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Asylum is an innovatively-cast short narrative film telling the story of U.S. immigration starring a solely-immigrant cast.
Asylum is an innovatively-cast short narrative film telling the story of U.S. immigration starring a solely-immigrant cast.
156 backers pledged $14,805 to help bring this project to life.

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$14,805

156

*This Kickstarter closes THIS WEEK - ON FRIDAY EVENING, Dec. 1st, 11:59PM (PST).

*** UPDATE, NOV. 25, 2017: with your support $5K, $7.5K and $10K - reached!   

$15K - This crucial last $5,000 is the difference between us making a film that falls short in technical execution and one that has the means to deliver on the script. We won't have to eliminate crucial scenes in our story, and will be able to meet the massive equipment costs necessary for a first-rate production. If we can make it to 15K— it will still be a stretch— but we’ll be able to get our full film done.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is not a documentary, but a short narrative film.

All of the actors in this film are immigrants, acting out characters similar to themselves. Enzo, our main character, takes us into a network of undocumented immigrants living under the radar of the U.S. government.

This film seeks to do something different than the standard immigrant story. We want to empower the community to tell its own story. The actors in this film were cast through cold-approaches on the street and word-of-mouth. One actor was encountered at a bus stop, two others at a market, another at a food stall.

The aim of this film is to expose an alternative narrative to the one that is often exploited in immigration stories, where we don’t see the lives of immigrants once they arrive. The film's script is written with a knowledge of each actor's real life. The actors in this film initially made contact with Asylum on the street and we take it back to the street to tell this story.

In the lives of our actors and in the film— gentrification and immigration create a complex trauma.

There is no attempt to package the immigrant experience as a clean, manageable thing. Asylum enters into the messiness that is being a human traveler, and the roulette of human chance. In Asylum, the U.S. border becomes a concept, an arbitrary line, a source of pain.

The Bay Area does not need another documentary with a scientific approach to the issues that plague us. Instead we need a narrative that affects how people think about undocumented immigrants and how anyone new to trendy urban areas experiences home.

Asylum is empowering real people to become actors in the drama of their own stories.

How you’re helping:

Making a film is up keeping a village.

No matter what, almost all of our crew is going to be working entirely for free to make this happen. The money will go for locations, the permits we need to shoot, lighting, and our camera package, feeding and transporting our cast and crew. We will be shooting for 5 five days in December. Without these things, we cannot make the film happen.

The actors in our film are nervous. They’re nervous to expose their own stories, to make a drama of their own struggle, to expose their own existence - which often goes unrecognized in our society. Your backing of Asylum, is a vote of confidence, solidarity, and a real step toward immigrants exposing in new ways (creating a true narrative around) their lives north of the border.

Here’s how it works.

Kickstarter gives you nothing if you make under your goal. We set our minimum goal at $5,000. We reached that goal in 24 hours and with two more flex goals under our belt, we're asking for what we need to complete this production. With our fundraising now above 10K, we are reaching for the last $5K in order to reach 15K by this Friday evening, Dec. 1st, 11:59pm (PST).  

In all of these situations - director, cinematographer, producer, lighting and electric crew, PA's, wardrobe, crafts - are subsisting on adrenaline and not pay. We’re doing it for free.

Who we are:

Nesaru Tchaas is an Oakland-raised award-winning artist and director. He’s been granted the Marion B. Anderson award for aspiring peace activists, the Jerome Davis award, and the Shansi Fellowship (2010-2012) during which he became fluent in Hindi and worked in India translating for a joint project between slum residents and architects.

Ryan Helfant is a Bay Area-born, N.Y.-based cinematographer who has shot films for Grammy-nominated Anderson Paak, Syd tha Kyd and the most recent 16-camera shoot for the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop documentary, starring Puff Daddy and Mase.

Risks and challenges

The risk of this project, like all narrative films, has to do with completing our production schedule in a timely manner. We are prepared to adhere religiously to our shooting schedule so that we wrap on time.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Semillas

    Ten dollars is enough to buy 1/100 of a shoot location for a day. That’s part of the way— we deeply appreciate it!

    Includes:
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
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    11 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Grande

    Every 25 dollars gets us closer to the budget of a days shoot. We greatly appreciate your support and to express it we will put your name in our credits.

    Includes:
    • Get a thank you in our credits.
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
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    47 backers
    $
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    La Vista

    See what we create. The virtual film will be delivered to you once its completed the 2018 festival circuit...

    + a family photo of the cast and director + thank you in credits.

    Includes:
    • Get a virtual copy of the film once it’s complete
    • Get a personalized selfie from the cast and crew thanking you.
    • Get a thank you in our credits.
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
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    33 backers
    $
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Jefe

    100 dollars is a big help to us. Join us at the cast party...

    + Virtual film (2018 delivery) + a family photo of the cast and director .

    Includes:
    • Get invited to the exclusive cast party
    • Get a virtual copy of the film once it’s complete
    • Get a personalized selfie from the cast and crew thanking you.
    • Get a thank you in our credits.
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    22 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Solidaridad

    Be among the first to see Asylum before we have made a final cut. Watch it with us and give your feedback for the editing...

    + Virtual film (2018 delivery) + a family photo of the cast and director + cast party invite.

    Includes:
    • Get invited to the private screening party - be the first to see.
    • Get invited to the exclusive cast party
    • Get a personalized selfie from the cast and crew thanking you.
    • Get a virtual copy of the film once it’s complete
    • Get a thank you in our credits.
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    12 backers
    $
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Gran Jefe

    Visit with a couple of our actors and sit down for a four-course meal prepared by them featuring Latin American cuisine...

    + private screening party + virtual film (2018 delivery) + a family photo of the cast and director + cast party invite.

    Includes:
    • Get a special four-course home-cooked meal prepared by the actors
    • Get invited to the private screening party - be the first to see.
    • Get invited to the exclusive cast party
    • Get a personalized selfie from the cast and crew thanking you.
    • Get a virtual copy of the film once it’s complete
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
    • Your name in our special thanks plus your business logo in credit
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    5 backers
    $
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  7. Select this reward

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

    Astrología

    Our production team is multi-talented - one of us has training in palmistry and will read you and your partner's palms...

    Four-course Latin-American meal cooked by actors + private screening party + virtual film (2018 delivery) + a family photo of the cast and director + cast party invite.

    Includes:
    • Get a one-hour-plus palm reading for you and/or your partner.
    • Get a special four-course home-cooked meal prepared by the actors
    • Your name in our special thanks plus your business logo in credit
    • Get invited to the private screening party - be the first to see.
    • Get invited to the exclusive cast party
    • Get a personalized selfie from the cast and crew thanking you.
    • Get a virtual copy of the film once it’s complete
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    $
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 3,000 or more About US$ 3,000

    Patrón de las Artes

    You're a producer: watch the process unfold on set...

    Palm reading + Four-course Latin-American meal cooked by actors + Private screening party + Virtual film (2018 delivery) + Family photo of the cast and director + Cast party invite.

    Includes:
    • Get Producer Credit
    • Join us on set for a day and watch this process unfold.
    • Get a one-hour-plus palm reading for you and/or your partner.
    • Get a special four-course home-cooked meal prepared by the actors
    • Get invited to the private screening party - be the first to see.
    • Get invited to the exclusive cast party
    • Get a personalized selfie from the cast and crew thanking you.
    • Get a shout out on our social media.
    • Get a virtual copy of the film once it’s complete
    • Your name in our special thanks plus your business logo in credit
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (28 days)