Corner Stores - A Short Documentary project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$3,861 pledged of $6,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By Julia Elizabeth Evans
$3,861 pledged of $6,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About

Corner Stores is a short documentary, 15 minutes long.  From the perspective of 1 neighborhood store, Corner Stores tells an authentic story about community and constancy in New Orleans.

New Orleans Constants

Good​ ​food,​ ​hospitality,​ ​long-time​ ​characters,​ ​outlandish​ ​stories,​ ​off-beat​ ​decor​ ​​are​ ​all​ ​New Orleans​ ​constants.​ ​​ ​Turns​ ​out,​ the same constants ​ ​define​ ​the city's corner​ ​stores.​ 

The corner store is a rich tradition in New Orleans.

"I​ ​think​ ​corner​ ​stores​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​community​ ​because​ ​we've​ ​been​ ​here​ ​so​ ​long.​"​ ​Natasha Merryman​ ​explains​ in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​her​ ​mother’s​ ​store,​ ​Red​ ​Rooster​ Sno-Ball Stand. 

Map of New Orleans Central City Neighborhood shows where original corner store buildings stood as of 1908. Image provided by Gabrielle Begue of Clio Associates, LLC
Map of New Orleans Central City Neighborhood shows where original corner store buildings stood as of 1908. Image provided by Gabrielle Begue of Clio Associates, LLC

 

Images of Beau Nguyen at Singleton's Mini-Mart in New Orleans' Uptown Neighborhood
Images of Beau Nguyen at Singleton's Mini-Mart in New Orleans' Uptown Neighborhood

Across the city,​​​​ ​Beau Nguyen, ​owner​ ​of​ ​Singleton’s​ ​Mini​ ​Mart,​ ​tells​ ​​the​ ​same​ ​story. “​We’ve​ ​been​ ​here​ ​about​ ​16​ ​years.​​​ ​​It​ ​changed​ ​so​ ​much​ ​since​​​ ​I​ ​would​ ​say​ ​Katrina.​ ….but​ ​the​ ​culture​ ​is​ ​the​ ​same.​ The​ ​culture​ ​is​ ​food. Gotta​ ​serve​ ​food.​ ​Good​ ​food!” 

New Orleans is a city of ​endless​ ​developments​ ​and​ ​rapid​ ​gentrification.  Yet, corner stores remain historical and cultural institutions.  They represent New Orleans’ localized neighborhood culture, its connectedness, its diversity and its big heart. 

 
Image provided by Gabrielle Begue, architecture preservationist and researcher at Clio Associates, LLC.
Image provided by Gabrielle Begue, architecture preservationist and researcher at Clio Associates, LLC.

Did you know? 

An estimated 72% of New Orleans original corner store buildings have been lost since the early 1900s. (Information from Gabrielle Begue, 2016 interview.)                   

Our feature store is over 30 years old, but many other stores have disappeared. They’ve been converted into bars, restaurants or personal residences. We feel it’s especially important to tell this story at a time when neighborhoods are gentrifying and grocery chains are replacing corner store culture.

Where Have We Been?

 

This isn’t Julia’s first project about corner stores. At this point, our director has visited 50+ corner stores throughout New Orleans.  

With Co-Producer, Ashley Spears, Julia has asked 20 different store owners, “In your own words, what is a corner store?”   ​Everybody​ ​has​ ​an​ ​answer.​ ​​ ​Every​ ​store​ ​has​ ​a story.

In June of 2017, Julia finished the 30 minute documentary, sponsored by the New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC), feat. 4 classic corner stores:

  • Frady’s One-Stop Food Store
  • Gene’s Po Boys
  • Singleton’s Mini-Mart 
  • Red Rooster Sno-Ball Stand

This short documentary is an extension of that original project. 

So, what sets this project apart?

This time around, our production crew will tell 1 hyper-focused story.  

Also.  This time around...we have support!! Y'all! PLUS our amazing partnership organizations.  The Jazz & Heritage Foundation Community Partnerships Grant has provided support. 

Where Are We Now?

Corner Stores is one of five films selected for the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubator Program, a partnership between NOVAC (New Orleans Video Access Center), The New Orleans Film Society, Kickstarter, the Mayor's Office of Cultural Economy/Film New Orleans, and #CreateLouisiana.

Our kickstarter campaign will run from November 2nd - December 1st.

If we reach our goal and raise $6,000 (or more), the Tricentennial Story Incubator Program will match the funds with a $5,000 award. That’s $11,000 in support! 

We’re currently in pre-production on the film Corner Stores.  In December 2017, we’ll follow one set of corner store owners and regulars through their daily lives at the store.

What’s the Style of the Film? 

This mostly vérité documentary will alternate between narration and ethnography. 

En Cinéma Vérité ​

Meditative​ ​audio​ ​and​ ​video​ ​footage​ ​(also​ ​referred​ ​to​ ​as​ ​​en​ ​cinéma​ ​vérité​)​​ ​will​ ​augment​ ​the narration,​ while exploring ​the​ ​dozens​ ​of​ ​moods,​ ​rhythms,​ ​exchanges​ ​that​ ​take​ ​place​ ​“at​ ​a​ ​store​ ​at​ ​the​ ​corner​ ​of​ ​two​ ​streets.” ​ 

The​ ​structure​ ​of​ ​the​ ​story​ ​follows​ ​the​ ​sensory​ ​experience​ ​of​ ​a​ ​New​ ​Orleans​ ​corner​ ​store.​ ​​ ​The​ ​film opens​ ​as​ ​an​ ​a)​ ​arrival​ ​to​ ​the​ ​store,​ ​which​ ​leads ​to​ ​b)​ ​commercial​ ​transactions​ ​and​ ​then​ ​​naturally to​ ​c)​ personal stories and interview ​conversations.  

We’re neighbors.

Julia and Weenta live in New Orleans mid-city neighborhood. We've chosen a store in our neighborhood because we want to make a film that is immersive and authentic.

As a part of the ethnography, we'll get the chance to embed with our characters and delve deeply into their personal stories and histories.  

What Does the Money Support?

With the $11,000 raised via YOUR support and the support of Tricentennial Story Incubators Program, we will invest in 2 things: production crew salaries and equipment.

Camera and Audio Crew!!

$5,000 to cover production crew salaries. This short documentary has a committed crew. Production requires our crew to return to the feature store, more than once and consistently. Your donation allows creative opportunities to creative people!

Equipment!!

$5,300 to purchase new equipment that is industry standard and allows us to get better footage in low lighting. Our equipment list includes: 

  • 1 Camera Lens (Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM II) $1,899.00 
  • 1 Camera Stabilizer Kit (DJI Ronin-M 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer and Kit) at $2,493.95 
  • 1 Studio Light (ikan ID500-v2 LED Studio Light) at $500.00 
  •  2 Auxiliary Lighting Pieces (Softbox + Filter Kit) at $210.58.
Fees!!

$700 to cover Kickstarter + Fiscal Sponsorship Fees.

All donations are tax deductible!

NOVAC is /Corner Stores/ 501(c)(3) sponsorship organization.  (pictured is José Perez, original NOVAC workshop student)
NOVAC is /Corner Stores/ 501(c)(3) sponsorship organization. (pictured is José Perez, original NOVAC workshop student)

Corner Stores has status as a nonprofit 501(c)(3).  That means, your contributions are 100% tax-deductible! 

Our sponsorship organization is New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC).  After 45 years, NOVAC is the longest continuously running media-arts 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the Gulf South. NOVAC believes storytellers empower communities, so we empower storytellers, with creative, educational and economic opportunities. NOVAC accomplishes this mission through education, career development, community outreach, independent productions, and special events.

Want to meet our team?

Julia Elizabeth Evans, Director (left) and Weenta Girmay, Producer (right)
Julia Elizabeth Evans, Director (left) and Weenta Girmay, Producer (right)

Julia Elizabeth Evans (Director) has a background in documentary filmmaking. She’s worked directly with academy award winning directors, Ross Kaufman and Sebastian Junger, as well as local producers in New Orleans.  Evans was the recipient of the 2015-2016 New Orleans Video Access Center Joshua Short Scholarship.  In June 2017, she completed a 30-minute documentary about 4 New Orleans’ corner stores.   

Weenta Girmay (Producer) is a multimedia storyteller. She has worked in audio, video and photo formats with work featured in national outlets such as NPR and The Nation. Evans and Girmay are co-directors of Love You Back Productions (LYB), a documentary-style video production company based in New Orleans. LYB produces content for social media and the web. Their focus is on narrative, character-driven stories.

Ashley Ann Spears, Co-Producer (pictured w/ headphones)
Ashley Ann Spears, Co-Producer (pictured w/ headphones)

 Ashley ​​Ann ​​Spears (Co-Producer) ​was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. Ms. Spears has been part of this production since Day 1. Ms. Spears handles interview questions, production crew coordination, interview transcription, community screening logistics, as well as story editing.

Thomas Walsh, Audio Engineer (pictured in teal shirt)
Thomas Walsh, Audio Engineer (pictured in teal shirt)

Thomas Walsh (Audio Engineer) is an independent audio producer and sound engineer at WWNO. Mr. Walsh has 7 years experience producing features for public radio segments like Louisiana Eats, All Things New Orleans, Notes From New Orleans, The Farmer's Market Minute The Listening Post and The Green Minute.  He also produces music recordings, podcasts, short films, and live events. He is the sound engineer for the monthly live storytelling program, The Moth New Orleans.

Anuraag Pendyal, Score Composer (Left) and George Chiesa, Motion Media Editor (Left)
Anuraag Pendyal, Score Composer (Left) and George Chiesa, Motion Media Editor (Left)

Anuraag Pendyal​ ​(Score Composer) is a piano and cello player based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He performs and produces in genres including traditional & modern jazz, ragtime, bossa nova, and hip-hop.  Catch him every Sunday, 7-10PM at Dragon's Den on Frenchmen.

George​ ​Chiesa​ (Motion Media Editor) ​graduated with a degree in motion media design from Savannah College of Art and Design. From 2012-2015, he worked as the animation director at 360 Live Media, Inc, based out of Washington D.C. Currently, Mr. Chiesa is the animation director at Velocity Agency, Inc., a large marketing and advertising firm based in New Orleans and Los Angeles. 

thank you all so much!!

<3,
Julia and Weenta

Risks and challenges

We know that if we don’t reach our goal kickstarter goal we’ll not only lose out on the money raised through kickstarter, but we won’t be matched by the Story Incubator grant.

That’s why over the past 3 months, we’ve been actively applying to other community grant programs. To date, our project has already secured $2,000 through the Jazz and Heritage Community Partnership Grant.

Our production team has the basic equipment to make this film happen. We’re experienced professionals with over 7 years experience in multimedia journalism and documentary filmmaking.

The reason why we’re seeking this funding is to make something that looks and feels seamless. In order to match the style and quality of the film we’ve set out to achieve, we need your support.

In the case that we don’t secure $11,000 from this Kickstarter campaign and the Story Incubators grant program, we’re prepared to to make this thing “run-and-gun” style as they say. We’ll sacrifice a production crew and cover just the basic cost of our producer and director’s time.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    We Applaud You!

    At this reward level, you'll receive:

    A personalized Thank You email from Julia and Weenta.

    - You believe in us, and we will send you special, heartfelt behind-the-scenes production updates.

    - Once the campaign is over and successful. We will applaud you! Your name will be added to Julia and Weenta's Kickstarter Shoutout video.

    Includes:
    • Personalized Thank You!
    • Behind-the-scenes production updates
    • Kickstarter Shoutout Video!
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    21 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $21 or more About $21

    We Celebrate You!

    At this reward level you'll receive everything from the previous reward levels PLUS:

    A HD downloadable link to the original 30 minute corner store documentary from director Julia Elizabeth Evans. The original 30 minute documentary features 4 classic New Orleans corner stores: Frady's, Singleton's, Gene's Po-Boy's and Red Rooster.

    You'll receive a special invitation to the premiere of the "Corner Stores" short documentary. Invite your friends and family!

    Includes:
    • Previous rewards PLUS
    • HD download of "Corner Stores" Documentary (30 mins)
    • Invite to New Orleans Premiere Screening Party!!
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    We Credit You!

    At this reward level you'll receive everything from the previous reward levels PLUS:

    Ever dreamed over seeing your name at the end of a movie? This is your opportunity. Your name will be added to "Corner Stores" end-credits.

    Bonus! Did you hear the piano in our Kickstarter video?? The piano you heard was from the "Corner Stores" documentary original film score, composed and performed by local New Orleans pianist, Anuraag Pendyal. At this reward tier, you will receive a downloadable tracklist of the film's original score (10 songs, 45 minutes).

    Includes:
    • Previous rewards PLUS
    • Your Name added to End-Credits
    • High-quality .MP4 download of original score (10 tracks, 45 mins)
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited (41 left of 50) 9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    We Deliver a Message to You!

    At this reward level you'll receive everything from the previous reward levels PLUS:

    We'll make you a one-of-a-kind postcard with an original image from the set of the "Corner Stores" documentary. The postcard will feature a special message referencing a piece of our film production, mailed to you from the “Corner Stores” Director-Producer Team.

    Includes:
    • Previous rewards PLUS
    • "Corner Stores" Film Postcard
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (41 left of 45) 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    We Guide You!

    At this reward level you'll receive everything from the previous reward levels PLUS:

    We'll send you a custom made "Corner Stores of New Orleans: Exclusive Visitor's Guide."

    Engage in "Corner Stores" experience. Your "Guide" features map of New Orleans, original photographs of classic New Orleans' corner stores + anecdotes from owners and regulars at Frady's, Singleton's, Gene's Po-Boy's and Red Rooster, and more.

    Includes:
    • Previous rewards PLUS
    • "Corner Stores of New Orleans: Exclusive Visitor's Guide"
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (26 left of 35) 9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    We Honor You with a Po-Boy!

    At this reward level you'll receive everything from the previous reward levels PLUS:

    Come to our premiere screening party!! Julia and Weenta hand you a hot, yummy Gene's Po-Boy with your name on it!

    Before the show starts, our Director-Producer team will acknowledge your support in front of the audience.

    Includes:
    • Previous rewards PLUS
    • A Gene's Po-Boy (shrimp, hot sausage, or roast beef)
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (20 left of 20) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    We Hang with You!

    At this reward level you'll receive everything from the previous reward levels PLUS:

    We'll take you on a special in-person tour of 3 corner stores with the Director-Producer team. You'll get to experience New Orleans corner stores just like a local would.

    Includes:
    • Previous rewards PLUS
    • Tour of 3 New Orleans corner stores with Producer-Director
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (11 left of 12) 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    We Document You!

    At this reward level you'll receive everything from the previous reward levels PLUS:

    You'll not only get to go on a tour of New Orleans corner stores with us, but we'll make a short video (1-2 minutes long) about the experience. You'll get to star in your own mini New Orleans "Corner Stores" documentary!! :)

    Includes:
    • Previous rewards PLUS
    • Video feat. YOU on tour at 3 New Orleans corner stores
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (4 left of 5) 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.