We met our goal early! THANK YOU to all our backers!
YOU CAN STILL DONATE UNTIL APRIL 8! Each dollar will make Smallsmall Thing even better, so please keep up the support! $25,000 was the bare minimum to get the film finished! Our actual budget is closer to $50,000. More money will ensure it gets done not only better but FASTER, and it's less we need from grants.
After 3 years, we are done shooting this important documentary, and have a great 90 minute rough cut - please help us raise the money to finish it right!
"My administration shall empower Liberian women in all areas of our national life, We will support and increase the writ of laws that restore their dignity and deal drastically with crimes that dehumanize them. We will enforce, without fear or favor, the law against rape recently passed." - Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (2005)
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in womens issues. Yet according to UN statistics in 2012, rape is still the #1 crime in Liberia, and the majority of the victims are children. Médecins Sans Frontières in Liberia reports their youngest survivor at 21 months old.
Small Small Thing begins at JFK Hospital in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and urban center of this West African country. Olivia is 9 years old, severely malnourished and handicapped. Her condition is life threatening. Believing her injuries to be the result of witchcraft, Olivia's mother had been hiding her for years. The doctors conclude her condition is the result of a brutal rape that took place when Olivia was 7 years old. When pressured to reveal her rapist, Olivia names her cousin.
This diagnosis has severe consequences. Originally from deep in the Liberian jungle, Olivia and her mother are shunned from their tribe for seeking outside help. They are left stranded in Monrovia at the mercy of President Sirleaf's government, facing the most difficult decision of all. What price are they willing to pay for justice?
In January 2009, Jess was in Liberia directing a different documentary about the challenges US surgeons face in post war countries. In the middle of shooting, the US hospital involved deemed the film too controversial and put it on hold. Defeated and stuck in a Liberian hospital, Jess starting hanging out in the women's ward, where she met Olivia & Bendu.
Jess was quickly taken by their story. With the help of Barnie, she tried to get to the bottom of it in the short time they had. Ultimately, there were more questions than answers.
Back in the US, Jess explained the story to Nika. They couldn't sit by and do nothing....They emptied their savings, pulled favors to get equipment and headed to Liberia in search of answers. With the help of a local journalist, an under cover police officer, and the support of the UN, they set out to discover the truth about what happened to Olivia.
Small Small Thing is the result of their investigations; an intricate web of corruption, adventure and hope.
Three years in the making, we've taken it as far as we can on our own, and now we need your help to finish it. We are almost there!
Principal photography is completed and we have an amazing rough cut. We are asking for 25k, the bare minimum to complete this project.
To take us all the way to the finish line we realistically need about 50k. Film finishing is expensive, and many of our colleagues have agreed to work at a generously discounted rate, simply because they believe as much as we do in the importance of telling this story.
With the bare minimum we can:
- finish editing the rough cut ourselves
- have narration writing finished
- basic audio mix and voice over record in a studio
- basic color correct
- receive final translation for subtitles
- create a professional package to pursue additional funding
Additional money will help to:
- hire an editor to take the film to picture lock
- full online and color correct
- create graphics and opening sequence for the film
- create a professional level trailer
- build a website for the film
- create promotional materials for the project
- have the original score composed to the finished film
- theatrical level audio mix
- submit the film to festivals
- license archival footage for inclusion on the film
- facilitate a premiere event in NY
In addition to helping us tell Olivia's story, your donation will get you some great gifts!. We shot over 3000 photographs on our journey, and have put together a beautiful book. You'll also be able to receive large landscape prints of the jungle at sunset. Ummm…. breathtaking and perfect in your living room, or your moms or your girlfriends. They'd probably go pretty well in the bedroom too.
You can see a selection of the photos here: http://smallsmallthing.tumblr.com/
Not only is Olivia a smart, sassy and resilient little girl, she's a pretty awesome artist. We're turning her crayon drawings into a pretty stylish t-shirt and also working with an artist to translate them into a series of screen prints on Canvas.
You can find us on Facebook: (http://www.facebook.com/SmallSmallThing) and see updates on the various gift designs above. While your at it, like the page and keep up to date on the film's progress!
Jessica Vale (Director, writer, producer)
Jess (aka Jessica Gerlach) is an accomplished non-fiction film producer and editor, working in the business for over a decade. Originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania, Jess graduated from Temple University. Her credits include work for CBS News, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History Channel, The Weinstein Co, and more.
When she’s not deep in the documentary world, Jess spends her time as a musician and artist. In 2005 and 2007, her singles appeared on the Billboard charts. Her work has been featured in publications around the world such as the front page of the Times London art section, Wired Magazine and the NY Daily News.
Nika Offenbac (Producer, Cinematographer)
Nika Offenbac is a film and animation director working between NY and LA. After receiving her BFA from the California College of Art in San Francisco she moved to NY and founded the design Studio CTRL. In 2009 she returned to directing combining her design background with live action.
Nika's short films have been exhibited at The Kunsthaus Graz in Austria, National Museum of Popular Art in Rome, and are included in the permanent collection of the SF Moma. She was a recipient of the ADC Young Guns award in 2008 for her design work and has been featured in numerous documentaries and publications, most recently the documentary "Press Pause Play". This is her first feature.
Barnie Jones (co-Producer):
Barnie is a proud mother and native Liberian living and working in New York as a senior wholesaler for Chase Bank. She became involved in this film while working for a visiting medical team in Liberia. Barnie recently starred as an actress in her first feature film "Murder in the Cassava Patch" premiering Spring 2012.
Chuck Wendig (additional writing):
Chuck is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He wrote the novels Double Dead and Blackbird, and co-authored the short film Pandemic and the digital transmedia narrative Collapsus (nominated for an International Digital Emmy). He is a fellow of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab.
Jean-Luc Sinclair (original music):
Jean-Luc is a veteran composer-sound designer and producer who over the past 15 years has worked and collaborated with some of
the most influential artists of our time. From writing with TrentReznor to sound design for the Scissor Sisters, Sinclair has also written and produced a number of soundtracks for clients ranging from Alcatel to The North face and Henessy to the BBC. His unique approach to sound and music has made him a very respected and sought after name in the industry.
- (60 days)