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The Bullfighter: Doc about 70's Chicago Bull, Norm Van Lier's video poster
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Killer on the court, outspoken critic of the team he loved, he lived a life of anguish and died before he found redemption. Read more

Chicago, IL Documentary
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Killer on the court, outspoken critic of the team he loved, he lived a life of anguish and died before he found redemption.

Chicago, IL Documentary
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About this project

Thanks so much for coming to our Kickstarter! Without you we can't make this documentary!

THE STORY OF THIS FILM
by co-director and daughter Heidi Van Lier

My dad was part of the toughest backcourt in NBA history, an outspoken critic of the team he loved, and he lived a hard life with many disappointments. He never won an NBA championship, he never coached an NBA team, he never worked officially for the Bulls again…and then he died suddenly at 61 before any of these aspirations were realized.

But none of this went without some scraping and clawing his way across the court, or brawling through a call, or a flaring temper on the sidelines both during his playing era and after.

He did become a broadcaster after some rough years of scrambling to keep it together. And he was a radio personality much like he was a player, he left nothing out, blows were never softened. He wasn't afraid to say what he really thought, even though it probably cost him many of the opportunities he strove for.

Even with some of the tragic ups and downs of his post-athletic career, Norm was a hero to my sister and I. But as we grew up we realized he was also a hero to many – and in a strange way this was very surprising to me. 

People would talk about his scrappy playing style my entire life, and about an infamous Golden State game that they would never forget. I had never seen this game until the early 2000's when I started listening to his stories to develop a feature film with him. The film never went very far, but I was so glad I had this time to hear about his life before he died…and that I finally got to see that Golden State game.

And that game blew my mind.

Not because the team was great, they were, but because they were an older team failing at their last chance of going to the Finals this season. And as I watched my dad – Bulls #2 – break down during this game, I realized that our whole lives he'd been doing what he was trying to do with this team: coach. We'd been raised through coaching. Even with his faults as a father, even with his personal demons that he made very public, he was an excellent coach to two little girls who weren't even biologically his.

Everyone I run into in Chicago has some kind of crazy Norm story, from the technical fouls, all the way to the homeless man he came across and let stay in his house. His hard small town upbringing, his mixed emotions of being a sports star at a predominantly white college in the 1960s, the fight from being a 3rd round draft pick to top NBA point guard, the disappointments in finding an outlet in his life after his playing career, and his personal struggles all create a dynamic portrait of an athlete who never held anything back.  We want to use those stories to string together something that will both honor his life (to my dad brutal honesty came hand in hand with honor) and explain his past in a totally unique way.

Last week the co-directors were in Chicago to promote the Kickstarter. One of their interview's was on Frank Fontana's "Down and Dirty" show at the Craftsman studios.

As you may have already heard, we are doing our fundraising in two parts. This initial kickstarter campaign is to raise money for pre-production and production. 

Preproduction includes camera equipment and stock, sound equipment, lighting equipment, video editing equipment, office costs during pre-production, and staff. It will also cover a large portion (if not all) of production, which includes shooting, travel to film the interviews, main office expenses, the cinematographer, a sound person, staff to log and load footage, research staff to find and pull TV footage, radio clips, and photos and obtain licenses.

We will then cut the film, pull all the archive footage we need, and then get a total of what we will need for post-production. Each archival clip, photo, and article, costs a lot of money (it's a tough world for historical documentaries), so we wanted to wait to see what we need before we put a dollar amount on the fundraising for licensing. We've been told it could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but to tell the story we'll definitely need that footage.

Just to be absolutely clear: Realistically we will need $125,000 to get through the first phase, pre-production and production. We are only asking for $50,000 in this Kickstarter because that will get us on our way. And because on Kickstarter, if we don't reach our goal, we don't get the funding, so again…

WE NEED $125k TO GET THROUGH PRODUCTION - SO PLEASE KEEP GIVING BEYOND $50k TO BE SURE WE GET TO OUR FINISH LINE!!

Thank you for all your help. Visit The Bullfighter Facebook page to share your favorite Norm stories, or video, or articles. We're dying to hear about all of it: basketball stuff, broadcasting stuff, all of it! Film, video and audio from the 1970s is just as likely to be lost as it is saved so please contact us if you have anything you think may be useful: photos, slides, video, film.

And please click the BACK THIS PROJECT BUTTON!! We need you to!

FOR BIOS AND INFO PLEASE VISIT OUR SITE:www.thebullfighterdoc.com

Follow us on Twitter: @bullfighterdoc

THE CREATIVE TEAM:Heidi Van Lier - Director
Sean Meredith - Director
Alice Brooks - Cinematographer

FOR OTHER INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES OR LARGER AMOUNTS PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY.

BIOS

HEIDI VAN LIER – DIRECTOR

Producer, Heidi Van Lier, is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She wrote, directed, and produced the film CHI GIRL, which won the Slamdance Grand Jury Prize for Best Film. She has since written, directed, and produced 3 other films, MONDAY, AMERICAN DECAF, and the upcoming ICE CREAMCAKE. Heidi currently blogs for FilmThreat.com and she panels and speaks across the country at colleges and film festivals about her book The Indie Film Rule Book, a strategic guide to indie filmmaking. This summer Heidi produced the Logo TV series BAD SEX, airing in November. Heidi and Sean also have several other projects together.

SEAN MEREDITH – DIRECTOR

Sean Meredith is a writer/director who years ago washed upon the shores of animation and puppetry making “In Smog and Thunder” and “Dante’s Inferno.” In 2011 he co-wrote the rom-com “Threeable” with Heidi Van Lier, and finished his screenplay “The Sleep and The Wheel” which he’s preparing to direct in late 2012. He’s edited and produced sports and music documentaries. He directed, edited, co-wrote and produced his first feature film, “Dante’s Inferno,” which premiered at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival and went on to screen at over thirty film festivals and museums. “Dante,” a toy theater puppet film voiced by Dermot Mulroney (Dante) and James Cromwell (Virgil), garnered six awards, including Best Director from the Silver Lake Film Festival. His basketball journey began in his backyard with his father George and continued as he and his dad with unwavering fans of the New Jersey Nets. Whether they played at Rutgers’s Piscataway gym or the Meadowlands, they nary missed a a game. His mother sometimes attended, but over time could not stand to witness Sean and his father’s intense fandom.

ALICE BROOKS – DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Since graduating from USC, Alice Brooks has photographed award-winning features, shorts, music videos, and commercials. Her films have premiered theatrically, on video, and at festivals around the world. Alice is currently working with director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2, Step Up 3D) on Paramount’s The LXD (The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers). The LXD is one of the most ambitious webseries ever produced and consistently ranks in the top ten on hulu.com every week. She is also shooting a new webseries Tainted Love (starring Orlando Jones, Eric Roberts). Alice recently finished her first 3D project with Pace rigs on Arri’s Alexa cameras, Game On, an LXD Presents short which plays before Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Her previous work includes the award-winning Mulligans and the 2010 official selections at Tribeca Film Festival (Roots In Water, director Domenica Cameron-Scorese) and Cannes Film Festival (The Bake Shop Ghost, director Lorette Bayle). This autumn her work on the feature film One Fall can be seen at theaters nationwide.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    $25 reward

    33 backers

    THE LOOSE BALL --
    AN ORIGINAL DESIGN BULLFIGHTER STICKER! Plus you'll receive progress emails and a thank you on the website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    44 backers

    THE EASY LAY-UP --
    A DVD OF THE FINISHED FILM!
    Plus you'll receive the sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $100 reward

    18 backers

    THE IN THE PAINT -- A BULLERFIGHTER T-SHIRT!
    Plus a DVD of the finished film, a Bullfighter Sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $250 reward

    2 backers

    THE JUMP SHOT (The Filmmaker Package) -- A SIGNED COPY OF HEIDI VAN LIER'S FILM SCHOOL TEXTBOOK, The Indie Film Rule Book, including one hour of film consultation over the phone, for your indie film and indie film career!
    And DVD's: Sean Meredith's films "In Smog and Thunder" and "Dante's Inferno"; Heidi Van Lier's recently premiered "American Decaf"; and "The Bullfighter". Plus a Bullfighter Sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $1,000 reward

    1 backer

    THE JERSEY -- A VAN LIER JERSEY! A custom limited NORM VAN LIER basketball jersey.
    Plus The Bullfighter t-shirt, special behind the scenes DVD, a DVD of the finished film, a Bullfighter Sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $2,500 reward

    0 backers

    THE BOBBLEHEAD -- AN ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT ON THE FILM, 2 TICKETS TO THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF THE FILM, plus a NORM VAN LIER BOBBLEHEAD!
    Plus the Norm Van Lier Jersey, The Bullfighter t-shirt, special behind the scenes DVD, a DVD of the finished film, a Bullfighter Sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website! And the chance to be interviewed for the behind the scenes special!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $2,500 reward

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    THE FLOOR SEATS -- 2 FLOOR SEAT TICKETS TO THE CHICAGO UNITED HOOPS CLASSIC in April, 2012…and a special MEET-AND-GREET with SUSAN VAN LIER!
    Plus the Norm Van Lier Jersey, The Bullfighter t-shirt, special behind the scenes DVD, a DVD of the finished film, a Bullfighter Sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $5,000 reward

    1 backer

    THE LUXURY SUITE -- YOUR NAME ON THE KICKSTARTER EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CARD in the main credits of the film! Plus 4 tickets to the premiere in Chicago, 4 tickets to the premiere party in Chicago, and lunch invitations for 2 with filmmakers Sean Meredith and Heidi Van Lier during production of the film in Chicago.

    And of course the Norm Van Lier Jersey, The Bullfighter t-shirt, special behind the scenes DVD, a DVD of the finished film, a Bullfighter Sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $7,500 reward

    0 backers

    THE ALL-STAR -- PRIVATE DINNER PARTY FOR 2 WITH FILMMAKERS SEAN MEREDITH AND HEIDI VAN LIER during production of the film in Chicago (or other approved city) to eat and watch a Bulls Game! PLUS GET AN EARLY CUT OF THE FILM to give feedback to the filmmakers! AND you also get other cool Bullfighter stuff: A NORM BOBBLEHEAD, 4 Tickets to the premiere and party, the Norm Van Lier Jersey, The Bullfighter t-shirt, special behind the scenes DVD, a DVD of the finished film, a Bullfighter Sticker, progress emails and a thank you on the website! Plus your name listed on the Kickstarter Executive Producer Card in the main credits of the film!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $10,000 reward

    0 backers

    THE CHAMPIONSHIP -- A PRIVATE PREVIEW SCREENING OF THE BULLFIGHTER AT YOUR HOME WITH YOUR FRIENDS THE WEEK BEFORE THE PREMIERE! (One or both of the filmmakers will come to where you live. Can be a later date, if necessary.) Also, in Chicago, 4 tickets to the premiere, 4 tickets to the private premiere party, 4 invitations to a private dinner with the filmmakers the week prior to the premiere. PLUS A SINGLE CARD WITH YOUR NAME in the main credits of the film.
    And of course, 4 stickers, a bobblehead, a Van Lier Jersey, The Bullfighter t-shirt, a DVD of the film, a special behind the scenes DVD,

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (40 days)