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$20,516 pledged of $75,000 goal
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$20,516 pledged of $75,000 goal
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About this project

Rigorously shot, impeccably edited and at times startling in their beauty, [Wiseman's] films usher us into often otherwise anonymous spaces and lives, and help make the invisible visible.

– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the United States. 167 languages are spoken in this neighborhood inhabited by people from Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, China, and many other countries. The people who live in Jackson Heights are representative of the new wave of immigrants to America. Zipporah Films, the production and distribution company of filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, is looking to Kickstarter’s own diverse community to help us tell the story of Jackson Heights.

“I’ve funded my films with the help of generous friends and colleagues as well as the active use of my American Express card. I’ve received some grants that cover part of the costs, but with a limited number of organizations and countless competitors, I’m turning to Kickstarter for help. Kickstarter is a wonderful resource that is its own melting pot of creators and patrons and I'm excited to be a part of it. Together, we can bring even more communities to Jackson Heights.”

Mariachi Flor de Toloache
Mariachi Flor de Toloache

Fred chose to make a film about Jackson Heights because this community is an example of America as a "melting pot" settled, developed, and made strong by successive waves of immigrants.

"My films are about institutions, which I define as a place that has existed for a while and that has fixed geographical boundaries. The institution serves the same purpose as the lines and net do on a tennis court, i.e. providing boundaries. Whatever takes place inside the boundaries is a candidate for inclusion in the film. In the case of IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, I filmed primarily from 72nd Street to 92nd Street, and between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard."

“I do very little research before filming. Usually, I only visit a day or two before I start. I try to get a sense of the space, make preliminary inquiries, and research the daily routines. I am always afraid that something really interesting will happen while I’m researching and that if I'm not prepared to shoot it, I'll miss it. The filming is the research.

“In the movies I am trying to present a broad, complex and diffuse portrait of contemporary life. I choose all kinds of different subjects – poor people, rich people, middle class people, in different situations and in a variety of locations. In one sense I'm making one long, thematically connected movie that is now 100 hours long."

IN JACKSON HEIGHTS will be Fred's 40th film and 9th filmed in New York. Check out this rough cut sneak peek:

IN JACKSON HEIGHTS was filmed over the course of eight weeks in the summer of 2014. Fred is currently editing the final film from 120 hours of rushes. The film will be completed for festival and theatrical release by the fall of 2015.

Fred and Zipporah Films need your help and support to finish production and to release this film!

A distinctive aspect of Fred's filmmaking style is the lack of interviews, narration, and added music or lighting. The film is found over the course of an intense editing process that lasts eight months to a year.

"I had a great time making this film. The shooting was, as always, a great adventure. I met people from many different cultures whose life experiences were very different than mine. I have no idea what the themes and point of view of the film are going to be before I start. The sequences shot are found through a combination of chance, judgment and luck. Decisions about what to shoot have to be made quickly. Often crucial information about an event is exchanged in the first 30 seconds. All aspects of making a documentary are fascinating for me but I particularly like the editing. I discover the film in the editing. There is an old joke about the sculptor who finds his statue under the stone. I find the film by selecting, studying, condensing and ordering sequences from the rushes. Once I get started, the editing becomes compulsive and I often work at it seven days a week.

"My job as editor is to make the film as best I can from the rushes. What I think about the subject matter is what you see in the final film. At least 50% of editing has nothing to do with technique. I ask myself what it is I am seeing and hearing in the rushes. I have to at least delude myself into thinking that I understand what is going on in each of the sequences in order to (1) decide which sequences to use, (2) how to edit them into a usable form and (3) create a narrative, dramatic structure in which each segment has its proper place. This process often takes a year. A month or two before I finish I usually start thinking about what I want to do next. This is my way of avoiding a postpartum depression.”

Stills from other Wiseman fims -  LA DANSE, TITICUT FOLLIES, THE LAST LETTER, AT BERKELEY, CENTRAL PARK, NATIONAL GALLERY, DEAF, BOXING GYM, BASIC TRAINING
Stills from other Wiseman fims - LA DANSE, TITICUT FOLLIES, THE LAST LETTER, AT BERKELEY, CENTRAL PARK, NATIONAL GALLERY, DEAF, BOXING GYM, BASIC TRAINING

"Wiseman's work is preoccupied with what one could call spirit. With an intensity usually found only in fiction, Wiseman examines the moral and spiritual life of an institution."
       –David Denby, The New Yorker

All of the films have aired on PBS to national audiences and are screened at major international film festivals including Cannes, Venice, Toronto, London, and New York. All of Fred's films are produced and distributed with the support of his distribution company, Zipporah Films.

“Some people assume that because I’ve made a lot of films and they’ve been well received that it’s easy for me to get the money. That is not the case. For me, the cycle remains the same every time I start a project; I have to do what everyone else does and sing for my supper.” 

IN JACKSON HEIGHTS has secured some funding but we need help to finish production and to release the film. Join us in bringing Fred's work to longtime fans and new audiences, and celebrate the community of Jackson Heights, by supporting this project. The film will be released in the fall of 2015, followed by the DVD and PBS broadcast in 2016.

 Here are some highlights of our great rewards!

One of a kind mounted 16mm film frames with Fred's signature
One of a kind mounted 16mm film frames with Fred's signature
Close up of film still from HOSPITAL
Close up of film still from HOSPITAL

Besides contributing to our campaign, there are other ways to help us spread the word!

  • Share our Kickstarter page on your Facebook and Twitter accounts and help this film get more support
  • Check out Fred's other films while you wait for IN JACKSON HEIGHTS
  • Got Fred's book list? Tell us what you're reading on social media!
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook where we'll post updates and more content about the film

Risks and challenges

IN JACKSON HEIGHTS has received some funding--however, it's not enough to finish the film. Fred and Zipporah Films need your help to finish IN JACKSON HEIGHTS so that we can release the film.

“There are limited sources for funding. So, like every other documentary filmmaker, I scramble around. I have great difficulties getting funded. It’s as if every movie is my first movie. I don’t like it, but that’s the reality. It's harder now to get the money for my films; the costs of everything have gone up so much.”

Love Fred's films? Back IN JACKSON HEIGHTS today!

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    • MANY THANKS! You want this story told. For this we are eternally grateful.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    • Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016)
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    NEW REWARD!

    • Your choice of any Frederick Wiseman DVD from the Zipporah Films store
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    • Two tickets to a NYC screening
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

    Date and location TBD
    (Airfare and accommodations not included)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    • Two tickets to a NYC screening
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

    Date and location TBD
    (Airfare and accommodations not included)

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    • Two Wiseman films on DVD: LA DANSE and AT BERKELEY
    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    • One movie theater size poster from Fred's film BOXING GYM (40 x 26) signed by Fred
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    • One movie theater size poster from Fred's film AT BERKELEY (40 x 26) signed by Fred
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    • One movie theater size poster from Fred's film NATIONAL GALLERY (40 x 26) signed by Fred
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    EARLY BIRD!

    • A personal note from Fred with his signature inside the MoMA book FREDERICK WISEMAN
    • Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016)
    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    • A personal note from Fred with his signature inside the MoMA book FREDERICK WISEMAN
    • Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016)
    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Film Studies 101: Intro to Wiseman

    • STARTER PACK of DVDs - TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH SCHOOL, BLIND, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, and LA DANSE
    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    • One IN JACKSON HEIGHTS movie theater size poster signed by Fred
    • Two tickets to a screening in NYC
    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016)
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

    Date and location TBD
    (Airfare and accommodations not included)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    I HEART NY!

    • The DVDs of the films Fred filmed in New York - HOSPITAL, WELFARE, MODEL, RACETRACK, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, and HIGH SCHOOL II
    • One IN JACKSON HEIGHTS movie theater size poster signed by Fred
    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016)
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    • I HEART NEW YORK and STARTER PACK of Fred's films
    • One IN JACKSON HEIGHTS movie theater size poster signed by Fred
    • One Jackson Heights Tote
    • Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016)
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    • The MoMA book about Fred
    • I HEART NEW YORK and STARTER PACK of Fred's films
    • One IN JACKSON HEIGHTS movie theater size poster signed by Fred
    •Two tickets to a NYC screening
    •Two Jackson Heights Totes
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

    Date and location TBD
    (Airfare and accommodations not included)

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

    • Mounted 16mm film frames with Fred's signature
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    Host a private screening of IN JACKSON HEIGHTS!

    • We’ll work with you to figure out a local venue and do a private screening. It will be within 2 weeks of when the movie is released in theaters. We will throw in popcorn and movie posters, plus postcards to send as invitations!
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

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  21. Select this reward

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

    • One DVD of every Wiseman film
    • Two tickets to a NYC screening
    • One IN JACKSON HEIGHTS movie theater size poster signed by Fred
    • The MoMA book about Fred
    •Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016)
    • Two Jackson Heights Totes
    • Thanks on our website

    Date and location TBD
    (Airfare and accommodations not included)

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Frederick Wiseman Masterclass

    • Get a 30 minute Skype session with Fred!
    • One DVD of every Wiseman film
    • Two tickets to a NYC screening
    • Get your name in the end credits of the film!
    • One IN JACKSON HEIGHTS movie theater size poster signed by Fred
    • Get a digital 10 day streaming view of the film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS (available March 2016 for US & Canada only)
    • PDF list of Fred's favorite books, plays, and poetry
    • Thanks on our website

    Date and location TBD
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Funding period

- (32 days)