About this project
We've reached 100% of our goal with a week left to go! With this achieved, we can guarantee the 10-minute short film next year. We're so excited to see what we can accomplish in the time remaining. $7,776 is the minimum we required to produce 10 minutes, but that's just the beginning. We've still got tons more we want to add to make Invalid Corps Film even more awesome. Take a look at what can be done if we reach our STRETCH GOALS!
Scroll down to learn more!
Want to see a trailer for the film? Click on the video above!
MEET UNSUNG HEROES OF THE CIVIL WAR
Hi! My name is Day Al-Mohamed and I’ve spent the last year working on this documentary. I'm sure most of you are pretty familiar with the Civil War. What I want to tell you about is the story of the Invalid Corps.
It’s okay if you haven’t heard about them. That’s the problem, nobody has. The Invalid Corps was a corps of men with disabilities who fought in the Civil War. Men who were injured in battle or who acquired chronic illnesses – men missing limbs, and eyes, with rheumatism, epilepsy, bullet injuries, those with what we would now call PTSD, and many others. Rather than be discharged, they continued to serve the Union cause.
In July 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early launches a surprise raid that takes him to the very gates of Washington DC. The city is in panic. Almost every able-bodied soldier from the Union has already been sent south with General Grant for the siege of Petersburg, more than 100 miles away. The only defenders remaining are clerks, government officials, and the Invalid Corps. With Lincoln himself on the ramparts, they cannot afford to fail.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ME
Uncovering these heroes is a personal passion of mine. As a woman with a disability, and as a volunteer with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, I feel a kinship with their need to serve and their desire to do what they could. After more than 15 years working on disability policy issues and working with youth with disabilities, I have seen how important it is to see people like yourself - models and mentors. Disability doesn't just exist today, but existed in the past.
This is a lost history of men who sacrificed for their country and then chose to remain on duty; of men who chose to continue to serve with a disability. It is a story that should be told, not just from a historical standpoint but to understand and recognize the efforts of men and women in uniform today.
“There are lots of people with disabilities who want to serve their country, and can serve…they may not be able to do exactly everything everyone else can do, but they can do within their abilities, and they can provide a lot of support.” – Senator Tom Harkin (2013)
HOW THE FUNDS WILL BE USED
We're raising money for our pre-production. So far, I’ve been able to fund the initial film start almost entirely out of my own pocket, with assistance from an amazing group of producers, editors, and friends who have given their time and talent for little more than my eternal thanks and praises. (By the way, thank you all!) I've gone a long way on this kind of support from people who really believe in the project, but eventually I need to, you know, pay people.
Our next step is to provide a 10-minute short film. Because there's an opportunity to uncover some amazing history, we need to cover fees for the processing/handling of the old print archives like images and letters to finish our rough cut this winter. We’ll use that rough cut to pitch the film to grants, theatrical distributors, and TV programmers, and to move into production. To that end, we need to raise $7,776 by pre-selling the short film at $25 a piece, and offering really cool rewards and incentives if you want to donate more.
*Chart does not include 10% Kickstarter and credit card processing fees.
If we exceed our Kickstarter goal (how awesome would that be?) the money will go to covering the future production costs: cinematographer, equipment rental, sound edit/mix…and we’d really love to pay for some interns!
Some of our rewards are self-evident such as screeners and digital copies of the short film, but I do want to tell you about some of the other amazing items: the Carte de Visite, the Challenge Coin, and the Union Case.
$50 Backer Level – Faces of the Invalid Corps (Carte de Visite or CDVs)
CDVs were a small photographs printed using a glass negative, allowing for multiple copies. These were very popular during the war as they offered an inexpensive way for soldiers and family members to send and receive photographs of loved ones. We don’t want to just tell the story of the Corps and the battle but of the individuals who were a part of it. So we will find images of these men, discover their story and tell you how they contributed to history.
You can see the detailed example here: http://invalidcorpsfilm.nrbrown.com/2015/07/16/what-are-carte-de-visite-or-cdvs-2/
*Final CDVs/Postcards will have information on the back
$100 Backer Level - The Challenge and the Cause (Challenge Coin)
There are many examples of traditions that build camaraderie in the military, but few are as well-respected as the practice of carrying a challenge coin— This is a small coin or medallion, bearing an insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. It is a symbol of pride and of unity. The story of the challenge coin goes back to World War I. You can learn that story here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dayalmohamed/the-civil-war-invalid-corps-and-the-battle-of-fort/posts/1395083
*Final coin design may differ slightly
These custom, limited-edition coins are designed specifically for the Invalid Corps documentary project and come from Eric Perez at Challenge Coins Plus. Celebrate the unity and pride; become a part of the brotherhood that is the Invalid Corps and donate at the “Challenge and the Cause” level.
$200 Backer Level – The Union Case (Replica Photograph Case) Hand-made by Rick Brown these replica Gutta Percha/Union cases are designed to appear similar to original Civil War cases where soldiers carried images and/or sent them home. Using a photo you send to us, it will be converted to black and white, put on glass and inserted into the case. This makes it appear closer to an original ambrotype photo. It is a great, one-of-a-kind beautiful item.
Hopefully, in addition to supporting the project on its own merits, you’ll find something for yourself or a friend or family member with an interest in history.
At its heart, this project is about the story, so any additional funding will be put towards direct production to bring you the best film possible. This means being able to afford things like a professional sound editor; some compensation for musicians (we have a composer so this project will have an original score but musicians have to eat too); and being able to send a full crew out for additional interviews with historians and descendants of Invalid Corps members.
Stretch Goal #1 - $8,000: We are close enough to this goal that we hope to entice more folks to back this project and/or folks to consider backing at a higher level. In addition, as a reward, because of the role that letters played during the Civil War - connecting families to loved ones - we will send each of you (at the $25 and up level) an actual piece of PHYSICAL mail. You'll receive a custom postcard of Invalid Corps imagery via the US Postal Service. Sent the same way families mailed letters more than 150 years ago, this is our "letter" to you in thanks.
You can learn more about the importance of mail during the Civil War here:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dayalmohamed/the-civil-war-invalid-corps-and-the-battle-of-fort/posts/1406298
Stretch Goal #2 - $8,500: This allows us an opportunity to offer some compensation for a professional sound editor and mixer.
Stretch Goal #3 - $9,000: This helps us offer some compensation to the musicians who will be recording the score for this short film. In addition, as a reward, we will send you (at the $50 level and up) a replica civil war coin.
The Two Cent coin was produced in 1864-65. It was the only 2 cent piece ever made and also the first coin to have the motto: "In God We Trust" on the front in a banner with a shield and two arrows that cross it. Below it says 1865. The reverse has the number 2 within a thick wreath tied with a ribbon and the words for USA. Handcrafted exact replica made in Bennington, Vermont.
Stretch Goal #4 - $10,000: This helps us cover the cost for a full crew to complete filming for 2 additional interviews with historians and Invalid Corps descendants.
WHERE WILL THIS SHORT FILM BE SCREENED
I want to show this short film to as wide an audience as possible. The goal is to be able to present it at festivals, museums, historical societies, disability programs, veteran groups, independent film houses, and community screenings. With the increased visibility I hope to be able to secure enough support to develop the full length documentary for potential broadcast options.
MEET THE TEAM
One of the great things about film is that, just like regiments of Invalid Corps soldiers, to do the best possible job takes a team of committed people. The INVALID CORPS team is made up of researchers, musicians, filmmakers, and writers, many of whom are also people with disabilities and/or have personal connections to disability. We are committed to capturing the depth and complexity of this story.
Day Al-Mohamed (Director, Executive Producer) - Day is an author of narrative fiction. Her most recent Young Adult novel, “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” and her co-edited anthology, “Trust & Treachery” were published by Dark Quest Books in September 2014. Day has written several comics and short film scripts. She is an active member of Women in Film and Video, a graduate of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop, and most recently, and a Documentary Fellow with Docs in Progress. Day has worked as a policy advisory, a lobbyist, and political analyst for more than 15 years on national issues relating to disability.
This is a lost piece of history. Not just disability history, or veteran’s history, or Washington DC history, these men’s stories belong to all of us. - Day
Julia Marie Myers (Editor) - Julia Marie Myers graduated from Yale University in 2012 and currently works as a post-producer and editor at Discovery Communications. Julia actively writes, directs and edits narrative films in her free time. Her directorial and editorial work spans over fifty short films, numerous music videos, a web series, and two feature films. Her current film project, Union, features elements of the Invalid Corps story, and is also inspired by the life of Mary Walker, the first woman surgeon to be officially employed by the US Army.
Fear, discrimination, bravery, grace: no matter how different we may think we are from these men so long ago, there is a piece of each of us in their story. I want to make this film because it gives those that made a difference, a voice – one that if we keep telling and add to it our own, can only get louder. - Julia Marie Myers
N. Renee Brown (Researcher) - N. Renee Brown is a Library Assistant at the University of Maryland and University College. She also serves as Archivist for the Lead On Network, a non-profit focused on disability issues and intersectionality. During weekends from 2011 to 2013, she also volunteered in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Forensic Anthropology Lab for the Written in Bone Exhibit.
Disability has such a rich history…but we know so little about it! I feel like this project takes one step into history to pull back the curtain on how much people with disabilities can do when given the chance. - N. Renee Brown
David Ackerman (Composer) - David Ackerman is a composer, poet, and roustabout native to the middle-west of the United States. He presently resides in a modest college town in the approximate geographic center of Missouri, where he studied music composition and theory under Dr. Thomas McKenney. His music has been featured by organizations ranging from local orchestras to radio theatre companies. He has also spent much of his career working in theatre in one capacity or another. Whatever art he might attempt, he is generally most happy when crafting some kind of story with that medium; be it music, literature, photography, theatre, or things less long haired and respectable (or easily categorized, for that matter.)
I’m excited about this project. Very often we hear stories of triumph in adversity, but this is more than that. It’s a story of people that were left behind; people that were scorned, sometimes ridiculed, and often forgotten. While Grant was advancing with the Army of the Potomac on Lee near Petersburg, it was in large part the Invalid Reserve Corps that manned the defenses around Washington DC. Not surprisingly, given the fluid and bitter nature of the fighting, this was no mere ceremonial posting. Before Day asked me to help with this I knew nothing of the Invalids Corps. It turns out that theirs is a remarkably compelling story and it’s been a pleasure to learn it as we work on this project. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I. - David Ackerman
Jonathan van Harmelen (Researcher) - Jon is currently studying American History at Pomona College, and has conducted research with Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He also works at Pomona College as manager for the Orchestra and as assistant to the History Department. He enjoys collecting military antiques, playing drums, and attempting to learn French, German, and Dutch all at once.
The history of the Invalid Corps represents a crucial aspect of American history. As historians, understanding the narratives presented by the Invalid Corps helps us to understand both the disability and military history of the United States, and contribute a unique perspective to American history that should never go unnoticed. - Jonathan van Harmelen
Marissa Stalvey (Outreach and Social Media Coordinator) - Marissa is a disability advocate and public relations/communications professional in the DC area. She received her BA in History and her Master’s in Disability Studies. Marissa is especially passionate about disability history and making museums accessible to all. A total history nerd, Marissa loves visiting museums and historic sites with her husband on weekends. She also loves her lemon beagle, Butters, her cats, and eating more bacon than is probably healthy.
The history of people with disabilities is something that often gets skewed in our society. I care about highlighting their abilities, especially when our very own Veterans played such a pivotal role in defending the U.S. Capitol. - Marissa Stalvey
Steven A. Rodriguez (Strategist, Crowdfunding Coordinator) - Steven is a Digital Marketing Strategist who works with small business and entrepreneurs to unleash their online marketing potential. He focuses on being a community builder who enjoys learning about other businesses, brainstorming, collaborating, and promoting the success of others.
The history of people with disabilities is something that often gets skewed in our society. I care about highlighting their abilities, especially when our very own Veterans played such a pivotal role in defending the U.S. Capitol. - Steven A. Rodriguez
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP
I am passionate about this subject and will finish this film no matter what, but without your support, it will be a longer, harder road.
Please help support independent women's media; support media made by people with disabilities by backing “The Invalid Corps" at any level.
You can also help by spreading the word. Every single dollar, Facebook post, blog entry, and Tweet gets us that much closer to our goal. Check out our blog or follow us on Twitter.
Risks and challenges
Independent Filmmaking is unpredictable and rife with risks and challenges. All of the current Invalid Corps Team have day jobs. The major risk is that other work and family responsibilities will push back our timeline.
However, each and every one of us is dedicated to seeing this project through to completion and have already dedicated hundreds of unpaid man hours. This film will happen.
Perhaps more important, are committed to transparency and to communicating any issues if and when they arise. We take very seriously the idea that we are making this is film WITH you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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