What is Spirit Ship?
Spirit Ship is a 15 minute (HD/Super 8) live-action narrative film shot on location in Red Hook, Brooklyn with six children from all over New York City. Following the Little Creatures model, it was shot with no script; rather, the children’s spontaneous reactions to a range of props were recorded, then the children viewed the footage and provided their own descriptions of their actions. This audio was then incorporated into the film as voiceover narration.
While exploring the crumbling shoreline of a Broken Land by the sea, three Children of Earth stumble upon a pile of detritus from what appears to be a shipwreck. The children sift through these strange treasures, fall asleep and dream about the stories living inside them, and upon waking up, decide that they should go looking for the mysterious people who left them behind. Meanwhile, three Spirit Children are on their own journey within an alternate universe that flickers with dream-like film footage of bygone yards and playgrounds. The children continue exploring, past ramshackle warehouses and lonesome homes, trying rusted keys in forgotten locks, and finally come to be able to see beyond one world, into another.
Why Children Need to See Spirit Ship
As scientific research has shown, the time young children spend participating in open-ended imaginative play has a direct effect on their brain development. Complex extended make-believe play is characterized by invented (both fantastical and seemingly very real) scenarios and characters, often takes place while children are outside of their classrooms and homes, and often contains many highly unique thoughts and statements that are well-worth recording for their creativity and originality. This type of “free” play is crucial to healthy human development, and yet our culture has stripped away children’s access to it, replacing it with heavily scheduled and structured activities, and a diet of adult-authored, screen-tested (modified to be faster paced or more repetitive if children lose interest) TV, film and internet entertainment and increasingly flashy “learning games”. Taken together with the test-centered curricula present in most public schools, children are becoming lost in a series of hoops adults have laid out for them to jump through.
To respond to the crisis outlined above, Little Creatures Films makes professional-quality films that feature children’s original imaginative play, and that do not use scripts. Rather, we use the element of voiceover narration to capture the otherworldly things children say, when recounting their imaginative adventures. We aim to distill children's voices down, so that we can better listen to what they are really saying. Our films depict childhood in all its freedom, and play in all its mystery and beauty. The films support inquiry-based learning, creative problem solving, reflective thinking, and social, emotional self-regulation. Our goal is to minister to children’s hearts as well as their minds, and to open up a new window for human beings of all ages to reconnect to the wonders of childhood. In the words of one parent, “What you’re doing allows them to experience, to take parts from it that they identify with and do with them what they will. If you want to give your kids back control over the medium, this is it.” A six-year-old boy who watched Spirit Ship was inspired to go on more of his own explorations to find similar treasures. This confirms the film’s ability to live on and grow far beyond the viewing experience, empowering children to believe in adventures of their own making.
How Your Money Can Help Transform Children's Media
Over the past two years that we have been producing Spirit Ship, we have sought funding. We have done a letter campaign, a fundraiser, and applications for several film grants. To those of you who have helped us raise funds, Thank you so much for helping us to complete this film! Now we need your help to move to the next phase--to fund post production expenses, to create a DVD package to be sold online and in shops, and to market our film to festivals, museums, and schools. Fully funding Spirit Ship will enable Little Creatures to connect with thousands more children than we have been able to reach thus far. And Spirit Ship is only the beginning; it is but a glimpse of what Little Creatures is capable of doing as a fully staffed film studio. We have the content of at least 2 more short films that could be completed and released as soon as 2011, we are researching innovative distribution strategies, and we are seeking a physical home for our studio in Brooklyn. Your money will move Little Creatures one step closer to offering schools its unique perspective on teaching and learning: we are developing a non-profit branch that will utilize our innovative media production approach in pre-K through 1st grade settings. Our long-term goal is to build a community of practice among parents, teachers, and coaches of teachers devoted to integrating imaginative play and technology. We are very hopeful about what this could mean not only for children’s media, but for a whole world of children who all have their own story to tell.
Your Pledge Will Enable Us To:
• Pay our editor to make the final cut of the film.
• Pay our sound designer to do the final mix.
• Pay our cast and crew a small installment of their deferred payments.
• Submit Spirit Ship to film festivals around the world.
• Design and develop a Spirit Ship DVD package (including booklet).
• Market Spirit Ship to children’s shops, museums and schools around the world.
The $5,000 we are trying to raise through this campaign is only a fraction of what we need to get Little Creatures Films off the ground as a viable children's film company. But this will provide us with a huge boost toward our long-term goal of being self-funded so that we can make more films. We are so excited to pay the many people who have been involved in the making of Spirit Ship. If we receive more than we’ve asked for, we will be able to pay our cast and crew even more, and after that, we will be able to better market Spirit Ship to families around the world who are hungry for more thoughtful and beautiful media for and about children.
Our Website: www.littlecreaturesfilms.com
Our Blog: http://littlecreaturesfilms.blogspot.com
Spirit Ship Trailer: http://vimeo.com/6443158
Past Work/Digital Story Workshop: www.digitalstoryworkshop.org
Little Creatures Films on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/fNQLvF
Spirit Ship Article in New York Family: http://www.newyorkfamily.com/newyork/article-637-playful-spirits.html
Kristin B. Eno interview on Last American Childhood Blog: http://lastamericanchildhood.blogspot.com/2010/12/on-earth-as-it-is.html
Spirit Ship on Leaves and Feathers' Blog: http://harmonyandfaith.blogspot.com/2010/12/spirit-ship.html
Kristin B. Eno interview in Small Magazine: http://smallmagazine.net/index.asp...
"Not Too Young to Watch, Not Too Young to Make" by Kristin B. Eno, on Youth Media Reporter: http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/12/not_too_young_to_watch_not_too.html
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