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Support my documentary about Bushwick! A world-renowned culturally rich and vibrant community in Brooklyn in the midst of rapid change.
Support my documentary about Bushwick! A world-renowned culturally rich and vibrant community in Brooklyn in the midst of rapid change.
Support my documentary about Bushwick! A world-renowned culturally rich and vibrant community in Brooklyn in the midst of rapid change.
135 backers pledged $25,480 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The Bushwick Diaries, a documentary film

$25,480

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WHAT IS THIS FILM ABOUT?

The Bushwick Diaries is about an ordinary neighborhood full of extraordinary people during extraordinary times. It is an insider’s perspective of one of America's most vibrant and culturally rich communities in Brooklyn and my endeavor to capture the spirit of this unique community through the stories of residents from different walks of life.  

The Film is an invitation to indulge in the characters of the neighborhood along its colorful landscape of art, culture and music. Just like a diary, the film creates historical memories, validates the ordinary individual and re-enchants the routines of daily life. 

We shot the film on a Canon 5D with the slow motion second unit footage shot on a Sony FS700 High Speed Camera.

WHY AM I MAKING THIS FILM?

As a first generation immigrant never being quite settled, Bushwick is the only place that I’ve called home. When I first moved here I grew just as much fondness towards the rooftop bbq’s, block parties, latino culture and old mansions as I did for a Starr street prosititue who rang my bell sometimes for cigarettes and change. 

I fell in Love with Bushwick and I wanted to authentically represent and lovingly capture the magic of the neighborhood and the people whom I encountered from all walks of life, including those that were often overlooked or marginalized. As time went by, the desire to capture the era became more vital after witnessing how particular pockets of the area began to change at drastic speeds. 

Bushwick’s uniqueness is a gift and a threat to it at the same time. While the influx of new residents initially helped it to blossom into NYC's new eclectic center of arts and culture, it is now at a turning point. Therefore, the film seeks to capture a moment in time that is drifting away. It is a conscious act of community exploration that invites the viewer into a small, culturally rich village of families, musicians, artist, addicts, entrepreneurs, preachers and thought leaders. Through a small window, you can discover the personal and idiosyncratic lives of a community and people at a particular place and time. 

WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?

Well first, Bushwick is quite possibly the "last man standing" so to speak. New York City is a beast and it has the tendency to devour culture and arts one community at a time. Bushwick is still really rich in culture and arts. Through community collaboration, council members, community boards, residents, small businesses and even some developers, we have held off the lurking beast and still have something special going on here.

Secondly, it's important because the story of Bushwick is being told in this film by the people that live here. Not some outside perspective. Locals have opened their doors to us and shared some intimate stories about their past, their happiness, their family, personal philosophies and how living in Bushwick has shaped their lives.

Thirdly, this will be the first feature length documentary made about Bushwick so it's a historical event. This will be shown to future generations, put in libraries, taught in schools perhaps even as a study on how rapid change affects urban communities.

Finally, Kweighbaye, the film's director, has definitely earned the stripes to lead this project. For nearly a decade, she's consistently given back to her community through the arts and has committed her time and finances to helping filmmakers exhibit their work as the director of The Bushwick Film Festival. In addition, she's raised close to 100K in private funding this year to go towards arts and culture in Brooklyn through a new fund called SPACE. That being said, since 2007 she's helped 150+ filmmakers screen their work in front of audiences and raised approximately 300K to go towards visual arts programming in Brooklyn. Not to mention, as a female entrepreneur and filmmaker of color, she represents a demographic that is painfully underrepresented in today’s entertainment and film industry. Let’s continue to empower her! 

THE TEAM

The Director, Kweighbaye Kotee
The Director, Kweighbaye Kotee
Meet The Team
Meet The Team

MEET THE LOCALS 

Meet The Locals
Meet The Locals

FUNDRAISING STRATEGY

This is our first round of funding. Up until this point, everyone has been kind enough to volunteer their time, skills, equipment and much more to get the film off the ground. By raising $25,000 we can shoot our final three interviews, take care of the costs of editing, b-roll shooting, local events coverage, marketing, equipment costs, pay for crew, transport and many other costs that go into making a good film. Since the film will cost about 50-75K to make, the next round of funding will include grants, city funding, and private investors.

MARKETING

The commencement of the kickstarter campaign marks the beginning of #TheBushwickDiaries campaign. #TheBushwickDiaries campaign will release daily images of Bushwick and short stories about residents. Think Humans of New York (website: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/). After we secure funding for post production and the film is edited, we will continue #TheBushwickDiaries campaign until the film is released. Also, since the film will have local music involved, we will host at least two live musical events leading up to the release. The campaign will also distribute monthly press releases to the extensive press and industry list that I've developed over nearly a decade of being in the industry. 

Our second wave of funding will address the costs for local screenings of The Bushwick Diaries in which key players in the industry will be invited. After the film is released, has completed its festival circuit and has gained theatrical distribution, we will make the full videos of each interviewee available. We also plan on making a small selection of merchandise available for sale. 

DISTRIBUTION 

We will submit to film festival in cities in which culture, community, and art converge. Our film festival circuit will run for 6 - 12 months with the intention of securing theatrical or broadcast distribution.

Risks and challenges

I have nearly nine years of experience in event planning, managing budgets, building teams and producing content. In addition, my crew has a collective experience of over 40 years in film production. That said, we have a very clear understanding of the inherent risks that come along with creating a documentary film but we have the tools to overcome them.

We've gotten over half way through production of the film without a budget because we have built a great community of creators in Bushwick that truly believe in the project. We have made up for the lack of funds by evolving to meet the needs of the project. That same attitude is what will carry this vision all the way to distribution.

In documentary filmmaking, risks are unavoidable, but we will continue to push forward until this film is made. I stand together with individuals who believe in this community, many of which have already generously supported the film with their time and talents. We've completed nearly all shooting and the majority of the work remains in post-production, marketing and distribution. Having built strong relationships with people in the community and in the film industry, I am confident that with your additional help, we can get this film funded.

Thank you in advance for your support!

With love and gratitude,
Kweighbaye Kotee

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    THANK YOU for your support! In return, we and the people of Bushwick will be sending some seriously sweet ~*vibes*~ your way.

    Please share our Kickstarter page to keep the good vibes rolling.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    You’ll receive a personal thank you shout-out on social media. Because everyone should know that you're an indie supporter!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    You’ll receive a personal thank you shout out on social media for being an indie supporter and a thank you email from the director.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    A huge heartfelt hug from The Bushwick Diaries Director!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    **Get a thank you card specially designed by artist and Bushwick Diaries interviewee Timur York!**

    Based in Bushwick, conceptual artist Timur York creates works centered around the concepts of time, place, and history. He depicts issues facing contemporary society through the use of graphic iconography, photography, and mixed media. His work is on permanent outdoor display at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C., as well as public and private collections.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    **A Perfect Weekend in Bushwick by Journalist Katarina Hybenova**

    Experience Bushwick from a local’s point of view! And who better to curate your weekend than founder and editor of Bushwick Daily, Katarina Hybenova? Her guide will take you around all the highlights of Bushwick, from the must-see murals to the best coffee shops and breweries and all the other hidden gems Bushwick has to offer. If you’ve always secretly wanted to be a hip Brooklynite, this is your opportunity!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    **Snapshot Portrait with Photographer Alex Feld**

    Have your portrait taken by photographer and Bushwick Diaries interviewee Alex Feld! A Brooklyn-based photographer and dancer, her many hours logged in front of the mirror in ballet class perfecting her lines, timing, and kinetics, helped form a visual vocabulary for her photographic compositions. Documenting her travels as she photographs, sings, and dances, she aims to preserve the splendor of the candid moment. She’ll def capture your best shot!

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    **Limited edition snapback hat**

    Get a special screen-printed Bushwick Diaries hat designed by artist and Bushwick Diaries interviewee Rah Crawford (seen in video!)

    Rah Crawford established his reputation as an artist after being honored by Philadelphia as one of its Creative Ambassadors, alongside Grammy Award-winning artists The Roots. As the founder of NPIC-Art—a new approach to the neo-pop art movement, Rah exhibited his work throughout Europe with representation in Amsterdam and London. ABC News and The New York Times have both covered Rah’s story and his work. Rah Crawford is a creative pioneer and remains highly active in Bushwick.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    **Limited edition t-shirt**

    Get a special screen-printed Bushwick Diaries shirt designed by artist and Bushwick Diaries interviewee Rah Crawford (seen in video!)

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Special invite to Bushwick Diaries premiere screening in Bushwick. Thank you in film credits, a handwritten thank you letter from director Kweighbaye Kotee herself, and a limited edition Bushwick Diaries t-shirt with art by Rah Crawford.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Special invite to Bushwick Diaries premiere screening in Bushwick + Thank you in film credits + a handwritten thank you letter from director Kweighbaye Kotee herself + limited edition Bushwick Diaries t-shirt with art by Rah Crawford + a Timur York Design post Card

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The Ultimate Bushwick Diaries Swag Bag: Your bag will include two tickets to the premiere screening of Bushwick Diaries + a post card designed by Bushwick Artist Timur York, a special screen-printed Bushwick Diaries shirt designed by Rah Crawford, a weekend guide to Bushwick, a portrait session with Bushwick photographer Alex Feld, a handwritten thank you letter from director Kweighbaye Kotee herself and a BIG thank you in film credits!

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    The Ultimate Bushwick Diaries Swag Bag: Your bag will include Four tickets to the premiere screening of Bushwick Diaries + a post card designed by Bushwick Artist Timur York, a special screen-printed Bushwick Diaries shirt designed by Rah Crawford, a weekend guide to Bushwick by Bushwick Daily's Katarina Hybenova, a portrait session with Bushwick photographer Alex Feld, a handwritten thank you letter from director Kweighbaye Kotee herself, Co-Producers Credit in film

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    The Ultimate Bushwick Diaries All Star Swag Bag: Your bag will include Four tickets to all Bushwick Diaries events and screenings including its premiere screening + a post card designed by Bushwick Artist Timur York, a special screen-printed Bushwick Diaries shirt designed by Rah Crawford, a weekend guide to Bushwick by Bushwick Daily's Katarina Hybenova, a portrait session with Bushwick photographer Alex Feld, a handwritten thank you letter from director Kweighbaye Kotee herself and Executive Producer's Credit! That means you get to go up and recieve the award if the film eventually wins an Oscar ;).

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Funding period

- (30 days)