A little help can go a long way when it comes to crowdfunding campaigns, and we’re here to spread the word about a few notable film projects trying to get their financial footing. While these three selections are very different from one another, they all explore different facets of womanhood and the female experience, and are all created by women. Take a look and, if you feel compelled, help support women’s visions and stories on the screen.
What it’s about: After bringing their much-buzzed documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” to a worldwide audience, Lake and Epstein seek to shine a light on the issues surrounding a basic necessity for many woman: birth control. Their reasoning is laid out in the trailer for their fundraising project: “As feminists, we know that it is tough to be critical of hormonal contraceptives when they have given us equality and freedom, but as documentary filmmakers, we want to empower women to be able to make informed choices when it comes to their contraceptive.”
Who is involved: Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein produced “The Business of Being Born” to both critical and audience acclaim. That film aimed to revolutionize the Western approach to childbirth, and it seems they’re on the path to do the same with “Sweetening the Pill.”
Why we’re interested: Inspired by Holly Grigg-Spall’s book, “Sweetening the Pill, or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control,” the film has potential to truly upend preexisting mindsets about hormonal birth-control options. It’s fair to examine a system that has an estimated one hundred million women around the world dependent upon it, as well as the health risks associated with it. Who among us hasn’t had a friend or a personal experience with hormonal birth control affecting us poorly? And as the trailer asks, “Is it fair to compromise your health in order to be responsible?” These are interesting questions in a climate where women’s reproductive choices are so hotly debated, and their freedom in making their own decisions regarding them is in increasing danger.
The deadline: Fundraising ends Friday, July 3, on the film’s Kickstarter page.
What it’s about: From the Kickstarter description: “‘Creased’ is a short film about an Asian American high school girl that is strongly considering getting double eyelid surgery, which can be seen as an attempt to ‘westernize’ a uniquely Asian feature and is one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery for Asians worldwide. A coming-of-age film that takes place at the crossroads of race and mainstream American beauty standards.”
Who is involved: Jade Justad, an independent up-and-coming filmmaker.
Why we’re interested: Justad writes that an inspiration for the film was the story of Julie Chen, a popular Asian-American broadcaster who revealed that she had undergone double eyelid surgery under pressure at the beginning of her career. When this was discussed with her co-hosts of the daytime talk show “The Talk,” their reactions were to assure her that she looked better with the surgical enhancement. With double eyelid surgery being extremely prevalent in Asian-Americans, this short film may offer a poignant look at the pressure to emulate a Western beauty standard.
The deadline: As of right now, the project is halfway to its goal, but you have until July 4 to donate to the Kickstarter.
What it’s about: Faith, a native of conservative Kenya, escaped to a new life in New York City, one where she was free to fall in love and create a family with her chosen partner. “Before I came to America… I never dreamt of a wife, because those dreams for me did not exist,” Faith says in the project’s trailer. Kenyan culture condemns homosexuality and has in fact classified it as a punishable crime, so Faith’s family life would not have been possible had she stayed in her homeland. Now, she wants to take her wife and son to visit her native country to share the experience of where she comes from.
Who is involved: Molly Pelavin, a graduate of SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Film, will direct the project.
Why we’re interested: “I struggled all my life, being a lesbian in Kenya. The world was not for me; I was in the wrong place,” says Faith. Her story is compelling, as is her determination to create a better life for herself. Following Faith and her family back to Kenya will make for an emotional journey, both for her and her audience. The cost of Kenya’s rampant homophobia is clear when it comes to the toll it has taken on one woman. It is a story that can resonates deeply in the current struggle for LGBT marriage equality and global rights.
The deadline: Fundraising ends on the Kickstarter on July 22.