About The Campaign
Like We Don't Exist is a short documentary about a minority from Burma called the Karenni, and their story of survival in the midst of the longest ongoing civil war in the world.
We have already produced the film with an international team of filmmakers, artists, and Karenni people. The film is nearly complete! But in order to bring this important story to the next step, we need your help.
We are proud to announce that Like We Don't Exist is a fiscally sponsored project of IFP Chicago, a non-profit arts service organization. Your Kickstarter contribution to support Like We Don't Exist is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Along with the normal costs associated with finishing a film (music licensing, software/hardware, etc), we need support for distributing and promoting this film, and help us to pay those who have helped us along the way. Until now, we have paid for 95% of the production costs required to make this film a reality -- now, your tax-deductible contribution will help us spread the story of the Karenni people to a global platform.
We have a great collection of perks to say thank you for your generous support. Check out the list on the right hand side!
If you donate, you will be supporting our effort to empower a refugee community that desperately needs global support. In light of the worldwide refugee crisis, as well as the decades-long civil war in Myanmar, we have a responsibility to do what we can to raise awareness about these communities.
Help us help the Karenni people by donating to our film-finishing fund today!
Who Are The Karenni?
The Karenni are a culturally rich, ethnically diverse population that live along the border of Thailand and Myanmar. Many are displaced within Thai refugee camps, or living in temporary IDP (Internally Displaced People) villages in Karenni State, Myanmar. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of people from minorities similar to the Karenni that are currently affected by the civil war in Burma, living in extreme conditions without healthcare, education, or basic infrastructure.
The humanitarian crisis in Myanmar is the most dire consequence of one of the longest ongoing civil wars in history; and yet, it remains largely unknown. During the height of the civil war, human rights violations included forced labour, land confiscation, torture, arbitrary execution, and sexual violence. The Karenni who have fled to refugee camps along the Thai-Burmese border are faced with an impossible choice: to live without rights or citizenship in temporary shelter abroad, or face continued violence and instability as they rebuild their war-torn homeland.
What We've Accomplished
In February 2016, our international team traveled to the Thai-Burmese border and spent a few weeks embedded in a village outside of Refugee Camp 1. During that first round of production, we realized the story was much bigger than we had previously expected. So, we quit our jobs, and moved to Thailand to work on this project full-time.
We formulated a core mission statement: to help the Karenni by raising global awareness about their situation.
Today, that mission statement is being realized. What started as a five-minute film soon evolved into a sweeping half-hour journey through the Karenni environment, growing in equal measure as a greater community movement online.
Within a week of being released, the film trailer was viewed nearly 150,000 times on Facebook. We share videos and photos of the Karenni experience with an expanding Facebook group dedicated to the project. We are building relationships with universities, humanitarian networks, artistic communities, religious leaders, and experts in peace and conflict resolution who express their deep concern for the refugee crisis in Myanmar.
Inspired by the support shown for our project online, we have been privately screening the final draft of the film in nearly a dozen Karenni communities across North America, with plans to visit several more during fall 2017. This grassroots effort to acknowledge the Karenni story and voice has already made an impact in communities around the United States -- and we're just getting started.
About The Film
Like We Don't Exist feels like a continuous journey through the Karenni world: a cinematic patchwork of vérité footage, intimate interviews, and aerial sequences sweeping over the Thai refugee camp and dense jungle where many Karenni have taken shelter. In the film, you come face-to-face with Karenni people as they tell their stories.
We have hundreds of hours of footage, 17 interviews with diverse community members, and sensitive material obtained at significant risk in this contested border region. Transitioning from a sober meditation on the atrocities of the recent past, to an uplifting reflection on the hope for a better future, Like We Don't Exist calls for a renewed effort for peace.
What Will The Funds Be Used For?
Even though we're nearly finished with post-production of the film, the simple reality is that we cannot release the film without the community's support. We have been able to pay for nearly every aspect of production so far out of pocket -- but there are some remaining costs that we need your help to cover.
If you want to find out more about the Karenni people, visit our website at www.likewedontexist.com.
Word-of-mouth is incredibly important to the success of this film. Whether or not you're in a position to contribute funds, we need your help to get the word out about this campaign.
So, please share this campaign with your friends, family, and professional networks. Share us on Facebook and tag #LikeWeDontExist to help spread the word!
You can share this Kickstarter on social media by clicking here
You can share our cinematic trailer by clicking here
Sign up to receive email updates about the film by clicking here
Follow us on Facebook by clicking here
And for a simple way to get the word out, click the share tools at the top.
If you want to donate philanthropically to a cause that is helping to expand educational opportunities for Karenni youth, please support KnNC's ongoing fundraiser here: https://www.gofundme.com/KnA-KnNCAlumniPledgeDrive
Risks and challenges
Because we have already overcome most of the difficulties associated with making this film on our own, we are confident that with the right resources, we can finish this film before the end of 2017. The most acute challenges that face this project are external.
This is a difficult moment in our global political climate. Xenophobia, terrorism, and globalization are making it harder for people to have the emotional bandwidth to want to learn about new human rights issues -- especially something as difficult to process as a decades-long civil war.
However, we have seen firsthand that our audience does care about this issue, and that they are willing to act now to help the Karenni people. While donating to our cause is not akin to a philanthropic donation to the Karenni community, your contribution is crucial to the process of empowering a previously unknown minority voice.
As the civil war in Burma continues for other minority groups such as the Rohingya, now is an urgent moment to be a part of positive engagement. The film has provoked conversations about identity, patriotism, and statehood not only in Myanmar, but also in the U.S., reflecting a deeply fractured moment in the way our political systems respond to global crises. For the first time in nearly a hundred years, we have a chance to turn the hearts and minds of a developing nation towards the path of democracy, free speech, and independent media. Please help us in our fight to help the Karenni people.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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