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Crowdfund This: Autobiographical Romance Between African American of Vietnamese Heritage and Ethiopia

Crowdfund This: Autobiographical Romance Between African American of Vietnamese Heritage and Ethiopia

Details from the filmmakers on a crowdfunding campaign for what looks like a very worthwhile project that could use your support, whether making a financial contribution, or just simply spreading the word about it. There are roughly 2 weeks left in the campaign, with 36% of its goal raised as of the time of this posting.

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Hello, I am Mai-Kim T. Dang. “New Flower” is an autobiographical romance between me and Ethiopia, rendered in beautiful black and white. I return to Ethiopia to revisit the people and places I knew. I’m an African-American of Vietnamese heritage who worked as a Fulbright researcher there in 2011. From there I split my time between the U.S. and Ethiopia for several years, giving birth to a daughter who is part Ethiopian. My character in the film is drawn from my own memories of initial enchantment, gradual disillusionment, struggle and survival. Rather than dismiss my American perspective, we are dramatizing how it became subsumed by the reality of daily life in the country. Reality has become a cheapened, dirty word in our culture; in “New Flower” we will show its power to awaken compassion, connection and spirit.

My co-producer and director, Steven Boone, and I are going to Ethiopia in January, 2016 to continue pre-production, location scouting and filming several scenes. We will return in February with footage intended to attract further investment, to meet our full $50,000 budget goal. Our January scenes also constitute a standalone short film.

Our fundraising goal is $7,000, which will go to equipment rental, transportation, casting in various towns and villages, props, meals and contingency expenses during our month in Ethiopia.

In gratitude for your support we offer a range of gifts, including Blu-ray copies of the finished film, original photographs and artwork by our brilliant artist-collaborators, screen credit and free services like video production and portrait studio time.

My larger ambition is to foster connections between African and African-American independent filmmakers. In the case of “New Flower” this has yielded a blessing: The acclaimed Ethiopian filmmaker Tewodros Hagos is our cinematographer. Expect a breathtaking monochrome visual experience.

We are committed to the idea that it does not take millions of dollars to make something beautiful, true and lasting. Filmmaking technology is now inexpensive and ubiquitous. Low budgets no longer mean cheap looks, not with resourceful talent and keen eyes behind the camera.

We don’t have much time to close our $7,000 budget gap but we land in Ethiopia January 4th, 2016 in any case. January is the time of Timket, the Feast of Epiphany in Ethiopia. The festivals, music, dancing of this season are part of the vibrant fabric of our film. Your support means that we get the most out of our trip, traveling to all of the locations on our agenda and realizing scenes necessary for both a short film and a proof-of-concept trailer. (In this case, the concept is not some new filmmaking technology but the power of existing, off-the-shelf tech to create the sweep and intimacy of an epic at the micro-budget level.)

We will be challenged by the locations, the weather and a limited window of time, which makes your contribution that much more crucial.

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For the rest of the story, go to the project’s Indiegogo campaign page, where you can also make a contribution, or share the campaign via social media.

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