In the summer of 2011, at the age of twenty-nine, Steve Dezember was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease). The doctors told Steve that he probably had two to five years to live.
After the diagnosis was confirmed by a second opinion, Steve took his girlfriend of six months to their "spot" on the Chattahoochee riverbank just north of Atlanta. Small box in pocket, he took her by the hand and told her, "Look, I completely understand if you go . . . but if you don't, will you marry me?"
Her name, was Hope.
When filming began, we thought we were making a film to benefit future ALS patients. With Hope by his side, Steve would candidly tell the camera (a future audience) what to expect from the disease and how to combat it with certain "tricks" or medical advantages. However, as filming progressed, and Steve's condition worsened, we (the filmmakers) came to realize that ALS was a secondary character in film about two young people who from the outset, decided to try their very best to not let an incurable, terminal, and debilitating disease rob them of their wild love for each other or the chance to lead significant lives.
The documentary follows the newlyweds as they plow through a collaborative bucket-list while Steve still is able to eat, breath, talk and move on his own. We get to see a PG version of Hope and Steve's honey-moon, their road trip across the country, and on-stage invitations from popular musicians such as Michael Franti, Gareth Asher, and Dave Matthews.
Despite the good times, the disease progressed quickly and Hope had to face the incredible challenge of being both Steve's wife and his full-time caretaker. And the once tenacious, joke-cracking, and initially optimistic Steve had to come to terms that he would spend the rest of his life relying on his wife to fight all of his physical battles for him.
Through social media, local news channels, and old friends, news spread quickly about the couple who with no income and minimal medicare, were trying to squeeze a lifetime of living into a couple years. An Atlantan community rallied behind the couple, organizing fund-raisers ranging from art shows, concerts, hockey games, and golf tournaments.
This film is an excruciating and piercing love story that at times is as baffling and beyond human understanding as the book of JOB, and at times as plainly joyful as the concluding scene of "It's a Wonderful Life".
This has been a project of passion for the previous two years. Both the director and I knew Steve through either high school hockey teams or college dorms.
In order to compete this is what we still need.
Licensing fees: $8,000
Proper Format and Coloring: $2,600
Film Festival Entry Fees and associated costs: $2,000
Fulfilling Kickstarter Rewards: $800
Risks and challenges
The risk is not getting our film accepted into a major film festival or finding effective distribution.
We are confident in the story we are telling and the people telling the story. What we lack in bells and whistles we make up for in industry experience and originality.
We have a HUGE social media presence and with pushes from musical celebrities like MICHAEL FRANTI (who is heavily involved with the project) and DAVE MATTHEWS (who has reached out to the couple and drawn them personalized artwork) our documentary will reach people with or without the festivals and traditional exposures.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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