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£8,138
pledged of £100,000pledged of £100,000 goal
54
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Apr 27 2015
Last updated April 27, 2015

Project Children - The Documentary (Canceled)

40 years & 23,000 children later, this film tells the story of Project Children's founder & the children whose lives he changed.

Project Children - The Documentary (Canceled)

40 years & 23,000 children later, this film tells the story of Project Children's founder & the children whose lives he changed.

£8,138
pledged of £100,000pledged of £100,000 goal
54
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Apr 27 2015
Last updated April 27, 2015

About

Were you a 'Project Children' Child or Host Family? This is YOUR story. Read on to find out how you can help make this film and perhaps even feature in it.

PROJECT CHILDREN is the story of how one man’s hope and kindness was the catalyst to change tens of thousands of children’s lives. 

Forty years ago, a New York City cop, frustrated by the daily reports of wanton violence emanating from Northern Ireland, decided he couldn’t stand idly by whilst two communities tore each other apart in what amounted to a civil war. So he came up with a plan. Denis Mulcahy, an Irish emigrant, hit upon the idea of taking children - children who he saw on the nightly news manning barricades and throwing petrol bombs - away from the violence and bringing them to America. For a summer free from marches, murder and mayhem, and where they could get to know their ‘enemy’ neighbours in a neutral environment. Denis was a decorated bomb disposal expert with the NYPD, but despite his undoubted skill and renown, defusing centuries of tensions in Northern Ireland was to prove his most difficult but ultimately most rewarding undertaking. Forty years since he first decided something had to be done, twenty three thousand children have travelled to America with his ‘Project Children’ initiative.

Denis Mulcahy
Denis Mulcahy

WHY THIS FILM NOW?

This is the extraordinary untold story of how one man’s vision not only helped win the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of ‘troubled children’, but also how that intervention, in what seemed like a hopeless situation, would ultimately pave the way for peace. Last year was the final year that ‘Project Children’ took a group of Catholics and Protestants to America – and that in itself is a cause for celebration. Denis Mulcahy looks at Northern Ireland now as a place unrecognisable from those images that prompted him into action in the early seventies. Forty years and nearly twenty-five thousand children later, ‘Project Children’ has done its job. Denis Mulcahy was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he lost out on both occasions to Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Had he won the award, he would still point to Northern Ireland’s peace process and continued stability as his proudest moment. This is the inspiring and largely untold story of how one person really can effect change in the world… Cinematic in its scope and reach, our film will be a compelling watch.

THE STORY & STYLE OF THE FILM

Northern Ireland in the early 1970’s was experiencing some of the very worst years of the troubles. Bloody Sunday, Bloody Friday, The Miami Showband Massacre and the Kingsmill Massacre were just some of the brutal events and images that flashed all around the world.

Through a mixture of incredibly rich archive, sumptuously shot interviews, observational filming and stylistic reconstruction we will make the fascinating story of Denis Mulcahy and Project Children come alive. Denis and his family will guide us through the ecstasy and the agony of forty years of toil, we will hear from some children who took part - including the original six from 1975 - and host families who welcomed children into their homes will recount tales of arguments, fights and inevitable culture clashes. What happened during that first summer, when six kids from both sides of the Belfast divide were forced to holiday together, and the extraordinary stories of what has happened since in their lives, will be a particular focus.

Our ambition is to make a landmark documentary that will sit as comfortably in a festival cinema as it will on TV. By telling the bigger story of ‘Project Children’ through the microcosm of great individual stories we’ll be able to create a series of deeply personal journeys that reflect and compliment the wider narrative. Through interview, archive and actuality filming, we’ll journey back with our contributors to the places where they spent their summers and to Northern Ireland. To tell the bigger political story and how America's involvement in creating the conditions for peace, we’ll interview an ‘A’ list of political heavyweights in the US, UK and Northern Ireland.

The racing narrative will be reinforced by a wealth of archive, most of it personal and unseen footage from the time, and a wider archive of news and documentary footage that will serve to contextualise the story. There are too, of course, an abundance of stills, newspaper articles and personal letters that are a great resource to call upon.

We’ll also recreate key moments in the narrative with highly stylised, impressionistic reconstruction that we’ll use throughout the film. The POV of a child arriving in America from 1970’s Belfast, Denis staring at the news reports in his NYPD precinct, defusing a bomb on the mean streets of 70’s New York, Pat Mulcahy's initial difficulties fundraising because he dared help Protestants, the 4th of July celebrations sounding like bombs to children who had never heard fireworks before… the opportunities to elevate the visual ambition of this film are endless, but, these things all cost money...

THE CONTEXT & POLITICAL IMPACT OF PROJECT CHILDREN

It was President Bill Clinton’s direct intervention with all sides that was to help bring the warring parties to the table, bringing about a lasting peace – a peace that had been Denis’ vision back in the dark days of the 70’s, watching Belfast blow up on his chromacolor TV. This bigger political story of how America stepped in, to ultimately create the conditions for peace, will weave effortlessly around the story of Project Children. Bill Clinton has already provided an interview for this film, along with a stellar cast of senators, ambassadors and MP’s from the era. 

THE CHILDREN’S STORIES

Six children were carefully chosen by friends of the charity in Belfast -three Catholics and three Protestants. The tranquil setting of Greenwood Lake was about to be disturbed by six rowdy teenagers direct from ‘the troubled’ Belfast. They had met each other for the first time on the Aer Lingus flight from Dublin and the intrinsic distrust they felt for someone of the opposite religion didn’t disappear in the six hours it took to cross the Atlantic. It would take a couple of weeks for the tension and awkwardness to fully subside. The type of child that ‘Project Children’ wanted to reach, were those in desperate situations and could easily have been sucked into the vacuum of hate and violence that was such a part of everyday life, but six weeks in America had have a transformative effect. 

Many thousands of children returned to their communities with a different outlook on life and friends on the other side of the divide, they in turn influenced their peers and it was from this that the seeds of peace were sown. We’ll major on telling the story of the first six children who made the trip across the Atlantic – fighting amongst themselves all the way. Through the microcosm of getting to know them, and the extraordinary twists and turns their lives have taken over the span of forty years, we’ll be able to tell the bigger story of the profound personal and political impact that Project Children had.

Did YOU travel to America with 'Project Children', or were you a host family?

We want to hear from you. Please read on to find out how to submit your story.

WHY WE NEED YOU TO HELP?

Project Children was founded on the support and generosity of people who became a community with a common interest; to protect children. Project Children gave these children a much-needed break from the grim politics and violence of their own country and an extraordinary chance to play together.

With Kickstarter we are giving you a chance to be a part of that community by bringing together the memory, stories and lives of the people effected by Project Children and Denis, in one superb film. By donating you are enabling the memories to live on and you too will become a part of the story.

The film is a message of compassion and humanitarianism, and provides valuable lessons for those who will watch. It will have resonance in communities experiencing civil war and who look to their children to fight there battles and encourages hatred. It could become part of the understanding and knowledge to create peace in other parts of the world, and your contribution can help to make this happen.

IF YOU WERE A PART OF PROJECT CHILDREN TELL US YOUR STORY

If YOU traveled to America with Project Children or were a host family Simply film yourself talking about your experience, and upload your video to our You Tube Channel:

You Tube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkqLERm2DBO_fWYHZDWDLBw

You can also post your story and pictures to our facebook page:

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Children-Documentary/383132658521387

Follow us on Twitter to hear more and reconnect with fellow Project Children:

Twitter - @PChildrenDoc

HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS

Kickstarter is a way to “crowdsource” fundraising. In the absence of real funding for films or activist platforms, it allows people to give what they can no matter how big or small, to make amazing projects happen — which is a bit like how social movements work! And it is certainly how Project Children got started in the 70s, only we have Kickstarter rather than collection jars.

If you make a donation to help us make the film you get a reward. All you have to do is choose the amount you’d like to donate and the gift you’d like in return. When funding is completed, you will be charged for your pledge and we will send you your reward.

IF WE DON’T MEET OUR GOAL, WE DON’T GET ANY OF THE MONEY!

If we do not raise all of the money we get nothing, even if we are just £100 short. We must raise 100% (or more) of the target about (£100k), so that is why we need everyone to help!

If we exceed the amount we intend to raise, we will use the additional funds to film more reconstruction and drama elements of the film. We will also be able to seek out and interview more ‘Project Children’. In addition to this, we will also we be able to put on screenings of the film in both America and Ireland to help educate and bring awareness. Updates will be provided of how we are spending the funds in this event.

Risks and challenges

We have spent many years of making documentaries, therefore completing the film itself is not our challenge. What is our challenge, is that we want this documentary to be prolific in its reach and impact. So many people on either side of the pond have been touched by Project Children and Denis, we are confident we will reach those people, but the story of Project Children transcends this. Project Children also played its part in changing the political landscape and bringing about peace during conflict. Our largest challenge will be securing our audience and distribution outside of the US, UK and NI territories. The message and intention of Project Children is applicable across the world and especially within countries whose citizens find themselves in conflict with their neighbours. With your help we need to share this project far and wide to allow others to learn from the achievements of Project Children.

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Support

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    Donate because you can, and because you support the project.

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    Receive a credited 'Thank You' on the Project Children - The Documentary, website.

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    Watch the full Project Children film online for one evening of streaming and receive a thanks on the website.

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    Receive Reward 3 and access to special behind the scenes footage and extended interviews, streamed online for one week.

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    Rewards 3 & 4 as well as one week of streaming access to previous work belonging to the director and producer, including documentaries: 'Life Patrol', 'The Big Climb', 'Alex Against The Rock’.

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    Advanced online screening of completed film, with Q & A with the Director, Des Henderson. Plus thanks on website and access to extra content and previous work.

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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 128

    All of Rewards 5 along with a collectors CD made in support of 'Project Children'. 'Peace for Ireland: One Child at a Time'. Only 5,000 copies of the limited-edition disc were ever put in to distribution. The CD includes songs from: Mary Black, U2, Carly Simon, Mindy Jostyn, Gaelic Storm, Janis Ian, James Galway, The Chieftains, James Taylor, The Corrs, Hair Of The Dog, Hothouse Flowers and many more great artists. Plus thanks on website.

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    4 x Postcard size prints and all of rewards 6.
    These postcards will feature unique production stills from the film.

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    Pledge £250 or more About US$ 320

    All of Reward 6 along with a limited release, organic cotton, Project Children photo printed T-Shirt & 4 x Postcards. These postcards will feature unique production stills from the film.

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    Pledge £700 or more About US$ 896

    One breathtaking A1 sized print of an iconic Project Children photograph from the archives. There are lots to choose from and you can have your pick from a selection we'll post online.
    Plus all of reward 6, and 4 x postcards.

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    Pledge £1,500 or more About US$ 1,920

    A signed, unique Coffee Table book of Barbara Beirne's incredible photographs. This stunning compendium of never before published images from Northern Ireland will become an instant, rare collectors item and a unique piece of Irish history.
    Each signed book contains a foreword by the photographer who has been lauded by the Smithsonian Institute.
    Plus all of rewards 6.

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    Pledge £2,500 or more About US$ 3,199

    Everything in the previous rewards, T-shirt, a print, book, access to advanced online screenings and a limited edition packaged USB stick with the Project Children movie and all extra footage.

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    Pledge £3,500 or more About US$ 4,478

    A rare, behind the scenes visit to Capitol Hill (travel not included).

    Courtesy of the friends of Project Children in Washington DC we are offering two people a once in a lifetime chance of taking a guided tour of Capitol Hill with some of the well-known names who work there. You’ll rub shoulders with the great and the good as you get to see life on the hill from the inside as well as learning about how Project Children became an important charity for many of America’s top politicians.
    Plus all of reward 9.

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    Pledge £4,000 or more About US$ 5,118

    Two tickets to attend a unique screening and dinner in New York. Meet and mingle with the Director and Producer of the film, along with Denis himself. In addition to the dinner you will see an exclusive screening of the film amongst prestigious company, including a unique Q&A after the screening. (Travel & Accommodation not included). You will receive thanks in credits of the film along with a limited edition, beautifully packaged USB stick with the Project Children movie and all extra footage, T-Shirt & Postcards.

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    Pledge £4,500 or more About US$ 5,758

    Receive an 'Associate Producer’ credit (including credit on Imdb), plus attendance and five tickets to the world premiere in the closest region: USA, NI or UK. (Travel & Accommodation not included). Plus a limited edition beautifully packaged USB stick with the Project Children movie and all extra footage, T-Shirt & Postcards.

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About US$ 6,397

    Everything in all previous rewards, including: Music CD, postcards, signed book, T-shirt, signed print, a pair of tickets to the dinner and screening at the Irish embassy, a limited edition USB stick and an associate producer credit (including credit on Imdb). Meet and mingle with the Director and Producer of the film, along with Denis himself. In addition to the dinner you will see an exclusive screening of the film amongst prestigious company, including a unique Q&A after the screening. (Travel & Accommodation not included).

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Funding period

- (30 days)