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The Southside of Williamsburg is Los Sures. 1984 & today. Together, we share the story of one of the strongest barrios in Brooklyn.
The Southside of Williamsburg is Los Sures. 1984 & today. Together, we share the story of one of the strongest barrios in Brooklyn.
The Southside of Williamsburg is Los Sures. 1984 & today. Together, we share the story of one of the strongest barrios in Brooklyn.
484 backers pledged $33,096 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$33,096

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The name may have faded, but Los Sures lives.

To those that know, the Southside of Williamsburg is one of the most important Latino neighborhoods in New York City, and it has a lot more than its fair share of the so-called eight million stories. A real estate agent might try to tell you that these days the Southside is 100% boutiques and bars, but you have to be blind to not see the strong Boricuas and Dominicanos that run these streets.

Map of neighborhoods in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Map of neighborhoods in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

UnionDocs is a nonprofit center for documentary located in the Southside. We’ve been working on Living Los Sures for 5 years, and we are seeking your help now to bring all the pieces together in a final, fabulous year. This is a groundbreaking and massive project. It has the potential to change the way that part of the history of New York City has been written and shift perceptions of the future of this place.

Our goals are to finish the production, let as many people know about the project as possible, and create a package that makes this an incredible tool for education. To date, the project has been acknowledged by the New York Film Festival, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Endowment for the Arts and POV, American Documentary. Your tax-deductible donation will help us realize the potential many have seen in this project.

MUBI partnership:

For a month starting this September, through a special partnership with MUBI you will be able to instantly stream Los Sures (1984) at home anytime, anywhere. Choose a 30-day or a full-year membership to this curated online cinema as your reward, and we’ll send you a VIP code for completely free access: no credit cards, no trials. Thanks MUBI!

2 Day Seminar Presented with the Van Alen Institute.
2 Day Seminar Presented with the Van Alen Institute.

ABOUT THE FILM

Back in 1984, Los Sures had been called one of the toughest ghettos in the USA. It was so infamous, a man named Diego Echeverria made a documentary about it.  About seven years ago Pamela Yates and Paco De Onis— filmmakers who live in the neighborhood— gave us a VHS of Los Sures to watch. It was amazing. When we tried to find a decent copy, though, it turned out the film was ALMOST LOST, which would have been a serious tragedy. Just at that moment, some folks stepped up to save the day. Yeah, we’ll go ahead and take some credit there.

LOS SURES courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
LOS SURES courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

The 1984 film, Los Sures, has been our inspiration for this project. With the NYPL we restored the film. Hell yeah!!! We made a beautiful 4K version for theaters, because you’ve just got to see it on the big screen. To get it to the theater, we need your help. But hold onto that thought.

This is not just a restoration project. It’s also about deconstruction. We are taking the film down to its building blocks to find something new. The thing is, when people watch Los Sures, people who really know the neighborhood, they see so much. It’s like they are wearing special glasses where things pop out from the background. Faces of familia and friends, old school styles and b-boy moves, streets and buildings, so many important details of life in the barrio, stuff that’s truly fascinating.

LIVING LOS SURES SHOT by SHOT

Exploring Shot 212 of Shot by Shot.
Exploring Shot 212 of Shot by Shot.

Every shot is the starting point for a new story. Some people simply see these images differently. For that reason, we created a pretty slick little website that takes the film and chops it into 326 shots. Then we worked with lots of people in the neighborhood to weave in their pictures, videos, and stories. Thus far we’ve added 450 details, anecdotes, real talk and tall tales from about 40 different people. Our goal is to get up to 1500 stories, with the participation of at least 100 people. But hold that thought too.

30 SHORT DOCS ABOUT LOS SURES TODAY

Over the past 4 years we’ve produced about 30 new short films working with about 48 artists in the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio. These are people from all over the world who’ve put their time and talent into giving incredible local characters the treatment they deserve. About half of these films are online, we need your help now to produce 8 more shorts, and get the whole collection out there.

Ok, so now is the time to take all those thoughts you’ve been holding and set them out on the table in front of you. Do you see what we see? Matt Bolish, head of Convergence at the New York Film Festival said Living Los Sures was “one of the most comprehensive, incredible and in-depth interactive projects that we at the film society have ever seen." Urban Omnibus and El Puente both say it’s an important model for the way nonprofit media can work within community. Your support is a vote for a city that respects the history and legacy of its neighborhoods, that is committed to improving urban realities of working people and not just promoting myths and dreams. When you support Living Los Sures, you not only push this groundbreaking project further, you help to preserve and celebrate the history of one of the strongest barrios in Brooklyn.

GOALS

1) Finish this project up!

  • Produce 8 new short films about the neighborhood by artists in the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio.
  • Put together a team to interview at least 60 more people for Los Sures Shot by Shot - this is time extensive work, but the stories we get this way can’t be found anywhere else.
  • Produce assets for the special edition DVD and encode the project for streaming. 
  • Translate everything in the project to Spanish.

2) Get the word out!

  • Wrap UnionDocs storefront with a three-story public artwork to boldly announce the project to Williamsburg’s 65,000 residents.

  • Promote the NYC Theatrical Release, get the project out to a few big festivals.

  • Release one short film each week next year, and highlight different shots each week.

3) Make it last!

  • Work with our partners in the neighborhood to make this a living history.
  • Hire an educational consultant to help us create a package to use the film in local high schools to talk about race, economic justice, gentrification, community engagement, sustainability and civic participation. 
  • Work with experts at NYU and Pratt to build out something similar geared towards university students.

FUNDING

To do all this, we've set the following funding benchmarks:

  • $30,000 is the bare minimum to accomplish the above. Through grants, we currently have over half of the necessary budget, and this campaign is meant to cover the rest.
  • Our top-notch team must wear many hats to accomplish what we have with Living Los Sures while also running UnionDocs. Reaching our stretch goal of $40,000 would allow us to bring on a part-time project manager who can have a singular focus on our goals, allowing us to be sure we are making the most of this opportunity, taking it further, faster.
  • If we reach our stretch goal of $50,000, we will get the ball rolling on exciting designs for the museum exhibition that this project deserves. We’ve always seen this as the absolute culmination of the Living Los Sures effort. Given the expansive nature of the project, a smartly designed spatial experience would allow you to feel its impact all at once. We have initial interest from a few institutions, and will pursue this fully in early 2016. Reaching our top goal would pave the way for this logical conclusion to become a reality.

HOW TO USE KICKSTARTER:

Along the right side of this page, you will see a list of pledge levels. Enjoy browsing through all the rewards. When you find a level that you wish to pledge, simply click on that level and proceed to checkout. 

UNIONDOCS, INC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Federal Tax ID# 86-1150496. You may deduct that portion of your contribution to Living Los Sures which exceeds the fair market value of any goods or services you receive. We will send a letter acknowledging your contribution and as a receipt for tax purposes following the campaign.

Unless we reach our funding goal, no payments go through and Living Los Sures will not receive anything whatsoever, so please dig deep and support a great cause.

LIVING LOS SURES IN 30 SECONDS

We've created a series of very short updates that will highlight what we've learned, different perspectives on the project, and moments that really move us. For the 30 year anniversary and our $30K goal in 30 days, each of these updates is only 30 seconds, watch them all here:

Risks and challenges

This project is 5 years in the making and we have no doubt that it will be completed in style. Look at all we’ve done so far, without any fundraising. Reaching our minimum Kickstarter goal will mean having the resources to finish, share, and create educational tools around this work. We will feel enormous gratitude, and heave a big sigh of relief. That said, there are a few challenges we face.

A number of theatrical venues have expressed interest in a weeklong NYC run for Los Sures, but we still need to finalize the timing and formalize the partnership. We want to make this effort as smart as the rest of our approach, so we may explore alternatives to the traditional camping out on a single screen for a week. But don’t worry, we run a cinema in Brooklyn too, so we understand the variables. With luck, we might even be able to announce the plan over the course of this campaign.

On the interactive side we are pushing the envelope a bit with the technology. Like all online projects, if the big internet players change the way their browsers and other tools work, we will need some time to adjust and may experience a temporary loss of functionality on the site. Our awesome developers will be all over this, but they are not in-house employees, so we have to schedule fixes individually.

Finally, we know we’ve budgeted a reasonable amount for the educational side of the project, but this will be UnionDocs first foray into creating a package for high schools and universities. That’s why we want to hire an expert consultant. We are hoping to have things prepped for next school year’s start, but there is the chance that may need more time to make this worth everyone’s while.

That’s about it. Los Sures is living with or without us. With your support, we promise this expansive and historic project will also thrive.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Woop! Woop! Our sincere thanks. You'll be first to get UPDATES, including videos on the making of the project, + a downloadable Los Sures MAP with some of our favorite spots and stories in the neighborhood.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    STREAM LOS SURES! Get a 30 day membership to curated online cinema MUBI (a $5 value) to watch the 1984 film, as well as a hand-picked selection of classic, independent & award-winning films from around the world. + Download "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures," a special publication highlighting local knowledge gained through this project.

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    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of LOS SURES (1984). + Download "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures" a special publication highlighting local knowledge gained through this project. + Free entrance to 2/27 ALL or NOTHING party at UnionDocs.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    OWN LOS SURES ON DVD! Special edition DVD of the film from 1984 with bonus material. + A limited print of "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures" publication.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT! by local artist José Luis Medina, with cover of his previously unpublished comic book "Joaquín Guerra" + Print of "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures." + DOWNLOAD of LOS SURES (1984).

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    SPECTATOR TOTE! Carry in style with bag designed by A.S.M.K.- visual artist extraordinare and key creative on Living Los Sures + UnDo Membership ($50 value, details: uniondocs.org/membership) + Print of "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures" publication.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    STREAM LOS SURES + A NEW FILM EVERY DAY ALL YEAR! Get a full year membership to curated online cinema MUBI (a $35 value). Watch the film from 1984, and enjoy a new extraordinary film hand picked by experts EVERY DAY. + Download "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures" publication." + Get official recognition as a key supporter, online & at events.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    ON THE SCENE! Beat the crowds and get two tickets to the VIP PREVIEW screening and AFTER PARTY launching the Los Sures theatrical release. + A limited print edition of "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures" publication. + UnDo Membership ($50 value, details: uniondocs.org/membership, travel to Brooklyn and accommodations not included.)

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    FULL TRILOGY PACKAGE! 3 previously unpublished, Los Sures-focused comics by local artist José Luis Medina. + "Joaquín Guerra" comic T-SHIRT. + Print of "The Unwritten Rules of Los Sures" publication. + DOWNLOAD of LOS SURES (1984).

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    MAKE PROGRESS! For filmmakers & media artists, hold a 3hr work-in-progress screening at UnionDocs. We can help invite an audience for feedback on your work. + UnDo Membership ($50 value, details: uniondocs.org/membership. Up to 20 audience members. Travel to Brooklyn not included.)

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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    MAKE A MARK! Your name on the UnionDocs storefront, for as long as the Living Los Sures public artwork is up. + UnDo Membership ($50 value, details: uniondocs.org/membership) + All rewards listed in the ON THE SCENE! $100 pledge level.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    YOU, ILLUSTRATED! Send us a headshot and A.S.M.K.--visual artist extraordinare and key creative on Living Los Sures-- will make a flattering, one-of-a-kind MOTION GIF. Ideal for profile glory. + All rewards listed in the MAKE A MARK! $200 pledge level.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    INSTITUTIONAL COPY! Get an official DVD copy of Los Sures for your library, school, organization or arts institution + educational/discussion guidelines referencing the full Living Los Sures project. + All rewards listed in the MAKE A MARK! $200 pledge level.

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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    BOOK AN EVENT! Public screening rights to the film, allowing you to host your own local screening of “Los Sures” using our Public Screening Kit, complete with DVD / Blu-ray / DCP public screener, educational/discussion guidelines, film postcards, and a "Living Los Sures" poster. + All rewards listed in the MAKE A MARK! $200 pledge level.

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    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    GET INTERACTIVE! Have two consultation, education, & brainstorming sessions each up to two hours long with Exec Artistic Director Christopher Allen in pursuit of building your own interactive project (can be held at UnionDocs or via video conference). + All rewards listed in the MAKE A MARK! $200 pledge level.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    TAKE OVER UNIONDOCS! Use our space for your awesome event. Host a screening, talk, mixer, or birthday party for up to 60 people with dedicated help from a manager / technician (includes a 2 hour setup or rehearsal, 3 hour event, and 1 hour breakdown, scheduling subject to availability). + All rewards listed in the MAKE A MARK! $200 pledge level.

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

    BECOME A PRODUCER! + Acknowledgement as a bonafide associate producer on Living Los Sures. Your name "Above-the-line" on all project credits. + All rewards listed in the MAKE A MARK! $200 pledge level.

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Funding period

- (32 days)