We are raising funds for YOUTH v GOV, a feature documentary following the UPCOMING #TrialOfTheCentury, where 21 brave youth plaintiffs will take on the U.S. government in court over their constitutional rights to a healthy climate.
THE TRIAL STARTS OCTOBER 29TH, 2018 and we need to be there to film! We've been shooting background footage with the plaintiffs for the past two years at home and in the courts. WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT NOW so we can document this fast-approaching history-making trial.
YOUTH v GOV is the story of America’s youth taking on the world’s most powerful government. In 2015, 21 young plaintiffs, ages 8 to 19, filed suit against the U.S. government asserting a willful violation of their constitutional rights. YOUTH v GOV follows this legal battle as the government takes extraordinary measures to get the case dismissed. Legal experts call this case the “most important lawsuit on the planet," but it's more than just a legal battle.
The heart of this film lies in the young plaintiffs’ personal stories as they find their footing as leaders and come to know their power as citizens in our democracy. YOUTH v GOV highlights and explores youth activism, government responsibility, our constitutional rights, and the importance of citizen democracy. It’s about the hope and action that our youngest generation is bringing to the forefront as they realize the power in their experiences and voices. Their story will resonate with audiences of all ages with the unexpected result that we will all be learning from our youngest how to be active, engaged democratic citizens once again.
The 21 plaintiffs of Juliana v United State of America represent of a diverse sample of our American youth impacted by the climate crisis. They hail from 10 states, including Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Louisiana, and New York. They are activists, artists, musicians, and farmers. And they are each facing the effects of the climate crisis in their own unique ways. Here are a few of these brave youth...
Kelsey Juliana is the named plaintiff on this landmark case: Juliana v the United States of America. No pressure. Kelsey is used to epic battles. She comes from a family of environmental activists who staunchly protected Pacific Northwest old-growth forests. But this is not her parents’ fight – Kelsey launched this lawsuit on her own.
Levi, 11, lives at the heart of climate change impacts on a barrier island in Florida. The sea turtles that Levi loves to watch are in decline, he can no longer swim in the sea due to toxins and bacteria, and sea level rise threatens to displace his family.
Through music and dance, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez empowers youth across the world to take part in environmental justice. His speeches at the UN and other notable venues have brought attention to the strength of the youth voice and their right to a sustainable future. Xiuhtezcatl’s deep roots in the Aztec culture are an important part of his identity and his spiritual connection to the Earth.
Jayden, 14, lives in a Louisiana community in the heart of the oil industry. As she works with her mother to resist the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, vast swaths of marshland continue to be devastated by tens of thousands of miles of oil pipelines. In 2016, her home flooded and as she said, “This morning I stepped out of my bed, and right into climate change.”
The legal team and plaintiffs have given us exclusive access to tell their story and Director Christi Cooper has worked with many of the plaintiffs since 2011, earning the trust of not only the youth and their families, but also the legal team. This is not just a lawsuit or a documentary, but also an extended family that reaches across the country.
Climate change is the greatest threat to human rights in the 21st century. It is causing the displacement of millions of people worldwide and climate-induced food insecurity fuels more conflicts every day. Not only is our youngest generation most vulnerable, they will be disproportionately affected, especially those from disenfranchised and underrepresented communities. But this is not the typical climate change warning film.
YOUTH v GOV is about the hope the youngest generation brings and the power of their voice. Throughout history, some of the most meaningful social changes were sparked by the actions of young people - from children coal miners in the early 1900’s to the civil rights movement in the 1960's. Youth are once again rising up and demanding change, from gun reform to climate justice.
Our Audience & Impact
YOUTH v GOV is aimed at empowering more young citizens to take action. We want this film and movement to reach as many youth across the country as possible and you can join us with your support.
YOUTH v GOV will speak not only to the adults in the room, but also to the over 70 million young people in the US under 18, who will be this nation’s future leaders and primary voting population. We plan to screen YOUTH v GOV at film festivals, in theaters, and through a video-on-demand and/or broadcast platform to reach as many viewers as possible.
Through our community screenings and workshops, we will bring the film to youth-centered events, to the plaintiffs’ hometowns, and to disenfranchised communities disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. These community screenings will provide our most important viewers with information to take actions, as well as opportunities for trainings, connections, and participation in direct local action.
We are already leading climate justice workshops with youth around the country using existing YOUTH v GOV footage. We will be working with non-profit and social justice partners, such as Rock the Vote, to create as much on-the-ground impact as possible with YOUTH v GOV.
Our budget includes four years (2016-2019) of documentary production to cover the plaintiff’s stories from filing the lawsuit, through the full trial starting October 29, 2019, up to post-trial interviews with the plaintiffs and key witnesses in early 2019. The budget also includes plus post-production taking place from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019.
Our minimum raise for this Kickstarter of $30,000 is set to get us to the trial only, and is just a small fraction of our full film budget. We are hoping to raise much more than that during this crowdfund and you can help us reach our stretch goals by sharing the project widely.
We believe in the power of grassroots organizing and that every voice matters. That’s why your pledged support is appreciated and valuable whether you can contribute $5 or $1,000. We want to gather and inspire as many engaged supporters as possible for YOUTH v GOV and the stories of these incredible youth.
*Note on Carbon-Friendly Filmmaking: Because we care deeply about the climate crisis and are cognizant of our impacts while filmmaking, we prefer to work with a small production crew to reduce costs and our carbon footprint. We are always actively working to find a balance between nimble, efficient, low-carbon production, while also making sure we cover key events to properly tell this story. We are also seeking additional funders to cover the cost of a full carbon offset for the production.
Our Film Team
Why YOU Should Join Us!
YOUTH v GOV is an opportunity for you to support a positive story about the good guys. This is a story that will have real impact on the ground for the younger generations who are inheriting our mess.
Contributing to YOUTH v GOV is about more than giving money. It’s about participating and taking action. It’s about supporting our youth and supporting those most affected by the climate crisis. And it’s about standing up for our constitutional rights.
Come be a part of our extended family, and join us in doing our part for climate justice. YOUTH v GOV has become about so much more than a documentary; and the lawsuit is about so much more than a legal battle. Our future is a constitutional right.
You can also follow us online via: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And sign up for our mailing list! We are also looking for ambassadors to help spread the word about this project. Please let us know if you’re interested!
Our Kickstarter Rewards
We’ve actively tried to balance our desire to thank you for your pledge with a reward, while also seeking to limit our carbon footprint on this project. The Kickstarter reward we’re mailing to every supporter who contributes $25 or more is a pocket copy of the United States Constitution. Our constitutional rights are at the heart of this film and paramount to every citizen. We want you all to have a copy in your pocket!
We're also grateful to so many of the YOUTH v GOV plaintiffs who have offered to share their music, writing, and artwork with us so that we may offer it you as a Kickstarter reward. We are in awe every day at the talent, passion, and generosity of these youth. Please support these plaintiffs' creative passion and artworks by joining us at YOUTH v GOV FILM.
Last, But Not Least...
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND THESE INCREDIBLE YOUTH!
Photos courtesy of Robin Loznak.
Special thanks to Andrew Tumason with Woven Talon for generously allowing us to use his music for our Kickstarter campaign.
Risks and challenges
Our biggest obstacles with completion is not whether we will complete the film, but when. Multiple federal administrations have tried to delay the case since 2015 and we now have a trial date for October 2018. We can’t account for extensions or changes to the trial start and end dates, but we are dedicated to telling the YOUTH v GOV story and the feature documentary will go into final post-production once the trial is completed.
Director Christi Cooper has been working with some of these youth plaintiffs since 2011, and has already invested more than two years and significant personal funding into YOUTH v GOV production. As an experienced and professional team, we are confident that we will be able to complete a meaningful and impactful film and deliver it to a wide audience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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