Hi, my name is jeff obafemi carr, and i'm a bit below a C-List celebrity, which i really don't mind at all, because it makes moving around in the grocery store a lot easier to do. You'd probably recognize my voice before you do my face--if you have listened to NPR over the years, where i've done a few quirky commentaries about my life experiences and perspectives on the world. i've never been afraid of tackling controversial issues, and with this latest project, i went for the knockout and left it all on the field of dreams. After spending a lot of my artistic life in front of the camera, on stage, and behind the microphone, i moved into the Director's Chair for a project i hope you will get behind with a passion: a landmark film called He Ain't Heavy, the story of five young men who give their lives--and one of them literally--to belong to a secretive, prestigious fraternity.
We broke all the rules of Filmmaking with this project, shooting entirely on "Pro-sumer" Cameras, Cell Phones,
Security Cameras, and Flip Cams. It's a unique piece of film. I mean, let's be frank, what's your favorite African-American themed Found Footage Film? I'm hoping this will be, considering it's most likely the first in this Genre.
Our original Budget for the film was $50,000. We raised $35,000 of that, which is what got us to this point. The film has been nearly completed, but we need touch-up work: Some small picture adjustments and effects, Titles, Sound-Mixing, Incidental Music, and most of all, a solid Promotional Package that will put us squarely in the cross-hairs of Distributors. For that, we need your help.
i first wrote the outline for He Ain't Heavy almost 9 years ago after meditating on a promotional video i shot for my fraternity when i was in College. Those were the days when Pledges could dress alike, walk around in lines, eat all of their food out of one giant bowl in the campus cafeteria and the like. i thought it would be utterly fascinating to take an honest look at what it takes to get into a Fraternity, particularly an African-American one, without all the "Hollywood" dramatized/satirized/glamorized glitz. i wanted something gritty. Something real. No sweat bottles. No fake tears, No sprayed on dirt. No CGI and Special Effects.
What i ended up with--now almost a decade later--is an experience the likes of which has never been seen before on the Big Screen...
In the Spring of 2011, five young college students, Charles Starnes,
Hannibal Barca Davis, Robert Johnson, Bodine Gabriel, and Horace
Theelder, began the pledge process for one of the most prestigious
African-American Fraternities in existence. A Graduate Film Student and
Fraternity member Thomas "Doc" Hayes, captured their journey on video as part
of an academic documentary that was never meant to be shared
outside of the fraternity. Weeks into the process, an early-morning 911
call led police to a high school football field, where they discovered
the body of one of the Pledges. It was determined to be a Death-By-Hazing. The Grad Student had disappeared with
his camera and weeks of condemning footage. Months later, that footage
found its way to Director jeff obafemi carr, who is releasing it to the world as the movie titled He Ain’t Heavy.
What began as project to support black fraternity life has suddenly
become the tool that could transform, forever, the system of Fraternity Initiation.
A TRUE STORY OR A STORY THAT IS TRUE?
Ever since word got out about this film, which was only in recent weeks, the internet has been alive with speculation. Months ago, a mere 30 Seconds of Footage from one scene was leaked on the 'Net and garnered hundreds of thousands of hits on various sites, eventually even being featured on the popular Television show Tosh.0. You may have seen this video on Youtube or even Worldstar HipHop (before a suspected fraternity member got it deleted) and clutched your heart or ran for your Heave Bag (which we have provided for audience members at screenings). Without giving too much away, all i can say is this: if you ever wanted to experience what it is like to really, truly undergo a process that involves emotional, physical, and psychological Hazing, He Ain't Heavy is the experience you will live, vicariously.
We completed the version of the film we have now in time to enter it into the Nashville Film Festival, the 3rd longest-running Festival in the nation. Close to 3,000 entries were received for it, and we made it in. We were excited to have achieved this prestigious recognition to itself. Then, within weeks, something in the Universe shifted.
The sky opened up, and buzz started falling from everywhere...
* He Ain't Heavy was chosen as one of the Prime Time, Opening Night Films.
* Out of approximately 200 films selected, He Ain't Heavy was one of only 3 films to SELL OUT its screening three days before the Festival even opened.
* The film generated buzz including emails vilifying yours truly for daring to open the door to a secret world, even prompting a great News Feature on local station WSMV.
* The Sell Out prompted an Encore Performance a week later, which He Ain't Heavy also promptly SOLD OUT.
* On April 25th, He Ain't Heavy won the TN Spirit Award for Best Feature Film.
In short, we have something special here, and the world needs to see it soon.
THE IMPACT OF ART AND YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THIS VISION
i'm not carrying a banner here, but rather, working to tell a good story. It just so happens that young people are still victims of Hazing, and no one can define exactly what it is or is not--at least not willingly. This film lays it out clearly, with an engaging story that will spark dialogue. i envision people seeing this film worldwide, in Theaters and on College Campuses, and leaving the viewing with something insightful to think about and discuss.
All we need now are a few more Renegade Visionaries out there who are willing to walk with us into history by donating to this Campaign. Is this you? Yes, it's a bit subversive. Indeed, it is beyond Guerrilla Filmmaking. It may even qualify as a tad bit insane. But we like these Apples, and i'm inviting you to take a bite. All funds donated will be used to complete this film and prepare it for launching into the world. We have only 30 Days to get this done, and i know it can happen. We've got exciting levels of Giving, and in addition to being a part of what i know will be historic, we'll toss you some cool Swagg for being a part of He Ain't Heavy. Who knows, you might get to even personally hang out with the Director of a Genre-Busting Film. :-)
Check back often and share this page with your like-minded, daring, odds-defying, visionary friends. i'll give you updates on the journey. Thanks for stopping by. Let's DO this!
jeff obafemi carr, Producer/Director of He Ain't Heavy