Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 3, 2013.

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The story of 4 friends, out for a night in NYC, who became known as a “Gang of Killer Lesbians” when they defended themselves.

When is self-defense justified?
What does a "victim" look like?
Who gets called a gang?

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
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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.

a moment with Renata from OUT IN THE NIGHT
a moment with Renata from OUT IN THE NIGHT

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”.

Daily News headline following the convictions.
Daily News headline following the convictions.

THE CREW
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.

an interview with Angela Davis in OUT IN THE NIGHT
an interview with Angela Davis in OUT IN THE NIGHT

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.

blair and Daniel interview Patreese at the Albion Correctional Facility.
blair and Daniel interview Patreese at the Albion Correctional Facility.

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.

Daniel Patterson and blair doroshwalther set up the next shot on location at Riverside Memorial Church.
Daniel Patterson and blair doroshwalther set up the next shot on location at Riverside Memorial Church.

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 blair@thefirethistimethefilm.com and let's talk!

KICKSTARTER VIDEO
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.

REWARDS

REWARD! our Shine a Light soy candles in the making
REWARD! our Shine a Light soy candles in the making
REWARD! One-of-a-kind Kelly Komenda mono-print 12" x 8" at VISUAL STIMULATION level
REWARD! One-of-a-kind Kelly Komenda mono-print 12" x 8" at VISUAL STIMULATION level
REWARD! Original art quilt panel (15"x15") made for ON by Boatema Boateng titled Always There
REWARD! Original art quilt panel (15"x15") made for ON by Boatema Boateng titled Always There
REWARD! CINEPHILE TAKE 3 - signed DVD of Abigail Disney's Pray the Devil Back to Hell
REWARD! CINEPHILE TAKE 3 - signed DVD of Abigail Disney's Pray the Devil Back to Hell
REWARD! signed DVD of Freedom Riders by Stanley Nelson
REWARD! signed DVD of Freedom Riders by Stanley Nelson
REWARD! signed copy of Arrested Justice by Beth E. Richie
REWARD! signed copy of Arrested Justice by Beth E. Richie
REWARD! signed copy of Resistance Behind Bars by Victoria Law
REWARD! signed copy of Resistance Behind Bars by Victoria Law
REWARD! signed copy of News for All the People by Juan Gonzales and Joseph Torres
REWARD! signed copy of News for All the People by Juan Gonzales and Joseph Torres
REWARD! signed copy of Wish to Live: The Hip Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader (chapter by Christina Carney about the NJ4/7)
REWARD! signed copy of Wish to Live: The Hip Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader (chapter by Christina Carney about the NJ4/7)
REWARD! signed DVD of Brother to Brother by Rodney Evans
REWARD! signed DVD of Brother to Brother by Rodney Evans
REWARD! signed DVD of Bye Bi Love by Giovanna Chesler
REWARD! signed DVD of Bye Bi Love by Giovanna Chesler
REWARD! signed DVD of Period: The End of Menstruation by Giovanna Chesler
REWARD! signed DVD of Period: The End of Menstruation by Giovanna Chesler
REWARD! Safer Space by Molly Fair
REWARD! Safer Space by Molly Fair
REWARD! Custom molded plastic corset by Michelle Wacker
REWARD! Custom molded plastic corset by Michelle Wacker

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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.

FAQ

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    ALLY - You get it started! Every contribution counts in this campaign, and we thank you through a shout out on our Facebook page, along with a hand made OUT IN THE NIGHT post card mailed to your door.

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    SUSTAINER - You get a piece of the film - a signed OUT IN THE NIGHT movie poster! We will send this to you & you will be the first to see it! + the ALLY thank you package.

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    ACTIVIST - Activist artist Molly Fair has joined in our campaign. We send you her screen printed "Words Break Down Walls" poster, signed by Molly. (Check out a picture of the poster on the left). Also includes an ALLY thank you package.

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    GROUNDBREAKER - Activist artist Molly Fair has just added a new poster! "Safer Space", signed by Molly. (Check out a picture of the posters on the left). Also includes an ALLY thank you package.

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    SHINE A LIGHT - We make you a set of four soy votive candles in honor of the NJ4. They come from our kitchen to your home. You pick the color and scent from a list of essential oil options. Includes the ALLY thank you package.

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    PROTECTOR - You get a copy of OUT IN THE NIGHT as a pre-release DVD of the Director's cut. Also includes an ALLY thank you package (DVD ships in early 2014).

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    SELF-DEFENSE SUPPORTER BOX - We package up two rewards for you - the pre-release director's cut DVD of OUT IN THE NIGHT with the SHINE A LIGHT candles. Plus, we thank you in the theatrical version of the film (DVD ships in early 2014).

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    CINEPHILE TAKE 2! Macarthur Genius award winner, and long time documentary maker and mentour Stanely Nelson supports our campaign by donating a signed DVD copy of his Emmy award winning film FREEDOM RIDERS. We send you a DVD of his film + a DVD of OUT IN THE NIGHT (the pre-released director's cut) + theatrical credit thank you + ALLY package. (ON DVD ships in Feb 2014)

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    QUEER FILM WATCHER - enjoy DVDs of SIX films by one of our producers, Giovanna Chesler: her feature documentary PERIOD THE END OF MENSTRUATION, and her short films BYE BI LOVE, HAND-SOME, BEAUTEOUS: STEPHANIE, BEAUTEOUS and BEAUTEOUS: GIOVANNA. All copies signed to you. We send you a DVD of OUT IN THE NIGHT when it is complete + a thank you in our theatrical credits + the ALLY package.

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    CINEPHILE TAKE 3! Our Executive Producer Abigail Disney donates two signed copies of her award-winning doc PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL + a DVD of OUT IN THE NIGHT (the pre-released director's cut) + theatrical credit thank you + ALLY package. (ON DVD ships in Feb 2014).

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    CINEPHILE - The award-winning director Rodney Evans supports our campaign through his work. We will send you a signed DVD of Rodney's celebrated feature film Brother to Brother. We also send you the OUT IN THE NIGHT Director's cut DVD and the ALLY thank you package.

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    RADICAL RESEARCHER - Choose 2 books signed by the authors! Books include: Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and American's Prison Nation by Beth Ritche; Resistance Behind Bars by Victoria Law; News for All the People by Juan Gonzalez & Joseph Torres; Wish to Live: The Hip Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader, edtited by Ruth Nicole Brown + Chamara Jewel Kwakye & chapter about the NJ4/7 by Christina Carney. When the film is complete, we mail you the OUT IN THE NIGHT Director's Cut pre-release DVD + a thank you in the film credits (theatrical version). (DVD ships in early 2014)

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    VISUAL STIMULATION - Maker Kelly Komenda is producing original works of art for our campaign – mono-prints (unique one of a kind prints). Kelly tells us these “monoprints are pulled from a collograph plate, printed intaglio and relief on Rives BFK paper” size 12" x 8". (Check out an example of what it will look like to the left.) Includes PROTECTOR package and thank you in theatrical credits.

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    FETISH FEMMES - You will get a one of a kind, custom plastic molded corset, made for you by artist Michelle Wacker. You meet the artists in the NY Tri-state area, she takes a plaster cast of your torso, and molds a plastic corset to your exact shape. You can chose from many different colors or patterns like Black, Red, Snakeskin, Pink, Camouflage, Cheetah, Tattoo, Skyline, and many many others. Also includes thank you credits in OUT IN THE NIGHT theatrical version, pre-released DVD of OUT IN THE NIGHT + Ally package. (travel to NYC area, not included)

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    WATCHDOG - a Film Poster of OUT IN THE NIGHT (signed) + 2 SELF-DEFENSE SUPPORTER Box sets + an ACTIVIST package + a thank you in film credits (theatrical).

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    PROTEGE - A one-on-one 3 hour session with our talented and experienced Director of Photography, Daniel Patterson. Learn some of Daniel's tricks to the trade, including how to shoot well with the Canon 7D for documentary and fiction narratives. (Must live locally to Brooklyn, NY as we cannot provide transportation or housing for this lesson) + pre-release DVD of Director's Cut of OUT IN THE NIGHT + a thank you in film credits (theatrical).

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    SURVIVOR - An original art quilt panel by Boatema Boateng (image to the left). The quilt panel measuring 15 inches x 15 inches, is inspired by OUT IN THE NIGHT and includes an inscription on the back. We also send you 2 SELF-DEFENSE SUPPORTER Box sets + a thank you in film credits (theatrical). (DVD ships in early 2014)

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    MEDIA ACTIVIST - Meet our team, Director/Producer blair doroshwalther, Producer Yoruba Richen and Producer Giovanna Chesler at our production offices. We share how we made the film and share our tools with you. Includes a signed OUT IN THE NIGHT Film Poster + 2 SELF-DEFENSE SUPPORTER Box Sets + a thank you in film credits (theatrical). We cannot cover travel but your visit will include a delicious meal!

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Funding period

- (31 days)