As part of a long legacy of Outlaws, Gangsters and Rock Stars, Struggle Jennings fought his way out of the same streets that claimed his father's life, eventually making it into the recording studio and cutting ties to his past.. Struggle worked for the next several years developing his craft and building a solid fan-base. In the Winter of 2011 his close friend Yelawolf had earned himself a record deal with Eminem's Shady Records and launched his own lifestyle-brand as a result.. Based on a shared perspective and attitude, Yelawolf's Slumerican movement quickly became a global network of like-minded individuals.. And Struggle found himself right at the center of it all.. But at this defining moment in his life, with everything on the line and success finally within his reach, Struggle's past caught up with him.. Tragically entangled in a criminal investigation, he was booked on drug conspiracy charges and found himself facing over 38 years in prison. Although he was never in possession of any drugs or money, and the only evidence against him was a recorded phone conversation, with his limited financial resources he found himself at the mercy of the Justice System. While out on bond awaiting trial Struggle called on Yelawolf, the Slumerican crew and his own family to help orchestrate the recording of what could have been his last album.. Both a raw portrait of his own life, and a tribute to the legacy and music of his grandfather, "I AM STRUGGLE" blends the seemingly opposing elements of his upbringing into an enthralling dance between the Country and Hip Hop genres..
With his trial date approaching we began production on his first video, "OUTLAW SHIT". Struggle was adamant that this video should be an accurate representation of his character and his life.. A testament to his story.. Without claiming total innocence, the video portrays him as a "good man who gets caught in a bad situation".. But also as a man who's not afraid to face the consequences of his actions, as the end of the video depicts his arrest at the hands of Federal Agents.
In an extreme case of "life imitates art", 3 days after the video premiered Struggle was taken into custody by US Marshals.. In the aftermath of his trial he received 57 months of Federal time and 13 years of State time. While awaiting his transfer to a State Prison we were granted access to the County Jail where he was being held, and we were given full permission to interview Struggle for the documentary. During his interview we had the opportunity to shoot what would later become the performance scene for his follow up video, "BLACK CURTAINS". This was the first time in history that an incarcerated musician had managed to film a music video from inside of jail. Featuring the haunting vocals of his grandfather and his grandmother, Struggle's lyrics drive home a heartfelt warning to the next generation not to follow in his footsteps and suffer the same fate that he did. Featuring a powerful performance by Struggle's real-life son, the same son that he's addressing in the song, BLACK CURTAINS makes a bold statement about the importance of breaking cycles of violence, and never limiting your future based on the mistakes of your past.
Having already served over 2 years in prison, Struggle was recently granted parole on his State charges, and he was transferred into Federal custody on February 3rd to finish his sentence. There is a strong possibility, given his non-violent offender status and the short amount of time remaining in his sentence, that after processing he will be sent to a Federal halfway house in Nashville, making him eligible to be released as early as the spring of 2014..
With over 40 hours of professionally shot footage gathered over several years of production, we were able to thoroughly document this chapter of Struggle's story as it unfolded.. We followed him during his criminal trial.. Traveled with him for what could have been his last live performances.. When he hit the studio to record "I AM STRUGGLE" we were there to document the entire process.. We have footage of him performing along side of Yelawolf, Jellyroll, Rittz and Big Krit.. We captured the painfully intimate moments between Struggle and his family as they hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. We interviewed members of his inner circle to reveal a deeper perspective on Struggle's history.
Our plan was to release the "I AM STRUGGLE" documentary along with his album, but Struggle was taken into custody unexpectedly while we were still gathering footage.. With limited resources, we put the documentary on hold to focus on getting his album ready for release.. But now that his album is finished and his freedom is finally within sight, we've decided that it's time to complete the documentary. Our goal for the "I AM STRUGGLE" KICKSTARTER campaign is to raise $24,000. These funds will be used to cover all expenses related to filming the final interviews, completing post-production work, and promoting the finished product.. With this budget we are confident that we can produce not only a great documentary that tells Struggle's story, but an emotionally compelling film that examines a modern cultural archetype.. Someone who was born into poverty with dreams and aspirations of overcoming their financial and social limitations.. Someone who is struggling against all odds to create a better life for themselves and their family.. We believe that when this film is completed it will be worthy of submission to film festivals and we fully intend to explore that option when the time comes..
We've been inspired by Struggle to focus on the music and the message, letting them find their own audience. We have seen the deep resonance his story has with people all around the world. His reach on Social Media is growing rapidly and his words are having a profoundly positive effect on people. With the engagement of his passionate fan-base and our ability to offer rewards that match the value of your donations, we've decided that crowd funding is the perfect solution to overcoming our financial limitations while maintaining our independence and creative control..
By allowing people to help spread Struggle's message of self empowerment and overcoming adversity, we're offering something beyond material gain.. And by becoming involved in Struggle's story and the promotion of a message that's proven itself to be truly positive, you're doing far more than helping us make this film..
Although each contribution is a donation, we felt the need to offer something of equal value in exchange. We've developed reward packages that reflect the direct and personal connection that Struggle shares with the people who are touched by his story. In addition to the EXCLUSIVE CD/DVD/T-SHIRT packages that we're offering, we've developed several limited and unique reward options. These rewards range from a personal phone call from Struggle in prison, to an appearance in the film, and even a chance to sit in on his first post-prison recording sessions!! Read through the reward descriptions on the right and see if there's a package for you!! Below are some images of the exclusive merch items available through the I AM STRUGGLE Kickstarter Campaign..
If you have any questions or suggestions about the rewards we're offering, or if you'd like more information about this project, please contact our project manager, Sebastian Marbury. Having worked closely with Struggle for the last 6 years, Sebastian has played an integral part in the filming process and has an intimate understanding of this project. He maintains daily communication with Struggle, keeping the development of the "I AM STRUGGLE" brand aligned with Struggle's own personal vision. Sebastian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org..
To hear more about Struggle and his story check out some of the social media links below..
How Kickstarter Works
The following is taken from Kickstarter's info page.
1. Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.
We’re a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, 4.9 million people have pledged $804 million, funding 49,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now.
2. Each project is independently created.
The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control over and responsibility for their projects. Kickstarter is a platform and a resource; we’re not involved in the development of the projects themselves. Anyone can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as it meets our guidelines.
3. Together, creators and backers make projects happen.
Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money. All-or-nothing funding might seem scary, but it’s amazingly effective in creating momentum and rallying people around an idea. To date, an impressive 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.
Risks and challenges
With any film production there are many potential risks and challenges. As an independently run operation, we are intent on minimizing these risks to our success and profitability whenever possible. With the "I AM STRUGGLE" documentary, we've chosen a truly compelling story and we've developed a powerful approach to conveying that story to the public. We have taken the time to establish a solid fan-base and a firm foundation from which to launch this campaign and the resulting documentary film. We've gained the support of many influential individuals and we've successfully recruited them to participate in the promotion of the film. The majority of the film has already been shot by a dedicated crew of professional film makers. The additional interviews that we intend to shoot have already been secured, travel schedules and budgets calculated and planned, and we are prepared to move directly into production upon securing our budget. To insure the consistency of the film's look, we are working closely with the same crew of film makers who shot the existing footage. Our interview subjects have been briefed and prepared for their interviews and they have each pledged their time and support. We have chosen our post production staff and they have already reviewed the existing footage and developed a rough-cut. We are watching everyone's schedules closely, maintaining constant communication with our extended team and staying as flexible as needed.
Upon completion of the "I AM STRUGGLE" documentary we will upload and share the film online across several platforms. We see limited challenges to the successful distribution of our film. We believe in a thoroughly modern approach to media distribution with a focus on reaching potential fans and spreading awareness by utilizing the most popular Social Media platforms. The film must be easily discoverable, and ultimately it must be compelling enough for people to want to watch it and share it. From Struggle's mailing list to his reach on social media, we already have cultivated a core audience of over 50,000 people that we can call on directly. We also have the support of many influential people within the entertainment industry to expand our potential direct reach well into the millions. Our goal isn't to sell a movie.. Our goal is to tell Struggle's story in the most honest and engaging way possible.. We have seen first hand the incredibly transformative effect that Struggle's story, his words and his music have had on people all across the world.. We believe that his story is a story that needs to be heard and we're honored to do our part in bringing that story to a wider audience.. Thank you for taking the time to read about Struggle's Kickstarter campaign!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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