About this project
TODAY IS THE DAY! ONLY 1 DAY LEFT! We need your help now more than ever!
Thank you so much for the amazing response so far! We could not have reached our goal without you. We are thrilled to be able to finish “Know How” and we look forward to sharing it with you.
Our work here is not done though - we have a stretch goal to create a companion guide and curriculum so that we can use our film as a teaching tool about foster care (for more info, scroll down to the "How Your Support Helps" section).
Together, we have the opportunity to make a real difference. Help us get to $50K so that our film can make an even bigger impact!
KNOW HOW captures the reality of life in foster care from the point of view of those living in it.
Why a film by young people in foster care? Because the system doesn’t work and the human cost of its dysfunction is one few are aware of. Consider this: a few years after aging out of foster care, only 50% of young people will complete high school or a GED, 60% will be convicted of a crime, 75% will receive public assistance, and only 6% will complete a college degree. A system producing these results needs to change.
We believe that KNOW HOW can be a pivotal step toward that change.
KNOW HOW is not a documentary nor is it fiction. It’s a hybrid approach where instead of the film being depicted by professional screenwriters and actors, it’s written and performed by a cast of ordinary foster care youth, whose performances are powerful, moving, and eye-opening. KNOW HOW brings authentic voices and unseen stories to the screen.
KNOW HOW has emerged from the efforts of The Possibility Project, (www.the-possibility-project.org), a non-profit organization in NYC that brings teenagers together to transform the negative forces in their lives into positive action through projects like this one.
NIQUANA, 21, ACTOR & CO-WRITER
A few years ago, I was sitting in my foster care agency office complaining about how bored I was with life. So the lady asked me what I would be interested in doing, and I told her I wanted to act. She told me about The Possibility Project, and I figured it would be doing Shakespeare. Instead we were acting scenes and creating a musical from our own lives.
Six months later I took the stage with 19 others; all of us had been in foster care, and we premiered a play about the things we’d been through. The stories were so powerful for audiences that afterward we talked about making it into a movie so we could reach more people.
It seemed silly to hope for something like that - until suddenly it wasn’t.
We re-wrote our script into a screenplay, rehearsed for months, and shot the whole thing in-between court dates, school, work, agency meetings and our hectic lives. Sometimes it was hard to tell if we’d finish the movie at all, but we struggled through it — we made it together.
When people used to ask me about my future, I would say “yeah, when I had a future.” I had stopped going to school, I was holding myself back. But through this experience I got my life together, graduated high school, and just completed my first year of college.
All the while we’ve still been striving to get this movie over the finish line. So here we are, so close to being totally done. All we need is your help!
The heart of our film is the foster care cast: Deshawn Brown (now 23 years old), Niquana Clark (21), Michael Kareem Dew (22), Gabrielle Garcia (20), Lee Jimenez (22), Gilbert Howard (23), Claribelle Pagan (19), and Ebonee Simpson (21).
Each of them grew up in foster care in NYC, and met as teenagers in The Possibility Project.
Each of them has a remarkable story of loss and of hope.
Each of them is deeply committed to sharing their story and making a difference for other youth in care.
Your pledges will directly fund KNOW HOW’s last stages of post-production, including color correction, sound design & mixing, motion graphics, and the original score.
PLUS: if we pass our funding goal and raise more than we need to finish the film, we can go farther. We’ve identified STRETCH GOALS that will let us do even more to reach audiences.
At $50,000: Free Lesson Plans
We’ll be able to create a curriculum for youth in schools and agencies to “teach the film” in the classroom, provide discussion points on the state of foster care in the United States, develop and share their own stories, and gain more insight on the creative process used in the film.
PLUS: If we reach $50,000, all backers pledging $10 or more will also receive a strip of exclusive “KNOW HOW” stickers. Put them everywhere, give them to friends, and help organize your communities around the movement.
At $100,000: Screening Tour Kickoff
The cast and creators of the film will go on tour, taking KNOW HOW to young people in foster care agencies and schools in major U.S. cities. We’ll sit down after screenings to dialogue with students, teachers, and foster care youth and workers; we’ll shoot short interviews with youth at screenings on the road, post them to our website, and get their voices heard, too.
PLUS: If we reach $100,000, everyone who pledges $25 or more will now get 2 T-shirts! One for you and one for a friend who is just as motivated to transform foster care.
KNOW HOW is directed by Juan Carlos Piñeiro Escoriaza, and is his first foray into narrative features. His first motion picture, "Second Skin," is a documentary about virtual worlds like World of Warcraft, Everquest, and Second Life. It premiered opening night of SXSW and won an Adobe MAX award for entertainment in 2009, and best documentary at the ACE Film Festival in 2008. Besides making films, as an activist Juan Carlos founded “White Roof Project” (http://www.whiteroofproject.org) and has acted as a mentor for NYC youth (http://www.streetwisepartners.org).
Paul G. Griffin is Executive Producer and Producer of “KNOW HOW.” He is the Founder and President of The Possibility Project and has been using the performing arts to empower teenagers for over 20 years. He also directed the original play from which the film was adapted.
Marcus Clark is the Producer and Line Producer. He most recently directed Love & Hip Hop NY Season 3 for Vh1. He is a senior producer at the creative agency/production company DECON, and is the founder of St. Marx Productions LLC.
KNOW HOW was made by The Possibility Project (www.the-possibility-project.org). We are a non-profit organization in NYC that brings teenagers together to transform the negative forces in their lives into positive action. Each year, we conduct three year-long creative programs in which 140 youth learn to build relationships across differences, resolve the difficult conflicts they face, make positive community impact, and develop a new vision of the future for themselves, their friends and their families. They learn all this while writing and then performing an original musical from the stories of their lives and their ideas for change. We have produced 22 original musicals with over 950 young people. KNOW HOW is our first film.
Since 2001 when we began, 99% of our youth have graduated from high school or finished their GED and 90% have gone on to college.
Risks and challenges
Over the last two-and-a-half years, we have taken countless risks to get this film done. There have been times we thought it couldn’t be done. Yet, we have met every challenge to date (and there have been many!). We have finished the pre-production, production, and early post-production of the movie. We’re now faced with finishing the last few steps of our film. We’re so close - we need your support.
Join us and work with us to finish our film and change foster care. Be a part of getting “KNOW HOW” out into the world where it can make a real impact and inspire change.
There are more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care in the U.S. Most people think the foster care system takes care of the young people in it. It doesn’t. The truth is that the foster care system in our cities simply doesn’t work for the majority of young people. In fact, it often does more harm than good - foster care youth are consistently mistreated and given a minimum of care or guidance and even less respect or dignity. They live daily with a high risk of abuse and neglect. They face a transitory living situation, typically moving from place to place to place over years. They are burdened by the stigmas of being in care, hoping no one finds out the real story of their lives. The effect of this reality is beyond devastating. Two to four years after aging out of foster care, only 50% will complete high school or a GED, 60% will be convicted of a crime, 75% will receive public assistance, 50% will be unemployed, and a staggeringly low 6% will complete a college degree. “KNOW HOW” tells the stories behind these numbers and shares the struggle of youth trapped in this reality.
“KNOW HOW” is entertaining - but it intends to go beyond that. In this film, for the first time other foster care youth will see on screen their unique world from their perspective. The adults who work with these youth and the public who know little to nothing about foster care will see a whole new world. We want to the film's stories to reach audiences who will work together to make life better for foster care youth and address the unnoticed national injustice that is the current foster care experience.
You will contribute to making a film, for sure, receive our gratitude, and get some very cool “stuff.” But better yet, your support will help raise the voice of foster youth so they can be heard, and tell the truth about a silent social issue. It will mean you want to motivate our nation to take a new look at foster care and transform it. It will mean you stand in solidarity with youth who badly need others to listen to them. Your contribution will help place “KNOW HOW” at the center of a social action campaign that can redefine foster care. So no matter what size your donation, it means big things.
Our campaign has a clear goal: to get audiences to join the movement to transform the foster care experience for youth.
First, we will use the movie website, trailers, social media, blogs, and online communities to persuade individuals to commit to watch the film, tweet at thought/cultural leaders who can bring greater awareness and action to the cause, and stay updated on new awareness-raising initiatives to spread the word about the film, the state of foster care, and reform efforts. We have already engaged some great organizations - Youth Communication, Fostering Focus Magazine, The Annie E. Casey Foundation - to strategize our campaign, spread the word about the film, or organize community screenings. We will also create educational materials to accompany community screenings.
We then plan to go city-by-city holding screenings and rallying communities to the cause. We aim to inspire, educate and connect youth in the system, those working in and around it, as well as caring individuals unaware of foster care, through the movie’s powerful stories. We will engage audiences to support foster youth and work for change in each city that we go to through simple, realistic actions. By giving voice to foster care youth and capturing the eye-opening reality of their lives, we will move audiences, transforming empathy into action to redefine foster care and address the injustice it perpetuates.
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- (30 days)