June 24 Update:
With three days to spare, we met our initial goal and are full of gratitude to the almost 200 donors that made that possible, along with countless supporters, friends and journalists who broadcast our efforts and helped us find donors.
We are still going strong - more funds will allow our students to work with a larger professional crew on set and better equipment. So, thank you to those who have continued to donate - and if you are coming here for the first time, please read below about our project. We can still use your help, and still have many fantastic prizes!
Why don't the teens we see in movies and on TV reflect the complexity, talent, struggles, humor and ambition of real young people? Maybe it's because the wrong people are telling their stories.
72 Hours: A Brooklyn Love Story? is an original feature length comedy created by Reel Works Teens and professional mentors. It started as a documentary by student filmmaker Bilal Ndongo in the 2013 spring Reel Works Lab program (see below). This past winter, it was chosen for development into a fiction project. While the documentary followed one boy’s futile love for one girl, the feature film will expand to map the interweaving narratives revolving around a boy whose infatuation leads him on a 72-hour journey across Brooklyn.
Earlier this year, twelve talented teen filmmakers worked with improv director Jenna Weinberg to expand the stories in the original documentary into new characters based on their own lives. In April, filmmaker Raafi Rivero joined the team to develop the character and story sketches into a fluid script. In addition to writing the script, he will be directing the movie in August.
Filming will start in August 2014 - teens will play themselves side by side with professional actors, and teens will also be integrated into a professional crew. This is the way we've been working for over a decade - making quality films while teaching teenagers to make art and tell stories.
72 Hours: A Brooklyn Love Story? will premiere in January 2015.
WHAT IS REELWORKS?
Reel Works provides free filmmaking programs for NYC youth. Using a unique, one-on-one mentoring model, we challenge youth – many of them at-risk and under-represented in mainstream media – to tell their stories and have their voices heard. In the process, they build vital skills of literacy, leadership and self-confidence to create productive futures.
In 2001, we started as a single workshop of seventeen students at the Prospect Park YMCA in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In the past thirteen years, we’ve grown to provide free after-school and in-school programs to over 500 youth citywide.
Reel Works programs are designed to engage youth through intensive in-school or after-school filmmaking workshops and to provide a safe community and a continuum of learning opportunities that extend from middle school to high school to college and beyond. All our workshops are standards-based, rigorous and centered on literacy, storytelling, hands-on learning and a commitment to excellence. Reel Works has a well-earned reputation for innovation and quality:
● Our student films have been broadcast locally and nationally on HBO Family, PBS, Oprah, MSNBC and, through our partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, WNYC-Life in our weekly series, Reel Works with Avan Jogia.
● Our filmmakers have received countless honors worldwide, including five National Student Emmy awards and two New York Emmy nominations.
● In 2008, the White House presented Reel Works with the Coming Up Taller Award from President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities, the nation’s top honor for after school arts programs.
Five years ago, we founded Reel Works Productions - a professional production company that creates media for paying clients - like Hasbro, Microsoft, American Express, Time, Inc., and CUNY - while training tomorrow's storytellers.
More than anything, Reel Works is a community of active learners where young people and adult mentors meet, collaborate and inspire one another to succeed.
WHERE WILL THE FUNDING GO?
Up to this point, we’ve been able to do all the pre-production within the actual program. But we need a production budget to actually make the film. We have two goals during the production period:
1) Making a quality film with high potential for widespread release. The script that Raafi and the student filmmakers have written is beautiful and we know it can make a powerful, important film that people want to see. So, we want to be sure to get the production values that it deserves. In order to this, we need to pay professionals.
2) Creating an inspiring educational experience for our teen crew and filmmakers. Our students go on to entertainment careers, and the training they get now is what sends them there. Getting out of high school with this kind of on-set experience gives them a boost in their careers that could come from nowhere else.
We’re hoping that our funders will stay involved in seeing this film get made. Some of our rewards invite you to be part of the process – reading the script, watching the rough cut, even writing lines of dialogue, naming a character or having a walk-on-role! We don't just want to crowd-source funding for our movie, we want to crowd-source creativity to make it as great as it can be.
If we reach our goal, we can make a wonderful movie for the world to see. If we pass it, you’ll be helping us get into post-production (the editing of the film) with a major head start. Let’s make this happen.
Risks and challenges
Making movies is difficult. Mixing young filmmakers with more experienced ones can be challenging. But at Reel Works, THIS IS WHAT WE DO, and we’ve done it for thirteen years.
We're the only youth filmmaking program anywhere that matches teens 1:1 with professional mentors. That means we work closely with the best independent filmmakers in NYC. We carefully select the most talented and driven young people with stories to tell that the world needs to hear. Over 10 million people have seen our short films.
Making our first feature film won't be easy. But Reel Works has the talent, the skills, and the experience and support of the film industry to create a film that is professionally made - AND true to the voices of our teens.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)