“We stand for a People's Platform, as old as our country, and as young as our dreams…. We will wait no longer for the crumbs at America's door. We will not be meek, but mighty... We are the masses of many, not the forces of few… We will continue our fight until the American way is just one way, until we have shared the wealth, until we have won our freedom. This is not a simple vision, but a detailed plan." - Acorn People’s Platform. 1978.
ABOUT THIS FILM: CITIZEN WEALTH is a feature documentary that follows controversial ACORN founder and Labor and Community Organizer Wade Rathke over the course of three years, while looking back at his 40-year career on the front lines of the war for economic justice. The film is equally a history lesson, a look at the state of organizing and social movements today and an intimate character study of a man that even his enemies have described as 'the most talented political organizer of his generation'.
ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) was the controversial organization that succeeded in registering millions of voters in the run-up to the 2008 election and fought and won victories for low and moderate-income families totalling billions of dollars in areas of community reinvestment, living wage legislation, and predatory lending reform. ACORN became a major news story during the 2008 election and its aftermath when accusations of voter registration fraud, embezzlement (by Rathke's brother) and other illegal activity were levelled against it. The organization had much of its funding stripped and declared bankruptcy in 2010. While CITIZEN WEALTH aims to set the record straight on what actually happened to ACORN, the film also looks at Rathke's current endeavours with his fledgling Acorn International and discusses what the future for community, labor and political organizing has to be.
Loosely based on his 2009 book, CITIZEN WEALTH follows Rathke around the United States, Canada and Central America, features interviews with high profile organizers and academics, and contains newly discovered and highly relevant archival footage stretching back through the history of ACORN and Rathke's long involvement in organizing for change.
OUR GOAL: CITIZEN WEALTH aims to be an entertaining and eye-opening documentary about a much misunderstood organization and political figure. As an organizer, Wade Rathke spent 40 years behind the scenes strategizing and motivating a huge base of community activists. The film intends to lift the curtain and show a true portrait of a complicated and fascinating man. Rathke's controversial approach to organizing had many supporters as well as many detractors, even wIthin ACORN itself. We aim to let both sides tell their story. The film also aims to explore the issues that need to be organized around in order for economic justice for low and moderate income families to be won. CITIZEN WEALTH tackles housing reform, living wages, social security, predatory lending and many other issues that have become lightning rods in the current political and economic climate.
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT: Our goal is to have a rough cut of the film by July 2013 and a finished film to premiere in 2014. We've set the goal of $30k to help keep us on schedule although it will cost much more than that to complete the film and deliver it to a distributor. Upcoming costs include production expenses, editing, music, color correction, audio mixing, and archival research and licensing, among other things.
We believe in the importance of setting the record straight on ACORN. We have unprecedented access to the founder of ACORN and have already rescued and transfered over 40 hours of never-before-seen archival footage from the last four decades.
Just as ACORN was a member-based organization built on mass participation, we are crowd sourcing this part of the budget in order to engage as many people as we can, in whatever capacity possible. The more supporters we have right now, the wider the reach of the film will be once it's ready to be shown. Please help support this film with whatever size donation you're able to make and together we'll speak truth to power!
Twitter - @citizenwealth
WHAT WE NEED TO FINISH THIS FILM: The first shots of this film were taken in 2008 at the very last ACORN national convention. Since 2010 we have been shooting regularly with Wade and are now in the 'home stretch' of production and the beginning stages of post production. So far we have been working out of a $40,000 budget provided by a foundation grant and a couple of private investments. This money is now spent and we are in need of funds to continue with the following:
1. FINAL PRINCIPAL SHOOTING: We need $5,000 for the final production shoots for the film, which are scheduled to take place in April-June 2013.
2. ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE: We have already worked out agreements for a great deal of our archival material, but we need another $7,500 to complete research and licensing of outstanding materials.
3. GRAPHICS: We need $7,500 to pay our talented graphics artists who are working for well below their usual rates!
4. MUSIC: We need $10,000 for our original music, which along with a score, will contain new versions of classic organizing and labor songs performed by some of our most talented contemporary artists.
Joey Carey is a New York based filmmaker. As a founder and principal at Sundial Pictures, he served as executive producer on Dee Rees' Pariah (Focus Features), David Gelb's smash hit documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Magnolia), and Matt Ross’ 28 Hotel Rooms (Millennium Ent.). As a director Carey made the short documentary Searching for Tupac and the 2006 documentary Greasy Rider about vegetable oil based fuel, which features interviews with Noam Chomsky, Yoko Ono, and Morgan Freeman. He also directed the Iggy & the Stooges reunion concert documentary Raw Power Live – In the Hands of the Fans.
Nick Taylor is a British/Canadian filmmaker and editor based in Toronto. As an editor, he cut Ron Mann's award winning feature documentary Know Your Mushrooms and has been rewarded with Gemini and Canadian Screen Award nominations for his television work on such series as Top Chef Canada. As a director he has helmed several music videos and directed Mirth and Madness (2010) a short documentary about the improvising music collective the Woodchopper's Association. Citizen Wealth is his first feature film as a director.
Directors: Nick Taylor & Joey Carey
Producer: Joey Carey
Executive Producer: Stefan Nowicki (Sundial Pictures)
Co-Producer: Tobe Carey (Willow Mixed Media)
Editor: Nick Taylor
Graphics/Animation: Osiel Garcia
Camera: Joey Carey, Nick Taylor, Elijah Marchand
Music: Original score: Justin Small and Ohad Benchetrit. Songs from 'Citizen Wealth' produced and arranged by Christopher Sandes and Nick Taylor. Music Clearance Supervisor: Jay Anderson.
Risks and challenges
We will make our absolute best effort to deliver your rewards in a timely fashion in accordance with the dates we list on our Kickstarter page. However, as with any creative project, there are unforeseen challenges that we may have to problem-solve – challenges that could potentially hinder our delivery of your rewards.
If we don't get into our top film festival or if we can't license 100% of the footage and photos that we want, we may have some delays with finishing the film and making good on our rewards, but we will keep everyone apprised as we make progress towards a final cut of the film.
We’ll keep you posted with our regular Kickstarter updates, informing you of any snags in our plans to get you your fun perks!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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