Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 6, 2010.

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Help support a film about changing times in the birthplace of American popular culture. The project is approaching its final hurdles!

This is the 2nd attempt on Kickstarter but this time, it's got to work! And with your help, it will! Read on...

Coney Island, once called 'the world's playground,' has seen better days. Still, for the millions who continue to visit this barrier island at the outer edge of New York City, there's a certain charm in the faded beauty and tangible links to an age gone by. This monumental documentary focuses on the key characters involved in the biggest redevelopment plan ever to visit the area. Seaside salvation or Brooklyn boondoggle? History will decide but this film is the first draft.

Beginning in early Spring of 2007, I set out to capture Coney Island at a pivotal moment in its 125+ year history as an amusement destination. With City Hall and private developers laying out their competing plans for Coney Island's 21st century makeover, many of the local residents and business people felt trapped in the middle or left out in the surf. Much has happened since then, and while the area's uncertain future brought media attention from across the world, few stuck around long enough to get the full story.

Now, having edited a 96 minute rough cut from over 150 hours of footage, the end is in sight. But the end is the most expensive part! Independent filmmaking is a tricky business. Broadcasters and distributors rarely want to get involved before your project is completed and has premiered in a major film festival and yet getting to that point requires significant expenditures such as a sound mix, graphics, archival image licensing, music licensing and color processing (or what we call "color correction" in the video world.) And that short list doesn't include the costs of applying to festivals and marketing expenses once your film gets into the festivals.

"Last Summer at Coney Island" has been supported by grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Puffin Foundation, but those funds have been long used up. That's why I'm partnering with Kickstarter and a wonderful non-profit organization called The City Reliquary to try and bring this film to greater awareness. Kickstarter works with a limited number of projects at a time to provide a platform through which artists can raise money while being completely accountable to their investors. The project artist sets the amount he or she would like to raise. Individuals like you pledge any amount you'd like and then, to assure that donors are not spending their money on a project that will never get finished, the transaction is only completed when the funding goal is met.

But wait, it gets better. Through the City Reliquary's tax exemption status, all donations can be used as a write off on your tax return. It's never too early to start thinking about your 2010 filings, my friends!

But for "Coney Island," time is running out. In order to raise enough money to finish the picture and get it into festivals while the story is still fresh in the media's limited imagination, I've got to raise about $20,000 in the next few months. I'm only asking for $12,000 of that to come from this Kickstarter initiative while I'm also waiting to hear back from a couple grants. One way or another, I'm confident that with your help, this film will get seen by loads of people and enter the public consciousness as a seminal record of this chapter in American cultural history.

And to sweeten the deal even more, every donation over $25 will get you a reserved copy of the inevitable "Last Summer at Coney Island" DVD. Donations of $150 or over gets you the DVD plus 2 tickets to the premiere or a screening of your choice. Donations of $250 or more will get you the DVD, the tickets, and a free beach umbrella! I'm also looking for those who really want to get involved and become an Executive Producer, investing $5000 or more. Email me to discuss details of a return on your investment.

If just 1200 people out of the millions who love Coney Island could give even 10 bucks, that would be great. But since that's unlikely to happen, we need some generous donors. Please invite others to view this project on Kickstarter and do what you can to help. You won't regret it.

I've reposted the videos that were part of the previous Kickstarter attempt and I'll be uploading more photos and videos from the project over the next 90 days as I try to reach (and exceed) the $12,000 goal. You can find that stuff under the UPDATES tab at the top of this page. I'd be thrilled to hear what you think of any or all of it.

Thanks for getting involved!

JL

PS: Any pledge amount earns a solid Thank You in the credits, not to mention good Coney karma.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    50 backers All gone!

    A reserved copy of "Last Summer at Coney Island" on DVD. (Expected manufacture date: 2012) Plus a thank you in the credits.

  • Pledge $40 or more
    You selected

    14 backers Limited (26 left of 40)

    NEW REWARD LEVEL ADDED! For $40 you'll get a download of the movie when it is completed (early fall 2010), plus a reserved copy of the DVD (2012), a commemorative poster, plus a thank you in the credits! (the download and poster will also be made available to those who have pledged at higher levels.)

  • Pledge $150 or more
    You selected

    9 backers Limited (16 left of 25)

    2 tickets to the premiere (or a screening of your choice) plus the DVD and a thank you in the credits.

  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (20 left of 20)

    A commemorative beach umbrella, 2 tickets to the premiere (or a screening of your choice) plus the DVD and a SPECIAL thank you in the credits.

  • Pledge $500 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    PATRON LEVEL A complimentary tour of Coney Island and ride on the Cyclone with director JL Aronson, a commemorative beach umbrella, 2 tickets to the premiere (or a screening of your choice) plus the DVD and a PATRON credit at the end of the movie.

  • Pledge $5,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    You'll get Executive Producer credit, plus the complimentary tour of Coney Island and ride on the Cyclone with director JL Aronson, a commemorative beach umbrella, 2 tickets to the premiere (or a screening of your choice) and the DVD.

Funding period

- (63 days)