This week’s crowdfunding picks are tied together by a strong sense of place, conjuring images of faraway landscapes or fleshing out the complexities of America’s marginalized communities. “Redefining HERstory” is a documentary that challenges Hollywood’s depictions of Black and Afro-Latina women. For the filmmakers, this is not just important for creating a more inclusive entertainment landscape, but because the depiction of women in film has a direct impact on how young Black and Afro-Latina women see themselves, and how men in those communities treat them. The film posits that changing Hollywood essentially equates to changing — and saving — lives.
“The Planters” and “Interior Teresa” both depict protagonists who seek somewhere to take refuge from the outside world. These films focus on the power of place to transform relationships and spark self-reflection. In “The Planters,” a reclusive young woman offers her home to another and gains a friend, while also learning a hard lesson about letting people into her heart. In “Interior Teresa,” the church becomes a place for two teens to not only grapple with their questions about God, but also reflect on love and sex.
Finally, the short film “Dark Dignity” is a sci-fi drama that takes place in a post-apocalyptic North America. The film promises to explore faith and strength in the face of hopelessness — imagining what it might be like for a group of women to navigate new terrain, start over, and find home.
Here are our February crowdfunding picks:
Redefining HERstory – Directed by Sil Lai Abrams
In the documentary “Redefining HERstory,” director Sil Lai Abrams takes on the homogenous landscape of Hollywood, directing our attention not only to its detrimental lack of diversity, but its very real impact on women in Black and Afro-Latino communities. By making a connection between Hollywood’s lack of positive images of women of color to high rates of gender-based violence, this film goes beyond a call for color-blind casting to one that pleads for equality and humanity in Hollywood’s treatment of marginalized communities. The filmmakers welcome all donations and strongly encourage supporters to donate within the next couple weeks.
You can support this film through the CrowdRise campaign until March 31.
Interior Teresa – Written and Directed by Meredith Alloway
Writer/director Meredith Alloway’s religious background sparked the idea for this short film, which she describes (rather intriguingly) as “‘Spring Breakers’ meets the Catholic church.” The story of “Interior Teresa” is a modern re-imagining of the story of St. Teresa of Avila. Teresa (Kara Young) is struck with strange visions and Major (Jake Cannavale) has other troubles, which he hopes to drown with booze. When they are stuck cleaning the church sanctuary together, they help each other work through their feelings on spirituality, sex and love, while coming to terms with their own failings and vices.
You can help the film’s production by donating to its Kickstarter campaign until February 19.
The Planters – Written and Directed by Hannah Leder and Alexandra Kotcheff
The filmmakers of “The Planters” are attempting a gigantic feat: they are the sole crew for this dark, quirky comedy set in a small, desert town– something that has never been done before. Given the duo’s strong commitment to teamwork, it only makes sense that the story of “The Planters” is equally concerned with friendship. For Martha Plant (Kotcheff), the days are lonely and long. She spends her time working a telemarketing job and “planting” — that is, burying stolen items in the desert that a “receiver” digs up. On one of her planting excursions, she runs into Sadie Mayflower (Leder), a homeless girl with multiple personalities. The girls become fast friends and team up to solve another mystery: Who is the mysterious man leaving cryptic, perverted letters for Martha? Martha suspects it’s one of her telemarketing customers and, feeling betrayed, she seeks to stop him with Sadie’s help.
You can support the film through its Kickstarter campaign until March 10.
Dark Dignity – Directed by Rae Damon; Written by Cassandra Nicholson
“Dark Dignity,” both thematically and in its crowd-funded production process, explores how women forge communities and work collectively towards a goal. The film imagines what the world would be like if a plague wiped out North America and beyond. In the short film, a group of women — former teachers, doctors, police officers and the like — must band together for survival. The small tribe must not only overcome the harsh landscape and dire conditions, but each member must also battle her own bouts of insecurity and hopelessness in order to survive.
You can contribute to this film’s Indiegogo campaign until March 3.