Were you aware that simply knowing your neighbors makes a huge difference in your micro-community and greatly affects the lives of those around you? From something small like having a neighbor sign for a package, to reaching out if they see a stranger climb through your window, to a single block gathering together to affect real change – it all makes for a community more aware and more engaged in their neighborhood. New Yorkers are famous for living anonymous lives, but at the same time, haven’t we all wondered about the interesting people who live next door? We already share a common address, why not more?
On My Block Films launches for its second year on July 1, 2013. The call for entries is also a call for all neighbors to come together and collaborate on a short film project. Reach out to one another, introduce yourselves, and make a movie! We make this process more approachable for those who have never done something like this before. The finished videos are just between 1 and 3.5 minutes long, either narrative or documentary, and must be filmed only on the block you live on, using your real neighbors as cast and crew. This unique, collaborative process converts strangers into close friends, and in the process, builds a more closely connected city.
After judging, the top 20 films will be screened at our awards ceremony on November 11, 2013 at the SVA Theater in New York City.
Last year 94% of participants had never made a film before, and nearly all of them had never had a reason to develop a relationship with their neighbors.The positive stories and successes we had in 2012 were so inspiring, we're back for a second year, with plans to expand.
Check out this video to hear from neighbors and new friends about their experience making an On My Block film in 2012:
Our Program Goals
Last year was such a success, that this year, our goal is to expand and develop our program further. Specifically:
- Make at least 50 films, 10 from each borough. This would improve the lives of thousands of NYC residents.
- To accommodate for our growth, we will need to seat at least 500 people at our Screening Event/Awards Ceremony.
- We want to expand our reach and create at least 5 non-traditional block films (prison, convent, senior center, half way house, etc.)
- Become official as our own 501c3
- Further our educational development, with video tutorials and a program that we can take into schools.
- Begin our expansion beyond NYC, by creating a program "template" that others around the world can pick up and recreate locally.
Although we have no paid workers, and are an entirely volunteer-run organization, we can’t manage all of the On My Block Films expenses by ourselves.
For the community improvement, education, and fun that On My Block Films brings to NYC to exist and grow, we REALLY need your help. By supporting our campaign, you’ll:
- Champion the completely unique film challenge that requires neighbors to meet and build a relationship and work together to tell a story.
- Improve micro-neighborhoods throughout NYC and beyond.
- Help us to expand our reach, and to deliver over 50 films across all 5 boroughs.
Where your money goes
While $10,000 won’t cover 100% of our annual costs, it will certainly allow us the ability to move forward with the On My Block Film challenge in 2013 and beyond.
- We’re working on becoming our own 501c3! This is awesome, and while we are working with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts to do this, there are still significant filing costs that we’ll need to cover this year.
- The Event! Last year was an amazing sold out success, but we only had seats for 200 people, and had to turn many away. We are upgrading our venue big time this year, as well as the overall Awards Ceremony experience. We want our filmmakers to be proud of all their work and to celebrate them appropriately. We’re confirmed at the SVA Theater in Manhattan for 475 people plus an opening reception and killer prizes.
- Last year, we had 22 films made in four out of five boroughs. This year, we want to make sure that we get at least 50 films, 10 from each borough. We need to do some marketing to get the word out beyond our own networks to make that happen.
- The Education page on our website has been a really popular resource, but we want to improve that this year with video tutorials. Last year, 94% of program participants were first time filmmakers with no prior experience! We want to teach people in the simplest way and make sure that this challenge is open to everyone, even if they have no prior filmmaking experience.
- While our operating expenses are extremely minimal being an entirely volunteer-run organization, we still need simple things like lots of hard drives to store all our festival video footage and other ongoing expenses.
We couldn’t grow this festival without you, so your support means the world to us. All the volunteers have committed long, hard hours over the past few months to get us to where we are now, and we really appreciate your help in allowing us to see this project through, at its best.
No donation is too small, so please, just give what you can, and share this page with friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, arts supporters, NYC residents and anyone who could benefit from this program, and know that we are grateful to you for helping us reach our goals!
If you'd like to get involved in this program as a volunteer, corporate or media sponsor or just have ideas that you'd like to share, please do reach out to us. And nothing will make us happier than seeing you join in on the fun by making a video with your neighbors this Summer!
Photos from last year's event:
Risks and challenges
We launched On My Block Films in 2012 and had a successful, sold-out event, showcasing 16 of the best short films made by neighbors throughout the city. We treated last year as our "proof of concept", and now, we're confidently ready to expand our reach and offering. We just need your help to get there.
This year, we have already had so much momentum to grow the festival considerably. Our location and date for the screening event has already been locked down for November 11, 2013 at the SVA Theater on 23rd Street in Manhattan, and we can't wait to see you there!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)