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$809
pledged of $215,000pledged of $215,000 goal
17
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, March 23 2019 1:16 AM UTC +00:00
$809
pledged of $215,000pledged of $215,000 goal
17
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, March 23 2019 1:16 AM UTC +00:00

About

The Heart of Shaolin

The Heart of Shaolin story is being told in the spirit of Ji feng, which in Chinese Ch'an Buddhism is a metaphor for thought-provoking and insightful statements that in turn encourage discourse and dialog. Our statement is in the form of a documentary film that explores Shaolin Temple life through first-person actuality and narrative set in the daily activity and culture of persons who tell their own stories. It is our intent to contribute to the body of knowledge concerning this ancient institution. It is our hope that this documentary brings the viewer new insights regarding Shaolin Temple, the  life there today, and how Shaolin Temple survives in the contemporary world of corporations and the Internet?

The Heart of Shaolin is the moving story of the people who live and work at Shaolin Temple. A story they tell in their own words and actions.The Heart of Shaolin provides an entirely new perspective on Shaolin Temple.  It's a view from the inside looking out.  At the same time the continuing practice of Shaolin Kung Fu and its connection to Ch'an Buddhism, as currently lived and experienced, is demonstrated and explored. Ch'an Buddhism is Chinese Buddhism that began at Shaolin Temple, which over time migrated to Japan where it became Zen. 

Kung Fu and Shaolin Temple are well known around the world, especially when it comes to Martial Arts, with over one hundred Shaolin chapters.   Behind the ancient facade of the temple and the spectacular, practiced moves of the Shaolin Kung Fu monks, there are dedicated people with contemporary lives and a history and culture that goes back fifteen hundred years.  There is also the practice of Ch'an and Kung Fu and how they are bound together.

We are raising funds to finish The Heart of Shaolin, and distribute the feature length documentary  internationally. We are shooting at the present time at Shaolin. A minimum of twenty-one more days of filming are budgeted to complete shooting this spring.  While shooting  continues, editing and postproduction are ongoing into the summer. The Heart of Shaolin is planned to be ready for distribution by the late fall of 2019. 

Please check out the FAQ link, on the menu above,  for any questions that come to mind regarding specific details about schedule, budget or other issues.

Shaolin Temple and Monastery
Shaolin Temple and Monastery

The Heart of Shaolin Story 

Within the monastery culture and daily rituals, The Heart of Shaolin documentary delves into the unknown personal experiences of the Shaolin monks and others at Shaolin Temple. In today’s world, where the Internet plays so a large a role, the connection between the monks of Shaolin and the outside world has changed. There are new conflicts and resolutions concerning traditional customs, Ch'an, love, fame, fortune and Kung Fu practice.

A few of the people who help to tell the Heart of Shaolin Story.

 There are  teenagers living at Shaolin. They have learned Kung Fu from an early age. Children are enrolled in the study of Wu and general compulsory education courses. Today they continue learning and working but are never without their cell phones.    

These Shaolin residents and others, have unique stories to tell about their lives at Shaolin. They relate what it means to them, the conflicts, struggles and who they are now.   These compelling, interweaving stories reveal much about contemporary life today at Shaolin Temple. They paint a vivid picture few have seen.

Background

The Heart of Shaolin, is directed  by noted scholar and documentary filmmaker Dr. Hongyun Sun, of  Beijing Film Academy. Hongyun Sun  has a vision for telling this story and has been filming at Shaolin Temple during all seasons of the year. She has conducted interviews, recorded events and activities at the monastery. Selective shooting days at Shaolin Temple in China have  been underway for ten months in 2018 and currently in January and February 2019. There have been about thirty days of shooting, through early March 2019.

James R (Jim) Martin of J R Martin Media Inc has joined with Dr Sun and her company, An Da La Productions, to produce this documentary.  Jim Martin, as producer/writer, has worked with Hongyun at  Shaolin Temple in China during the past year.  They have also collaborated on other academic and media projects in the past.

Dr. Hongyun Sun has written permission from the Venerable Shi Yongxin, Abbot of Shaolin Temple, to make the documentary. She has been given unprecedented access to the monastery and people there. Her company also secured a license from the Chinese Government to make and distribute the documentary in China. This assures likely theatrical distribution there, after which international distribution is planned. 

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Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Shaolin Temple and  Monastery every year. Thousands of students of all ages, seeking to  learn Shaolin Kung Fu, come to Shaolin Temple. It is the original, Ch’an  monastery and temple, built on Songshan mountain, one of the seven peaks of the Song  Mountains, in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, China.  

Training and Songshan Mountain Retreat - February 2019
Training and Songshan Mountain Retreat - February 2019

 The Monks of Shaolin Temple

It would be a mistake to assume that the monks of Shaolin Temple live a solitary existence hidden away somewhere. They are only a cell phone call away from their  extended families and friends.  They live contemporary lives while they also practice Kung Fu and  Ch'an Buddhism. Ch'an and Kung Fu have a synergetic relationship. All Shaolin Temple Monks have responsibilities and duties in addition to the practice of Kung Fu and meditation.  They work in different vocations to maintain Shaolin Temple and Monastery.  

Abbot Shi Yongxin and Shaolin Monks 2019
Abbot Shi Yongxin and Shaolin Monks 2019

Shaolin Temple and Monastery

Shaolin Temple was founded, by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma in 464 CE, the monastery is considered the birthplace Ch'an Buddhism.  Shaolin in Chinese means  “Temple of Shao (shi) Mountain Forest.” The monastery and temple have  survived, often through adverse conditions, for fifteen hundred years.  Shaolin  Monastery and its Pagoda Forest are inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage  Site, a part of the Historic Monuments of Dengfeng, China.   

Main entrance from road to Shaolin Temple
Main entrance from road to Shaolin Temple

Ch'an Buddhist Tradition

Shaolin Temple, in the Song Mountains is where Ch'an Buddhism got started. After arriving from India the philosophy of Ch'an Buddhism grew, became culturally Chinese, and spread from Shaolin Temple to the rest of the China, Japan and beyond.  Today it is a cultural center for the Chinese people representing a practical philosophy of both body and mind. Shaolin Temple has an international  following, including about one hundred branches around the world. Many world leaders and notable people have visited Shaolin.  

Pagoda Forest Shaolin Temple
Pagoda Forest Shaolin Temple

“Shaolin is not only the home of Kung Fu, it is the caretaker of Chinese Culture and Ch’an Buddhism."  -- Venerable Shi Yongxin, Abbot of Shaolin Temple


 Students

Shaolin Kung Fu and Shaolin Temple attract thousands of students of all ages from around the world.  What makes Shaolin so unique for these students is one of the questions the documentary is exploring.  For example, what motivated Marta Neskovic to come to Shaolin Temple to do her Doctoral Thesis and at the same time study Kung Fu and Ch'an Buddhism as she trains with the monks? What has her experience been during the past eighteen months? 

Kung Fu Student Marta Neskovic
Kung Fu Student Marta Neskovic
Foreign Kung Fu Students at Shaolin Temple
Foreign Kung Fu Students at Shaolin Temple
Young Students at Shaolin Temple in Summer
Young Students at Shaolin Temple in Summer

Rewards

There are great rewards at every pledge level. Everyone who contributes to The Heart of Shaolin will be listed by category in the credits of the documentary and on the Website Wall. 

All backers, in all reward categories who pledge in the first 10 days after launch, will be able to download a custom version of the movie poster with their name included on the poster as a backer, when film is ready to be released in the fall of 2019.

Original design, Heart of Shaolin Documentary T-Shirt in two colors. Preliminary design based on Shaolin wall painting Tang Dynasty. Included with $100 and up reward.

Heart of Shaolin T-shirts - preliminary design - Black or Gray
Heart of Shaolin T-shirts - preliminary design - Black or Gray

Shaolin - Temple to my heart, written by the Venerable Shi Yongxin, Abbot of Shaolin Temple. History, culture and personal experience of the Abbott, his life after coming to Shaolin and finding his calling.  It contains about eighty historic pictures. It is the first time Abbot Shi Yongxin talks about his deep roots with Shaolin Temple publicly. Readers can understand Shaolin culture more thoroughly, and perceive the unremitting efforts that several generations of the Shaolin monks made for Shaolin culture. Included with $350.00 contribution.  Shipping not included.  

All books donated to the project  by the authors of the books.

Special Reward for the first fifty over $50 pledges -  Official Shaolin Temple 佛珠 (mālā) Buddhist prayer beads. Shipping not included.
Special Reward for the first fifty over $50 pledges - Official Shaolin Temple 佛珠 (mālā) Buddhist prayer beads. Shipping not included.

 Learn how to listen to your mind, body and Chi in this popular book by James R Martin.  If you listen you will find there are many paths. Included in $150  or more rewards. 

A special edition documentary style book is being written Jim Martin with Hongyun Sun about Shaolin Temple, that is based on the Heart of Shaolin documentary.  The book includes photographs and narrative writing. Included at the $500 or more contribution level.

Please note:  Rewards may have different delivery schedules. If you have multiple rewards they will ship according to each rewards schedule.

Budget Summary

The budget includes funds to cover 21 to 26 days of shooting at Shaolin Temple. In all probability shooting days will not be consecutive. This would cover the cost of crew, equipment, recording media, transportation and lodging. 

Also included are three months of postproduction including logging of footage, editing script, editing of picture, and sound. Test screenings. Design and production of graphics, titles and credits. Transfer to master digital format.

Finishing a fine cut of documentary is included in the budget.

Stretch Goals

Original score and music rights, Studio mix of final audio and advanced color grading of 4k master.

Publicity, Marketing, Preview Screenings and Festival Entries.

Additional shooting and travel days to visit branches of Shaolin Temple outside China that may be included in the Heart of Shaolin documentary. 

The Filmmakers

Director

Dr Hongyun Sun is a noted scholar and filmmaker who teaches documentary filmmaking at Beijing Film Academy in Beijing, China. Dr. Sun has made a number of documentary films and written books and articles on the subject of documentary filmmaking and storytelling. She is also currently working on a documentary about The Educated Youth of China. 

Producer/Writer

James R (Jim) Martin is an Emmy Award winning documentary director,  writer and producer.  Professor Martin taught film production and  Columbia College in Chicago for thirteen years. While in Chicago, he also directed and produced two nationally  televised documentary films shown on PBS; WRAPPED IN STEEL and FIRED-UP! Until 2014, he was Documentary Course Director at Full Sail University in Winter Park Florida. He is author of several books on documentary  filmmaking and other subjects.

Cinematography and Audio Recording

Lizhong Shen, Cinematographer (Photographer) Beijing Film Academy

Dedong Liu, Excellent Cinematographer(photographer) in China, who has finished more than ten documentary film in China. 

Dan Li, Audio recording director:Beijing Film Studio

Sun Dou - Production Associate/Interpreter and Translator Chinese/English

All crew members are experienced in their chosen skills. The goal of the filmmakers is high production quality.

Risks and challenges

There are always "risks" with any film endeavor. There are no guarantees for success. However, we have an excellent team with experience making and distributing successful documentaries and a theatrical fiction film. Because of the popularity of Kung Fu and Shaolin Temple we believe this documentary has strong base support. This subject has broad appeal internationally because of the wide spread interest in Kung Fu, Zen Buddhism, and Shaolin Temple.

Despite the formidable "risks and challenges" associated with all film projects, our experience and planning mininimize risks and increase the chance of success.

This film will be finished shooting and editing with the funds raised. Distribution in China is not guaranteed but is likely because the film has a government issued permission license allowing the documentary to be made and shown to the public. Documentaries are popular in China. Shaolin Temple and Kung Fu are popular everywhere. We believe the momentum from the Chinese release will help us to find distribution in the US and internationally. The ultimate success of the film will be based on how it is received by the general public internationally.

Often documentaries and other films have no reach outside the country in which they are produced. This project is a joint venture between Chinese and US partners which provides us insight into how to reach a wide market for the documentary.

The film is being shot in a high end 4k digital format, ready for theatrical distribution. Stretch goals would be used to further enhance theatrical screening quality. We believe the quality and content of the documentary will have wide appeal. After theatrical distribution we will look for release on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. There are no guarantees they will be interested.

Distribution outside of China depends on picking up a distributor who can market the film in the US and Internationally. The international market may be larger than the US Market. But there is no guarantee the film will find a distributor and that if found, the distributor will be successful. Research on distribution and a possible distributor is underway now.

It is our intention to submit the documentary for major Film Festival Screenings. Before the film is finished a fresh trailer will be produced to try to obtain advance acceptance at a key festival that distributors attend.

In any event there is self-distribution. There are about 100 Shaolin Branches world-wide, who we believe will be interested in the subject, screenings and purchase of DVD's. There is also a University circuit where this documentary should have appeal.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Social Media Thanks + Newsletter

    The Heart of Shaolin Newsletter will update progress of the film from time to time during production. Newsletter sent to your email address. Credit in Donor Category tail credits of documentary. All donors listed on The Heart of Shaolin.com website as donors.

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Donor List Website and Credits
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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Digital Previews Behind The Scenes

    Stream production sneak previews during shooting and editing. Credit in Subscriber Category website and tail credits of documentary. Sneak Preview Trailers for Documentary before they are released. Feedback invited. First fifty contributors of any category $50 or over will receive wooden Shaolin Buddhist wrist prayer beads. Shipping not included.

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Subscriber List Website and Credits
    • Early Private Screening LInk
    • Shaolin Buddhist Prayer Beads (Limited)
    • Preview Trailers
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Preview Trailers Create Documentary Book

    Stream digital sneak preview of Heart of Shaolin Documentary Trailers when available. Credit in Level 1 Contributor Category Website and tail credits of Heart of Shaolin documentary. Behind the scenes production photographs and videos.Heart of Shaolin Documentary T-Shirt. Choice of Gray or Black all sizes.

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Contributor Level1 Website and Credits
    • Preview Trailers
    • Production Sneak Previews
    • Heart of Shaolin T-Shirt
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Listen Learn Share Book

    Learn how to listen to your mind, body and Chi in this popular book by James R Martin, producer/writer of this project. "If you listen you will find there are many paths."

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Contributor Level 2 Website and Credits
    • Preview Trailers
    • Production Sneak Previews
    • Heart of Shaolin T-Shirt
    • Listen Learn Share Book
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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Digital Stream Heart of Shaolin Doc

    Special Digital Stream Edition Heart of Shaolin Documentary with theatrical Release of film. Credit in Contributor Level 2 Category tail credits of documentary.

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Contributor Level 3 Website and Credits
    • Preview Trailers
    • Production Sneak Previews
    • Heart of Shaolin T-Shirt
    • Listen Learn Share Book
    • Digital Stream Documentary
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    Pledge US$ 350 or more About US$ 350

    Shaolin Temple In My Heart by Abbott

    Shaolin - Temple to my heart, written by the Venerable Shi Yongxin, Abbot of Shaolin Temple. History, culture and personal experience of the Abbott and his life after coming to Shaolin and finding his calling. It contains about eighty historic pictures. It is the first time Abbot Shi Yongxin talks about his deep roots with Shaolin Temple publicly. Readers can understand Shaolin culture more thoroughly, and perceive the unremitting efforts that several generations of the Shaolin monks made for Shaolin culture. (paperback) Shipping not included

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Contributor Level 3 Website and Credits
    • Preview Trailers
    • Production Sneak Previews
    • Heart of Shaolin T-Shirt
    • Listen Learn Share Book
    • Digital Stream Documentary
    • Shaolin Temple In My Heart Book
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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Heart of Shaolin Documentary Book

    The Heart of Shaolin Book based on the documentary with Special Edition Heart of Shaolin Documentary DVD. This book will be authored by James R Martin including photographs from the Heart of Shaolin and Hongyun Sun. It will include narrative tracks based on the Heart of Shaolin film and photographs covering all sequences and production. Also edited interviews with key characters, including monks and others associated with Shaolin Temple.

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Contributor Level 4 Website and Credits
    • Preview Trailers
    • Production Sneak Previews
    • Heart of Shaolin T-Shirt
    • Listen Learn Share Book
    • Digital Stream Documentary
    • Shaolin Temple In My Heart Book
    • Heart of Shaolin Book
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Preview Invitation

    Where ever possible preview invitation to screenings in select areas in the United States and internationally. Contributor Level 5 Website and Credits. Special edition upgrade of The Heart of Shaolin book with DVD of documentary.

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Contributor Level 5 Website and Credits
    • Preview Trailers
    • Production Sneak Previews
    • Heart of Shaolin T-Shirt
    • Listen Learn Share Book
    • Digital Stream Documentary
    • Shaolin Temple In My Heart Book
    • Heart of Shaolin Book with DVD
    • Preview Invitation
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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    Visit Shaolin Temple

    A Visit to Shaolin Temple with the production crew for a day while shooting is underway. (Transportation to China not included) Travel from Beijing to Shaolin Temple provided. Tour Shaolin Temple, standby with crew. Two night hotel accommodation near Shaolin Temple included. Credit as Associate Producer tail credits of documentary.

    Includes:
    • Newsletter
    • Social Media Thanks
    • Associate Producer Credit film and website
    • Preview Trailers
    • Production Sneak Previews
    • Heart of Shaolin T-Shirt
    • Digital Stream Documentary
    • Listen Learn Share Book
    • Heart of Shaolin Book with DVD
    • Preview Invitation
    • Shaolin Temple In My Heart Book
    • Visit Shaolin with Film Crew
    • No Shipping Charges
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Funding period

- (35 days)