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A documentary about life on the south side.
A documentary set on the South Side of Chicago.
A documentary set on the South Side of Chicago.
254 backers pledged $26,726 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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South Side of Chicago Documentary

$26,726

254

25K REACHED.

I did not expect this level of generosity from my friends, family, or all of you strangers out there.  Thank you all who donated in amounts large and small.  For those that are just getting here, yes you can still continue to back this project: the total budget for the film is 65k and I really do still need your support.

The folks at Fineprint Chicago have generously donated ten very dope t-shirts to entice people to get the project above the 100% level, definitely check those out as well. -Cyrus

The Project and Filmmaking Methods

This film is about ordinary people and everyday life on the South Side of Chicago.  For the past four months I have immersed myself in the neighborhoods, all the while with the camera rolling. The way I meet people (and through them meet more people) is very informal, and basically if it's okay with them (and there's something interesting happening) I'll turn the camera on.


The film will be the culmination of my forays into the South Side: the places I go, the people I meet, and the things I see and learn.  Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s scary, other times it’s awkward.  The film will simply show people doing their thing, and I've described the project to some people as "moving photojournalism." More than anything, the completed film will be like an album, or series of vignettes or sketches, a collection of scenes that when put together will form a more comprehensive portrait of contemporary life on the South Side.

Why the South Side?
There are three things that make the South Side neighborhoods I’m filming in distinct:

1.  They are almost 100% African-American.
2.  Outsiders don’t come here.  These neighborhoods are primarily residential, and unless you live here or are visiting someone here there is no reason to go (Chicago’s skyscrapers and workplaces, big-name restaurants, theaters and nightlife are all in other parts of the city).
3.  These neighborhoods are plagued by poverty and gang violence.

It’s primarily because of the gang violence that the South Side has developed its reputation as being a dangerous place, and it’s probably because I’m Iranian (and am familiar with places whose negative characteristics have come to dominate their public image) that I've always been drawn to the South Side.

Lastly, the South Side is not made up of transplants, it’s made up of residents and families who have been living there for generations.  People know each other and respect their elders and exercise a certain common ownership in their neighborhoods... traditional aspects of community that are found less and less in today’s fast-paced and quickly-changing world.

This film, then, is about how people live.  In an age of sensationalized reality TV and oversimplified broadcast news, I hope that my more loose and informal style of non-fiction provides viewers with the opportunity not only to really get to know the people of the South Side, but to make their own assessments and interpretations about what they see.

My Background

I work as a freelance editor and cameraman, but my passion is documentary filmmaking.  I have been producing my own work for a while, but never on such a large scale.  On completion, this will be my first feature length independent film.

FAQ

  • Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. This is called “all or nothing” funding. You can donate however much you’d like, but your credit card won't be charged unless we get to 25k.

    Last updated:
  • 25k covers the costs associated with 16-months of pre-production, shooting, and (usually at night) logging and editing. Sound equipment, batteries, external hard drives (this is a big one since I’m shooting tapeless), insurance, a graphics card... the list goes on. THE GRAND TOTAL -- including a professional color grade, audio mix, and hiring a producer -- IS JUST UNDER 65K.

    Last updated:

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    Thank you on website!
    + Access to behind the scenes production blog
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + I will show you a really cool magic trick (unrelated to the movie, but I promise it's a hit at parties and worth every penny)

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + COMPLETED DVD (when it comes out)

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + One limited edition photograph (4 x 6) of your choice + SPECIAL EDITION DVD, which includes deleted scenes, bonus features, bloopers, and any and all filmmaker-arrest footage (if that happens)

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    Chicago T-Shirt! Both men's and women's available:

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + "Jerk Man" will come to your house with a Jamaican dinner of your choice (Chicago only)

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One MEDIUM limited edition photograph (8 x 10) of your choice

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One MEDIUM limited edition photograph (8 x 10) of your choice + Tour of the South Side of Chicago with me in my camouflaged Toyota Camry (if in Chicago)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One MEDIUM limited edition photograph (8 x 10) of your choice + Skype conversation with me about the movie (if outside of Chicago)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One LARGE limited edition photograph (16 x 20) of your choice + Skype conversation/tour of the South Side

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

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One FULL SIZE limited edition photograph (20 x 30) of your choice + Skype conversation/tour of the South Side + Ork Poster of Chicago (orkposters.com) + I will cook your family dinner + Special Thank You in on-screen credits

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One FULL SIZE limited edition photograph (20 x 30) of your choice + Skype conversation/tour of the South Side + Ork Poster of Chicago (orkposters.com) + I will cook you and/or your family dinner + Associate Producer credit

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

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One FULL SIZE limited edition photograph (20 x 30) of your choice + Skype conversation/tour of the South Side + Ork Poster of Chicago (orkposters.com) + I will cook you and/or your family dinner + Producer credit

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Thank you on website! + Access to behind the scenes production blog + Digital download of film + Personal thank-you email with list of five South Side culinary gems + Magic Trick + Special Edition DVD + One FULL SIZE limited edition photograph (20 x 30) of your choice + Ork Poster of Chicago (orkposters.com) + I will cook you and/or your family dinner + Producer credit + Two tickets from anywhere in the world + personal tour of the South Side in my camouflaged Toyota Camry (accommodations not provided)

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Funding period

- (45 days)