When is self-defense justified?
What does a "victim" look like?
Who gets called a gang?
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Finishing this film is only possible with your help.
- Support our Kickstarter Campaign!
- Spread the word! Email your friends! Post to Facebook! Tweet it!
- Check us out on the web: Facebook / Twitter / Email list
- Help us get press about this movie and our Kickstarter campaign!
- Share this news with bloggers, journalists and social media fanatics!
WHY WE ARE TELLING THIS STORY
This is not an easy story to tell. The women defended themselves, forcefully. But by showing the events of that August night, you will make up your minds about what happened. For four years, our team has filmed important pieces of this story carefully and intimately that will allow you to understand how race, class, gender and sexuality came to bare upon this case. While we unpack the fight itself, we are most interested in revealing what happened after – including the trial that reveals the court’s skepticism around self-defense, and the mainstream media’s biased coverage. OUT IN THE NIGHT is a film designed to unpack complex issues, including the racialization of gang assault charges and who is seen as a victim and who is not based on race, gender and perceived gender-identity. It is a story about four young women and their families, but it is also a tool for action and change.
WHAT OUT IN THE NIGHT IS ABOUT
On a hot August night in 2006, under the neon-lights of the tattoo parlors and movie theaters of the gay friendly West Village, a group of young African American lesbian friends from Newark, New Jersey, out for a night, passed by a man selling DVDs of his new film on the street. He cat-called one of them, the smallest of the group, Patreese, and said “Let me get some of that.” When she responded, “Mister; I’m gay.” he spit at her and threw a lit cigarette. Two of Patreese's friends, including gender non-conforming friend Renata, stepped to her defense. A fight broke out involving a few of the women, this man, and strangers on the street. When the fight dangerously escalated, the women left. The fight resulted in the man being stabbed and spending 5 days in the hospital, Renata and another woman left with black eyes, bloody lips and strangle marks on their necks. Another of the women had a handful of dread locks pulled from her scalp.
Only the women were rounded up by police, charged with varying degrees of assault and gang assault, and locked on Rikers Island. A year later, four of the women pled not-guilty and were tried in court. They were egregiously sentenced to between 3 and 11 years in prisons upstate New York. They became known internationally through grassroots organizations as The New Jersey 4. This film tells their story – the challenges they faced on trial, in prison and by the media that labeled them a “Wolfpack” and “Gang of Killer Lesbians”.
Director/Producer blair doroshwalther, who identifies as gender non-conforming and uses male and female pronouns, became interested in this story and the women in 2006 when she read that fateful headline in The New York Times “Man is Stabbed after Admiring a Stranger”. blair was compelled to explore why these women could not be seen as victims because of their race and how a man who makes sexual threats could be called an admirer in the mainstream press.
Since beginning OUT IN THE NIGHT (which used to be called THE FIRE THIS TIME), blair has received support and awards that have propelled the film forward including funds from organizations like Sundance Film Institute - Documentary Fund, Abigail Disney, Astraea Lesbian Justice Foundation - Joyce Warshow Award, Frameline, New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Women in Film Finishing Fund and others. These funds allowed for production work – filming with a talented crew for four years. He is dedicated to making social issue documentaries for social justice.
Producer Yoruba Richen joined the film in 2010. She is a Brooklyn based journalist and documentary filmmaker who has directed and produced films in the U.S and abroad including Africa, South America and South East Asia. Her award–winning documentary, PROMISED LAND premiered on the PBS program POV in July 2010. The film has screened at festivals around the world. This year, Yoruba was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for her upcoming film THE NEW BLACK that uncovers the complicated and often combative histories of the African-American and LGBT civil rights movements. She brings over a decade of broadcast quality journalistic experience and award winning documentary storytelling to OUT IN THE NIGHT.
Producer Giovanna Chesler joined OUT IN THE NIGHT in 2011. She produced and directed several award-winning shorts and the hour-long documentary PERIOD: THE END OF MENSTRUATION that bolstered a national conversation on women’s health and pharmaceutical interventions and is distributed by Cinema Guild, NY. She is a professor of documentary film at Marymount Manhattan College where she directs the Center for Producing, dedicated to digital media activism.
Cinematographer Daniel Patterson shoots OUT IN THE NIGHT and is closely involved in our storytelling strategy. Daniel joined the project in 2008. He and Blair worked together on the uniquely rich warm look and feel of the film. He brings significant experience to the image: Daniel began his career on Spike Lee’s 25th HOUR and has since been the Cinematographer on numerous shoots including work for Oprah Winfrey, Spike DDB as well as seven short films that premiered on HBO. His feature film works include GUNHILL ROAD (premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2011) and NEWLYWEEDS (Sundance Film Festival premiere in 2013) and the documentaries EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL, GENERATION CRACK and SWEETHANDS.
WHAT IS THE MONEY FOR?
The funds will directly support the completion of OUT IN THE NIGHT. We are working full time on the edit and plan to release it in early 2014. Our immediate expenses that will be covered by this campaign include:
- Working with our experienced editor to finish the film
- Renting an editing space where we work our magic
- Create key animation and motion graphics with a graphic designer
- Archival Research
If we raise more than our goal (which would be a DREAM COME TRUE!) we can hire a composer and musician to create the film’s original score.
WHEN WILL THE FILM BE FINISHED / HOW CAN I SEE IT?
After five years of work, we are nearly there! We plan on a premiere at a major festival in early 2014. We also plan on local screenings in US cities. Our new website will feature a “PLAY OUT IN THE NIGHT HERE!” button so that you can request a screening near you. We are talking to distributors and national broadcasters now. Stay on top of the latest news on the release of OUT IN THE NIGHT through Facebook and Twitter. As a Kickstarter supporter, we will also keep you updated regularly on our progress and news. There will be many ways to see the film when it is complete.
IS MY DONATION TAX-DEDUCTIBLE?
Donations made via KICKSTARTER are NOT tax-deductible. To make a tax-deductible donation to support the making of OUT IN THE NIGHT you may donate through our 501(c)(3) non-profit fiscal sponsor WOMEN MAKE MOVIES (WMM). All donations made to WMM on behalf of OUT IN THE NIGHT are tax-deductible. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation BY CREDIT CARD.
If you want to donate more than $2500, donate your press clippings about this case or other materials to the making of our film, contact us! Please get in touch with blair doroshwalther at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk!
Our video was written and shot by Giovanna Chesler and edited by the talented Chris Iversen. It includes footage from OUT IN THE NIGHT shot by Daniel Patterson and Sunita Prasad.
Risks and challenges
Once we are successfully funded, blair will continue to work full time to finish OUT IN THE NIGHT. He is working to secure additional funds. We wish this Kickstarter could cover everything, but OUT IN THE NIGHT is a broadcast quality film. The standards and expectations are high. This campaign, however, will only help make some key granting foundations say yes. We need your support to show them that we have the audience.
Once OUT IN THE NIGHT is finished, we are going to lean on you again - to help us spread the word and get eyes on this critically important story.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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