Thank you so much for checking out our Kickstarter page for Things I Carry Into the World! We couldn’t be more excited about developing this project.
Motionpoems is a nonprofit arts organization, making a name for top-drawer experimental work using poems as scripts, taking the publishing and film world by storm. We are fortunate enough to be making a film for the organization’s 7th season, which features poems written exclusively by black poets. After a thorough search, we selected a poem written by Cynthia Manick, titled “Things I Carry Into the World.”
In its simplest essence, the poem speaks to being a child, full of wonder and hope, and the realizations that come with growing up—learning and experiencing life’s burdens; particularly minorities and women, who deal with hardships without solutions and beyond control. The poem’s final words bring the two ideas together: breathing hope into these burdens by holding onto the optimism of the child in the opening stanza.
Check out the poem and more information about Motionpoems below!
“Motionpoems: Our films are pure poetry. After animator/producer Angella Kassube first animated one of Todd Boss's poems in 2008, the duo started introducing other poets to other video artists -- and a new hybrid form was born! Motionpoems is a 501c3 nonprofit arts organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We partner with top-quality for-profit and non-profit publishers, film companies, and literary organizations. We create opportunities for artists to meet and work together.”
In the past year alone, Motionpoems films have gone on to screen at the Flux Festival at the Hammer Museum in LA, Festival Silêncio in Lisbon Portugal, Trinindad + Tobago International Film Festival, and festivals in Kiev, Brazil, and throughout the US. They are frequently selected as Staff Picks on Vimeo. Forbes magazine has called Motionpoems films “astonishing, powerful, and hilarious.”
Right off the bat, we knew we didn't want to fabricate and imagine characters and their stories. Our subjects will be real teenagers living in New York. This way, our film becomes tangible, allowing us as artists and our audience to feel experiences beyond themselves We want to be facilitators for some people who who, quite frankly, don’t get the platform they ought to.
This meant finding an organization that could be a vital resource and partner. That’s when we discovered Urban Word NYC. A bit about them: “Urban Word NYC champions the voices of New York City youth by providing platforms for critical literacy, youth development and leadership through free and uncensored writing, college prep, and performance opportunities.”
After some initial back and forth, we met with key members of the organization, who invited us to participate in one of their writing workshops: a truly inspiring experience. We couldn't feel more confident in having them as a partner and getting to collaborate with four of their teens on our film.
The creative development will come from working with our four talented poets. Each will select one of their own poems, and will help us transform their words into moving images. We want to depict these writers existing inside their poetry. Their words will become images, guided by the voiceover of Cynthia’s poem. They will be scripting the film along side us, helping to detail their skills and stories. A genuine artistic collaboration.
To accomplish all this, we will be getting to know our subjects. Their stories. Their troubles. Their goals. Their aspirations. Their lives. This means exploring locations they tell us about, reading literature that inspires them, and so on. This ample preparation will yield a final product layered with nuance and complexity.
What we hope to end up with is four diverse, authentic profiles and personalities, woven together to explore the presence of burden throughout the lives of women and minorities. This will be a great platform to explore the real, everyday side of these experiences, as opposed to sensationalizing and exploiting the well-documented media headlines.
In addition to our Motionpoem, we will be making a companion film that showcases our talent reading their poems depicted in our film. This way, after watching our thematic exploration, you’ll be able to hear and appreciate their incredible writings and performances.
Meet our four poets who will be featured in the film!
Esther is a Brooklyn-born Nigerian-American poet. She has performed at Teen Night at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She has also performed and hosted at leading New York cultural institutions such as the Nuyorican Poets Café and Brooklyn Borough Hall. Her work focuses on poking holes in societal norms and discussing her queerness.
Trace just wrapped his freshman year at Brooklyn College and is the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. He received a National Gold Medal from Scholastic for his writing portfolio, “Black Boyhood,” wherein one piece was published in Scholastic Magazine's Best Teen Writing of 2015. He's passionate about hip-hop, public health, & cuttlefish.
Nkosi, a Callaloo Fellow and Watering Hole Fellow, has received nominations for the American Voices Award, Independent Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize. Nkosi was a member of the 2014 Urban Word NYC Slam Team and 2015 Urbana-NYC Slam Team. His work is currently published or forthcoming in decomP, No Tokens, The New Sound, Rose Red Review, Hobart and elsewhere. He resides in Harlem, New York, where he listens to Jazz, waving his Jazz hands.
Makayla is a poet and journalist based in the tri-state area. She was a member of Urban Word NYC’s 2015 slam team for Brave New Voices and is co-facilitator of Urban Word’s writing workshop BreakBeat Reporting. She has performed and been featured at venues such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Apollo Theatre, New York Live Arts, Monmouth Arts Festival, New York University, The Waiting Room, and more. You can also find Makayla’s articles published in places like ForHarriet, Blavity, and Above Average Hip-Hop, where she is a contributor.
WHY MAKE THIS FILM?
From our very first conversation, we knew a key component in making this project meaningful was the inclusion of diversity: on-and-off camera.
Holding true to that sentiment remains vital for us and the realization of the film. We feel strongly that the low level of representation for minorities and women in the film and television industry is staggering. We’re tired of seeing the same stories on-screen and recognize the need for new voices in the medium.
Each of us face burdens in some form or another. However, not all of us are forced to deal with problems beyond our control; circumstances that arise because of gender, skin color, sexual orientation; because of history, because of culture, because of things larger than themselves. This is what we want to explore: how each of our four poets channels their burdens through creative work. This should ring especially true, because our subjects are in their transformative years of life. We hope that, when woven together, we’ll have an examination of both individual, and collective experiences.
And our setting. New York City. One of the best, most diverse cities in the world. A true cultural melting pot. By the mere nature of our subject, this will be a love letter to New York City.
Today, it is more important than ever to walk in the shoes of individuals that come from different backgrounds. Those are the avenues that help knock down racial barriers, social injustices, and aim for more unified world.
We are creating a heartfelt antithesis to ignorance!
WHERE YOUR MONEY IS TAKING US:
In order to make this all a reality, we need your help. Our budget is what we need to stay true to our core inspirations, pick a well-rounded crew, and have an efficient production process.
Motionpoems, the organization that runs the yearly series, will be providing us with some assets. We will use their partnered vendors to help with sound mixing and music composition, helping the post-production process. Where you come into play is helping facilitate pre-production, as well as the actual shoot. Your contributions will go towards paying our amazing crew and talent, renting top-quality equipment, and getting our project off the ground.
It goes without saying (but since we’re trying to raise money, we’re going to say it anyway!): We have an experienced and passionate team dedicated to this project, who are capable of handling funds efficiently, locking down schedules, finishing post-production and, come August, delivering a final film. We hope you would like to become part of the reason the project comes to life!
Below is breakdown of our budget. You can see how your generosity will be allocated from a practical standpoint—making our dream become a reality.
1. $4,300 - Hiring our crew!
1 x DOP
1 x Steadicam Operator
1 x 1st AC
1 x DIT
2 x PAs
2. $800 - Our Talent!
4 x Brilliant Teenagers
3. $7,000 - Equipment for two days!
1 x Camera Rental
1 x Steadicam
1 x Lighting rental
1 x Clam Shells
1 x Car
4. $900 - Meals & Transport for two days!
1 x Breakfast
1 x Lunch
1 x Craft Services
5. $500 - Production Costs!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Over the next month, we will be updating this page with news about the project. Keep an eye out for...
- Introductions to our four core talent.
- Bringing a Director of Photography on board.
- Location scouting photographs.
- Storyboard art.
In an age where your attention is being pulled in every direction, we thank you for taking some time to read about our project. We are so appreciative of your generosity.
When it comes to crowdfunding, "anything helps" has become a cliche. In the case of this project, we mean it sincerely.
PRODUCTION TEAM BIOGRAPHIES
JAMIL MCGINNIS, CO-DIRECTOR
A Turkish & African American director from Kaiserslautern, Germany; Jamil’s interest in film began at a young age with his strong background in photography. Upon graduating business school from Florida A&M University and a couple Wall Street stockbroking gigs under his belt, he industry jumped in Advertising, climbing closer to his passion. He has worked at Saatchi & Saatchi NY and currently works at Droga5 as an Associate Broadcast Producer. He enjoys grabbing his camera and getting lost in any city or country to explore, skateboarding every summer day, and long creative calls with his sister, Aylin.
CLAIRE MC GIRR, PRODUCER
Born in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, Claire Mc Girr graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Film and French. While, initially she never imagined herself pursuing a career in film, her love for the medium amplified, academically and practically, as her watch-list grew tenfold. Claire started out at Windmill Lane Pictures in Dublin while also volunteering with the Dublin International Film Festival, Darklight Film Festival and Freshly Squeezed International Film Festival, before moving to New York. Arriving fresh off the boat with little to her name but an air-mattress in Queens, she found employment with Smuggler Inc. She works as a coordinator there and has had the opportunity to produce and manage several short films, which have cemented her absolute and unconditional love for film production.
PAT HEYWOOD, CO-DIRECTOR
Pat Heywood grew up in Massachusetts, learning at a very young age, when it comes to word endings, pronouncing the letter ‘R’ is always optional. In 2013, he earned a degree focusing in film and TV from Emerson College, during which he interned at NBC, BBC America, and was selected to partake in the Writers Guild of America Mentorship Program. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, working full-time as a Coordinator at two production companies: Smuggler and Vrse.works. When he’s not thinking about film, Pat enjoys traveling, biking, photography, and dancing like nobody’s watching (they usually aren’t).
FRANCES CHEN, DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, Frances spent her formative years testing out different ways of telling stories and capturing memories. After trying her hand at writing, painting and photography, she found her calling in cinematography. She graduated from New York University's prestigious Film and Television program and continued to mature her cinematography at American Film Institute Conservatory. The short films she photographed have been to world renound film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival. Her work has earned her the Nestor Almendros Award for Outstanding Cinematography. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her cat, Stella.
Risks and challenges
All low budget film shoots are fraught with obstacles and stumbling blocks, and no matter how far in advance you plan, there's always a chance your generator will go kaput!
We are committed to finding like-minded creatives to collaborate with and who also understand this is a labour of love, as well as an important piece of visual narrative content.
Our talent, locations and resources are being thoroughly researched and explored, so that on our shoot day we will be prepared for any logistical mishap we should encounter and have a contingency plan ready to go.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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