About this project
Update Video #1 - First-Hand Account of the L.A. Riots
Update Video #2 - The True Story of the April's Way Filming Location
Update Video #3 - Meet the Cast of April's Way
Update Video #4 - Why We Shot on 35mm Film
You may have read about us on these news outlets:
- NBC News
- The Korea Times
- Huffington Post
- ProVideo Co.
- Day & a Dream
- Cinema Slasher
- SM News Net
Based on a true story. When faced with rampant looting, a Korean-American store owner struggles between protecting his wife and young daughter or taking a stand against rioters who threaten his business and livelihood. April’s Way follows Sung-Min as he navigates racial and moral boundaries, ultimately uncovering the humanity within us all. Taking its name from the brutal month of April in 1992, April’s Way offers a glimpse into the often-overlooked hardships that many Korean-American merchants suffered during the civil unrest.
Why Now?The concept for the film spawned years ago, but it wasn’t until the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and the public outcry following both, that inspired me to make this script a reality.
This project, meant to focus attention on social discrimination, speaks from my perspective as a new voice seeking to inspire a better world. With this film, I hope to illustrate that violence is not the answer. Now is time to stand up and speak out against social injustices, police brutality, and gun violence. April’s Way is a jumping-off place for continuing these necessary conversations.
Historical SignificanceIn the early 1990s, racial tensions were high in Los Angeles amidst economic downturn. Following the killing of a young African American girl, Latasha Harlins, by Korean Merchant, Soon Ja Du, relations between Korean Americans and African Americans were beginning to boil over. Cultural barriers and low social statuses only further fueled the fires for Korean-Americans.
Following the controversial verdict of the Rodney King trial, rioting led to the deaths of 53 people, and nearly $1 billion worth of property damage. Korean businesses were believed to be targets of looting and arson by violent protesters. In the widespread absence of law enforcement support, people were forced to take up arms to defend themselves and their families against the civil unrest that was exploding onto the streets of LA.
One such success story comes from Betty and the late Buddy Lee of the Advance Food Market. The Lee Family endured much heartache as they watched their market burn to the ground on the second day of the riots. The family battled insurance companies, and rallied the community, in a two year journey of perseverance to rebuild their market.
Why We Need YouEven with the blood, sweat, and tears that we’ve all put into this project, April's Way is NOT finished. We have a lot of work ahead of us to make this project complete. Contributions collected through this Kickstarter will be used to cover the production expenses, from pre-planning all the way through the final stages of post, including:
- 4k Film Scan
- Digital Intermediate
- Colorist/Color Grading
- Digital Cinema Package (DCP)
- Theatrical Sound Mix
- Festival Submissions
- Marketing & Public Relations
Films are an amazing way to transcend boundaries of gender, race, culture, age, and reach the community with an important message.
We cannot do this without your help.
All of the reference images we researched were shot on film, so we knew from the beginning that shooting on 35mm film was the best way to recreate the look of the early 1990s. A large part of the aesthetic found in 90’s cinema is due to the inherent qualities of film itself and anamorphic lenses.
Using film is time consuming and more costly than shooting digitally, but since April’s Way is such an important cause-piece, we wanted to stand out from the crowd with pure authenticity.
PRODUCER Matt Hardman has produced a number of award-winning short films and music videos. Most notable are, Death of the Cool, which won Best Short at the 2011 Sacramento International Film Festival, and Brady, which earned a Vimeo Staff Pick and was a Short of the Week. Matt’s practical set experience on televisions shows such as Ray Donovan, and Parenthood, as well as movies such as Lincoln, and The Lone Ranger, have helped him to advance his creative endeavors. He has also worked extensively in production, and post-production, on commercials for clients like Redbull, Toyota, Blue Origin, Rhapsody, and Samsung.
WRITER & DIRECTOR Robert Nyerges started working in the industry on the production staff of Hollywood feature films such as Lincoln, The Lone Ranger, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Interstellar. Robert cites that seeing the masters of cinema exercising their craft first-hand, the likes of Spielberg, Scorsese, Mann, Nolan, and Fincher, was a motivational and an awe-inspiring blessing. Since his time in production, Robert has produced a number of award-winning music videos and short films. Deciding to take his own directing career to the next level, Robert began studying with famed acting and directing coach, Judith Weston. Since then, Robert has directed a number of music videos and commercial spots.
DIRECTOR of PHOTOGRAPHY Nicholas Wiesnet has filmed feature films, music videos, shorts, and has been nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers Heritage Award. Check out his amazing narrative cinematography reel below:
COMPOSER: Christoffer Franzén, of Lights & Motion, is a Swedish musician, producer, multi-instrumentalist and composer from Gothenburg. Listen to his incredible work:
Our fantastic cast has been featured in tons of movies, such as Rush Hour 3, television shows including Teen Wolf, Criminal Minds, My Crazy Roommate, and Punk'd, as well as commercials for companies like Disney, USAA, and DIRECTV.
What better way to help spread awareness and equality than to show your support every single day?
For helping support our art and our cause, we're giving you art from our crew and the director's family of acclaimed professional photographers. You can select your favorite image then we'll print it and have it shipped straight to your door. Check them out HERE.
Signed Limited Edition Albums
These signed albums from our composer are completely SOLD OUT but for a LIMITED TIME ONLY they are available EXCLUSIVELY through this campaign.
Signed 'Directing Actors' Books
I learned a lot from Judith Weston's books and from taking her workshops. She is an amazing instructor and I thought that sharing the same knowledge that I used to get to where I am today, with a personalized copy of her book, was the best way to reach out to other up and coming filmmakers.
We appreciate all of your support through this process. With an outreach campaign like this, Likes and Shares are just as important as contributions. We know that not everyone will be able to join in financially, but please please please take 30 seconds to share this campaign with your friends on Facebook, talk about it on Twitter or Instagram, make a phone call, or simply send it to a few of your friends via text or email. In whatever way you know how, please help us spread the word.
Thank you for believing in this cause, sharing the message, and starting a conversation about bettering the world we live in.
Risks and challenges
A film is worthless without an audience to watch it just as much as a cause is nothing without people to support it.
I hope you will join in to help promote peace and equality. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
No. Although extremely similar to the events depicted in April's Way, Betty and Buddy's story of the Advance Food Market stands alone. Their story, and the first-hand accounts of their story seen in our Update Videos are merely used to illustrate the history of the market that was used as the April's Way filming location. The memorial seen at the end of our Pitch Video is a display of our gratitude and appreciation for the help and support that the Lee family has shown us during the creation of this project.
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