This month’s crowdfunding post focuses on filmmakers tackling topics rarely discussed in mainstream film. “From Away” highlights racism in an idyllic town, “MNSTR” dramatizes the feeling of panic and anxiety, “Juliet Remembered” depicts a touching portrayal of art and Alzheimer’s disease and “Love Stinks” captures the budding sexuality of young women. With your support, these stories will get told, and these filmmakers’ voices will be heard.
Here are our January crowdfunding picks:
The timeliness of filmmaker Maya Tepler’s documentary “From Away” cannot be overstated. Though the film is centered on Tepler’s brothers, two Burundian asylum seekers named Franck and Jessy, their story serves as a catalyst for a larger study of the changing demographics of Maine and the rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the state. As Tepler suggests in the trailer for the film, Maine’s recent influx of refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East challenges the hard-held beliefs of some of the state’s most outspoken citizens and politicians. As discussions about these very issues have come to dominate international politics, Tepler’s film is a crucial story focusing on the humans behind the issues.
You can help with the funding of this project through the film’s Kickstarter page until January 19.
"MNSTR" (pronounced "monster") is a short film exploring the physical manifestations of anxiety. According to the film’s Kickstarter page, “The plot topically follows a girl and her best friend going out to a club, while linearly mirroring the beats of a panic attack until the girl reaches full panic, and has to decide to fight or give in once again to her anxiety.” Filmmaker Nicole Melilo will depict anxiety through the film’s form by using negative scratching and rotoscoping to mimic the chaotic mental space of panic and anxiety. But this project has far-reaching goals beyond being artistically ambitious: “’MNSTR’ has the potential to change the lives of people who suffer from panic and anxiety. Your donations to ‘Monster’ will make a difference by shining a beacon on anxiety.”
You can donate to MNSTR’s Kickstarter page until February 1.
“Juliet Remembered” explores the limits of language and memory. The short film is about an actress with Alzheimer’s disease who has forgotten everything — except the words to Shakespeare’s Juliet. By combining their passion for their British heritage with their commitment to telling the stories of underrepresented groups, Merchant and producer Jessica Benhamou seek to reframe one of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters through the“lens of age, experience and loss.
You can contribute to the film’s post-production costs with a donation on the film’s Kickstarter page until February 6.
Writer/director Alicia Harris and producer Rebeca Ortiz are committed to creating women-centric films. The premise for “Love Stinks” is a promising one: it’s a coming-of-age story, both comedic and heartfelt. Their short film follows a 13-year-old girl, Jay, who is convinced seeing a naked man will magically usher her into womanhood. Forcing her two friends to go along with her “womanhood ceremony,” the girls debate looking at a Playgirl Magazine, which sparks candid conversations about the physical and emotional tolls of growing up. For the filmmakers, focusing on young women, especially at the crucial time of puberty, is important because, as Ortiz notes, “The media often makes girls feels as though their experiences and curiosities are abnormal. In our film, the characters share their thoughts openly on periods, boobs and boys, behavior which is often considered ‘unladylike.’”
The film is receiving donations via their Kickstarter page until February 19.