For the first time, a film is going behind the grim sadness of animal abuse and exploring why some of us get involved in animal rescue in the first place. The Passion Project is about seeing things for what they really are, a look at how far some of us will go to avoid our own pain and a hope to create change and stop the cycle of abuse of all kinds. By telling the story beneath the story, our mission is to make a bigger impact than a typical movie about animal rescue.
Please help us to reach our goal of 48k to finish the edit of our film. If we fall short, even by one dollar, we lose all of the pledged donations so far. Thank you for watching!!
Tracey and The Passion Project team
In 2010, Tracey Smith was a Creative Director at McCann-Erickson NY and won a company-wide contest called The Passion Project. She was given three weeks of paid time off to pursue a passion of hers and set out to make a film about Animal Rescue. 5 years later, The Passion Project has become a captivating story about a documentary gone awry.
The Passion Project story follows director Tracey Smith as she sets out on a mission to make a movie about Angel’s Gate - an animal hospice and rehab center run by Susan Marino, a leader and pioneer in the world of Animal Rescue. While spending six weeks living, sleeping, and shooting in and amongst Susan and her 450 abused animals, Tracey witnessed first hand a lot of suffering, a lot of disease, a lot of super cute animals and also a great big attempted takedown of Susan’s entire operation.
That’s when Tracey started to question her own motives. She couldn’t help but draw a parallel between the animals and her personal experience as a victim of child abuse. This is when she put down her camera and began the more difficult task of confronting her own past which was uncomfortably similar to that of the animals she so desperately wanted to help.
Over the next two plus years, Tracey started shooting again through a new lense. As Susan’s story became more complicated and fraught with both legal and moral implications, Tracey captured it all. What unfolds is a movie not just about animal rescue, but a heartrending story about how far we’ll go to avoid our own pain.
Tracey Smith, Director and Producer
Tracey is an artist, creative director and filmmaker based in NYC. For over 15 years, Tracey has been creating content and ad campaigns for all kinds of brands, from Nikon and MasterCard to The US Army and Taylor Swift. By the age of 28, she was sent to Cannes to represent the US in the Cannes Young Lions Advertising Festival. In 2009, she joined minds with Alon Seifert, former CCO of McCann Israel to start up a 48hour design collective called 48h & Sons. In 2013 they launched Trophy Buffet; their first successfully funded Kickstarter campaign. Tracey is currently focusing on truth, reality and storytelling co-directing under SMITH+TOPAZ, her latest venture with award-winning filmmaker Topaz Adizes. She is also creative partner at The We Collective, a creative swat team developing authentic and engaging brand stories founded with her business partner, Sharon Ehrlich.
Jillian Goger, Producer
Jillian is a writer and creative director in New York City. She’s created integrated campaigns for all kinds of giant brands from the US Army to Dentyne Gum and everything in between. Currently leading brand work for US Postal Service, Verizon FiOS, and Tommee Tippee baby products, she most enjoys working on her non profit projects for breast cancer awareness and women’s rights. She lives in Gowanus where she and her family are writing a musical made up exclusively of Donovan songs.
Ed McGowan, Editor
Known to many as 'Hats', Ed began his editing career at Crew Cuts, where he learned all the fine details of editing. He very quickly became a lead editor at McCann NY cutting spots for commercial and short form films Staples, Chex Mix, Sony, Verizon, Avis & Intel. In 2012, he left the agency side and joined The Now Corporation. He's since worked with standout directors from Caviar, Smuggler, Furlined, Über Content, Skunk, Station Film, Tool, Prettybird, & O Positive. Hats lives in Manhattan with his wife, Gina, and their cat, Suki and puppy, Louie and has been spending nights and weekends diving into hundreds of hours of footage with us. He is so passionate about this project it inspires us every time we walk into the edit.
Zac Stuart-Pontier, Consulting Editor
Chosen as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Film in 2010, Zac is the editor and producer of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015) and the editor and co-producer of Catfish, released in the fall of 2010 by Universal Studios, directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost. He was also the editor of Sean Durkin’s, Martha Marcy May Marlene from Borderline Film's. Winner Best Director Sundance 2011 (US Dramatic Competition) and Cannes 2011 (Un Certain Regard). A 2006 Graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Zac is also the editor and co-producer of Beautiful Darling, directed by James Rasin, which premiered at the 2010 Berlinale, screened at New Directors/New Films at the MOMA/Lincoln Center. We are grateful to have his support on the film.
Stenfert Charles, Composers
Stenfert Charles (Saunder Stenfert Jurriaans and Daniel Charles Bensi)
are multi-instrumentalists and classically trained musicians. They began their film scoring career with Alistair Banks Griffin's "Two Gates of Sleep" (Cannes - Director's Fortnight, 2010), and have since moved on to score various features and shorts including Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" (Sundance, 2011 - winner best director, Cannes - Official Selection, 2011) and Ruben Ostlund's "Play" (Cannes - Director's Fortnight, 2011). Their more current original scores include “Last Days in the Desert” (Sundance Premiere, 2014) starring Ewan McGregor and Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy” with Jake Gyllenhaal, winning 5 Canadian Screen Awards in 2014.
Risks and challenges
The risk is low for The Passion Project because we’ve shot all footage, we have two incredible editors, and a host of talented people ready to work once we can fund them. The biggest challenge will be getting into festivals after we’ve completed the film. We plan to enter over twenty five festivals to mitigate that risk and we can’t wait to start. Any help or advice on that is more than welcome.
For any other questions or info, you can always email us at:
Thanks for spending time on our Kickstarter page!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)