Funding Suspended Funding for this project was suspended on August 21, 2012.
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Two freedom fighters from the Libyan revolution join the Syrian uprising against Assad and capture it all on film, with your help

This Is Your Chance to Be Part of the Arab Spring

Have you wanted to do something to help the Arab Spring but weren't sure how?  This is your chance.

In September, 2012 two famous freedom fighters from the Libyan revolution, American Matthew VanDyke and Libyan Masood Bwisir, will travel together to Syria and join the rebels on the front line against the dictator Bashar al-Assad. 

The mission? Make a groundbreaking and unique documentary film about the Syrian revolution and the Arab Spring that will be released on the internet for free to a potential audience of millions (similar to the method used to distribute the film Kony 2012).

The film will be coupled with a massive public relations campaign to promote the film, and by doing so also focus the world's attention on the struggle for freedom in Syria.

The film will be released on the internet in both English and English with Arabic subtitles.  It will also be distributed on the streets in several Arab countries.  The message of the film is to inspire and motivate people to protest for freedom in their own countries, propelling the Arab Spring forward into the next phase.

What makes this film so unique? 

The film is one-of-a-kind because of the three main subjects:

  • Matthew VanDyke - An American from Baltimore, MD, USA.  VanDyke had worked in the region for years as a journalist and documentary filmmaker, and had many friends in Libya.  When they took up arms against the Gaddafi regime, VanDyke went to help.  He fought in the Libyan revolution and was captured by Gaddafi's forces.  He spent nearly 6 months as a prisoner of war in two of Libya's most notorious prisons, being psychologically tortured in solitary confinement.  With the help of other prisoners he escaped prison and returned to combat on the front lines.  Only when Gaddafi was killed and the war ended did he come home.  Matthew VanDyke is an experienced documentary filmmaker who has filmed in the Arab world for years, including Syria before the war. He filmed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while working as an embedded journalist with the US military, and also filmed while he was fighting in Libya. His background and experience is ideally suited to this project.  More information about Matthew VanDyke can be found at his website here.
  • Masood Bwisir - A famous Libyan rebel musician who was one of the first in Benghazi to rise up against Gaddafi on February 17, 2011, Masood would fight, sing, and play his guitar on the front lines during the Libyan revolution.  His songs became some of the theme songs of the revolution, and his presence on the front line rallied his fellow Libyan freedom fighters during combat.  Wounded by a gunshot to the leg in Sirte, he returned to the same exact place he was shot later that day and returned fire at the enemy.  Masood Bwisir was very popular with the other rebel fighters during the Libyan revolution and will undoubtedly be very popular in Syria as he rallies the rebels on the front lines there as well.  More information about Masood Bwisir can be found in this Time.com article here.
  • Syrian freedom fighters - VanDyke and Bwisir will be in Syria as combat veterans of the Libyan revolution, and as such will have a far deeper understanding and level of interaction with the Syrian rebels than journalists ever could, bringing the stories of these brave men and women to a worldwide audience. 

What is the purpose of this project and what will VanDyke and Bwisir be doing in Syria?

The primary purpose of this project is to film a documentary that does the following:

  • Tell an in-depth story of the Syrian revolution from the front lines of the war in a very human, moving, and distinctive way
  • Film the Syrian revolution from an insider's perspective that other journalists or filmmakers are unable to do
  • Film Masood Bwisir entertaining and improving rebel morale with his famous revolution songs, including new ones or variations of his Libya songs modified for the Syrian revolution
  • Film the interaction between Syrian rebels and their Libyan revolution counterparts
  • Examine the interaction between an American veteran of the Libyan revolution and Syrian rebels who may or may not have a favorable view of America and Americans
  • Discover the truth of who the fighters are, what their beliefs are, and what they are fighting for
  • Show what combat is like on the front lines of the Syrian revolution
  • Most importantly, generate an incredible amount of publicity for the film to raise awareness of the conflict in Syria and inspire others around the world to protest for their freedom as well

This last point cannot be emphasized enough.  Part of the budget has been set aside specifically for funding a publicity campaign for the film, which as a side-effect will publicize the Syrian revolution as well. 

Exceeding the $19,500 funding goal might allow for an even more extensive publicity campaign for the film to draw international media attention to the film and its subject matter, so please continue to contribute even after the minimum $19,500 requirement is reached.

Raising $50,000 or even $100,000 would allow for a tremendous publicity campaign for the film!

How will the money be spent?

100% of the $19,500 budget is being spent on expenses related to filming in Syria (film and safety equipment, travel, expenses on the ground) and the promotion of the film after it is released in October 2012.  This budget does not include salaries or any monetary compensation while filming in Syria or for post-production of the film - Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir are not doing this project for money.

Everyone who contributes $25 or more gets their name in the credits section of the film and on the website, forever becoming part of the Arab Spring!

For more information, including flyers (in English, Arabic, and French) you can distribute via email or print to help promote the film, and a personal appeal from Matthew VanDyke, please visit: http://www.matthewvandyke.com/syria/

Masood Bwisir singing his song "My Nation Will Remain Strong" during the Libyan revolution

Freedom Fighter Matthew VanDyke in the Libyan Revolution
Freedom Fighter Matthew VanDyke in the Libyan Revolution

FAQ

60
Backers
$15,134
pledged of $19,500 goal
  • Pledge $25 or more
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    20 backers

    Your name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor, making you part of the Arab Spring! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    7 backers

    Choose any photo of Matthew VanDyke from his website www.matthewvandyke.com and receive a 5x7 print autographed by Matthew VanDyke. Every effort will be made to have the autographed photo sent to you in time for Christmas (makes a great gift)! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating.) Shipping is free in the USA. If the photo will be shipped outside the USA please add $10 (a $60 pledge) to cover the additional cost of international shipping.)

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    2 backers

    LIMITED EDITION DVD of the film (with disc and cover art only available during the Kickstarter campaign!) AUTOGRAPHED by Matthew VanDyke. Every effort will be made to have the DVD sent to you in time for Christmas (makes a great gift)! == AND == Your name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor, making you part of the Arab Spring! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating.) Shipping is free in the USA. If the DVD will be shipped outside the USA please add $10 (an $85 pledge) to cover the additional cost of international shipping.)

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  • Pledge $85 or more
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    2 backers

    Autographed 8x10 photo of Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir taken in SIRTE, LIBYA on the day they first met (which was also when the video clip of them at the end of the Kickstarter video was filmed). The photo will be autographed by both Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir. Every effort will be made to have the photos sent to you in time for Christmas (makes a great gift)! == AND == Your name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor, making you part of the Arab Spring! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating.) Shipping is free in the USA. If the photo will be shipped outside the USA please add $10 (a $95 pledge) to cover the additional cost of international shipping.)

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    4 backers

    LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY of the film (with disc and cover art only available during the Kickstarter campaign!) AUTOGRAPHED by Matthew VanDyke. Watch the film in HD whenever you want! Every effort will be made to have the Blu-Ray sent to you in time for Christmas (makes a great gift)! == AND == Your name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor, making you part of the Arab Spring! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating.) Shipping is free in the USA. If the Blu-Ray will be shipped outside the USA please add $10 (a $110 pledge) to cover the additional cost of international shipping.)

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  • Pledge $150 or more
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    2 backers

    Autographed 8x10 photo of Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir taken in SYRIA during the making of this film. The photo will be autographed by both Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir. == AND == LIMITED EDITION DVD of the film (with disc and cover art only available during the Kickstarter campaign!) AUTOGRAPHED by Matthew VanDyke. Every effort will be made to have the photo and DVD sent to you in time for Christmas (makes a great gift)! == AND == Your name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor, making you part of the Arab Spring! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating. Shipping is free in the USA. If the photo will be shipped outside the USA please add $10 (a $160 pledge) to cover the additional cost of international shipping.)

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  • Pledge $175 or more
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    1 backer

    Autographed 8x10 photo of Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir taken in SYRIA during the making of this film. The photo will be autographed by both Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir. == AND == LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY of the film (with disc and cover art only available during the Kickstarter campaign!) AUTOGRAPHED by Matthew VanDyke. Every effort will be made to have the photo and Blu-Ray sent to you in time for Christmas (makes a great gift)! == AND == Your name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor, making you part of the Arab Spring! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating. Shipping is free in the USA. If the photo will be shipped outside the USA please add $10 (a $185 pledge) to cover the additional cost of international shipping.)

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    5 backers

    TWO autographed 8x10 photos of Matthew VanDyke and Masood Bwisir AND a LIMITED EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY (your choice) autographed by Matthew VanDyke. The two photos are 1. taken in Sirte, Libya on the day they first met (which was also when the video clip of them at the end of the Kickstarter video was filmed), 2. taken in Syria during the making of this film. Every effort will be made to have the photos and DVD or Blu-Ray sent to you in time for Christmas (they make great gifts)! == AND == Your name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor, making you part of the Arab Spring! == AND == Your name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke. (If you do not want your name in the credits or on the website and would rather remain anonymous email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating. Shipping is free both in the USA and outside the USA.)

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (15 left of 15)

    Matthew VanDyke will present the film, speak, and answer questions at an event in 2013 hosted by your company, organization, or educational institution. Travel, accomodation, and meal expenses must be compensated separately in addition to the donation to this project. You must email matthew@matthewvandyke.com with the name of your company, organization, or educational institution to receive pre-approval before being eligible for this reward (so that Matthew VanDyke can make sure that your company or organization is legitimate and does not contradict his beliefs or morals). Matthew VanDyke will make the best possible effort to work with you to be available on the date of your choosing. == AND == Your organization/company/institution/school's name will be featured in the film credits as a contributor == AND == Your organization/company/institution/school's name will be featured on the website for the film == AND == access to a digital download of the film so you can have a copy of it == AND == a personalized, signed thank you note from Matthew VanDyke (If you do not want your organization/company/institution/school's name in the credits or on the website email matthew@matthewvandyke.com after donating.).

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  • Pledge $2,500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    Your company, organization, or educational institution's logo in the credits and on the website for the film. Since this film will be released free on the internet and heavily promoted you will get exposure to thousands of potential customers, perhaps hundreds of thousands or millions. The likely popularity of the website means that your search engine rankings may also improve by being linked to it. This is an incredible marketing opportunity, but you must email matthew@matthewvandyke.com with the name of your company, organization, or educational institution to receive pre-approval before being eligible for this reward (so that Matthew VanDyke can make sure that your company or organization is legitimate and does not contradict his beliefs or morals).

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    A personalized, one-week tour of Libya (for up to 10 people) with Matthew VanDyke, in association with Matia Tours (www.matiatours.com - a company owned by his good friend Tarik, whom VanDyke mentions in his article "Why I Fought in the Libyan Civil War"). Your custom-designed itinerary (with the help of Matia Tours) will include Matthew VanDyke's availability as a tour guide for one week in 2013, and in addition to your normal itinerary he will make every effort to show you the following: - Tripoli: his prison cells at Maktab al-Nasser and Abu Salim prison where he was held as a prisoner of war for nearly 6 months, complete with the inside story of what he went through during that time. Also, the route he took when he escaped prison and what the experience was like. - Tripoli and Benghazi: meet some of VanDyke's friends and veterans he served with during the war, including possibly Masood Bwisir, Nouri Fonas (whom VanDyke fought alongside in the war and who appears in many photos with VanDyke - Nouri was also covered by the international press a few years ago for his travels around the world) and Hatem (who VanDyke escaped from prison with), if they are in Tripoli/Benghazi during your tour. - Brega: see the town where VanDyke was captured by Gaddafi's forces and learn what happened that day from VanDyke himself - Harawa: hear the story of his first engagement with the enemy - Sirte: a tour of the battlefield and VanDyke's personal stories of life on the front line - See the exact place where Muammar Gaddafi was captured by rebels in Sirte - Visit other towns/cities of importance during the war (including ones that VanDyke did not take part in but is knowledgable about and can give you a tour of) ===== AND ===== see a 50 minute film that VanDyke made about his experience in Libya that has not been publicly released and which includes footage that has not been seen by the press ===== AND ===== Matthew VanDyke will provide autographs, pose with you in photos, introduce you to interesting people, and whatever else he can do to give you an unforgettable experience in Libya ===== (There are 3 of these tours available. Each tour is $10,000 and is for up to 10 people (if you have a larger party, email matthew@matthewvandyke.com with details. Matthew VanDyke will make an effort to be available on the tour dates of your choosing in 2013. The $10,000 is for Matthew VanDyke to be your tour guide for a week. Your transportation, lodging, meals, visas, etc. are not included and must be arranged with Matia Tours according to your preferences. If you would like more information about possible itineraries, costs, etc., please email matthew@matthewvandyke.com)

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (28 days)