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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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