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Two filmmakers go to Ohio to explore one of the most controversial issues in education today: the arming of teachers in America.
130 backers pledged $20,310 to help bring this project to life.

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$20,310

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Our Film

Before 2012, the idea of a movement to arm teachers as a security measure in American public schools would likely have been beyond the scope of belief for most people. Then came Sandy Hook. The brutal shooting of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school was a turning point in much of the national psyche, leaving schools and communities across the nation feeling vulnerable and unprepared.

Motivated by the logic of NRA Executive Vice President Wayne La Pierre – “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” – over thirty states proposed legislation that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry guns. Currently, up to ten states around the country have already officially begun arming their teachers, administrators, secretaries, and custodians.

Good Guy with a Gun: The Arming of Teachers in America explores this complex and controversial topic and many of the larger social issues to which it is connected. The film focuses on Ohio, a traditional bellwether state where a growing movement to arm teachers is met with a growing opposition. The struggles and debates playing out in Ohio communities reflect conversations that are happening around the country, and illustrate the numerous forces that lead to social change. 

Funds from our Kickstarter campaign will cover expenses for our next two trips to Ohio in June and September of 2015, as well as local interviews in Massachusetts with several noted scholars. We will continue our conversations with teachers and other educators, law enforcement officials, school administrators, activists, parents, and students, expanding our focus to communities that already have or are considering implementing the use of armed teacher programs. 

As a society, we are at a fork in the road on the issue of school safety and the presence of guns in schools. Good Guy with a Gun is the first feature-length film to explore this critical topic, and we hope you will join our team to help make this film by contributing on Kickstarter. 

Budget:

Our Kickstarter goal of $20,000 will fund Kate and Julie's next two trips to Ohio in June and September of 2015. Please join us in making this film. Your pledges will support:

  • Ongoing research
  • Travel expenses
  • Crew, including camera and sound 
  • Equipment rental

Please don't wait to back us. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing campaign. We have to raise $20,000 or more to collect any of the pledged funds. 

All donors will receive production updates and bonus clips from the film.

And for those of you who think big and into the future please check out our stretch goals for this campaign. So far we've been focusing on one central Ohio school district that is arming its teachers. Next we will visit other districts around the state. Go ahead and make our day!

$35,000 - A week long production trip to a second school district in December 2015.

$50,000 - A week long production trip to a third school district in March 2016.

$100,000 - Interviews with other key players, pro and con: local, state, and national politicians; activist organizations; and educational leaders. We will also begin archival research, transcribe our interviews, and begin developing a score for the film. This will complete production!

Meet the Filmmakers:

Julie Akeret

I love making films. I have been making documentaries for thirty years, and I am happy to report that there is no end to the supply of compelling stories to tell. For the last ten years many of my films have focused on some aspect of education. I think good public education is one of the primary ways we can foster our democracy. Access to a good education for all children should be a right not a privilege.

With over a hundred school shootings since the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, school safety has become a pressing issue in our communities. Children can't learn and teachers can't teach if they are scared.

But how do we go about making our schools safe? Does it make sense to arm school teachers? What other options do we have? I think these are important questions to consider.

I have made many other films about artists, activists, and various cultural and ethical issues. My films have been broadcast on PBS, have won major awards, and are distributed by three leading educational distributors. If you would like to see clips from previous films, or see a full resume, please visit my web site at www.akeretfilms.com.

Kate Way

I first came to this project at the end of six years working towards a doctoral degree in the field of Language, Literacy, & Culture, and after twenty years of teaching in the high school English classroom. I was fascinated by, troubled with, and totally committed to the system of public education in this country. As a teacher, researcher, and citizen, I was most interested in how public education embodies larger social, political, and economic trends in American society, and how in so many ways it is the bedrock of our democracy.

When I first read about American schools that were arming their teachers, I knew it was a topic I had to explore. After so many years of experiencing day-to-day life inside of schools, and many years of studying our larger social systems, I felt well positioned to understand the numerous layers of this complicated topic. I turned to the medium that has always been my first love - photography – and teamed up with documentary filmmaker Julie Akeret to embark on this enormous project.

Already, Good Guy with a Gun has stretched my social and political boundaries, made me question many of my assumptions, brought me into deep dialogue with people I might never otherwise have encountered, and given me both profound optimism and great concern for the future of our society. Julie and I decided early on that we did not want this film to advocate for one side or the other of the debate surrounding arming teachers, but instead, we wanted to use this topic as a lens through which to better understand – and hopefully to bridge – some of our most entrenched divisions as Americans.

To view more of my photography visit my website: www.katewayphotography.com.

Our Website

Please visit our website for updates, photo galleries, and more info on the project: www.goodguywithagunthefilm.com.

Insight Productions (Our fiscal sponsor)

The purpose of this non-profit corporation is to research, develop, produce, and distribute films and videos to document the arts, social issues, and educational projects, persons, and activities. These films and videos are to be used for educational purposes with public, private, and community education organizations. http://marlboroproductions.com.

Risks and challenges

Filmmaking is a risky business. It is expensive and it takes time. It can be hard to find funding sources that believe in your vision and are willing to back it, and it takes a strong conviction to see it through from the original idea to selecting the right distributor to help your film find its audience.

We were fortunate to start our film with a grant from the Massachusetts Humanities Foundation to create a trailer. Our Kickstarter campaign will get us back to Ohio to talk with more communities on their process in making these far-reaching decisions.

Donations of $100 and over are tax-deductible through Insight Productions our 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.

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Support

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    Pledges of $5 and up will receive access to bonus clips and content.

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    Credit in the film.

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    A designer mug, a DVD copy, and credit in the film.

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    An autographed copy of Julie Akeret’s Emmy winning documentary, Theatre on the Edge about Double Edge, a laboratory theater company in rural Massachusetts and Someone Sang For Me a one-hour documentary about educator and musician Jane Sapp.

    Plus a designer mug, a DVD copy, and credit in the film.

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    All of the above plus one 11" by 14" autographed copy of Kate Way's stunning photography of your choice.

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    All of the above plus access to one hour of bonus footage.

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    All of the above plus a pre-screening with the directors in your hometown. (US Only)

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Funding period

- (35 days)