“Being a foster parent is hard. Being a foster child is harder.” -Angels Foster Agency
My wife and I are currently in the process of becoming foster/adoptive parents. And through the training and subsequent research into foster care, we were inspired to make a short film. We called it ReMoved. (You can watch it here; it's only 13 minutes):
This year we're making another one.
We're calling it ReMoved Part Two.
Our goal this time around is much the same as it was the first time: to show (and feel) a perspective outside ourselves.
Check out this teaser we made for it:
We funded ReMoved out of our own pockets, and through the generous donation of people's time and skills who similarly believed in the cause. And then we gave the film away to anyone and everyone who wanted to use it.
The film touched so many people--foster parents who had been struggling to believe in that child, to former foster youth who were for the first time revisiting their own trauma and seeing the hope for their lives, to otherwise uninvolved people who had never considered the experience of a child in this type of situation. From little agencies in counties we’d never heard of, to heads of nation- wide government programs, this little film has been making its rounds and touching lives far beyond our reach. We originally thought ReMoved might get a few thousand views, but it went on to get millions.
And we were incredibly amazed at the feedback we got. We quickly realized that ReMoved wasn't and isn't our film. People related to it on a level we'll never understand. The film belongs to its audience.
What's the goal?
Our goal in creating Part Two is to explore how we can not only care for abused, neglected and marginalized kids, but also help prevent them from ever becoming abused, neglected and marginalized foster kids in the first place. There are two sides to foster care: The immediate necessity to be respond to the need that exists - the plight of the child, while at the same time working proactively to address the problem at its root - the struggle of the family the child comes from.
ReMoved addresses the reactive side of the story: the emotion experienced as a reaction to trauma in her life. We now set out to address the proactive side, the more holistic approach. The part where we don’t just show, but we ask why, and what can be done about it, and how can things be changed.
We don’t know the answers. But we’ll explore it.
So what’s the story?
One thing we enjoyed about the first film was that it was told from a child’s perspective. That’s what we feel made the film unique. We don’t plan on veering from that. Part Two will be a continuation of the story, still from Zoe’s perspective. But in this film we’ll bring in some new elements.
We jump back into the story a year later. Zoe, still a foster child is having to struggle through the fact that her little brother is once again being taken from her as he’s on the road to becoming adopted. The court is still looking in to the possibility of reuniting Zoe with her birth mom, if she can get her life together. At the same time, Zoe’s foster parents and birth mom find themselves encountering each other in court hearings and visitations, and Zoe’s foster parents have to decide how they will respond to the woman who, through her own life’s pain, has ruined Zoe’s childhood.
Not only do we feel the story is necessary to tell for the sake of helping shape our thinking as a culture as we endeavor to care for these children and families, we’re also really excited about creating a beautiful piece of art. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re looking forward to gathering the crew back together again and, as a team, creating something engaging that people will resonate with.
We aren’t going to reveal the plot-line just yet. We don’t want to spoil the surprises. And of course we want to keep you in anticipation. ;) But yes, we will be exploring the dynamics of foster parent and birth parent interaction, some court issues, and some ideas for change.
The goal of the story, in short, is to show simply: There’s more to the story. It’s not black and white.
Why is this important?
The truth is, there are so many dimensions of this issue, and the underlying causes and situations are internationally relevant. Domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, abandonment, government custody, adoption, and identity issues that stem from these root cases — these transcend country borders and reach into all of our communities, impacting some of us more than others. Nonetheless it is something needing to be addressed and explored further, and we believe that exploring this further through art, and specifically through film, expands its impact and its reach.
Some of the current focuses within the foster care system are to decrease time spent in foster care, focus on permanency for the child, increase positive relationships between birth parents and foster parents, keep siblings together, and empower birth parents with the tools they need to improve their parenting.
After spending countless hours in research and talking to families from many different places (birth parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, foster alum, social workers, kinship adoptions, etc), we are eager to give the world another art experience that reveals important truths in a beautiful way.
How are we gonna do this (a.k.a. - who’s gonna pay for it)?
ReMoved was a community effort. Our friends and family pitched in their time, their homes, their furniture, their skills, and their equipment. Yes, we worked on the project with friends who are filmmakers, and yes, they donated their time. In the end all we had to pay for were things like production insurance, permits, food, transportation, hard drives, etc. We paid for that out of our pocket (about $5k U.S.).
We couldn’t have asked for a better team. And in our desire to take care of that team we realize that it’s legitimate to pay people for their time and skills and equipment. They all have families that they need to take care of as well.
This is why we’re coming to the larger community of people. This is why we want to raise the funding to shoot part two. If this project is worth doing, it’s worth taking care of the people involved. This includes costs such as paying our actors, paying location fees, paying our crew for their skilled time, paying for the equipment we’re renting, paying our editors, and etc.
The other very important reason is this: Part Two is going to be better than part one. Yup. That’s right! We’re confident. We’ve read the script. ;) So, in other words, even if we had paid for everything on the first film, the second film would still cost us more. Why? Because there are elements in this film not featured in the first one. For example: dialogue - characters who talk to each other (instead of just thinking super deep thoughts that we hear out loud in Zoe’s awesome voice). Dialogue means more crew (sound people), it means things take longer to film, it means more work in editing mixing that audio, which means more time and more people. That’s just one example. And in an effort to not reveal too much, that’s the only example we’ll give for now.
So in conclusion, we’re raising the necessary money to shoot this film. And just like the first film, it’s going to be a community effort.
But why Kickstarter?
We feel that if this film is worth making, then we want to partner with ReMoved’s audience. We want to partner with you.
Running a kickstarter campaign isn’t just about raising the money. It’s about engaging an audience. If you can help ReMoved by spreading the word that we’re making another one and that we need help, that’s even more valuable than just funding.
We’re doing this through Kickstarter because we want the people who felt impacted by ReMoved to be a part of creating the rest of the story.
We really truly believe that ReMoved was and is your film. Not ours.
If you are excited with us, if you feel there is more to say and the world needs to hear it and see it and feel it, then we invite you to join with us in making this happen.
Pick a pledge and a reward that excites you, share this with all your friends and followers on social media and in person, and get excited to be part of making the best short film of the year!
We're super stoked and honored to have the tshirt and hand typography design by the amazing Alexandra Nelson. Do yourself a favor and check her out on instagram.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge is timing. While we plan on filming in the winter, there could be things that slow us down. What those things are, we don't know yet. But when they come, we'll tell you about them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)