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A series of six short animated films based on poems composed by four year olds.
234 backers pledged $15,035 to help bring this project to life.

About

The Preschool Poets: An Animated Film Series project video thumbnail
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$15,035

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We are making six short animated films based on poems composed by four-year-olds. This Kickstarter campaign will give us the money to hire an animator and complete this project.

Nancy writes with Alexa in an Ohio Arts Council poetry residency
Nancy writes with Alexa in an Ohio Arts Council poetry residency

Project History:  I have been writing poems seriously for about 30 years, and teaching poetry for the last 20. I love to write with people who think they don’t have a poetic voice and show them how they can find it. Many of my poetry residencies are sponsored by Ohio Arts Council, whose Arts Learning program puts professional artists in schools and gives students a chance to immerse themselves in art making. 

About seven years ago, I saw that Columbus Early Learning Centers, an organization that offers affordable access to high-quality early childhood education, was looking for an artist to work with their children. I couldn’t quite imagine how I’d make poems with preschoolers, but what I found is that although these children are just learning to form letters of the alphabet, they think, feel, and express themselves with intensity. In the classroom, I share songs and poems that offer patterns we can borrow or ways to start our own poems. We write about all the things that matter to us, and how we feel about the world. Their compositions – which they dictate to me – are often startling. 

The surprise of writing our ideas down
The surprise of writing our ideas down

“This new year two of my brothers will cry sometimes,” said four-year-old Darrell. “This new spring the wind will be gentle.” And from Brayden: “Relax, wolves. / Lay down by the trees. // Relax, bullets from guns. Stop shooting people. // Fire, eat wood. Num num.” 

Preschoolers' poems
Preschoolers' poems

I started sharing the poems with friends. The work caught the attention of Josh Kun, director of the documentary film company, Oakhouse Films. We saw the chance to bring the children’s poems and world-view to a new media and to new audiences. Josh and I developed a plan to create a series of short animated films.  

 The Project: Each of these six short films will be introduced by the child, sitting on the floor, and continue with the child’s voice reciting the poem’s lines; animation will illustrate and elaborate each poem’s images and ideas. The animation will be bold and surreal, and carry the viewer through the breathless leaps of fantasy the children express. 

We contacted some of the top animators in the world, who came back to us with budgets of $15,000 to $25,000 to animate all six 30- to 60-second films. Although there are project grants available for films, many are for much smaller awards; we will still pursue these grants, but wanted to swoop this project into being. We feel the best way to do this is to share our story big, here on Kickstarter. 

Ohio Arts Council has already very generously awarded this project a $5000 grant. OAC’s support means we need only $15,000 more! The $15,000 we raise in this campaign will all go towards the animator's fee. 

The residencies gave the children the opportunity to hear themselves as poets. These films will take their voices further. They will show the importance of arts learning programs in general and OAC’s in particular, and that even the very young have powerful and authentic artistic voices. We hope you agree that this project is well worth funding and help us get these films rolling. 

Filming the preschoolers reciting their poems
Filming the preschoolers reciting their poems

 

Risks and challenges

In the unlikely event the animator is unable to fulfill their contract, we may be forced to hire a different animator. This would add an extra expense, and may extend the project timeline. We would apply to receive project grants from local arts agencies.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Poetry Postcard

    A short poem composed by a young writer will be on this postcard, suitable for framing (or taping to the wall) or actually sending through the mail to a lucky friend, who will be delighted by the poem and your thoughtfulness.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DVD of the Poetry Films + Postcard

    Your own copy of the film project! DUDE. (Plus the postcard.)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Set of Six Poetry Postcards + DVD

    Five different poems by young writers, all suitable for framing or taping all over your house for nonstop enjoyment. Plus the DVD! (Estimated time of delivery for DVD is June 2017.)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Poetry Poster + DVD + Set of Postcards

    Your very own 11x17 poster featuring a poem by a young poet. Tape it to your wall and delight yourself and your guests. Plus DVD. (Estimated time of delivery for DVD is June 2017.)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Your Very Own Poem + DVD

    Send us three words of your choosing and Nancy and a young poet will write a short poem that includes your words. Plus DVD. (Estimated time of delivery for DVD is June 2017.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Credit in the Film's Description + DVD

    Your name (or organization name) will appear in the film's description, and will be seen on YouTube and other media channels. Show off your generosity! You are a rock star donor. Plus DVD. (Estimated time of delivery for DVD is June 2017.)

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

    Professional filming + Film Credit + DVD

    A voucher for two hours of filming by Oakhouse Films. Use this treat for yourself or gift this professional service to a friend. Your generous donation will also be noted in the film's description (see the $500 reward), and you will receive a DVD of the final project. (Estimated time of delivery for DVD is June 2017.)

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Funding period

- (28 days)