"Lights"is a story about brotherhood, patriotism, love, art and how these ideas shape our identities and drive us to do incredible things in life.
Many times in life we are faced with the choice to censor ourselves to what society deems acceptable, or to fight for what we believe in despite negative outcomes. Censorship cripples our self identity, and forces us to make decisions with someone else's feelings, beliefs, appearance, and aspirations. Everyone has decisions in their past they wish they could undo. Many of us would do anything to right the wrongs of yesterday.
Help send our film crew to Slovakia to authentically recreate the Warsaw Pact Invasion of 1968 and one man's fight for freedom of expression.
In 1968, Jerry Siakel is living peacefully as a Slovak-American in Chicago. When his former lover Maria discovers an old film reel, a secret from Jerry’s past is revealed: Jerry was the director of the first Slovakian feature film; a film with an ending he tried to forget.
In 1921, Jerry Siakel and his brother Daniel traveled back to their homeland of Czechoslovakia to shoot a film based on the famous legend of Juraj Jánošík, the folk hero who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, and eventually died for his people. Jerry promised Daniel he would be faithful to the story of Janosik, as their father had always taught them the importance of their loyalty to their country. However, the American censors refused to accept the film because they believed allowing Jánošík to die in the film's ending was "too violent". Jerry decided to secretly shoot a new ending where Jánošík survives so the film could be shown in America. But by being unfaithful to their country's story, Jerry betrayed his brother and his people's trust. Maria ran away with Daniel as the censored version of the film was shown in Chicago, and Jerry retired to America where he did not speak with Daniel or Maria for more than forty years.
Now, in 1968, as the Prague Spring and subsequent Soviet invasion erupts in his home country, memories from his past return as Maria, now a widow after Daniel has passed away, discovers a copy of the original Jánošík film reel. Jerry's old friend and producer of the film, John Zavodny, arranges for the restoration of the film back in Czechoslovakia. Jerry decides he must risk re-exposing himself to a new generation as "the man who ruined the Jánošík legend" and travel back home to restore the film if he ever wants a chance at repaying his brother and restoring his honor with his people.
A project this massive requires intensive planning and coordination. However, all big things have small beginnings. The first stage of production for our film will be raising enough money to shoot outside of the U.S.A. and "on location" in the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic. Every little bit helps, if 1000 people donate just $10 then we are a tenth of the way to our goal. Please help us tell this extremely unique and emotionally compelling story.
SHOOTING IN THE HOMELAND
We want to raise enough to shoot the film in Slovakia - on the exact same locations where the story unfolded as it did. We want the places where Jerry and his brother, Daniel, shot their first feature to be a living part of the film itself. Shooting in the actual locations is integral to our film's foundation as the story’s deep cultural connection to the nation and and fellow filmmakers requires complete realism in order to properly secure its authenticity.
The homeland has changed much over the last Century. Luckily we have a strong VFX team to properly age the buildings, remove objects/trends/etc. that would not have existed more than fifty years ago. Once again, we want to ensure that the authenticity will be maintained.
For your kind contributions and support, we plan to reward to a myriad of amazing, diverse, and limited edition gifts.
GOAL BASED FUNDING
We are very thankful that Kickstarter is helping garner funds for this story. Kickstarter is a goal based funding platform, that only withdraws the pledges from individuals if the goal quoted is met.
IF WE DON'T REACH OUR GOAL NO MONEY WILL BE WITHDRAWN FROM YOUR ACCOUNT.
So don't worry, Kickstarter has a safety net for your kind heart.
Sadly, if that happens, the film will be shelved indefinitely and a story with a timely message of hope and redemption will slowly fade away.
But that doesn’t have to happen. You can help our story come to light.
After donating, tell a friend, tell a family member, post it on your wall, tweet it, share a link, “Like” us on Facebook, or e-mail your family, friends, and network. Anything you can do to help let our project be known and any support, big or small, is very much appreciated.
ALL OF THE ABOVE (including the Associate Producers credit) plus the Director will fly to your hometown and have a class with you and two friends about film making. Afterwards, he will take you out to dinner on us.