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Crotty's Kids follows five South Bronx debaters as they defy a staggering statistic: 60% of urban males do not graduate high school.
Crotty's Kids follows five South Bronx debaters as they defy a staggering statistic: 60% of urban males do not graduate high school.
66 backers pledged $13,267 to help bring this project to life.

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Told with humor and suspense from an omniscient point-of-view, and shot in a gritty verite style reflecting its unvarnished South Bronx milieu, CROTTY’S KIDS follows five Eagle Academy debaters as they evolve from content-light amateurs to critical thinking heavyweights. 

However, debate is only an ongoing MacGuffin into the heart of the story: young men in search of an intellectual father figure. Coach Crotty arrives in their lives with the clock running out. In two years, they are likely to become grist for a staggering statistic: 60% of urban males never graduate high school.

As “Crotty’s Kids” grow in debate, we are pulled into the struggles of their personal lives. Layer by layer, scene by scene, we also come closer to the real Crotty. Between the polar extremes of his coach persona, we find a softer side. Interviews with friends and family reveal a man on a mission, fueled by the recent deaths of his own parents. However, a series of failed tournaments, program funding cuts, parental resistance, and the conflict between Crotty’s unique pedagogy and the educational status quo causes him to question whether there is value in his quest.

By film’s end we see the Eagle team win big, but realize that this journey was never about winning debates. Our hearts break at the complete portrait of Crotty and his motives, when he openly admits to the camera, “I have never had kids of my own; this is it, man.”

Subsequently, the Eagle Academy debate program is canceled, leaving Crotty without his kids and the kids without their surrogate father. Are they prepared to stand on their own against the statistic that drew Crotty to them in the first place?

Risks and challenges

Because this fundraising effort is focused exclusively on post-production of a locked and finished film, we will face fewer obstacles to project completion. Our planned use of Kickstarter funds to complete color correction, sound editing, DVD creation (including outtakes, interviews, and short films that will go on the DVD) and final deliverables will be covered by the monies raised. Any extra money raised will be used for the creation of future deliverables (e.g., BlueRay disc, DCP package), should the need arise. Nevertheless, there could be delays, especially on the DVD production end. Editing, in particular, could take longer than expected. This might result in up to two or three months delay in completion of DVD and its distribution to Kickstarter donors.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    "Crotty's Kids" DVD signed by producer/director James Crotty. DVD includes the feature-length documentary "Crotty's Kids," the short doc "Master Debaters," interviews with top debate theorists, hours of debate instructional videos, excerpts and outtakes from the two films, and a director's narration on the making of each film.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DVD signed by producer/director James Crotty, and digital download of "Crotty's Kids" soundtrack by Hollywood composer Adam Hochstatter.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Up to three DVDs signed by producer/director James Crotty, up to three digital downloads of "Crotty's Kids" soundtrack by Hollywood film composer Adam Hochstatter, and an uber-hip "Master Debaters" T-shirt.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    One hour of virtual debate instruction from award-winning debater/debate coach James Crotty, up to three DVDs signed by producer/director James Crotty, up to three digital downloads of "Crotty's Kids" soundtrack by Hollywood film composer Adam Hochstatter, plus up to three "Master Debaters" t-shirts.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Three hours of virtual debate instruction (split into two sessions) from award-winning debater/debate coach James Crotty, up to five DVDs signed by producer/director James Crotty, up to five digital downloads of soundtrack by Hollywood film composer Adam Hochstatter, up to five "Master Debaters" T-Shirts, and two tickets to the east or west coast. premiere of "Crotty's Kids."

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Special mention in "Crotty's Kids" film credits, up to six hours of virtual debate instruction (split into three sessions) from award-winning debater/debate coach James Crotty, up to ten DVDs signed by producer/director James Crotty, up to ten digital downloads of "Crotty's Kids" soundtrack by Hollywood film composer Adam Hochstatter, up to ten "Master Debaters" T-Shirts.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Special mention in "Crotty's Kids" film credits and on "Crotty's Kids" film website, 10 hours of in-person debate instruction (split into up to five sessions) anywhere in the world from award-winning debater/debate coach James Crotty, up to ten DVDs signed by producer/director James Crotty, up to ten digital downloads of "Crotty's Kids" soundtrack by Hollywood film composer Adam Hochstatter, up to ten "Master Debaters" T-Shirts, plus a two-hour dinner or lunch with director/producer, Monk Magazine cofounder, and Forbes and HuffPo columnist James Marshall Crotty at restaurant of your choice ($250 total limit on food and beverage; no limit on number of attendees).

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    Pledge $8,500 or more About $8,500

    Exclusive invitation for two to world premiere of "Crotty's Kids" (airfare and two nights accommodation included), special mention in "Crotty's Kids" and "Master Debaters" film credits and on each film's website, 20 hours of in-person debate instruction (split into up to ten sessions) anywhere in the world from award-winning debater/debate coach James Crotty, up to ten DVDs signed by producer/director James Crotty, up to ten digital downloads of "Crotty's Kids" soundtrack by Hollywood film composer Adam Hochstatter, up to ten "Master Debaters" T-Shirts, plus a lunch and dinner at restaurant of your choice to discuss a great book of world civilization of your choice with certified Great Books Foundation tutor, and St. John's College Santa Fe ("the great books school") graduate, James Marshall Crotty ($400 limit on lunch and dinner; no limit on number of attendees).

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Funding period

- (25 days)