The East Side Story Project is now becoming a documentary series that follows Melissa Dueñas, a Chicana DJ, as she threads together the obscure origins of the iconic “East Side Story” lowrider oldies compilations. These albums of soul and doo-wop ballads, remain both an icon and mystery to the extended Chicano community that continuously enjoys these albums. The twelve volume set, initially released in the late 1970’s, remains an underground classic not only for the music, but for the photographic images of Chicanos and lowriders used on the covers which was a rarity to see on albums at the time. Dueñas originally began archiving this history on Instagram, through which she was able to identify several people on the covers from their relatives/friends on social media. Driving around East Los Angeles Dueñas navigates a web of fragmented voices and memories. The web series will utilize a transmedia platform to weave a complicated network of oral histories; exploring the ways in which these narratives simultaneously align, intersect, and contradict in the story of each volume and in the overarching series of albums.
“Lowrider oldies” are the amass of underground soul classics of the Chicano community that continue to be widely popular amongst generations, spanning from baby boomers to millennials. The East Side Story Project highlights the music and stories of cultural significance from a group that has been historically underrepresented in the majority of produced media. The series of episodes intertwined with the Instagram archive leads to a deeply layered understanding of not only ESS, but of intersecting elements of Chicanx life. On each volume is a person, who has been aestheticized, but never humanized. Their stories will be told for the first time, giving us a glimpse of their perspective of the Chicanx experience. As their story is highlighted it simultaneously compliments the larger ESS narrative they have forever been attached to. A new appreciation for ESS as a cultural icon will be revealed as the accumulation of voices are connected in this web-like narrative.
Informal research/pre-production completed includes: test shots of locations and preliminary audio/in-person interviews. Kickstarter funds will be utilized immediately to continue research and development, begin web design to archive our research. The remainder of funding will contribute to the production of at least two series episodes. Production will run through the spring of 2017, and post-production will be working toward a series pilot and second episode completed by Fall 2017.
We are almost ready to start formal production on our first episode, but we need funding to get the ball rolling!
Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal. We have 30 days to raise the entirety of our goal or we get $0. Any amount you commit to will not be deducted until the end our campaign. If we fail to meet our goal you will not be charged, and no incentives will be shipped. However, we are hoping not only to reach our goal, but to go above and beyond our request to alleviate campaign expenses such as Kickstarter fees and incentive costs. **All incentives will be shipped after the campaign only if the campaign is successful.
This is our first crowdfunding effort for this project and also a very much grassroots effort in documenting this facet of Chicano history. With these funds we can begin executing at least 2 episodes of the series, which will help us have material to use in applying to other new media grants. Currently we are in the final round for Latino Public Broadcasting New Media Fund. This is just the springboard, and we can't wait to bring you more episodes! Below illustrates where your donations will go!
Any and all help is appreciated! By sharing this campaign within your network, you will increase our chances of success. Follow the project on Instagram and Facebook, and let's make the East Side Story Project a success! Thank you!
Risks and challenges
Our co-director/producer/lead character, Melissa Dueñas, is a first time filmmaker with a full time day job not related to the film industry. Seeing the challenges of doing it independently Dueñas decided to team up with someone more experienced and established a professional collaboration with her now co-director/producer Gloria Morán. Morán is a seasoned documentary director and producer who focuses on Chicanx content in much of her work. Her skill set will ensure that The East Side Story Project is able to execute immediate goals once funds have been raised. The success of this fundraiser will contribute to the project’s credibility and recognition as it is extremely challenging to acquire grant funding as a first-time filmmaker.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)