Crowdfunding leader Kickstarter has teamed up with filmmaking organizations in New Orleans – NOVAC, The New Orleans Film Society, #CreateLouisiana, and Film New Orleans — to form the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubator, which will produce 5 films directed by local filmmakers in celebration of the city’s 2018 Tricentennial celebration.
In support of the initiative, Kickstarter campaigns for all 5 films were launched earlier this month, each with a $5,000 goal; and if successful, Film New Orleans will provide a matching $5,000 grant, for a total of at least $10,000 in production support for each film, in addition to other professional consultation received.
The selected completed films will premiere in the spring of 2018 in New Orleans.
Why Kickstarter’s focus on New Orleans filmmaking specifically? According to the company, the city “holds a special place in our heart,” notably founder, Perry Chen, who is said to have come up with the idea for Kickstarter while living in New Orleans in 2001.
Further from Kickstarter: “The New Orleans film community, in particular, has found a welcome home on Kickstarter, from NOLA natives Bill and Turner Ross’s musical documentary, Tchoupitoulas, to Paper Chase, a comedy set in the city about a young girl raising money for college by any means necessary, to the drive to help Court 13 Arts — the team behind Beasts of the Southern Wild — create a home for community-based art, filmmaking, and creativity in New Orleans and beyond… Forming the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubator with these four outstanding organizations is our way of recognizing and building on this rich culture of cinematic creativity.”
I should note that all 3 of the above mentions projects have been covered on this blog.
Below are the five films that have been selected for the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubator (4 of them tell stories about black people and/or have a creative team that includes black people or other people of color), including links to their Kickstarter campaign pages where you can learn more about each, as well as contribute.
dir. Jason Foster/Kiyoko McCrae, prod. Kiyoko McCrae
World-renowned poet Sunni Patterson was displaced for twelve years following Hurricane Katrina. Set in the Desire/Florida neighborhood where Patterson grew up and the Algiers neighborhood she now calls home, this film merges documentary and poetry to tell the story of her return to New Orleans and the beauty of her people, who, despite it all, still call New Orleans home.
dir. Zandashe Brown, prod. Lauren Domino
An Afrofuturist Southern Gothic horror film focused on a toxic mother-daughter relationship. Filmed in one shotgun house with rich art direction, the film ratchets up the tension between the two women as they face down family dynamics, intergenerational trauma, and religious fervor.
dir. Julia Evans, prod. Weenta Girmay
The story of one New Orleans corner store. This verité documentary alternates between ethnography and narration, highlighting the personal stories behind a neighborhood institution and showing how New Orleans’ corner stores are linchpins of their local communities.
dir. Austin Alward, prod. Win Riley
Faced with being barred from the the US if she leaves the country, a young African teacher at a French immersion school in New Orleans drowns her sorrows in dance to a soundtrack by a teenage Vietnamese-American DJ. At the 20th anniversary of their school, the 50th anniversary of CODOFIL (Council of French in Louisiana), and the tricentennial of La Nouvelle-Orléans, real-life New Orleans French immersion educators, parents, and students chime in to the musical crescendo.
dir. David White, prod. Todd Voltz
For 29 hours every March, Albinis and Manon Prizgintas pour their hearts into putting on a continuous performance of classical music at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans. There are families in sleeping bags in the balcony, musicians from NOLA and around the world in attendance, a constant supply of cookies and juice, and the creation — occasionally at the expense of health and sanity — of one of the most original musical performance events in the world.