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A Syrian refugee's faith in his new country is tested when an American teen and her mother are stranded at his repair shop overnight.
68 backers pledged $13,750 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$13,750

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The Story

Girls Are Strong Here is the story of Saed, a Syrian auto mechanic whose faith in his adopted country is put to the test when Callie, an American teenager, and her mother are stranded at his service station overnight. Already unsure about raising his own daughter in the United States, Callie confirms Saed's suspicions that American girls are disrespectful and headstrong. But when an abusive boyfriend catches up to them Saed realizes Callie’s strong will is what allows her to survive. The cross cultural nature of this story sends an important message for our times. The ability to empathize with another human being and find something in their situation you can relate to is crucial to the survival of the human race. Most of us want the same things when prejudice, ideology and assumptions are set aside in favor of empathy and understanding. 

We're shooting in Boise, Idaho which was just named a "Welcoming City" for refugees. Boise is only the third municipality in the United States to receive this designation.

The Plan

The plan is to shoot late summer with principal photography wrapped by the end of August 2019. The film will then go into editing and post production for its world premiere at the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival on March 19th, 2020. That's our plan but who are we?

Writer/Director

Scott Burkhardt is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts where he received an MFA in Film. His films and scripts have won awards around the world and been streamed and screened on television and in theaters. He has written for network television (NBC’s SMASH) and developed projects for NBC Universal, CBS Studios and MXN Entertainment. He is currently raising funds for his short film, GIRLS ARE STRONG HERE, based on his feature script, SLIPSTREAM. He most recently directed several episodes of PAPER YEAR, a new web series, premiering on Instagram in summer 2019. Scott teaches screenwriting and television writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the University of Pennsylvania and in the Killer Films/Stony Brook MFA Film Program.

Producer

Celeste Matika is a producer, production manager and first assistant director.  She began working in the film industry as a publicity intern for Warner Brothers 20 years ago, but she soon found her core passion on the production side based out of New York, San Francisco, Prague, and eventually, Boise.  She has worked on studio and independent films, web and network television series and national commercials for brands like Heineken, Audi, Nike.  Her film festival experience includes the San Francisco International Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, The Documentary Film Institute and the Sun Valley Film Festival. Most recently she worked on the independent feature BULL (Rob Morgan and Yolonda Ross) which screened in Un Certain Regard at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

Awards

The script has won three short screenplay awards over the past year.

2019 1 Potato Award: a $5,000 production grant and a dedicated premiere at the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival.

2018 Fade In Best Short Screenplay Award- First Prize: $500

2018 Storymode Independent Short Film Awards- Best Short Script: a beautiful ceramic vase!

Upon Completion

The film will premiere at the Sun Valley Film Festival in March 2020. After that the film will go on the festival circuit where we hope to play in major film festivals around the world including Telluride, Aspen ShortsFest, Cannes, Tribeca and the New York Film Festival. Our goal is for the film to win an Academy Award qualifying festival and get on the short list of films that qualify for Academy Award consideration in the Short Film category each year.

While the film is playing festivals we will be looking for distribution as well. Short films are distributed throughout the world like feature films. Our ultimate goal is to make the film accessible online via a streaming service. The director's last short film streamed on Hulu for five years.

Previous Work

This is my first short film! It was nominated for a Student Academy Award and aired on Hulu for five years. Check it out below.

Updates

We'll be posting updates through the entire life of the film here and on our dedicated Instagram account @girlsarestronghere. Please follow us for updates on cast, crew and all aspects of the production.

Your Contribution

We're looking to raise $10,000 to get us through production but hopefully more to get us through post-production and onto the festival circuit. You might be wondering where does my money go? Your support will cover everything that goes into making the film. This will include travel and pay for cast and crew, locations, meals, equipment rentals, etc. I am happy to talk to you about the specifics of any of this so feel free to reach out.

ALSO if you would like to support the film in any other way please reach out. And feel free to forward this on to friends or people who might have a particular interest in some aspect of the film- the Idaho location, the refugee experience or filmmaking in general.

Thanks so much for supporting Girls Are Strong Here!

Risks and challenges

There are risks with any film production which include losing cast or crew, weather issues and other events. There's always a plan B and plan C for film shoots. We'll remain flexible and diligent in our efforts to get it done. Which we will.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    BACKER

    A digital copy of the film to play on any of your screens.

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    SUPPORTER

    A deluxe digital copy of the film to play on any of your screens. What's deluxe mean? The below!

    - HD copy of the film.
    - On set stills.
    - Behind the scenes/making of footage.
    - Interview with the writer/director.

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    SPECIAL THANKS

    Everything at the Supporter level plus...

    - Your name in the credits of the film under the Special Thanks section.

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    EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS

    Everything at the Special Thanks level plus...

    - A shout out on social media highlighting your support of the film.
    - AND a special Girls Are Strong Here hat. Shipped to you, worldwide! These will be cool.

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    SPONSOR

    Everything at the Extra Special Thanks level plus..

    - a special acknowledgement of your contribution at the world premiere screening of the film.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Associate Producer

    Everything at the Sponsor Level plus...

    - an official Associate Producer credit on the film. Your name will appear in the credits as an Associate Producer and be listed on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).

    - A 1 hour one-on-one script consultation (in person or via Skype/Facetime) with the writer/director who teaches writing at some of the top film schools. This award is transferable to you or someone you know who has a script.

    *- if you would like to opt out of any official credit on the film that is fine. Just let us know.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Co-Producer

    Everything at the Sponsor Level plus...

    -Co-Producer Credit on the Film. Your name will appear in the credits and on IMDB (Internet Movie Database) as an official Co-Producer of the project.

    - Two Free Film Passes or Two Free Party Passes to the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival (March 18th - 22nd, 2020). Your choice! You can watch a bunch of great films (including ours!) or you can spend the day skiing, snowshoeing or hitting some secret hot springs before hitting the festival parties OR you can be my guest at a screening of the film near you. We will reach out to you and coordinate this as our festival run expands.

    - A 1 hour one-on-one script consultation (in person or via Skype/Facetime) with the writer/director who teaches writing at some of the top film schools. This award is transferable to you or someone you know who has a script.

    *- if you would like to opt out of any official credit on the film that is fine. Just let us know.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Executive Producer

    Everything at the Sponsor Level plus...

    - an official Executive Producer credit on the film. Your name will appear in the credits as an Executive Producer and be listed on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).

    - Two Free All Access 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival Passes (March 18 - 22nd, 2020). Plan your family ski vacation around the festival and check out all the events, screenings and parties with free talks, drinks and networking with film professionals OR you can be my guest at a screening of the film near you. We will reach out to you and coordinate this as our festival run expands.

    - A 1 hour one-on-one script consultation (in person or via Skype/Facetime) with the writer/director who teaches writing at some of the top film schools. This award is transferable to you or someone you know who has a script.

    *- if you would like to opt out of any official acknowledgement or credit that is fine. Just let us know.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
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Funding period

- (25 days)