NEW FUNDING GOAL: $28,000: A portion of all funds raised beyond the initial goal of $25k will go directly to RAW Talent for the production of Te's Harmony. These additional funds will also allow the crew to operate at full capacity for more shooting days than we had initially budgeted!
Romeo Is Bleeding (working title) is a documentary about young artists inspiring change in an impoverished city. The students of Richmond California's creative writing group, RAW Talent (Richmond Artists With Talent), are no strangers to trauma. Their city is small but the homicide rate is abnormally high, with teens killing each other over turf divisions between North and Central Richmond. In a community so deeply entrenched in a cycle of retaliation, there are many dead-end streets and few positive outlets. Yet the students at RAW Talent have found their voices through spoken word poetry and are determined to change Richmond with their art.
The film will follow the students and staff of RAW Talent as they prepare their biggest show to date, Te's Harmony, a modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet set in Richmond. The Shakespearean masterpiece has been reworked into spoken word poetry and Richmond vernacular, creating an allegory for the conditions haunting Richmond and its youngest citizens. RAW Talent students see their own story reflected within this tragedy, and dare to believe in a different ending.
Leading RAW Talent in its efforts is Donte Clark, RAW Talent's first member and greatest success story. Donte turned his life around after being introduced to poetry, transforming from a troubled student into a community leader and role model. Now Donte is the Assistant Director of RAW Talent, a teacher, and the playwright behind RAW Talent's adaptation.
Donte has devoted his life to creating a peaceful Richmond, because he has experienced first hand how violence and trauma can derail young lives. Along with the rest of the RAW Talent staff, Donte works every day to change the inner-city perspective of masculinity and end the cycle of violence in Richmond. Undeterred by the dangers associated with being the voice of peace, Donte continues to inspire change through his art, and the succesfful production of Te's Harmony would represent his greatest achievement yet.
MORE INFO ON "TE'S HARMONY"
"Te's Harmony" is a spoken word theatre piece written and performed by Richmond Youth and directed by Rooben Morgan. Members of RAW Talent will present their modern-day rendition of Romeo and Juliet for the stage, creating an allegory for coming of age in Richmond. It is the classic tale of star-crossed lovers when Te from North Richmond falls for Harmony from Central, and the two must fight for love in the midst of a turf war that has devastated their community for too long. This "choreopoem" will be a mash-up of theatre, poetry, dance, music, and film, remixing Shakespearean verse with spoken word and Richmond vernacular. This show will push the boundaries of artistic genres, and ultimately push the audience to question the culture of violence in their city; to re-imagine Richmond through the lens of love.
MORE INFO ON RAW TALENT
RAW Talent is a creative arts program within the larger Making Waves Education Program, an organization that provides intensive academic and auxiliary support services after school and on Saturdays for students in Richmond and San Francisco, CA. RAW Talent is based out of the high school program in the Richmond office.
RAW Talent aims to foster a space for creative expression and self-exploration that will enhance students' perceptions of themselves as learners, teachers, writers, readers, and members of a larger community committed to diverse forms of language and literacy. Through the lens of spoken word poetry, theatre, visual arts, and music, RAW Talent members are challenged to think critically and explore social issues that affect themselves, their communities and others. In a society that promotes conformity and continues to oppress low-income youth of color, RAW Talent creates an alternative educational environment that celebrates students' identities, cultures, beliefs, emotions, and unique voices.
This is a number that will allow us to pay for cinematographers, producers, and equipment that will capture this story in the scope intended. This money will go towards travel and lodging, as well as miscellaneous costs of production. It will also help to pay for the establishment of post-production, as we put together a longer piece for continued investment from other sources. Any additional money beyond $25,000 will go towards making our vision even grander, allowing for more stylized/cinematic shoots, better coverage of the performance of the play, and it will allow us to go further into post-production before securing finishing funds.
Risks and challenges
SCHEDULE WITH FUNDING
The Crew has already finished two trips to Richmond, netting approximately 1/6 of the footage we will ultimately get. A significant portion of this funding will go towards finishing principal photography November 2012 – March 2013 with a few additional pickup shoots in April and May.
Come spring, the funds will be directed towards setting up a post-production team and assembling a longer piece that will be used for continued fundraising. We plan to use the Kickstarter funds to create a piece that will attract support from private investors, grants, various companies, and NGOs.
Your investment in the film will yield:
1. The completion of principal photography
2. The establishment of a post-production team
3. The establishment of a post-production workspace
4. A long-form piece to attract continued investment in the film from other sources
Making Of Featurettes : Beginning January 2013
Tickets for Te’s Harmony: February 2013
Website Launch + Thank You Section : March 2013
DVD of Te’s Harmony: Estimate May 2013
RAW Talent Merchandise: Estimate April 2013
Completed DVD: Estimate January 2014
Completed Poster: Estimated January 2014
CHALLENGES IN PRODUCTION AND REWARDS:
From a production standpoint: Filming in Richmond is not always easy. As a camera crew we can attract attention when we follow our characters out into the neighborhoods. What was initially intended to be a intimate stroll through their hometown can quickly become a small crowd. However, our first two trips have been focused largely on establishing relationships, so now most places we go we're known and accepted, so these difficulties are quickly falling away. Ultimately, community members have been very appreciative of our intentions as soon as we tell them about RAW Talent and how our film relates, and we find ourselves making friends at most turns.
From a rewards standpoint we have a plan to get as much as we can out in a timely fashion. For example, RAW Talent has been producing merchandise such as books and T-Shirts for years, so as soon as we complete the Te's Harmony DVD all the RAW merchandise can be shipped. Other items such as the completed DVD's and the movie posters will take longer, but we've already priced out these items and factored them into the budget. We will keep you updated on all production and rewards notices as we progress through our shoot in these next few months.
PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM DIRECTOR
When I heard the story of Te’s Harmony I was immediately compelled to drop everything and make a film. The more progress we’ve made, the more committed I’ve become to making sure I tell the story of Donte and RAW Talent with the care they deserve. I've now worked for 4 filmmakers who have taken their projects to Sundance and beyond, and I've been paying close attention the entire time. I'm ready to tell RAW Talent's story, and I'm convinced that if done properly, it will be something special. I plan to spend the next 10 months of my life maximizing your investment in this film, so please take a moment, spare what you can, and be a part of Romeo Is Bleeding.
- (30 days)