A Story about Matzo and the American Dream, Made on the Lower East Side. Read more
This project was successfully funded on May 31, 2013.
About this project
We did it! YOU did it!!! Go Team Matzo!
We are absolutely stunned and grateful beyond words for the support you've given us for the past 45 days. We're in shock, to be honest, at the outpouring of support as the campaign draws to a close tonight - thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!!!! It is ALL because of you, your belief in us, and in this story. Thank you!!!!
We're setting a STRETCH GOAL!
With 10 hours left, we're setting a stretch goal at $90,000! Don't worry, we've hit the goal we set, so no chance now of your pledges not being counted! Here's the deal: The original budget for this film was $125,000. Can we make an awesome film for $60,000? Yes!!! And we're going to, thanks to you! But while we have time, we're continuing to raise funds for marketing the film - getting it out to festivals, meeting with distributors, publicizing the project once it's finished. It's a huge part of the process! We're forever grateful for the opportunity you've given us, for your support that's allowed us to make this film. Let's keep sharing it today and see how far we can go! Above all else, again....
On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, in a series of four nondescript brick tenement buildings, sits the Streit’s Matzo factory. In 1925, when Aron Streit opened the factory’s doors, it sat at the heart of the nations largest Jewish immigrant community. Today, in its fifth generation of family ownership, in a rapidly gentrifying Lower East Side, it remains as the last family owned matzo factory in America.
This is place rooted in history and tradition, and not only in the sense that the recipe for their product is 3,000 years old. The machinery still used here to bake and pack 40% of the nation’s matzo is as old as the factory itself. The owners still sit at their great grandfathers desks, declining to clear the drawers of the contents left by their forbearers. They have, again and again, refused exorbitant sums offered by developers for their real estate, and resisted modernizing the facility, worried at the potential effects on their fiercely loyal workforce, made up of neighborhood residents and immigrants from around the world, many of whom have been working there for 30 years or more.
And yet, while in many ways Streit’s may seem a relic from another age, they continue to thrive, consistently receiving more orders than they can fill.
In a neighborhood where the Jewish immigrants have long ago moved on, in a nation where progress and profits trump all else, where manufacturing has left the cities if not the country, where family businesses are bought out by giant corporations and workers move from job to low paying job, Streit’s remains a Lower East Side institution, and a glimmer of hope for the American Dream.
This film, a feature-length documentary, will tell the story of Streit’s - of the factory, of the family, of its workers, of its place in the rich history of the Lower East Side and in America. It is a story of tradition, of resilience and resistance, of the perseverance of the Jewish people, and of immigrants of all faiths, so many of whom have found home in the Lower East Side, behind the doors of Streit’s, or in the matzo they bake.
The film is being directed by Lower East Side-based documentary filmmaker Michael Levine, and produced by Michael Green (see the FAQ for more about the production team).
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
By joining in our Kickstarter campaign, you can help us get this film made!
As you can see from the teaser, we’ve begun production, and the experience has been amazing! The owners of Streit’s and everyone who works at the factory are extremely excited about the project, and helping out every way they can to help us capture their story.
But to this point, the production has been self-financed, and that can only take us so far. A feature length documentary is a major undertaking, and we need to raise money to complete the film (see the FAQ below to learn more about where the funding will go).
With your support on Kickstarter, and by spreading the word about the project, we will be able to finish the film and get the Streit’s story out into the world.
BE REWARDED FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Not only will your pledge help us tell Streit's amazing story, but it'll get you some pretty nifty rewards as well... Posters of vintage Streit's advertising, the hats worn by workers at the Streit's factory (well, the same type of hat, we're don't plan on sending you a used hat unless you really want it), tours of the factory with the owners and the film's director, gift packages from Streit's, festival passes, and of course the finished film itself! Check out all the reward levels available on the right...
And for those outside the United States, while the rewards say "Ships within the US only, we are happy to ship internationally! Please just add $10 to your pledge for shipping, and send us a note letting us know that your reward will need to be shipped outside the United States. Thank you!
HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?
Through Kickstarter, you can make a pledge to help us reach our funding goal, and we offer you rewards for your support. If we reach our goal within our 45 day fundraising period, we receive the donation you pledged and you receive your reward. If our goal is not reached, no money changes hands and the film remains unfunded. It’s all or nothing!
CAN WE EXCEED OUR GOAL?
Yes! In fact, as thrilled as we would be to reach our goal of $60,000, and as much as those funds will allow us to do, exceeding that amount would be of huge benefit to the production of the film, and to you. And here’s why…
As for the filming, we’re not too worried about going hungry – we’re in a matzo factory, after all. But when it comes to licensing archival footage, music, and other materials, spending the time it takes to really edit a feature-length film, making the final product truly worthy of the Streit’s mark of quality, the extra money goes a very long way, so we’re setting our sights high!
HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?
The most important part of a Kickstarter campaign (aside from reaching our funding goal, of course!) is getting the word out. We’re doing everything we can to let people know about the project, but we could sure use your help! So, tweet about it, like us on facebook and post about it, tell your friends and family about our Kickstarter page. Do you run a blog? A student paper? The New York Times? Get in touch! We and the folks at Streit’s are always available for interviews. It all helps!
GET IN TOUCH!
Have a question that's not answered here? Looking to do a story about the film? Email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Risks and challenges
Any feature length film production has it's challenges, but we are completely confident in our ability to complete this documentary and deliver the rewards to our supporters. We are on track with filming as we speak, the filmmaker has a strong track record in film and television of delivering projects on time and on budget, and all involved in this project, including the owners and workers at Streit's are extremely passionate about the film. We are completely committed and will work day and night (because that's what filmmakers do!) to deliver a film that captures the spirit, the history, the story of Streit's and the Lower East Side.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Sure thing! To start with, I’m Michael Levine, and I’m directing the film, as well as shooting and editing it. Nice to meet you!
I’ve been working in documentary film and television (Showtime, A&E, History Channel, HGTV, and numerous independent projects) for the past nine years, and having deep family roots on the Lower East Side (my father’s side settled on Rivington Street in 1910), I am truly thrilled and honored to have a chance to make this film. It has been a dream of mine, for years, to tell this story, and seeing it come together has been nothing short of amazing. And while I’m at it, let me thank you again for your support! Your belief in this project is what promises to get me through all the sleepless nights of editing ahead - I’m so excited to get this film out into the world!
I’m also thrilled to be working on this project with the my producer, Michael Green, whose long and storied career in the world of food and drink (19 years at Gourmet Magazine, appearances on Food Network, Today Show, and much more), his experience as a producer across many forms of media, and his unwavering passion for this project, have made working on this film with him an extraordinary experience.
A feature-length documentary film is a major undertaking. Even working with a small crew, as we are, the amount of time, equipment rentals, travel, legal and insurance bills, additional post-production crew, music licensing, and archival footage and stills licensing, festival entry fees and promotion, to name a few items on the list, make raising funds a necessity. Your support through Kickstarter is what makes all of this possible.
Things are coming along great!Everyone at the factory is very excited about the project, and every day we shoot we’re capturing more of the story, digging up old footage from the factory and the neighborhood, and learning just how much there is to the incredible story of Streit’s.
But there’s much more filming to be done. Passover may be finished for this year, but Streit’s makes matzo year round, and we need to be there with them for the next several months, delving into the history of the factory and the stories of the people who work there, as well as interviewing subjects who can bring the rich history of the neighborhood into the story, and traveling for additional interviews – there’s a lot to the story and we want to make sure we get it all on camera.
From there, we move onto post production starting with gathering and licensing archival footage, stills, and music - this is going to be key because we really want to bring the history of the factory and the Lower East Side to life!
Next it’s onto several months of intensive editing, putting together the whole feature-length film, followed by color grading and audio mixing.
From there, with the film done, it’s on to the process of getting the film out into the world…
We have big plans for the film, and really want to get it out its audience using as many forms of distribution/media as possible.To give you a sense of what we’re thinking right now, we plan to finish post-production late this summer, and release the film first to film festivals in the fall.Our hope is then to follow up with a theatrical release in key markets early in 2014, as well as DVD, online, and cable, all leading up to Passover next year.And of course, by supporting the film on Kickstarter, you’ll end up with a copy in your own hands…
The film production is on schedule and we don’t see that changing, and all the printed materials (posters, postcards) and tours will be good to go for November 2013 as listed.The one thing we may have to ask you be a bit flexible about is the delivery of the film itself (on DVD and digital download), only because many film festivals have stringent guidelines that will cause them to reject any film that has been screened previously or sold on DVD.So, while the film will be completed by November 2013, depending on our festival schedule, it may be an additional month or two before we can actually begin sending out our DVD rewards.We will keep you informed about any such delays and will make sure we get them in the mail the moment we can!Thank you for your understanding!
Absolutely! We deeply appreciate any amount you are able to pledge at this time! If you’re feeling extra generous, though, and decide you’d like to increase your pledge, you can do so easily by logging onto our Kickstarter page and clicking the “Manage Your Donation” button.
Pledge $5 or more
Our eternal gratitude - and to prove it, your name will appear in the special thanks in the film's credits!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
All of the above, AND a digital download of the completed film!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
All of the above, AND a hard copy of the DVD with exclusive bonus features for our Kickstarter supporters, PLUS a double-sided postcard of vintage Streit's advertising!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $50 or more
All of the above, AND your DVD will be signed by the owners of Streit's, PLUS the official Streit's hat, worn by the workers in the factory!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $100 or more
All of the above, AND two 18x24 inch posters - one of the official poster for the film, and one a reproduction of a vintage Streit's advertisement!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $150 or more
20 backers Limited (70 left of 90)
NEW! All of the above AND a limited edition box of Streit's Shmurah Matzo, signed by the owners of Streit's! Streit's Shmurah Matzo is made only one day each year, and is not available in stores. Get a taste of this of this very rare Streit's product! L'Shem Matzos Mitzvah!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $250 or more
All of the above, AND a tour of the Streit's factory with one of the owners as well as the film's director! (transportation not included)Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $500 or more
All of the above, AND two tickets to a rough cut screening of the film inside the Streit's factory with the owners and workers, PLUS a gift basket of Streit's products shipped to your home with a signed thank you in time for next Passover!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $1,000 or more
All of the above, AND lunch for 6 people at the Streit's factory, with the owners of Streit's and film's director, catered by Russ & Daughters. (transportation not included) OR if you can't make to NYC, the film's director take you on a Skype tour of the factory with the Streit's owners and we'll send you lunch for 6 from Russ & Daughters to enjoy in your own home during the tour!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $2,500 or more
All of the above, AND we'll set up a screening at a venue in your town, send along matzo for the audience, and the film's director and Streit's owners will be available via phone or Skype for a Q&A session following the film.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $5,000 or more
All of the above, AND 2 festival passes to the film's premiere, PLUS dinner with the film's director and producer! (transportation and lodging not included)Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
All of the above, AND an Associate Producer credit in the film, PLUS you tell us! Want the director to hand deliver a box of matzo to your door in California? Excellent! Want enough Streit's posters to wallpaper your house? Perfect, we'll even send along the wallpaper paste! Let us know!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
- (45 days)