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The remarkable life of the Queen of Creole Cuisine, Leah Chase, is featured in this colorful behind the scenes documentary film.
The remarkable life of the Queen of Creole Cuisine, Leah Chase, is featured in this colorful behind the scenes documentary film.
71 backers pledged $15,293 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Project Description

In New Orleans Leah Chase is as well known as any jazz musician or long time politician. It is true, too, that once you leave the watery city and go in any direction you’re bound to find someone who is an enthusiast of Creole food, New Orleans and a big fan of Leah Chase. She has overseen the evolution of her famous dining spot from a sandwich shop that prospered during segregation to a fine dining restaurant filled with her impressive African American art collection. 

During the Civil Rights movement the leadership found great friends and supporters in Leah & Dooky Chase. Strategies were devised in the upstairs dining room she devoted to their planning sessions. When describing her memories of those pivotal times she says, “I like to think we changed the world through a bowl of gumbo.” 

Honored by chefs, philanthropists, humanitarians, and civil rights activists Leah Chase has received awards and commendations for her efforts that have furthered the causes of art, culture and Creole cuisine. Our documentary will chronicle her remarkable life. Through the historic landscape of segregation, and the intensifying interests worldwide in New Orleans cuisine and Creole culture, specifically creoles de couleur, Leah Chase has played an important role.

Mass Media Outreach to Finalize Funding

On November 6, 2014 our film is sponsoring (at no cost to us) the six month long run on WLAE-TV of "Cooking with Leah Chase", a program that was made during the zenith of Leah's career as a TV celebrity chef that features Leah cooking her well known Creole food and favorite dishes. Weekly into the mass media market of New Orleans viewers will see a short promo at the beginning and tail end of this wonderful program that asks them to support our upcoming film project. Mentioned twice every week ON Air our website, www.leahchase.org, shows a hot link to this Kickstarter page and advertises our request for this final phase of funding needed complete our documentary.

Integrated into this mass media programming that reaches friends and fans of Leah we have not engaged with yet will be a social media campaign that capitalizes on donations from our 522 and growing Facebook friends. Through Facebook and Twitter @LeahChaseFilm we will send out links to short interview clips that feature Chef John Besh, John Musker, the creator of the Disney film, "The Princess and the Frog", based on Leah Chase's life, and civil rights activists, A. P Tureaud, Jr and Dr. Rudy Lombard among others. Also included in our mass outreach will be clips from our insightful interviews with Leah Chase.

Tiana aka Leah Chase!
Tiana aka Leah Chase!

We're very excited to announce that our Michelle Miller of CBS News has joined our film as our celebrity narrator!

CBS News Michelle Miller
CBS News Michelle Miller

Michelle will guide viewers through Leah Chase's remarkable life and we are delighted that she joined our project last week!

To complete the interesting segment on Leah's art collecting that began later in her life when she joined the board of the New Orleans Museum of Art we have asked Dr. Johnnetta Cole of the Smithsonian's African Art Museum to come to New Orleans and with Michelle and Leah take a tour of Leah's amazing African American art collection. We hope to film this segment during the time of Leah's 92nd birthday in early January of 2015.

Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Smithsonian African Art Museum
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Smithsonian African Art Museum

Around the time of Leah's 90th birthday word came that the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC had acquired into their permanent collection a portrait of Leah Chase done by Gustave Blache, III. Gus' interview, the portrait exhibition and a bit about his beautiful little painting of Leah, will finish the segment on art and her the impressive art collection.

Cutting Squash painting of Leah by Gustave Blache, III
Cutting Squash painting of Leah by Gustave Blache, III

ALL contributions to our film are tax deductible. The 501-c-3 FEIN# for your tax purposes is 33-1081281.

Our corporate sponsors include Entergy New Orleans, Tabasco, and Harrah's community grants via Councilmembers Susan Guidry, Stacy Head, and (former) Council members Diana Bajoie Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, and Kristin Palmer. Chefs John Besh and Susan Spicer gave their time and name to our film and successfully solicited several thousand dollars in donations from dozens of local chefs and restaurants who include, Arnaud's, Commander's, Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Ammari of Louisiana, Drago's, La Provence Restaurant (John Besh), Chefs Adolfo Garcia, Stephen Stryjewski, and Susan Spicer.

Individuals donors who have given $500 or more to our project include, Margo DuBos, Alden MacDonald, Lin Emery, Dr. Terry Fontham, Stacy and Joy Bollinger, Sandy Rosenthal, Judge Paula Brown, Cokie Roberts, Roger Ogden, Russ Herman, and P K Sheerle and Gifted Nurses with Mullady Voelker and the late Lindy Boggs.

Our final funding goal is $41,000 and we have listed this Kickstarter campaign to meet the funding mark of $15,000 by January 3, 2015. We hope that by setting this number and focusing a concerted effort toward directing donors to this Kickstarter campaign by the mass media engagement outlined above and the special offerings included in this Kickstarter campaign, that we will surpass the $15,000 and reach our end number of $41,000. 

Filmmaker Bess Carrick, known for her documentary films, Lindy Boggs: Steel and Velvet & Backlash: Race and the American Dream is the film’s producer and director. Joining her creative production team will be Associate Producers, Butler Burdine and Pat Denechaud, Bonnie Goldblum, cinematographer and media editor, Jim Land, and Jeffrey Talbot, audio engineer of AudioWorks and Level 3 Digital Media.

The producers wish to express their gratitude for your tax deductible contributions to the documentary film on Mrs. Chase. If you prefer to send your check by mail the mailing address for your contribution is: Bess Carrick Level 3 Digital Media Producer 3625 Canal Street 3rd Floor New Orleans, LA 70119. PLEASE make certain that you make your check payable to SOFAB, and note that it is FOR: Leah Chase film project.

You may reach the producer with any questions and comments by phone, 504 – 202-1504 or by email, Bess@Blackbirdmediatv.com. 

Risks and challenges

Blackbird Media, Jim Land and Bess Carrick, the film's principles, own the equipment needed to create and finish the film. Once the last and final phase of funding is in place there are no obstacles to completing this project and sending the masters and digital files to the broadcast network and the stations.

We have shot 88% of the film with the only remaining sequences needed are with Michelle Miller, Dr. Johnnetta Cole for their art tour and conversation with Leah Chase. Once this segment is completed the first of 2015 we begin post production editing and shortly thereafter the film is ready for Air.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Donor Level: Red Beans and Rice donor! For your donation of $25.00 you'll receive a digital download before the film's premiere! You get a sneak preview before anyone else.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Donor Level: Seafood Stuffed Mirliton! For your donation of $75.00 you'll receive a behind the scenes framed color still of Leah Chase taken on the film set featuring her great smile! And you'll receive a digital download before the film's premiere! You get a sneak preview before anyone else.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Donor Level: Delicious Shrimp Po Boy! For your donation of $175.00 you'll receive TWO RESERVED Seats with your ticket to the New Orleans film premiere and a behind the scenes framed color still of Leah Chase taken on the film set featuring her great smile!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Donor Level: Oyster Po Boy! For your donation of $250.00 you'll receive TWO RESERVED Seats with your ticket to the New Orleans film premiere and a behind the scenes framed color still of YOU and Leah Chase taken on the film set featuring YOU and her great smile!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Donor Level: Trout Meunière! Yum!
    For your donation of $500 you'll receive FOUR RESERVED tickets to our pre-premiere VIP party and FOUR tickets to the Opening Night film premier plus a behind the scenes framed color still of Leah Chase taken on the film set featuring her great smile!

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

    Seafood Stuffed Black Drum! For your donation of $1500 you'll receive FOUR tickets to our pre-premiere VIP party and FOUR RESERVED seats to the Opening Night film screening plus a behind the scenes framed color still of Leah Chase taken on the film set featuring her great smile! We'll give you an autographed DVD of the film, too!

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Donor Level: Creole Oyster Dressing! For your donation of $2500 your name will be featured in the film's CREDIT ROLL acknowledging your gift for the many, many years this film will air on PBS! The "Special Thanks" credit roll is reserved for donors at this level.

    You'll receive FOUR tickets to our pre-premiere VIP party and FOUR RESERVED SEATS to the Opening Night premiere.

    ADDITIONALLY, we'll feature you as our special backer on our film's website and on our film's Facebook page. Plus we'll give you a behind the scenes framed color still of Leah Chase taken on the film set featuring her great smile! And ship you an autographed DVD of the film, too!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Donor Level: Leah's Famous Gumbo! For your donation of $5000 your name will appear in our exclusive category of generous backers with the heading, "Special Friends of Leah Chase" in the film's credit roll. Your name will be listed in our film's VIP party invitation and in our film's, "Leah Chase: Faith, Family & Food" program. We'll also recognize your generosity on our film's website and Facebook page.

    You'll receive FOUR tickets to our pre-premiere VIP party and FOUR tickets to the Opening Night film screening.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Donor Level: Cochon du Lait! Your name will appear two times in our film's elite Sponsorship Opening and Closing Credits. PBS gives producers these Opening and Closing Special Credit segments to thank their most generous donors. During the screen time allotted by the network your name, your company, or your foundation's name will appear ON Screen and be read ON Air along with a brief description of your company or foundation's mission statement.
    **Please contact the producer, Bess Carrick, for more integrated marketing and sponsorship opportunities available to you at this level.

    Additionally, your name will be listed in our film's VIP party invitation and in our film's, "Leah Chase: Faith, Family & Food" program.

    You'll receive FOUR tickets to our pre-premiere VIP party and FOUR RESERVED seats to the Opening Night film screening.

    We'll acknowledge your wonderful generosity at the VIP party, and again in our brief remarks before the film's premiere. Also, we'll feature your name, company, or foundation's logo on our film's website and on our Facebook page.

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Funding period

- (60 days)