About this project
WELCOME TO KICKSTARTER
Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform that allows supporters to donate to a cause they believe in. After years of pouring our heart and soul into this project, we are calling on YOU to help us in the home stretch - to take ownership in the completion of a timely and important film. The documentary's message will promote social engagement and spur discussion about the direction we have taken as a nation – and what kind of society we want to live in.
ABOUT THE FILM
REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM is the riveting discussion-of-a-lifetime with Noam Chomsky – "the most important intellectual alive" - on America's staggering concentration of wealth, unprecedented inequality, and the corrosion of democracy.
Through candid conversation, Chomsky sketches an unvarnished portrait of our country today and how the orchestrated efforts of a financial aristocracy, from the '70s to the present, have reshaped social and economic policy to serve their own interests.
Reminiscent of Errol Morris' Fog of War in its personal and intimate approach, REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM is the cautionary tale of what may prove to be the lasting legacy of our time - the death of the middle class.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
In order to accomplish our goals, we've set the following funding benchmarks:
• Minimum goal: $30,000
This provides us with the resources to finish our film and create a festival screener – allowing for a film festival premiere. These expenses include editorial, color correction, graphics, sound mixing and music composition.
• Stretch goal: $45,000
This provides us with additional resources to make our film distribution-ready and begin exhibiting the film to audiences at festivals, community screenings, classrooms at high schools and universities – and to work with like-minded partner organizations. The film would be ready for domestic and international broadcast, traditional theatrical and theatrical-on-demand, educational, and digital distribution.
WHY THIS FILM?
Our nation is at a critical moment in its history and there is no better person to tell the story of how we've arrived here.
Noam Chomsky has tirelessly explored the powerful forces that dictate policy decisions in the United States for decades, and in doing so, has compelled many to move beyond conventional notions of how we view our political system. A global phenomenon – both revered and reviled – Chomsky has influenced and inspired generations of thinkers, politicians, academics, activists, students, and organizers alike. We, this project's filmmakers, are to be included in the long list upon whom he's left his mark - one of the primary reasons we are committed to making this film.
Our intent is for Requiem to provide an opportunity to introduce Noam Chomsky, and his thoughts and insights, to a broader audience through the events that directly impact our collective lives, rather than intellectual abstraction. Of utmost importance to us is presenting Chomsky in a way he hasn't been before – immediate and accessible; as opposed to how he's so often experienced - from behind a lectern, distant and removed.
WHY NOW? WHY DOES IT MATTER?
The America we now live in - a nation defined by historically unprecedented concentration of wealth, staggering inequality and an eviscerated middle class - is something that Chomsky has written about, and cautioned against, for decades. As he remarks in the film:
“Unless these trends are reversed, it's going to be an extremely ugly society – so ugly I don't know who would want to live in it.”
HOW IS THIS FILM DIFFERENT?
We were fortunate to be granted unparalleled access to Chomsky – a privilege that gave us two things:
Firstly, the extensiveness of the interview process provided him with the freedom to thoroughly unpack the social and economic forces responsible for shaping the America we live in today. The foundational material from his seminal works can be found here – Deterring Democracy, Manufacturing Consent, Failed States -– but all within the context of current headlines. Chomsky deftly interprets these headlines not as isolated events, but as a function of a larger dynamic that demands our attention and engagement.
Secondly, the scope of the interview process created a rapport that allowed for a warmth and humor few have witnessed from him. As a result, our film reveals a rare side of Chomsky - now 84 years old - as he candidly shares personal reflections on his life, his work and the myth of the American Dream.
WHERE WE ARE AT - AND WHERE WE ARE HEADED...
With principal photography completed, our campaign to raise finishing funds is just that. The funds we seek are specifically for the completion of the film - allowing us to pay for final editorial and post-production costs. Having invested a year and a half of our collective time and resources into this project we're in the homestretch - but need your help getting to the finish line.
WHAT THE FILM WILL LOOK LIKE
Stylistically, we have clearly defined the look, tone and feel of the film – as reflected in the accompanying trailer. In terms of interview style Requiem is in the mode of Errol Morris' landmark Fog of War, in that Chomsky engages the viewer unguardedly, making direct eye contact through the camera lens.
The thoughts and ideas Chomsky shares in these candid exchanges are supported by primary source documents, rarely seen archival footage, exhaustively researched infographics – all of which are brought to life through an array of visual formats including analogue film and filmstrip projectors, microfiche readers and old tube televisions, among others.
The “Two Americas” of which Chomsky speaks - one of decline and one of wealth and privilege - has been captured in cinematic HD footage filmed across the United States by our team of award-winning cinematographers. These stunning images of society today serve as visual counterpoints to Chomsky's ideas - once viewed, they are not easily forgotten.
We've also had the tremendous fortune to enlist the talents of Mark Wagner to create original artwork for the film. Having made his mark on the art world with collages created entirely from sliced-up one-dollar bills - the most ubiquitous piece of paper in America - Mark's work is a meditation on what the US dollar symbolizes, and it's deeper meanings. Mark has created title and interstitial slates for the film, as well as providing thematically consistent artwork that will run throughout.
The result of these storytelling elements collectively is a more engaging and exciting cinematic experience.
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD
We thank you for taking the time to learn about our project and campaign. Please give whatever you can, and spread the word on the project. LIKING and RE-POSTING us on FACEBOOK helps a great deal. We can't do it alone. It's our hope that our film will provide a vehicle to educate, enlighten and inspire change - in the spirit of Professor Chomsky and his work.
Risks and challenges
The good news here is that, with the film securely in post-production, the pitfalls and uncertainties of production have already been successfully navigated. The footage is visually stunning and the content is as thought-provoking as one would expect from the extensive interviews we’ve had the good fortune of conducting with professor Chomsky over the past years and a half.
The risks and challenges, therefore, lie largely beyond production and revolve around getting the film and its message - Professor Chomsky's ideas - out to as broad an audience as possible. To succeed in this, we’ll develop a communications and distribution strategy in line with the primary themes the film explores – namely, engaging the power of community. Our efforts, therefore, will focus on working together with organizations and advocacy groups that are grappling with the very issues that Chomsky lays bare - and empowering them to use the film as an organizing tool with the potential to inform and, ideally, create material change. We’ve had the tremendous fortune of enjoying successful partnerships with advocacy groups when working with our previous documentary films.
• SPLIT: A Divided America - a film about partisanship in politics – cornerstoned a nationwide campaign to educate first time voters in collaboration with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
• SPLIT: A Deeper Divide was programmed internationally through the US State department, The John Adams Institute and The JFK Institute in cities around the world including Beijing, Berlin, Madrid, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Taipei, Toulouse, Ankara, Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Stuttgart and Valencia, among others.
• Do The Math was the focus of a massive “Earth Day” house party and community screening campaign on climate change, organized hand in hand with a coalition of prominent environmental action groups led by 350.org, with over 1000 simulcasts domestically and an additional 800 worldwide.
• Awake Zion served as the centerpiece of the influential concert & screening series “Sonic Sessions” - bringing together cultures from both sides of a long-standing divide for the first time - through the powerful vehicle of reggae music.
We are already in the process of preparing to do the same with Requiem for the American Dream by beginning to lay the foundation for these all-important partnerships.
In a very real sense, this Kickstarter campaign is the first step in bringing the project to a larger audience, and building that grass roots support for the film and its message… well ahead of release. It is our sincere hope – and ultimate goal - that this support will see Professor Chomsky's ideas reach citizens from all walks of life, both here and abroad.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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