MEET THE STUDENTS
We are a diverse team of 45 students from High Tech High Chula Vista (HTHCV), a public charter school located south of San Diego, CA, just a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Our school is called High Tech High, but our campus has more of a liberal arts vibe than a technology vibe. If you were to visit our school, you’d see students playing music, discussing the issues of the day and being comfortable with their individuality.
Another fun fact about our school is that we do something called “project-based learning,” which means we get to spend most of our days working on projects that address real challenges in our community and country.
For more information about our school, please visit: http://www.hightechhigh.org/
For this year’s project, our team of 45 students has decided to work under the supervision of two outstanding teachers, Simon and Ms. Nuvia, as we make a documentary called BEYOND THE CROSSFIRE.
Beyond the Crossfire will document our mission to answer one question: How can we dramatically reduce the amount of gun violence in our country?
Gun violence is an issue that matters to our school community because we lost a student to an incident of gun violence in 2011. Sean Fuchs was a musician, a poet, and a kind and loving son who was taken from his mother and his friends too soon. We are dedicating Beyond the Crossfire to Sean's memory, to his younger brother Kyle's memory and to their mom, Maria.
Below, you can find a mural based on Sean's life and poetry. Our team of 45 students helped to design and paint this mural under the supervision of Sean's mother, Maria, and our art teacher, Mr. Yurick, during the 2011-2012 school year. The mural has a permanent home on the front wall of our school.
I only want to give the world one thing / I want to change it / So we can all stop fighting and killing / and start loving.
- Sean Fuchs, school project, 2011
MEET THE TEACHERS
SIMON and MS. NUVIA are our amazing teachers, and, as the only members of our team who are over the age of 18, they are in charge of running and overseeing our Kickstarter project.
MS. NUVIA has been teaching at HTHCV since 2012. Previously she worked as a research scientist at Arena Pharmaceuticals for nearly 10 years. In addition to being a scientist, she’s been part of San Diego’s art community as a painter, curator and instructor.
On December 14, 2012, Ms. Nuvia received the tragic news that her best friends’ daughter, Avielle Richman, had been murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. To Avielle, Ms.Nuvia was Auntie Nuvs and together they shared a love for art, music and sweets.
In honor of Avielle, Ms.Nuvia is guiding us in researching the causes of violent behavior through the lens of biology.
SIMON graduated from NYU film school in 2002 and spent the next six years working in the entertainment industry alongside mentors Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life, Wicked) and Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl, Raising Hope). Simon was an Associate Producer on My Name is Earl when he decided to switch careers and pursue what turned out to be his true calling: teaching.
Simon taught high school and middle school in Northeast Los Angeles for four years before joining us at HTHCV, where he quickly became known for his discussion-based classes and inspirational speeches.
Simon has challenged us to seek solutions to our country's gun violence epidemic that will unite opposing political groups. We aim to do this by focusing our research, first and foremost, on what can be done to improve our nation's mental health care system.
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY
BEYOND THE CROSSFIRE is an exploratory documentary that will focus on our team's mission to answer one question: What can we do to dramatically reduce the amount of gun violence in our country?
BEYOND THE CROSSFIRE WILL NOT FOCUS on gun rights versus gun control because that issue tends to divide people, and we are determined to bring people together. In addition, documentaries about the 2nd Amendment have been done before, and we are striving to produce something original.
Instead, BEYOND THE CROSSFIRE WILL FOCUS on commonsense reforms to our country’s mental health care system, including how to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, as well as the power of innovative investments in communities overwhelmed by gun violence, including investments in mentorship programs, meaningful internships for high school students, after-school programs with an eye towards career readiness and summer programs with a focus on developing the type of self-control and optimism needed to secure a brighter future for young people who might otherwise be drawn into the chaos.
This is an ambitious project, and our team will not be producing our documentary alone.
We are blessed to already have four partners whose support will help us produce the most powerful film possible.
MEDIA ARTS CENTER OF SAN DIEGO has connected us with local filmmakers (thank you Jesse Keller!) who are already donating their talent and time to teach us the skills we'll need to produce an entertaining documentary.
QUIET COMPANY, an incredible band out of Austin, Texas, has not only expressed admiration for what we are trying to do, they have generously agreed to let us use their music on our Kickstarter and our film's soundtrack. You can listen to Quiet Company’s music on our Kickstarter video, and you can check out more of their music here and music videos here.
MARIA PE, mother of Sean and Kyle, founder of the Imagine Fund, and a dear friend to our team has generously agreed to support us every step of the way. Maria, we love and appreciate your openness and kindheartedness.
HIGH TECH HIGH: Our school’s business office has made arrangements to properly handle your donations. High Tech High is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization, so your contributions to our project will be tax-deductible as allowable by law.
And we continue to seek additional partners. If you work in the entertainment industry and you would like to support the making of BEYOND THE CROSSFIRE, please send us a message through Kickstarter anytime by clicking on "Contact Me" next to Simon's picture at the top of this page.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR TEAM BY MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION OR BY INCREASING A PLEDGE YOU'VE ALREADY MADE
Our Kickstarter campaign is coming to a close, but you can still follow our project's progress on social media and support our film through the High Tech High Foundation.
To support our project, please visit the High Tech High Foundation website and indicate that you want contributions to go to Beyond the Crossfire Film Project, Account # 30036.
Keep in touch with us on social media too:
Thank you so much for your support!
We are in this mission to prevent violence together!
And when the day inevitably comes where the road to making our country safer seems impossibly long and the hill impossibly steep, let’s remember what happened in San Francisco on November 15, 2013.
We are talking about the Batkid story (see link below). which has become an inspiration for our campaign because it shows what can happen when an entire city joins together to make a difference.
On November 16, 2013, our team posted this on Facebook:
How can we do something similar? How can we bring entire cities together to provide opportunities to young people living in neighborhoods with sky-high rates of gun violence? Just like Make-a-Wish and San Francisco, we can do this America. We can fill the streets with peace!
Just like the people of San Francisco, we can give young people living in communities wracked with violence a future to look forward to, a future that will motivate them to do whatever it takes to stop the violence.
Risks and challenges
There is a risk that we may not be able to produce the documentary we aspire to produce, a documentary that is capable of both making an impact on young people across our country and creating a buzz at Sundance.
Money is an issue. If we can raise at least $65,000, we will be able to send small teams of students to high schools in Chicago, New Orleans and Newtown to meet with other young people who are similarly interested in advocating for innovative new ways to make our country safer, and our documentary will become a lot more inspiring and engaging as a result.
And if we can raise close to $100,000, we will be able to hire professional filmmakers (most notably an editor) to help us produce the strongest possible final cut of our film.
So even if we hit our fundraising goal, please don’t stop donating to our project and please don’t stop spreading the word about our project either. Every dollar, every tweet, every message, every text, every email counts!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)