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Self-Harm, Female DJs and Emily Dickinson: August 2015’s Crowdfunding Picks

Self-Harm, Female DJs and Emily Dickinson: August 2015's Crowdfunding Picks

There are some important women-centric projects to check out this August, but before these works can come into full fruition, they could do with a little help from some friends — and that’s where you come in.

All of these projects pay close attention to the creative aptitudes and dexterous abilities of their female characters in unique yet interrelated ways. A documentary about the life of one of America’s most posthumously celebrated poets, Emily Dickinson, is featured alongside a nonfiction profile of female DJs owning their decks across the world. A sitcom about two determined actress friends supporting one another in a ruthlessly gendered entertainment industry is raising funds alongside a film centered around an aspiring artist’s selfless dedication to helping her brother cope with his mental illness.

Here is a list of current crowdfunding projects that are definitely worth checking out.

Perfection – Written and Directed by Christina Beck
What it’s about: The film tells the story of Kristabelle (Christina Beck), a young woman who frequently engages in self-harm, and her aging mother, Sally (Robyn Peterson), who is addicted to plastic surgery and the unattainable ideal of ever-lasting youth. On the film’s crowdfunding page, “Perfection” is described as “a story about the timely subject matter of self-injury, as it explores our culture’s addiction to plastic surgery and the absurd notion that we can only be loved if we are perfect!”
Who is involved: Christina Beck, an up-and-coming independent filmmaker. Beck was previously accepted into Fox Searchlight’s new directors program, where she wrote, directed and starred in the short film “Slice,” which screened at Cannes.
Why we’re interested: Any film that serves to challenge ingrained (Western) notions of what women should aspire to look like is certainly worthy of our attention. Images of female beauty pressure girls and women into disciplining and sometimes even harming themselves. As such, female-driven projects that seek to pick apart these damaging ideals deserve every bit of support they can get.    
The deadline: So far, the film is half-way to reaching its full funding target. You can donate to this project on its Seed&Spark page until August 14.

Girl (Documentary) – Directed by Kandeyce Jorden
What it’s about: A documentary that has been in the making for twelve years, “Girl” explores the vigorous talents of pioneering female DJs in electronic dance music.
Who is involved: Producer and director Kandeyce Jorden, who has previously directed the shorts “Undone” and “Layover.”
Why we’re interested: Any project that shows women making waves in predominantly male waters is enough to get us all excited. DJ decks are too often assumed to be the sole territory of male musicians. “Girl” proves otherwise.
The deadline: Jorden currently needs to raise final funds to pay for music rights. You can contribute to the final stages of the film on its crowdfunding page, until August 26.

Phosphorescence: A Documentary About the Life of Emily Dickinson (Documentary)
What it’s about: The life and work of Emily Dickinson, narrated by Cynthia Nixon.
Who is involved: The project is spearheaded by Solon Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter, the owners of Hurricane Films, a film production company best known for Terence Davies’ feature-length documentary “Of Time and the City.” Papadopoulos would direct.
Why we’re interested: It’s seldom that we are afforded a deep exploration of a historic female figure, and this film is one that runs in the same vein as Jane Anderson’s “Packed in a Trunk,” which investigated the lost art of early-20th-century artist Edith Lake Wilkinson. Similar to the latter, this documentary meticulously considers the difficult life and wonderful work of its talented female protagonist.  
The deadline: You can donate money to the production of this film on its Kickstarter page, until August 28.

Love Goes Through Your Stomach – Written and Directed by Ronak Shah
What it’s about: From the film’s Kickstarter description: “‘Love Goes Through Your Stomach’ is a film about a family that is torn apart after a member is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the process of getting him help, they are forced to confront their collective dysfunction and individual demons.”
Who is involved: “Love Goes Through Your Stomach” is written and directed by Ronak Shah, an up-and-coming independent filmmaker and recipient of the Motion Picture Association of America award for two years running. Shah is currently completing her MFA in Film Directing at UCLA.
Why we’re interested: While bravely tackling the sensitive subject matter of mental illness, the film also looks specifically at the damaging effects that manifest from society’s unwillingness to accept mental illness as a serious health issue. Told through the point of view of a strong female protagonist and taking into account the overwhelming statistics concerning mental health-related suicides in the US, “Love Goes Through Your Stomach” tactufully depicts the genuine struggle for sufferers to be heard, as well as the overwhelming importance of societal acceptance and support.
The deadline: You can donate to the film’s Kickstarter page until August 28.

Supporting Roles – Written by Brandi and Shannon Hollsten
What it’s about: Two aspiring actresses emotionally support each other as they are confronted with the deep-rooted sexism that is widespread throughout the entertainment industry. More than that, it’s about the power of female friendship in challenging a (show) business that is built to the immediate disadvantage of women: Why work twice as hard as men when they can work together?
Who is involved: Up-and-coming independent TV/filmmakers Brandi and Shannon Hollsten and Sarah Adams.
Why we’re interested: Female friendship? Check. Calling out Hollywood sexism? Check. Women doing something about it? We’re there.
The deadline: Fundraising ends on August 28, on the project’s crowdfunding page.

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