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!
MEET THE LOCALS
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.
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.
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,
- (30 days)