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Paulette Leaphart is on a 1,000 mile topless walk from Biloxi, Mississippi to Washington DC to change the face of breast cancer.
Alternative narratives to the depiction of “pink survivorship.”
Alternative narratives to the depiction of “pink survivorship.”
448 backers pledged $32,185 to help bring this project to life.

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Scar Story: Documentary of Paulette’s 1,000 Mile Walk to DC

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Hi! We’re Emily MacKenzie and Sasha Solodukhina, director and producer of Scar Story, the documentary chronicling Paulette Leaphart’s 1,000 mile topless walk to Washington DC. Paulette begins her journey across the country in May of 2016 and we, along with a small and dedicated production team, are hitting the road with her. We couldn’t be more excited.

AS SEEN ON

The AtlanticBusiness InsiderInside EditionIndiewire, The Stir,  Hello Flo, and Huffington Post 

Beyonce’s visual album LEMONADE

Paulette in HOPE section of Lemonade
Paulette in HOPE section of Lemonade

 THE STORY

 

Paulette Leaphart was, in her words, “born uncelebrated.” As a child, she found refuge in the local church, which became her solace during those troubling times. As a little girl, she sat in the pews and made a promise to God: When she grew up she would adopt a child for every one she had biologically, to give children the kind of love every child deserves.

By 2014, Paulette had fulfilled her promise and was a mother of eight, living a comfortable life. One night, she woke up from a dream - a message from God telling her she had cancer. Her oldest son tried to comfort her - they had recently lost several female family members in succession to breast cancer. He insisted, it was just bad dream, but Paulette rushed to make a doctor's appointment. Finding nothing in a routine exam, the doctor suggested they check back in six months. "I'll be dead in six months," she said. Reluctantly, the doctor performed further tests, and to his surprise, she was right - Paulette had an aggressive form of breast cancer metastasizing behind her breast and spreading to her lymph nodes. She needed a double mastectomy immediately with no option for reconstructive surgery. "What is a woman without breasts?" she asked herself. Paulette was left with a choice - life, or holding on to the very things that were trying to kill her.

After her double mastectomy, Paulette underwent months of vigorous and expensive chemotherapy. Although the treatments left the family on the brink of financial ruin, they saved her life. For her, surviving cancer was not enough. She felt that if other people could see her scars and hear her story, she could help them. Her teenage daughter posted a photo of Paulette’s scars on Facebook, and it went viral. Immediately, she was inundated with messages of support and gratitude from cancer survivors and their family members. By exposing herself and speaking out bravely, she broke the shameful silence and empowered other women to get the same life saving procedure. By showing her scars, Paulette inspires hundreds who had suffered all kinds of trauma to share their own scar stories. 

Now, she is embarking on a new mission – walking 1000 miles across the country bare-chested to share her story,to commemorate those who lost their lives, and to augment the popular pink imagery of the disease. By walking across the country baring her scars for all to see, Paulette is on a brave mission to remind us that we all have scars, and we should not be ashamed of them. 

This Documentary will chronicle Paulette's Journey.

WHAT IS THIS MONEY FOR?

Meeting our Kickstarter goal will cover the basics of going into production and ensure that we can stay on the road with Paulette through the duration of her journey. While on the road, we will need to pay, feed, and house our small crew, make sure the RV is is maintained and in tip-top shape, pay for gas, and be able to rent additional equipment. We have an amazing and committed core team willing to do whatever it takes to make this production happen. However, we do not know what kind of attention Paulette’s walk is going to receive – she may have a dozen people join her, or she may have several thousand – and we need to be prepared to hire additional crew-members on the fly to make sure we capture each moment with the gravity it deserves. We need your help to make this production possible! Check out the ways you can be involved in our walk by contributing to this Kickstarter. If you would prefer to help Paulette directly, check out the link below that will take you directly to her gofundme page. Your contribution will help us make our journey alongside Paulette and document the highs and lows of her incredible walk. We are reaching a critical moment and your support makes all the difference. Join us – we’re ready to hit the road!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1) BACK THE PROJECT Contributions of all amounts matter. The more people we engage in this story, the wider our reach is.

2) SPREAD THE WORD! LIKE US on Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter! Keep up with where we are and get updates from the road. 

Cheer us along with each step we take to reaching our goal and our destination. Your support is essential in both making our project happen and sharing Paulette’s story with a wider audience. We are so appreciative that you took the time to consider this campaign. If you're looking for other ways to support the film, but are not in a place to make a financial contribution, you can spread the word to your interested friends, or otherwise on social media. Awareness will help us meet our goal! We can't wait to make this film and share with you. Come be a part of this amazing journey!

OUR PRODUCTION TEAM

This film can be a vehicle to impact change and reassess how we talk about cancer, and we want you to help us bring it to life. In the United States today, the percentage of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year is the same as it was forty years ago. That needs to change. With her walk, Paulette is trying to save lives. We don't merely need to raise awareness – everyone knows what cancer is. We need to fund research into cause and prevention as much as we fund research into treatment. We need to put social structures in place to support women like Paulette who lost nearly everything to this disease, and we need to make potential life-saving drugs affordable for everyone – not just those with the deepest pockets.

Breast cancer is not only a personal tragedy – it is a public health crisis. As a mother of five daughters, it should be no surprise that Paulette is taking a stand, as there is a 1 in 8 chance that her kids could develop breast cancer. Through the historical feat of walking topless to the steps of Congress, Paulette is demanding a radical change. It has been an honor to be let into Paulette’s life and to be the team to accompany her on the road. Her story needs to be heard, and with your help, we can share it with the world.

TAX -DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS

Donations over $500 can be tax-deductible! Send us a message for more information.

ADDITIONAL REWARDS

Scars: An Anthology, Edited by Erin Wood
Scars: An Anthology, Edited by Erin Wood

Scars: An Anthology examines the range and nuance of experience related to scars of the body. Through various genres and mediums, contributors address self-mutilation, creating art, gender confirmation surgery, cancer, birth, brain injury, war, coming of age, pain, and love, all focusing on the central question of what it means to live with physical scars. 

New $900 reward! Only 1 available!
New $900 reward! Only 1 available!
Robyn Davidson's trek is a well know National Geographic Cover Story.
Robyn Davidson's trek is a well know National Geographic Cover Story.

In 1977 a 27-year-old Australian woman named Robyn Davidson embarked on a quixotic 1700 mile solo expedition across the desolate Australian outback, with only four camels and a dog. Rick Smolan documented Robyn's journey for National Geographic Magazine. This remarkable volume presents both Smolan's stunning images, photographs from the recent TRACKS movie (starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver), and a smartphone app.

Risks and challenges

We are confident that this production will be a success, but there are a number of challenges that all filmmakers face when working a verite documentary project. We are rooting for Paulette to complete her walk in the time she has estimated, but it is very possible that the walk will last longer than that, or that she will walk further and faster than any of us anticipated. While we know that every city, town, and country road she walks down will surely be inspired by her action, we don’t know exactly what will transpire along the road. Will Paulette be invited to the White House? Will we be met with hesitation and resistance? Will the walk lead directly to a similar journey in another country? The uncertainty of verite documentary filmmaking is a certain risk but, as a team, we are flexible and open, ready to chronicle everything that happens on the road - from the quiet moments of rest after a long day of walking, to the sensational sounds and sights of major cities such as Atlanta and Washington DC, to the individuals and crowds that find Paulette along the route and join her – we will be there to capture it all.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About $1.00

    FIRST STEP - We’ll send you a social media shout from the road!

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About $10

    ARE WE THERE YET? - 10 weeks is a long time to be on the road, so we’ll be listening to plenty of tunes. If you back at this level, we’ll share our Spotify playlist with you + shout out on social media

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    Pledge US$ 24 or more About $24

    BYSTANDER - For 24 hours you will have access to a digital streaming link to the film + shout out on social media

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About $25

    ON THE ROAD AGAIN – We’ll send you a digital map of our journey so you can follow along + shout out on social media

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    STICK WITH US – We’ll send you a custom bumper sticker for the film + digital streaming link of the film for 24 hours + our road trip mix!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    CARRY ON – Custom tote bag for the film + digital streaming link for 24 hours + our road trip mix!

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    Pledge $51 or more About $51

    A copy of SCARS: AN ANTHOLOGY signed by Erin Wood and Paulette Leaphart! Scars: An Anthology examines the range and nuance of experience related to scars of the body. Through various genres and mediums, contributors address self-mutilation, creating art, gender confirmation surgery, cancer, birth, brain injury, war, coming of age, pain, and love, all focusing on the central question of what it means to live with physical scars. + digital streaming link for 24 hours + our road trip mix!

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About $75

    CHRISTOPHER WALKEN - Your name in the credits, or the name of a loved one you want to memorialize + digital download of the film + anything from the $30 and below rewards

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    **EARLY BIRD SPECIAL**- A copy of INSIDE TRACKS signed by PAULETTE LEAPHART and RICK SMOLAN (Photographer/Author). INSIDE TRACKS is a well know National Geographic Cover Story of a legendary adventure. In 1977 a 27-year-old Australian woman named Robyn Davidson embarked on a quixotic 1700 mile solo expedition across the desolate Australian outback, with only four camels and a dog.

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    WALKING IN MEMPHIS…OR ANYWHERE - We’ll send you 10 postcards from the road during our travels. Stay in touch with us as we make the journey! + digital download of the film + our road trip mix!

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    Pledge $101 or more About $101

    WALKING IN MEMPHIS…OR ANYWHERE - We’ll send you 10 postcards from the road during our travels. Stay in touch with us as we make the journey! + digital download of the film + our road trip mix!

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    WALK ON - Attend a rough cut screening (virtually or otherwise) and be privy to the creative process + digital download of the completed film

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    THE RUN-ON - Settle in for a 30-minute phone or Skype call and we’ll share tips on making a project happen...or we’ll just listen to you tell us about your day + digital download of the film

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    RETRACE OUR STEPS – We’ll bring a disposable camera to a shoot (with your name on it), shoot the roll of film, then mail you the camera! You'll have one-of-a-kind stills – so unique that even we won’t know what’s there + digital download of the film

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    Pledge US$ 350 or more About $350

    PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN – Name our RV for one week while we’re on the road, get a social media shout out and picture postcard of our crew standing next to the RV with your chosen name on the front! + digital download of the film

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About $500

    THE FORREST GUMP - Send us your shoes and Emily or Sasha will walk a mile in them along the route, then write you a letter about the experience of walking a mile in your shoes + digital download of the film, tote bag, and 3 bumper stickers.

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    STEP BY STEP – We’ll make you a travel guide of all the places we stop in along the way including the best (or worst) places to eat, be merry, buy canned goods, and park your RV. Ever had the itch to go to one of the places we’re visiting? Shoot us a line and we’ll make an extra effort to scope it out for you + digital download of the film

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    Pledge $900 or more About $900

    THE HITCHHIKER - One backer will have the opportunity to pick out a vanity plate for the crew's RV! Yes, you can say whatever you want to as long as it's under six characters. + Any of the rewards at the $250 level or below + A digital download of the film.

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

    WALKING ON SUNSHINE - Join us in New Orleans to meet the crew and Paulette for a backyard cook out in your honor! Includes any one of the $250 rewards and below. Travel to New Orleans not included. + a digital download of the film

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

    SWEEP US OFF OUR FEET – An invitation to the premiere of the film (travel not included). Be our special guest, have dinner on us, and hang out with the filmmakers and subject. VIP After Party! + a digital download of the film

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

    THE MOON WALK – Associate Producer credit (Kickstarter Exclusive) + anything at the $2500 level or below!

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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About $10,000

    FOOT THE BILL – And we’ll shoot your story (Available in New Orleans, New York, LA and DC). We’ll spend an hour with you (or someone of your choosing) and film your Scar Story to be included on our website or possibly in the film + Associate Producer Credit (Kickstarter Exclusive) + digital download of the film + anything at the $2500 level or below!

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Funding period

- (34 days)