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The tragic demise of a nearly 300-year-old public hospital and the sacrifices made for the sake of progress
The tragic demise of a nearly 300-year-old public hospital and the sacrifices made for the sake of progress
The tragic demise of a nearly 300-year-old public hospital and the sacrifices made for the sake of progress
469 backers pledged $48,527 to help bring this project to life.

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"Big Charity: The Death of America's Oldest Hospital"

$48,527

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Five years in the making, this film was born from an insatiable curiosity about Charity Hospital – an iconic and beautiful, yet somehow abandoned building in downtown New Orleans. Former Charity staff and community members served as a constant resource during the making of this film, opening their lives up to us, our questions and our cameras, to share what we'd never know in our own – the real meaning of Charity Hospital. In addition to conducting dozens of interviews and shooting hundreds of hours of original footage, we collected a huge amount of rare, archival footage from numerous sources ranging from medical university libraries to The Discovery Channel.  

ABOUT THE FILM

Charity Hospital began in 1736 as just a small cottage built for indigent care on the goodwill of a dying French merchant. Operated by nuns of The Daughters of Charity and serving the city of New Orleans for close to 300 years, it gradually transformed into an enormous public institution – into Big Charity – and a longstanding symbol of compassion, a seemingly eternal place of safety and a beacon of hope in the community. Today the towering art deco building, closed abruptly after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, stands empty, and the community continues to suffer the devastating consequences of its absence.

This documentary film includes never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews to tell the story of Charity Hospital, from its roots to its controversial closing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. From the firsthand accounts of healthcare providers and hospital employees who miraculously withstood the storm inside the hospital, to interviews with key players involved in the closing of Charity and the opening of New Orleans’ newest hospital, "Big Charity" shares the untold, true story around its closure and sheds new light on the sacrifices made for the sake of progress.

WHY WE NEED HELP

"Big Charity" is almost finished!  There's just a handful of final production costs that must be paid before it can be released – but they're very expensive.  Before it hits the big screen, we must raise enough funds to cover the following:

  • Licensing content: the cost to use copyrighted archival images and footage from sources like CNN, The Learning Channel, NYTV, and The Times-Picayune – material that's truly integral to Charity's story.
  • Post-production Editing: the cost of supplemental color correction, and sound mixing and mastering to maximize its production value and to make it the best viewing experience possible.

ABOUT US

Co-Producer Catherine Rierson, Co-Producer/Composer Ben Johnson, & Director/Editor/Co-Producer Alex Glustrom at a sneak-peek screening of the film for the Charity community.       © Sean Ambrose
Co-Producer Catherine Rierson, Co-Producer/Composer Ben Johnson, & Director/Editor/Co-Producer Alex Glustrom at a sneak-peek screening of the film for the Charity community. © Sean Ambrose

“Big Charity” was produced by a small, tight-knit team of three emerging filmmakers from disparate backgrounds. A muralist, a musician, and a writer, they came from D.C., Georgia, and North Carolina, and converged in New Orleans with a shared passion for storytelling. The project's inception came while Alex was working as director of the Boys & Girls Club in the Iberville, New Orleans' largest housing development, where he became enamored with the abandoned, massive building down the street, and its special, ongoing significance to the community there.  Wanting to understand what Charity meant to the city they had each adopted as their own, they sought to get to know Charity through others’ stories. This is their first feature-length documentary.

NEW REWARD! Get this custom-designed "Big Charity" mug and other great gifts when you donate $40!
NEW REWARD! Get this custom-designed "Big Charity" mug and other great gifts when you donate $40!
NEW REWARD! When you donate $80 you'll get a t-shirt, the DVD, and a handful of other "Big Charity" gifts! OR donate $175 and get the t-shirt, the tote bag, the DVD and other rewards!
NEW REWARD! When you donate $80 you'll get a t-shirt, the DVD, and a handful of other "Big Charity" gifts! OR donate $175 and get the t-shirt, the tote bag, the DVD and other rewards!
"Where the Unusual Occurs & Miracles Happen" tote bag
"Where the Unusual Occurs & Miracles Happen" tote bag
a 20"x16" copy of the film poster
a 20"x16" copy of the film poster
a limited edition DR. BOB painting of Charity Hospital
a limited edition DR. BOB painting of Charity Hospital
a signed copy of former Charity Hospital CEO Dr. John Roberts' book
a signed copy of former Charity Hospital CEO Dr. John Roberts' book
a limited edition Charity Trauma Center teddy bear made before the hospital closed
a limited edition Charity Trauma Center teddy bear made before the hospital closed

Risks and challenges

We have always felt that this film should be seen across the world. Our biggest worry is that, without proper funding and exposure, it won't reach audiences outside of the state of Louisiana.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THANK YOU! You'll receive a photo print of Charity from the film, and regular, exclusive updates from the "Big Charity" team.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    THANK YOU! You'll get a link to view the film! In addition, you'll get a print from the film, and exclusive updates from the team.

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    49 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    NEW REWARD! You'll get a link to view the film, a "Big Charity" mug (pictured on the left), a print from the film, and exclusive updates from the team.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THANK YOU! You'll get a DVD of the film, the "Big Charity" print, exclusive updates, and a special 'Thank you!" shout out on the "Big Charity" Facebook page.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    NEW REWARD! You'll get a DVD of "Big Charity," a custom-designed t-shirt (pictured on the left), a print from the film, exclusive updates, and a special 'Thank you!" shout out on the "Big Charity" Facebook page.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THANK YOU! You'll get a DVD of "Big Charity," a custom-designed Charity Hospital 'Where the Unusual Occurs & Miracles Happen' tote bag, a print from the film, exclusive updates, and a special 'Thank you!" shout out on the "Big Charity" Facebook page.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    THANK YOU! You'll get the DVD, a 20"x16" film poster, a print from the film, updates, and a special "Thank you!"on our Facebook page!

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    24 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    THANK YOU! You'll get a DVD, a limited edition Charity Trauma Center teddy bear made before the hospital closed, a print from the film, exclusive updates, and a special 'Thank you!" shout out on the "Big Charity" Facebook page.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    NEW REWARD! You'll get the DVD, the tote bag, a t-shirt, the print, updates from the team, and a Facebook shout out!

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    3 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    THANK YOU! You'll get a DVD of "Big Charity," a signed copy of former Charity Hospital CEO Dr. John Roberts' book, "A History of the Charity Hospitals in Louisiana," the print, exclusive updates, a special 'Thank you!" shout out on the "Big Charity" Facebook page.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THANK YOU! You'll get a copy of the rare 250th anniversary documentary, "Big Charity Is Always There," a "Big Charity" DVD, the print, exclusive updates, and a "Thank you!" Facebook shout out.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THANK YOU! You'll get a DVD, a 2015 'Charity Hospital Through the Years' calendar, the print, exclusive updates – and your name featured in the credits of the film. *THIS DONATION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE!*

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  13. Select this reward

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

    THANK YOU! You get an exclusive screening of the film with the filmmakers in the Greater New Orleans area! And you get a limited edition DVD, the print, updates, and your name in the film credits! *THIS DONATION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE!*

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    THANK YOU!
    FIRST PERSON TO DONATE $1,500 gets a limited edition DR. BOB painting of Charity Hospital, a "Big Charity" DVD, the print, exclusive updates, and your name in the film credits! *THIS DONATION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE!*

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    THANK YOU! Get your story about Charity Hospital in the film's bonus features! You'll also get the limited edition DVD, the exclusive film screening with the filmmakers in the Greater New Orleans area, the print from the film, updates, and your name in the credits! *THIS DONATION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE!*

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Funding period

- (30 days)