. We have 35 days to reach our target goal. If we don't make it, we won't receive any pledged funds! So, please chip in and spread the word! 

Contact Us!

We are looking forward to hearing from you! We can be reached at our Facebook page, Film Blog, Email, or twitter. 


A Statement from the Director 

Five years ago, I read an article in a magazine about the Fernanda Bianchini Ballet Association for the Blind. I was fascinated by it. When you think about ballet you think of a highly technical form of dance, a dance that you need balance, posture and discipline; it’s hard to imagine blind people being able to dance ballet. After reading the article, I couldn’t shake the idea, I was hooked and I decided I needed to make a film about such a fascinating place. For five years the idea of investigating more about the blind ballerinas stayed in my mind. 

Last year, we finally got the chance to visit the place and start filming there. Now I’m even more amazed by the school. When I entered the school for the first time I could see that it’s not a place for charity or pity. It’s a place that makes it possible for people to be able to do what they love: dance. It’s really inspiring to see the students being so dedicated. 

We want to make film about the people in the school and understand how the dance has affected their lives in the school and outside of the school. This film is about young people and their passion for doing something that seemed unreachable for them. I’m really lucky to finally be able to make this documentary.

The Team

Alexandre Peralta (director)

Alexandre was born and raised in Santos, on the coast of São Paulo State in Brazil. He has always enjoyed telling stories, as a kid he would write and enact plays for his family in birthday parties and in High School he would make short films films with his friends. In college he studied Advertising and Marketing at ESPM (Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing), one of the most renowned advertising schools in South America. During that time he had a chance to make two short films Incertezas and Pratique a Cortesia,  which played in several festivals in Brazil, the latter winning the Special Jury Prize at the Curta Santos Film Festival. These films helped  him to realize that making movies was what he really wanted to persue.

After graduating, he decided to go to USC School of Cinematic Arts to pursue his MFA in film. At USC he’s had a chance to direct and edit some short films, including editing The Ultimates, a webseries for the “Subway Fresh Artists Competition” sponsored by Subway Restaurants. Alexandre also edited the documentary film, Canto de Familia, about a Mexican-American family of mariachis. After working on this project, he fell in love with documentaries, which made him decide to make a documentary for his thesis project at USC. Looking at the Stars is going to be his first experience directing a documentary and he is really excited to tell this story.

Katrelle Kindred (producer)

Katrelle Kindred is currently completing her third year of graduate studies at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. She completed her undergraduate studies at Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on Radio, Television, and Film production. Immediately before continuing her education at USC, Katrelle studied Social Justice Education at the University of California Los Angeles, which lead her to teach middle school English Language Arts to underprivileged children in South Los Angeles.

Teaching in inner-city schools inspired Katrelle to write stories giving voice to children who were neglected and mistreated by the education system. During this time, she wrote and directed, “A Hard Road to Cross”, a feature film which showcases her passion for children’s rights and social justice. This passion lead her to produce the documentary film “Color Blind: A Trans-racial Adoption Story.”

Recently, Katrelle was a 2012 Subway Fresh Artist winner and a recipient of the Johnny Carson Fellowship for academic excellence and achievement at the University of Southern California. In the future, Katrelle would like to continue creating stories that focus on global social issues.

Alexis Morrell (producer)

Alexis Morrell is a USC School of Cinematic Arts M.F.A. Production student who has focused her studies on directing and writing comedy for television and film.

Originally from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Alexis likes to incorporate her rural-country-bumpkin upbringing, love of animals and East Coast snobbery into her work.

Before coming to Los Angeles, Alexis traveled the country participating in Ford Motor Company’s Fiesta Movement in which 100 people were given new 2011 Ford Fiestas to create videos and social media content for the web. Since arriving at USC, doors have opened for directing and production opportunities including directing shorts and a multi-camera sitcom, “The Sub Letter.”  In the fall of 2011,

Alexis was selected to join Subway restaurant’s Subway Fresh Artists Competition for which she directed a webseries, “The Ultimates,” that debuted at IFC House as part of the SXSW Film Festival.  In the spring of 2012,

Alexis started work at Chelsea Handler’s late-night TV show “Chelsea Lately” and hopes her experience there and at USC will continue to provide opportunity for her comedic career.

Mayra Ometto (producer)

Mayra Ometto, 27 years old, was born in Limeira, São Paulo, Brazil, and graduated in Advertising & Marketing at ESPM University. In 2007, worked as Executive Producer for Vogue Brasil Fashion Magazine, and in 2011 joined the luxury magazine group, Wish Report. At the same time, she worked as a volunteer helping the NGO Adopt a Kitten, to find owners for abandoned animals. Passionate about cinema since she was kid, she is now producing her first documentary. 

Thank you very much!

Vídeo com legenda em Português

Projeto:

"Olhando para as estrelas" é um documentário Tese USC sobre a escola primeiro e único balé para cegos em São Paulo, Brasil. Temos a intenção de atirar no Verão de 2013 e precisa de US $ 16.000 em verbas para viagens, para abrigar e alimentar a tripulação (5 pessoas) e gravar o filme (equipamentos, aluguel, locais, etc.) Esperamos que o projeto vai se espalhar as histórias inspiradoras de a escola e os dançarinos. Por favor, se juntar a nós em doar para ajudar a fazer este filme uma realidade!

Sempre olhe pra cima e faça aquilo que você ama é a lição que Fernanda Bianchini ensina a todos os seus alunos.
Fernanda começou o programa de ballet para pessoas cegas 16 anos atrás, ensinando algumas garotas quando ainda tinha apenas 15 anos de idade. Apesar da descrença de muita gente, ela persistiu em ensinar cegos a dançarem ballet e hoje a Associação de Ballet e Artes Fernanda Bianchini é usada como referência no mundo inteiro.

A escola está passando por um momento importante em sua história. Em 2012, a associação se mudou para um lugar mais amplo em São Paulo, no mesmo ano em que a companhia conquistou o mundo, se apresentando na cerimônia de enceramento dos Jogos Paralímpicos de Londres.

Agora em 2013, se apresentarão pela primeira vez no Teatro Municipal de São Paulo. Nossa ideia é justamente documentar a preparação para este momento especial enquanto descobrimos as histórias que estão por trás do espetáculo “A Bela Adormecida”, do ponto de vista dos alunos e dos professores. Queremos conhecer a vida deles dentro e fora da escola.

É uma honra pra nossa equipe poder documentar e retratar este momento único na história dessa escola.

Olhando pras Estrelas é um documentário que será dirigido e usado como tese de Alexandre Peralta em seu mestrado na USC (Univesidade do Sul da California), uma das mais importantes escolas de cinema do mundo. Será produzido por Katrelle Kindred, Alexis Morrell, e Mayra Ometto.

O projeto está sendo orientado pela professora Amanda Pope, ganhadora do Emmy como diretora e produtora do documentário "The Legend of Pancho Barnes and The Happy Bottom Riding Club". Recentemente ela dirigiu e produziu "The Desert of Forbidden Art" junto com Tchavdar Georgiev.

O documentário

Este será um retrato de jovens alcançando coisas que pareciam impossíveis. É importante acompanhar essas pessoas fora da escola, interagindo com outras pessoas e lugares.
Não é um filme apenas sobre a beleza da dança, mas também sobre a beleza da perseverança.
Nós queremos que as pessoas sintam o que sentimos quando estamos perto dessas pessoas extraordinárias. Que sintam suas dificuldades, desafios e conquistas.

Para ver um vídeo mais longo e conhecer mais sobre o projeto:

As pessoas

Fernanda Bianchini

Fernanda começou a ensinar cegos a dançar balé quando tinha 15 anos. Até mesmo suas professoras de balé achavam que seria uma tarefa impossível. Ela precisou desenvolver seu método de ensino para poder ensinar as bailarinas. Ela também é a fundadora da Associação de Ballet pra Cegos Fernanda Bianchini.

Geyza Pereira

Geyza perdeu a visão quando tinha apenas 9 anos por causa de meningite. Hoje em dia, ela é uma bailarina profissional e professora na Associação de Ballet para Cegos Fernanda Bianchini. As bailarinas mais jovens vêm Geyza como um exemplo a ser seguido.

Talita

Talita tem 16 anos e nasceu cega. Um pouco tímida, quando dança ela brilha. Começou a dançar quando tinha 10 anos e como outras adolescentes, adora ouvir música e assistir TV. Ela quer ser cantora e professora de balé.

Como sua doação irá ajudar:

  • Sua doação vai ajudar a pagar a passagem de avião da equipe vinda de Los Angeles, para São Paulo. Com sua ajuda poderemos alojar e alimentar nossa equipe por 25 dias no Brasil.

Sua doação também vai ajudar a pagar por:

  • Aluguel de equipamentos
  • Transporte
  • Transcrição de entrevistas
  • Trilha sonora
  • Licenciamento de música
  • hard drives

Sua contribuição é muito importante!

Toda doação é importante, não importa o valor. Já ficamos muito agradecidos por você ter se interessado pelo projeto.
Nós temos 35 dias para alcançar nosso objetivo e se não conseguirmos, não receberemos nada do dinheiro doado. Por favor nos ajude e conte pra todo mundo sobre o projeto.

Fale conosco!
Nós queremos muito poder conversar com você. Fale com a gente no facebook, blog, email e twitter.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Looking-at-the-Stars/537482826280880
http://www.twitter.com/balletstarmovie
http://lookingatthestarsmovietumblr.com
lookingatthestarsmovie@gmail.com

Em breve vamos adicionar a biografia da equipe e declaração do diretor.

Muito Obrigado!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Filming in Brazil is our biggest challenge. Travel expenses have raised our budget. Because of this, we are flying a small crew from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo. Only 5 USC graduate students will be able to go.

Another challenge we face is that most of our USC crew does not speak Portuguese. Currently, they are taking Portuguese classes in an effort to be able to speak basic Portuguese before going to Brazil.

The city of São Paulo is a challenge in itself. It’s a big and crowded metropolitan city. It will be hard to move around with our gear. Since we are going to follow the characters in their daily lives, we will have to film on the streets and take public transportation.

With the guidance and support of our mentor Amanda Pope, our team is excited to face and overcome these challenges head on.

FAQ

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Funding period

- (35 days)