About this project
(Video also available in HD on YouTube)
WE GOT FEATURED ON UPWORTHY!
GIGANTIC THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED US GET TO OUR STRETCH GOAL AND BEYOND!!!
AIMING FOR STRETCH GOALS...
- Stretch goal! $21K: we'll be able to produce a full pilot episode we can distribute online, to community groups and schools. The funding will allow us to have a second camera operator and additional local support on the ground during the shoot, and to cover more of the post production costs.
- Super stretch! + If we blow past our target, we’ll be able to finance part of the series on our own and we’ll be in a much stronger position to negotiate with producers. We'll film a few episodes in different countries exploring hard-hitting issues and how they're being tackled, and release them as a documentary mini series.
We're thrilled that TV Director and winner of two Canadian Screen Awards, Jim Morrison IV, is joining forces with us to help take this project to the next level!
TV Director Jim Morrison IV - winner of two Canadian Screen Awards - has just joined us as Development Producer. Jim will bring his considerable experience to the table to help us develop the concept, package the best possible sizzle reel, and pitch to producers and broadcasters to turn UPLIFT into an incredible TV travel series that inspires and instigates positive change.
HERE'S A MESSAGE FROM JIM!
Read more about our stretch goals in the KICKSTARTER GOALS section below.
WHAT IS UPLIFT?
UPLIFT is a documentary series in which hosts Barnabe and Nisha travel to different countries to meet people affected by a conflict or complex issue and the community builders, artists, activists, social entrepreneurs and innovators working on solutions.
The style is entertaining, fast-paced and on-the-move. Each episode is shot on location in one country and focuses on a specific issue such as human trafficking, war and reconciliation, the criminal justice system, education and health, or an environmental crisis. We’ll visit communities and meet people from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and we’ll ask them to recount their firsthand experiences with the issue. Our goal is to understand the problem or conflict from multiple perspectives, respecting the fact that as outsiders we cannot know all the intricacies.
We’ll then spend time with a person or group implementing innovative ideas to address the issue. We’ll look at what drives them, their tactics, the obstacles they face, and their impact.
Here are some examples of the kinds of changemakers and organizations we’d like to profile:
- Tired of seeing Bangladesh’s worsening floods devastating people’s lives, Mohammed Rezwan created a fleet of solar-powered floating schools, libraries, farms, training centres and health clinics.
- Catherine Hoke’s Defy Ventures in the United States helps former drug dealers, gang leaders and others with criminal histories tap into their entrepreneurial skills to launch legit businesses.
- Slavery is a reality for approximately 30 million people, half of them from India. Hasina Kharbhih uses a holistic model that engages all stakeholders to combat human trafficking through prevention and prosecution, the rescue and rehabilitation of victims, and by creating economic opportunities for families living in extreme poverty.
- John Badalu fights homophobia by showcasing the talents and stories of Indonesia’s LBGTQ community in an annual film festival, Q-munity.
- Sanergy converts human waste into jobs, fertilizer and renewable energy, addressing social, health and environmental problems in Kenya’s slums.
- Celso Athayde works with youth in Brazil’s favelas, producing books and movies through CUFA’s audiovisual training program, which earns the youth an income and educates outsiders about the realities of life in the slums.
- Kamal Mouzawak’s Souk el Tayeb uses the organic, sustainable food movement in Lebanon to support local farmers, encourage health and wellness, and break down barriers between people from different sectarian groups.
- Noorjehan Safia Naz’s growing network of Muslim women across India cultivates leadership skills and legal knowledge, empowering women to engage the law and advocate for themselves when their rights are denied.
- Find more examples further down on this page.
The world depicted by the mainstream media is mostly daunting—as the saying goes: if it bleeds, it leads. People are left feeling paralyzed and hopeless and find it hard to believe that the world is more tolerant and less violent than ever before.
Through our work and travels in conflict zones we’ve seen firsthand that despite some very tough realities, overall the human story is much more about resilience and innovation than it is about death and destruction.
We want to bear witness to the ingenuity and triumphs of the human spirit. We need more TV & media content that challenges our biases and shows respect, rather than pity, fear or condescension, for people with different experiences from our own.
We believe TV can be used to:
- build empathy by immersing viewers in other people’s realities and giving them a sense of what it’s like from different perspectives,
- inspire by introducing viewers to the legions of community builders, artists, activists, social entrepreneurs and innovators working to make the world a better place. These changemakers come from all walks of life and operate in every country but all have something in common… they saw a problem and took action. We can feel inspired to take action ourselves, and
- initiate positive change by learning about the many trends, tools and practices we can all take part in, such as crowd sourcing, micro loans, petition platforms, the sharing economy, the makers movement and others.
Technological progress provides us with an unprecedented ability to change things for the better. Why can’t TV be a medium for positive change?
The revolution should be televised!
OUR KICKSTARTER GOALS
We’ve been talking to producers who like the show and want to see a proof of concept.
We’re looking to raise $12K to shoot our extended demo (a half-length episode) and “sizzle reel” abroad. The sizzle reel serves to show producers and broadcasters the concept in action—its style and feel—when we pitch the show and ourselves as hosts. We're looking to shoot the pilot in India, Myanmar or Lebanon depending on our final budget.
We're covering our own airfare. The Kickstarter funding will be used to cover some of the production costs and to bring our filmmaker. Transportation costs include transportation on the ground. Here’s how the funding will be used:
We recognize our responsibility to spend your money wisely and to budget efficiently.
We are aiming to shoot around January-February of 2015, to have the demo/pilot completed by March/April, and conversations with producers will be ongoing.
Our stretch goals:
The demo and the support we get through Kickstarter will be invaluable when we’re pitching to TV execs, but our ambitions go beyond that.
$17K We'll shoot the demo to pitch to producers and a pilot episode we'll distribute online! We'll up the production value by upgrading some of our equipment and doing more in post (editing).
$21K+ We'll shoot the demo AND a full pilot episode AND accomplished TV Director Jim Morrison IV - winner of two Canadian Screen Awards who has just joined us as Development Producer - will travel with us! Jim will bring his considerable experience to the table to help us develop the concept, package the best possible sizzle reel, and pitch to producers and broadcasters! The funding will allow us to have a second camera operator and additional local support on the ground during the shoot, and to cover more of the post production costs. Help us get there!
- $$$+ If we blow past our target, we’ll be able to finance part of the series on our own and we’ll be in a much stronger position to negotiate with producers. We'll film a few episodes in different countries exploring hard-hitting issues and how they're being tackled, and release them as a documentary mini series.
Here’s how you can help!
Fund us on this
for any amount and in exchange for rewards, which you can
find on the right. Your pledge will only be accepted if we meet or exceed our funding target.
- Share this campaign on your social media networks.
- Get in touch with us with feedback, contacts and ideas for changemakers we should profile.
MORE ABOUT THE SHOW
As hosts, our style is genuine, unpolished, empathetic and blunt. We take the issues we explore seriously, and also believe it’s important to have fun and be lighthearted. We’re definitely not risk averse; we’re quite capable of roughing it and will do everything necessary to get to the story. The show will be beautifully shot on the move, verité style so you’ll feel like you’re traveling with us.
A sample episode structure:
- Explore: The episode starts with captivating scenes as we explore natural and cultural landscapes and explain why we’ve come to this country and what issue we’ll be looking at. We interact with people from different walks of life, discussing the issue to get different perspectives.
- Experience: We visit the region/sites where the social or environmental challenge is taking place. We meet people with firsthand experience and knowledge of the problem to show the viewer how it’s affecting them.
- Inspire: We meet the changemaker(s) and see how their work is creating impact on the ground and what lessons can be learned.
Here are more examples of changemakers we’d like to profile on UPLIFT!
- Ruth Ibegbuna’s RECLAIM in the United Kingdom enables young people from Manchester’s most disadvantaged communities to engage directly with the decision makers influencing their lives.
- Ayub Pathan works on sectarian conflict resolution in the south of Thailand, through a grassroots bilingual journalism movement with Deep South Watch.
- The AAPP is creating employment opportunities in Myanmar for former political prisoners through a taxi service called the Golden Harp.
- Despite being harassed, threatened and sued by the government of Ecuador, Gloria Ushuiga continues her tireless battle for the rights of the indigenous Sápara nation whose survival is under threat from Chevron’s oil exploitation in the Amazon rainforest.
- Oceanium Dakar provides loans to fund environmental projects initiated by community groups and runs eco-tourism programs in Senegal.
Let’s hear from those making the world a better place for a change!
Want to know more? Ask a question at the bottom of this page or contact us at upliftyourTV@gmail.com. Visit upliftfilms.org
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Barnabe Geis, Co-creator, producer and host, @BarnabeGeis
I’m the Communications Architect at the Centre for Social Innovation, a coworking space, community and launchpad for people working to make the world a better place. I have a Masters in Journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in Political Science from Concordia University. I’ve travelled extensively, including in hotspots such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Gaza and Lebanon, to better understand the realities on the ground. Where you’re born is truly the luck of the draw.
Years ago while living in the Middle East, I worked with locals to organize tours across the West Bank. We operated in a volatile political and military environment and took university students, tourists and documentary filmmakers to meet residents from all walks of life. Seeing people of such different backgrounds talk, open up, share stories and walk away with new, broader perspectives was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I created UPLIFT because I want to help reveal our common humanity and boundless potential.
I'm also the Supervising Producer of a video series called It's Up to Us at the Centre for Social Innovation. Check out the latest episode here.
Nisha Toomey, Co-creator, producer and host, @NishaToomey
I've been working in international development and education for a decade. I spent five years on the Thai-Burma border, teaching, training and managing social entrepreneurship projects. I learned early on that the concept of ‘poverty’ can be heavily flawed; that there is a much deeper, richer side to people’s lives. I'm so lucky to have worked alongside changemakers who channelled their outrage into helping others. I carry their stories with me everywhere I go.
I lived in a Burmese refugee camp for two years, eating rations and sleeping on a reed mat, teaching critical thinking under the shadow of the Burmese dictatorship. That time inspired my Master’s in Education, which looked at how governments use education systems to reward conformity and repress creativity, and the negative repercussions that can have for society as a whole. We should encourage and celebrate out-of-the-box thinking; solving the challenges we face requires new approaches and imagination.
Jim Morrison IV, Development Producer, @jmiv
I’m really excited to have just joined the UPLIFT team as Development Producer to take this project to the next level! I’ve been in the industry for over fifteen years and this job has blessed me with travel to almost every continent and 40+ countries around the world, and given me access to the full range of the human experience. I work primarily as a director. I have done dozens of music videos, commercials, TV shows and documentaries. I am a camera nerd, so I also find myself working as a Director of Photography. I have produced literally hundreds of hours of content. I currently series direct a show for the Food Network that now screens all over the world on National Geographic, TLC, Discovery, UKTV, and Biography.
You can learn more about me on my website.
Greg Francis, Filmmaker, @GregFrancis
I'm a Toronto based documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. I have a BFA in Film Studies from Ryerson University, where I also received the Norman Jewison Filmmaker award. Since I was a youngling, I've taken a strong connection to social and environmental issues, so much that I was voted “Most likely to join Greenpeace” at my high school graduation.
My directorial debut, TAR, was awarded Best Short at Planet in Focus 2013 and has now screened in festivals across the globe. I've also produced works for a number of changemakers and nonprofits, such as the Centre for Social Innovation and the David Suzuki Foundation. Through my filmmaking, I strive to create works that promote positive change and sustainability for our shared ecology.
You can check out my demo reel for examples of my past work.
Risks and challenges
Creating a TV show requires significant financial and broadcaster support. Our conversations with producers and broadcasters will be ongoing, and we’ll explore different funding and distribution models including online to make it happen. Shooting in other countries that may be experiencing some form of conflict or turmoil can pose challenges and dangers that could slow or halt production. There could be other unexpected delays but we will endeavor to make every deadline we set. No matter what happens, we’ll keep our supporters updated.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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