Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 26, 2012.

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A teenage coming-of-age story. A live event that reveals what people really think. A way to more meaningful political dialogue in 2012.

Dear FOLLOW THE LEADER Future Backers,

After seven (yes, 7!) years in the making, our political coming-of-age documentary FOLLOW THE LEADER is nearly ready to share with the world. We’re thrilled to invite you to collaborate with us on getting the film finished and released at this critical moment in American politics.

We're here on Kickstarter now because we need YOUR help for the fun but serious effort of getting the film seen and discussed on a national scale. The funds we raise on Kickstarter are for finishing touches like a theatrical sound mix, requirements like insurance for our release, and essential start-up costs for our planned outreach this US Election season. As we move from completion into distribution, we hope it will be a journey that you’ll want to take with us.

A bit about FOLLOW THE LEADER:

At sixteen, high school Class Presidents Ben, D.J. & Nick are all conservatives who plan to continue leading their peers as President someday. Over three life-changing years, they split into Republican, Democratic & Independent camps as they reconsider their lofty ambitions...as each discovers what he truly believes, who he truly wants to be as an adult.

Want an interactive experience? We’re on it with REALITY CHECK:

REALITY CHECK INTERACTIVE is a unique cross-platform social change initiative that combines interactive voting technologies and an episodic presentation of FOLLOW THE LEADER. REALITY CHECK will first exist as a Live Event; then be translated for simultaneous online participation; and will eventually become an on-demand experience for participants on their computers and Apple devices. The goal is to spark a national conversation about American political realities, the millennial generation, and leadership generally.

The basic format for the 2-hour experience breaks the feature documentary into five episodes (Right From the Start; Standing Out; Choosing Sides; Shifting Dreams; and Living History) that alternate with collective interactive experiences of roughly 10 minutes each. Answering questions via provided interactive keypads (or via computer or mobile devices), participants' collective responses – about the film's characters, politics, and other topics chosen by participants themselves – are displayed for everyone, anonymously in real-time. Split along various demographic lines, the reality of what people think can then be grappled with by participants through facilitated discussion.

Here’s what we need to Kickstart our film into the world!

We need your help at this critical moment in funding three main tasks. First, a few expensive finishing touches need to be put on the film so that it has a fighting chance in the crowded & competitive film “marketplace”. Next, we need to pay for things like insurance & some outstanding music clearances required to release the film. And we need to complete the initial launch of REALITY CHECK INTERACTIVE, which is a vital part of how the film can be used to provoke meaningful political dialogue in the months surrounding the 2012 U.S. Elections. (There's a detailed description of REALITY CHECK on our website. And for our detail-oriented friends, a further two paragraphs at the bottom of this page contain more information about our specific funding needs.*)

Who's already involved, and where can I find out more?

We have assembled an incredible and unique team of filmmakers, designers and outreach partners to realize both FOLLOW THE LEADER and REALITY CHECK INTERACTIVE. Our Official Website has also just launched in June, and on our Partner Page you can read more extensively about the film and our plans – and about the team members and organizations nationwide who are making it all happen. If you or your organization wants to become an outreach partner – please contact us here. There are many ways you & your organization can get involved – ranging from small partnerships to large-scale collaborations.

And most importantly: Thank YOU!

We're so grateful to you for taking the time to learn about our project and read about our campaign. We can't wait to share the film with you, and we'd love for you to be involved in our release throughout the year. Hope that you'll choose to join us on this exciting journey!

Jonathan Goodman Levitt & the team behind
FOLLOW THE LEADER &
REALITY CHECK INTERACTIVE

Our film's main participants thank you too! They'll all be involved in our release, and will also be the first bloggers contributing to our brand new blog "Participants...On Reality" (at www.followtheleaderfilm.com)!
Our film's main participants thank you too! They'll all be involved in our release, and will also be the first bloggers contributing to our brand new blog "Participants...On Reality" (at www.followtheleaderfilm.com)!
Little Elephant Creamer – "at rest" and "in action"!
Little Elephant Creamer – "at rest" and "in action"!

*SOME FINE PRINT FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW, AND HOW FUNDS RAISED WILL BE USED...To put the film on-track for a successful independent release, and to put REALITY CHECK in a position to attract further financing quickly, we need your help to support: Further sound mixing and color correction; a few outstanding music licenses; required insurances for public release; essential marketing materials, initial publicity costs and booking fees; format conversions to American standards (the film's only financing has been from foreign broadcasters, so it was originally shot in non-US formats); software and hardware costs related to REALITY CHECK INTERACTIVE; small stipends for REALITY CHECK team members to dedicate time this summer to continuing development; creation and printing of educational guides for colleges and high schools; and travel costs for our film participants to attend screenings and events so that they can engage with audiences directly.

One of the Rewards Offered at "Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist" Level -- we can't edit the "Reward" text now, but this Reward now comes with a 30-minute Skype Consultation with the book's author Nicola Lees!!!
One of the Rewards Offered at "Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist" Level -- we can't edit the "Reward" text now, but this Reward now comes with a 30-minute Skype Consultation with the book's author Nicola Lees!!!

It's worth saying that making this film overlapping in the worst way with the recession has been, shall we say, a “challenge”...our story is actually detailed in a forthcoming book being published by Bloomsbury that comes out in July (please see our Reward at $125, above image)! In short, we’ve witnessed a permanent sea change in the market during the making of this film, and much of our promised funding was either pulled or significantly decreased -- even as our shoot doubled to three years given our characters' compelling developing stories.

But as Americans prepare to go to the polls in less than 5 months, we couldn’t think of a better time to be finishing and releasing the film. You have our endless appreciation for helping us try to make FOLLOW THE LEADER the film of this Election Season! Together, we have the power to spark the more reflective and less divisive conversations we need to have as a country at this important moment in our history. Thank you for your support!

You can visit our website HERE.
"Like" us on Facebook HERE.
And "Follow" @changeworxfilms HERE.
Showing your support through social media really does help us demonstrate to both distribution gatekeepers & potential backers the public's demand for the film!

The SUNNY INTERVALS AND SHOWERS "Puzzle of Mental Illness" Postcard (see BOX SET reward at $150), originally designed in 2001 by Zuzanna Engel for a work-in-progress screening at the Royal Society for the Arts, London (only 50 left)!
The SUNNY INTERVALS AND SHOWERS "Puzzle of Mental Illness" Postcard (see BOX SET reward at $150), originally designed in 2001 by Zuzanna Engel for a work-in-progress screening at the Royal Society for the Arts, London (only 50 left)!

Even politicians were young once...

As Nick says, "Not everyone is born the same way" (which is right -- some are born cuter!). You'll meet them in the film as 16-year-old politicians-already-in-training, but here are D.J., Nick & Ben when they were first learning to pose for the camera!
As Nick says, "Not everyone is born the same way" (which is right -- some are born cuter!). You'll meet them in the film as 16-year-old politicians-already-in-training, but here are D.J., Nick & Ben when they were first learning to pose for the camera!

We hope you'll agree with us when we say: The most exciting candidates of 2012 aren't even running...yet!

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    TOWN CRIER • Welcome! • For backers at this level, we'll send you a specialized FOLLOW THE LEADER Kickstarter image so you can help us spread the word about our campaign via your Facebook and Twitter feeds. You'll be at the forefront of our campaign & on the vanguard of our outreach team!

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    CITIZEN • Thank you! • Your name will be inscribed as a supporter on our Official Website, and you’ll receive our Changeworx Newsletter! Our main characters were 11 on 9/11, the defining moment that shaped their views and made them politically engaged. Let your $11 help define our future!

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    POLITICAL PUNDIT • FTL DIGITAL DOWNLOAD Pre-Order + Thank you! • For $25 you’ll receive FOLLOW THE LEADER as a Digital Download (as soon as it’s released), your name on our website & the newsletter! Please help us recruit more backers through your punditry on Facebook, Twitter & as you see fit!

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    NEW YORK BACKER SCREENING at RH Gallery http://www.rhgallery.com/ on 15 August • Exclusive Opportunity for YOU, our collaborators, to see the film before release + Filmmaker Q&A + Film-Related Gifts + Home-Baked Goods by the Filmmaker Himself + Refreshments + Thank you!!!

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    STATE SENATOR • Advance DVD copy of FOLLOW THE LEADER + Thank you! • Before it’s available to the general public in the US, you'll be sent a FOLLOW THE LEADER DVD (only available right here!), and your name will be added to our website as a State Senator! (US shipment included, please add $5 for int’l mailing)

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    PRIVATE SCREENING at home of Fellow BACKERS Tom & Joy Campanaro, Founders of Total Gym (www.totalgym.com/), San Diego, CA on October 9th • Filmmaker Q&A via Skype + Snacks/Refreshments Served + Special Film-Related Gifts! + Thank you! (Exact time & location will be sent to you after the end of the campaign!)

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    FTL Digital Download (same as $25 Reward) + "Give Me the Money & I'll Shoot" -- Documentary Professional Trade Book, by Nicola Lees (see Reward at $125 for further description). For Int'l Shipment, please add $12. PLEASE NOTE: WE CAN'T CHANGE TEXT AT $125 LEVEL -- BUT THAT LEVEL ALSO INCLUDES A 30-MINUTE SKYPE CONSULTATION with Nicola Lees, Financing Expert & Best-Selling Author. This was announced in an "Update" -- apologies for any confusion. Here at $75, it's the Download & Book (which sells retail for over $40 itself)

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    PARTY CHAIRPERSON • “Little Elephant" Creamer + FTL DIGITAL DOWNLOAD + Thank you! • For that “Little Republican” in your life (or in YOU!), you get a “Little Elephant" Creamer (pictured left), along with your own digital copy of the film and recognition on our site. Creamers ship in August (US addresses only)!

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    FEDERAL JUDGE LEVEL • Advance Blu-ray of FOLLOW THE LEADER + Thank you! (International shipments please add $5)

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    GOVERNOR • OFFICIAL POSTER (w/ Inscription by Filmmaker) + DIGITAL DOWNLOADS -- BOTH Film & Exclusive Music Tracks + Thank you on our website! • As a GOVERNOR, you’ll receive a personally-inscribed, limited edition official FOLLOW THE LEADER poster, illustrated by Charles Ly – who also designed & hand-painted the wallpaper that hangs in the Oval Office today (yes, THAT Oval Office!). As a bonus, you’ll get the film & exclusive music tracks via digital delivery. (US shipment included, please add $7 for int’l mailing)

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    PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST • “GIVE ME THE MONEY AND I'LL SHOOT” Documentary Professional Trade Book (Published by Bloomsbury July 15th!) + DIGITAL DOWNLOADS -- BOTH Film & Exclusive Music Tracks + Thank you! • So you want to make your way in today’s brave new world of documentary filmmaking? By expert UK film journalist Nicola Lees (TV Mole), this new book features advice for professionals (including an extended interview w/ Jonathan Goodman Levitt & FOLLOW THE LEADER case study!) about traditional and emerging documentary funding models being developed & exploited by filmmakers today. Bound to pay for itself many times over as you fund your own career! (Shipping only available to US addresses)

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    U.S. SENATOR • DVD BOX SET (2 features + 2 short films by Jonathan Goodman Levitt) + Your name on our website! • This exclusive 4-film collection – including an Advance FOLLOW THE LEADER DVD – depicts the refining of Jonathan's approach as a filmmaker over the past 15 years (contains three films not available anywhere for individual sale in the US: the Grierson- and Mental Health Award-Nominated SUNNY INTERVALS AND SHOWERS, award-winning GANGBREAKER, and educators’ favorite LIVING THE ROLLER-COASTER). First 50 backers at this level receive the last of our original “puzzle design” Sunny Intervals extra-large postcards (pictured left) with personal inscription! (US shipment included, please add $10 for int’l mailing).

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    VIP-Treatment BACKER SCREENING in London Tuesday, September 18th • Held at Exclusive Members Club in Private Screening Room: http://www.eightclub.co.uk/ + Filmmaker and Character Q&A via Skype + Snacks/Refreshments + Special Film-Related Gifts! + Thank you!

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    PASTOR • HOUSE PARTY SCREENING with Skype Q&A (20 minutes for up to 20 people) + ADVANCE DVD Included + Exclusive Film Music on CD + Discussion Guide + Thank you on our website! • As a PASTOR, one of your roles is leading discussion. Holding a House Party Screening that features a conversation with the Director is just the ticket to engaging your community in a more meaningful political dialogue this Election Year. Like 270 Electoral College Votes, $270 wins!

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    ”PAC"K CHAIRPERSON • Have it all this Election Season with a MULTI-PRIZE PACK including a “Thank you” phone call from the Filmmaker + DVD BOX SET + Limited Edition Commemorative T-SHIRT + Nick Troiano PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT + OFFICIAL POSTER!

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    ROCK STAR • PUBLIC COMMUNITY SCREENING with Skype Q&A (30 minutes for up to 100 people) + DVD BOX SET + ALL other rewards at PASTOR LEVEL • With this pledge, you can be a local ROCK STAR and invite your community, friends & colleagues to attend a free public screening of FOLLOW THE LEADER at a local venue you select. Includes ADVANCE DVD that can be used to screen the film, and OFFICIAL POSTER to advertise it! (Please note: we will not cover venue fees or other screening costs incurred).

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    CABINET MEMBER • PUBLIC COMMUNITY SCREENING WITH FILMMAKER AND/OR CHARACTER PRESENT (East Coast only within roughly 6 hours’ driving distance of New York City) • ALL the perks of the ROCK STAR level, but with Jonathan Goodman Levitt and/or one of the film subjects hosting your free public screening personally, with a Q&A session afterward! (Please note: we will not cover venue fees or other screening costs incurred).

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    VICE PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL • COLLEGE OR COMMUNITY SCREENING (Anywhere in the Continental US) for up to 250, with Filmmaker and/or Character(s), tickets may be sold • The perks of the CABINET MEMBER LEVEL (which includes ALL PASTOR LEVEL rewards too!), and for a screening to which you can also charge admission! After we set a date for your event, we’ll arrange our own transportation to your venue and pay for it too! (Please note: we will not cover venue fees or other screening costs incurred).

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    PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL • All rewards offered at ROCK STAR LEVEL and below (which essentially includes everything we’re offering!) + An Official Credit (for inclusion on IMDB and elsewhere, exact credit to be determined in discussion with you!) + Special Recognition for you and/or your company on the Partner Page of Official Website + 2 tickets to a screening presented in your name in New York City – plus round-trip airfare to New York for both you and a guest (from Continental US only) to attend so we can thank you over and over again in-person!

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