Thanks you to all our backers! We're super excited to have reached our goal. You can still make a tax-exempt donation and support this project through our fiscal sponsor page at: https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=11649
Thanks! -Jeremy and the Echoes crew
What the Echoes project is about:
The Echoes of Incarceration is a documentary initiative produced by youth with incarcerated parents. The project explores the issue of mass incarceration and its effects on families, and creates documentary films told from the life experiences of the filmmakers themselves.
The project seeks to give voice to this massive but hidden issue facing over 2.7 million children in America. And we’ve already had a powerful impact with our films: we screened work at the White House in October, partnered with Upworthy to release our latest film, and presented at conferences and trainings around the country for the last four years.
We’re now raising funds to complete our series of short films based on the Bill of Rights of Children with Incarcerated Parents (a powerful, guiding document for the field), and to embark on our full-length documentary.The goal is to make sure these stories get heard, and to spark new conversations and debates around the effects of incarceration on children. Ultimately we believe the policies and debates around our justice system should are grounded in the experiences of the young people who are affected the most.
As a country, we are slowly becoming aware of the scale of mass incarceration in America: 2.2 million Americans are currently in prison or jail – that’s a 500% increase in the past thirty years. Consider this: American makes up only 5% of the world’s population, but holds 25% of the world’s prison population.
What is still largely invisible is mass incarceration’s impact on children and families. It’s estimated that 2.7 million children have parents in prison or jail – that’s 1 in 28 children in America. Parental incarceration is linked to a shocking array of health and emotional problems, and in a recent study was to found to be more detrimental to children than the death of a parent. Yet the stigma around incarceration keeps the experience largely hidden from view, and keeps our various responses shrouded in ignorance.
The Echoes of Incarceration project seeks – in the words of a youth producer – to “open up eyes and give back the voice that was once taken away.” The ultimate goal is to use the power of storytelling to shed light on this issue, and to harness the intelligence, energy, and creativity of young people to re-examine our understandings of crime and punishment.
The Echoes project started with a 10-min film I created in 2009 with a group of teenagers with incarcerated parents. We started giving the film away for free to educators and advocates and the response was overwhelming. To date the film has been shown thousands of times, and toured the country and internationally as part of the Media that Matters Film Festival (where it won the “Speaking Out” award.) Based on the response we re-launched the project last year with the goal of creating short films that explore the full range of experiences children of the incarcerated face: from the moment of arrest, to sentencing, to release, and along the way, the stigma, separation, and the need for support and contact with the incarcerated parent.
Our process involves intensive filmmaking training for youth (age 16-24) with incarcerated parents. They study camera, light, audio, research techniques, interviewing, and editing, they complete a number of practice projects, then pitch their film ideas to panels of criminal justice experts and veteran filmmakers. We then embark on our production, with the crew interweaving their own personal stories with the national phenomenon.
Our impact so far:
Within a short period of time our films has already had a reach that exceeded our wildest expectations. Our film has been incorporated into university curriculums, used in parenting classes in prisons, and screened at film festivals and national conferences of social workers. Our recent partnership with Upworthy will help the message reach a national audience. And our screening at the White House brought our stories to key criminal justice decision-makers.
However, at each turn, we hear from advocates that there are still so many stigmas and misperceptions to overcome, so many reforms to be made, and so many stories that still need to be told.
What we need:
We need to raise $45,000 to finish our series of short films, to raise awareness surrounding key issues children face. We have already created powerful partnerships to insure these films reach a wide audience, and impact key stakeholders who can make changes in the lives of children. Your support will help finish our short films by paying for equipment, travel, student stipends, and production and editing costs.
Stretch goal: If we manage to exceed our goal and raise $65,000 we can grow our crew, and provide filmmaking training to more young people with incarcerated parents. This will also allow us to continue providing free filmmaking workshops for foster care agencies and non-profits that work with children of the incarcerated, giving hundreds more children the chance to tell their story and participate in our production.
Spread the word
If you can’t provide support in the form of a financial donation, you can help us by spreading the word. Any shares, likes, leads, or just ideas for continuing our work is greatly, greatly appreciated.
For information on tax-deductiblee donations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges
Kickstarter is all or nothing. We must reach our goal of $45,000 by January 5th in order to receive any of the pledges at all. Your credit card will not be charged unless we receive $45,000 or more by midnight on January 5th, 2015. If you have problems with the payment system here, please email me at Jeremy@ibisdocs.comLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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