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Snakehead is a feature film about a woman's rise in the international underworld of human smuggling set in New York Chinatown.
Snakehead is a feature film about a woman's rise in the international underworld of human smuggling set in New York Chinatown.
445 backers pledged $78,830 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$78,830

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I humbly present SNAKEHEAD, a passion project that I've been working on for over 9 years.

Inspired by true events and based in New York's Chinatown, we follow our anti hero, Sister Tse as she rises to one of the most sought after human smugglers in FBI history. From the moment she lands in American waters she quickly learns that the American dream wasn't what she was promised. We will explore the reality of the modern American immigrant through the lens of the Chinatown underworld.

Ultimately, this is a story about a Bad ass Asian woman who finds her community as a feared and respected boss.

I started Snakehead over 9 years ago. I moved to New York, wrote a script, and was all ready to make it when...Jeremy Lin blew up.  This put a slight detour in my path, but Linsanity never hurt anyone.  I spent the last 3 years trying to raise money for a bigger movie but this proved to be difficult.  I realized if I ever wanted to see this movie made, I'm going to have to make it myself.  

NY Chinatown Super Saturday 2015
NY Chinatown Super Saturday 2015

This is a passion project in the truest form.   Whether it is research, building relationships, writing, producing, Snakehead has been a part of my daily existence for almost 10 years.  At this point, I'm not doing this for fame, glory, or money.  I need to tell this story and see this character and world come to life.  

Telling our own stories

As a 6th generation Chinese American, sometimes I feel foreign in my own country and according to the current tide America feels the same way. And while Hollywood white washes everything, who is to blame? We complain, tweet, and write articles but at the end of the day they're just entertainment companies. They make entertainment to make money, they are NOT the cultural pioneers that invoke cultural change.  It is through interaction, shared experiences and stories that we can promote common ground. We can debate all we want, but until we tell our own stories (and tell them well) we will never have a piece of the pie.  

Golden Venture 1993
Golden Venture 1993

The perspective of the immigrant is one that is usually stereotyped, looked down upon and illegal.  All immigrants want the same thing that the pilgrims did, opportunity.  Even though what she does is illegal, Sister Tse believes she is righteous and a provider of opportunity.  While I don't condone this, human migration is happening whether we agree or not.  We have seemed to forget that we were all immigrants to this country.  

 

Production

So how is 28,000 going to be spent? Frugally. Movies can cost a couple thousand dollars to millions. I'm going to use every favor, every free location, every sponsorship, and any help I can get to tell this story. I'm going to use every production trick I've ever learned to keep this movie looking beautiful and epic. I'm going to cast from my community and build a crew that is down for the cause.  From my days on Better Luck Tomorrow to my days on big budgets, I've learned that money can only get you so far. The true currency in filmmaking is passion.  

Every project that I've originated has been for the community and by the community. There is a powerful organic quality to a project that has the support of a community.  The group belief in a story creates a collaboration that is greater than the original.  This collaboration is why I love what I do. 

I've done a lot of documentaries and the journey of the process is always an enjoyable story.  So, I'm going to try something new. Instead of holding all the goodies to myself I'm going to share everything with you all. Every production day, every major plot development, and every awesome behind the scenes will be open game.  I will share everything on digital media. Follow us! 

You only get one chance to make your first feature film.  This is an opportunity that I don't take for granted.  Realizing a dream is exciting, scary, and rewarding.  I hope you can join me on this journey.  

Director Bio

Jeremy Lin/Evan Sundance 2013
Jeremy Lin/Evan Sundance 2013

Evan Jackson Leong is a 6th generation Chinese American director and documentary filmmaker and is the founder of Arowana Films.  Evan is known for his documentary Linsanity about Jeremy Lin, which made its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. A majority of his work is based in the Asian American community. He directed the documentary 1040: Christianity in the New Asia (2010) and the documentary short BLT Genesis (2002), which tracks the behind-the-scenes making of and trajectory of Justin Lin's film, Better Luck Tomorrow.  Under the mentorship of Justin Lin, Evan honed his craft directing various music videos, short films, commercials, and documentaries in the Los Angeles Asian American community.  

Evan then moved to New York working for MTV News and other various cable networks.  In addition to directing, Evan is a capable cinematographer, steadicam operator, photographer, and editor.  In short form digital, he has worked on various projects with Michelle Phan. And some of his most recent work has been with the acclaimed fashion influencer Chriselle Lim.  

Risks and challenges

It took me 9 years to get here. There are always risks and challenges in making movies. There are too many variables to count and too many things that can go wrong.

But, this movie is getting made even if I have to shoot it on my iphone. I've worked too hard and too long to not see this through. My experience has shown me that perseverance, creativity, and faith always get things done. Snakehead will get finished if it's the last thing I do.

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Support

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    Social Media Tag

    Since we'll be posting all the time on our social media accounts, we'll tag you in one of our posts!

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    Secret Video clips

    When production starts, we'll be sharing behind the scenes clips, rough edited versions of the movie, and special visuals! Get a social media tag too.

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    Snakehead Postcard - New Reward

    For 10$ we'll mail you a limited edition Snakehead postcard signed by the Director and Producer!

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    Digital copy of Snakehead

    When Snakehead is complete and fully done, you'll have access to a digital version for your viewing. Get a social media tag and secret video clips too.

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    Shout Out!

    We'll record a special shout out to you on set from the director, cast, or crew! Get a digital copy of the film, a social media shout, and secret video clips too.

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    Google Hangouts

    We will have 10 private google hang outs where you can join the conversation about the process of the film and what we're doing. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Individual Web Chat

    15 minute private Skype/Googlechat with director and producer and you can ask us anything about directing, indie filmmaking, acting, producing, writing, basketball, or just to chat! Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Limited edition SNAKEHEAD T shirt

    Limited edition SNAKEHEAD CREW T-shirt. We'll never make these again. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Limited edition Snakehead artwork

    Inspired by a scene in Snakehead and created with New York Chinatown flavor-comic artist Jerry Ma of Epic Props drops a special limited edition signed print. 13 x 19"

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    Signed Linsanity DVD

    A signed Linsanity DVD by Jeremy Lin and Evan Jackson Leong. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Script

    It has been said that movies are written 3 times. First when they're written, second when they're shot, and third when they're edited. Want to read the script as we shoot the movie out? You can see how the story begins and ends as we build out the visuals for the movie. And eventually you can see how the movie evolves from script to screen. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Be a featured Extra!

    No matter who you are or what you look like, you'll be a featured extra in the movie. We'll work out the details. Must be local to New York or find your own travel here. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Preview Screening ticket

    Go to a preview screening before the masses see the film. This option is currently only available in New York, San Francisco, LA, Toronto, Seattle, and Vancouver. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Limited Edition Cast/Crew Signed poster

    Limited edition signed cast and crew signed poster. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    WEST coast Featured extra - New Reward

    There will be scenes filmed in LA and SF, but for you to be eligible for this reward you must be able to accommodate to our production schedule. Get a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Signed Script and Poster - New Reward

    This is a combination pack of the shooting script and Poster signed by the director and producer. Get a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Office Hours

    Have lunch with our film's producing team in New York, LA, or the Bay Area. Want to swap stories in person? Learn more about this project or film in general? Lunch is on us at a hip, popular restaurant in the hood! Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Got stuff? - New Reward

    Contribute a prop to be featured in the movie (your piece of jewelry or family heirloom). We'll be sure to put it in focus in a scene. (We'll have to make sure there are no liabilities with this so message us before if you want this reward) Get access to a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Production Set Tour - New Reward

    Ever want to see how a film comes together? Come hang out behind the scenes on set and have lunch with the cast and crew! Must be in NYC. Get a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Limited Edition Film Production Still

    24X36 limited ed. photo of behind the scenes of the movie. This thing will be so bad ass looking, you'll definitely be hanging it up at home. Be one of 15 people in the world to have this photo! Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Be the Slate guy - New Reward

    Always wanted to be the person who hammers down the stick on the clapboard when ACTION is called? Come be our 2nd AC for a day and handle it! Must be in NY, LA, SF and available during our production schedule. Get a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Brooklyn Nets Jeremy Lin signed Jersey

    Autographed Jeremy Lin Brooklyn Nets jersey. This is a New York story and so get New York's newest (returning) point guard's signed jersey for your wall of fame!

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    Who's line is it any way? - New Reward

    Fancy yourself a writer? Prove it! Help us write a line of dialogue in the script! Let's collaborate to polish a crucial line in a scene and make it one of the most memorable ones of the film! Get a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Lyrics Born Music Consultation

    Lyrics Born has been in the music game longer than most and with that his musical prowess is on a master level. With this reward, Lyrics Born will listen to a few songs of yours and either call/facetime you with a 10-20 minute music consultation.

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    Photo Session

    Photo session with Evan Jackson Leong. Looking to get new headshots? Wedding photos? Your company need new images for branding? This photography session will make anything you're looking to get photos done of, look like a million bucks. This is a one day job and does not include professional retouching. (Must be in NYC, LA, or the Bay Area) Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Brooklyn Nets Jeremy Lin Signed Jersey

    A new set of signed Jeremy Lin Nets' jerseys! Get 'em before they're gone! Get access to a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Dim Sum With MC Jin!

    Wanna be rap star? Hang and have dimsum with the legendary MC Jin! Pound har gaw, shoot the breeze, AND recreate a scene from Jin's Cantonese classic rap song Yum Dom Cha! Nearly a decade ago, Evan helped deliver the video for this iconic ode to dimsum. Now is your chance to have it come full circle and add your name to dimsum rap history. You and a guest will join Jin for dimsum as Evan mans the camera to recreate a scene from the music video. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too. One opportunity available in LA and one in New York City only. Must provide own travel and accommodations.

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    Chriselle Inc Social Media consultation

    Want one of the biggest influencers in the game to take a look at your online presence? With this reward, Chriselle will take a look at your blog, social media assets, and then speak with you over facetime/phone call for 10-20 mins to give you a consultation.

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    Far East Movement

    Want to hang out with Far East Movement? This awesome reward entitles you to a Korean bbq in Los angeles with Far East Movement and Evan. Date and time to be determined upon availability amongst all but we'll make it happen.

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    2 Nets tickets and meet Jeremy Lin

    2 tickets to a Brooklyn Nets game and short meet/greet with Jeremy Lin and director at the post game of a Brooklyn Nets game this 2016-2017 season. Travel/Accomodations not included. Game/date/seats to be determined. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Mini-Doc from acclaimed director

    The acclaimed director is me! I do have some experience with documentaries. Got an idea? With this reward I'll make an awesome mini doc/brand film on you or subject matter that you want. We'll develop it, shoot for a few hours and then I'll deliver a 1-2 minute piece to you. This must be in LA, New York, or SF. This will be a no budget project since we're trying to raise money here. Let's make something epic together! Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Name a Character - New Reward

    Get a character named after you or someone of your choice! Cannot be offensive and must fit the character. We'll figure something out! Get a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Product Placement - New Reward

    Product placement - do you have a brand you want us to feature? We'll find a creative way to use it in the movie. Get access to a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Hangout with Sung Kang

    Want to hang out with Sung and Evan at a car garage, restaurant, or do something fun? This is basically a hang out to kick it with one of my best friends who happens to be Sung Kang. This reward must take place in New York or Los Angeles for 1-2 hours. Date time and schedule to be determined by availability of all parties.

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    Walk on Role - New Reward

    Walk-on role. Now is your chance to be a star! We'll feature you in a day player role where you will speak a line. Must be in New York, (west coast potential, but it would have to work within our production schedule) Get access to a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Private screening

    This is a private screening for you and your friends and various cast/crew at a determined venue. (US, Canada) The cost of venue is not included. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Location location location New Reward

    Have a business or property in NYC (potentially LA, SF but please message us first with what it is to make sure it can work) you would like featured in the story? Restaurant, hotel, barber shop, massage parlor, we're looking at you! We'll shoot in your space and make sure there is an organic promotion in there. Get a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Associate Producer - New Reward

    Ever want to be on IMDB? As an associate producer you will have access to a monthly conversation with us about the process of the film and the overall journey.

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    Executive Producer

    Always wanted to get into the film game and believe in me? Be my executive producer and we'll build a collaborative relationship. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Nets Tickets and Meeting with Jeremy Lin

    These move fast! A pair of tickets to a Brooklyn Nets game and a meet/greet with Jeremy Lin and director at the post game of a Brooklyn Nets game this 2016-2017 season. Travel/Accomodations not included. Game/date/seats to be determined. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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    Executive Producer

    Because of the response for this reward in the first 15 days, we're adding 5 more slots. Always wanted to get into the film game and believe in me? Be my executive producer and we'll build a collaborative relationship. Get a special shout out, a digital copy of the film, a social media mention, and secret clips too.

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Funding period

- (30 days)