Our intent is to tell the raw story – the raw story of the “military experience” downrange, the dynamic while deployed, the pivotal moments when they return home, and ultimately how they navigate the CIVILIAN workplace, the community and most significantly, their home with their loved ones. THE RAW Story has many layers AND we intend to delve and dig deep during intense interviews as they share how they navigate the rough terrain of civilian life after multiple deployments, how they maintain emotional healthy relationships within their community of fellow Veterans as well as their “tribe.”
 
Further, we will tell the raw story of Veteran suicide and talk to surviving family members, and how they are coping, and what they’ve done to honor their family members memory.Another element of this documentary will highlight grassroots organizations, Veteran owned non-profit organization, Hidden Wounds (https://hiddenwounds.org/) Project Josiah (https://projectjosiah.org/). Celebrate Freedom Foundation, gocff.org, Project Refit, projectrefit.us, Heroic Gardens, heroicgardens.org The Lazy Lab Hunting Club lazylabhc.org Awareness 22, https://awareness22.com/The Giordano Foundation.giordanofoundation.org
 
We will talk to major players at the Department of Veterans Affairs. We will ask bold questions to these experts. (e.g., How can they better serve Veterans and their families? What can VA providers do better and also discuss the paradigm shift to client centered -and their whole health initiative. 
 
We will delve into the latest research on how to best serve Veterans and their families, University of South Carolina’s Dr. Aubrey Sugeit will present straightforward evidence of combating PTSD. We will interview other Professors at Rutgers University in NJ conducting research involving effective therapies for Veterans to heal from PTSD. 
 
We will ask bold questions to politicians fighting on the frontlines every day for Veterans. (e.g., What are local and state politicians doing right now to take action?) We will interview Joe Wilson in SC and other politicians to explore real political change (Columbia, Philadelphia, New Jersey, etc.) 
 
And finally present a Call to Action – What outcomes do the military and Veteran community want to realize for our nation’s heroes? What the community at large can do to help? We will provide local resources for each state/region in the U.S.
 
We are raising funds for our full feature documentary – All insurance costs, administrative costs, accounting costs, Development, fundraising/marketing efforts, pre-production, production, post-production, film festival activities, outreach, marketing and distribution costs. We have successfully raised 10,000 dollars to fund the trailer and 1,000 dollars to film one shoot at the Army Navy game, featuring the president of the Lazy Lab Hunting Club.
 
THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR THIS VERY IMPORTANT FILM!
 
Click here to view the full trailer: https://youtu.be/q7lR3fdx1Qw

A four (4) part Docuseries, an examination of what passes for Black Television and “black” character-driven TV today. An in depth look at the extent to which it’s just another Minstrel Show, “white” imagery in Blackface.

Provides a history, using examples, beginning with the Minstrel Show form and how that basic format/formula continues despite having “black” producers/creatives working in the medium and despite having so-called Black networks.

The entertainment form began as a “white” one and has hewn to that form ever since. Blacks who are working in the medium today haven’t really innovated nor strayed too far from what the industry deems right and proper for “black” folks in both form and content, in front & behind the camera.

During the Black Arts Movement of the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s the mantra of Black Mediamakers was “by, for, and about” Black folks. In what ways today do we have the “by” and the “about,” but not the “for?”

All of these “black” shows or shows with “diverse” casts, with so-called “colorblind” casting that make their way to the Broadcast, Cable, VOD networks has the effect of diminishing, devaluing the African Diasporic culture and history, while elevating the centrality of the Eurocentric POV, which ultimately is the point.

“As a white American..I have a white frame of reference and a white worldview, and I move through the world with a white experience. My experience [contrary to the messages projected in the media and educational systems], is not a universal human experience,” Robin DiAngelo writes in White Fragility.

Historically how has American media, particularly television presented what is ultimately this “white” worldview, even when wrapped in Black packaging, to the detriment of audiences Black and White?

The series pulls back to curtain to see just how the strings are connected and provides historic context to the programming that has made its way into our homes. We examine both the familiar and the hidden, the classic and the mediocre the good, the bad and the cringeworthy. The story unfolds through interviews, archival footage, commentary & critique.

The television entertainment form began as a “white” one and has hewn to that form ever since. Blacks who are working in the medium today haven’t really innovated (in the way that Jackie Robinson changed major league baseball or “black” players reinvented professional basketball, playing above-the-rim) nor strayed too far from what the industry deems “commercial.”

The “elephant-in-the-room” question is why? We will examine this question along the lines of the answer posited in a 2016 article in the New Yorker, titled, “The Oscar Whiteness Machine,” by Richard Brody.

“…[T]he presumption that baseline experience is white experience, and that black life is a niche phenomenon, life with an asterisk. The result is that only narrow and fragmentary views of the lives of African-Americans ever make it to the screen—and I think that this is not an accident. If the stories were told—if the daily lives and inner lives, the fears and fantasies, the historical echoes and the anticipations of black Americans were as copiously unfolded in movies as are those of whites—then lots of white folks would be forced to confront their historical and contemporary shame. They’d no longer be able to claim ignorance of what they’d like not to know—which includes their own complicity in a rigged system.” What are the ways that Black folks themselves participate in that “rigged system?”

Waterkeeper explores the astonishing and uplifting life of environmental activist Diane Wilson, Waterkeeper for the San Antonio Bay Estuarine system. The film interweaves several storylines revolving around this visionary, funny, and intrepid warrior, who’s been fighting her entire life for the waters she grew up on.

Our primary story captures Wilson’s newest fight, as it unfolds like an environmental true crime. In December of 2020, Diane discovers that a newly formed oil pipeline company named Max Midstream Texas has filed an application to The Army Corps of Engineers for permits to build a new oil export terminal at the Port of Calhoun. For the largest tanker ships to gain access to the terminal, Max Midstream plans to dredge a massive expansion of the shipping channels in Matagorda Bay, heart of the local fishing industry. However…

…in 1994, after discovering 41 million cubic yards of mercury had been released into the waters by Alcoa Aluminum’s Point Comfort Plant, the EPA declared Matagorda Bay a Superfund site. They determined that the safest way to mitigate the toxic mercury, was to allow contaminated sediment to remain undisturbed on the bay floor. But late last year, the US Army Corps of Engineers reversed the EPA’s decision, and has fast-tracked the approval process for the Max Midstream proposal. To protest the Army Corp’s reversal, 72-year-old Diane began her thirteenth hunger strike on April 7, 2021. After 38 days, and 48 hours in the Galveston County Jail, Diane was released. A week later, she led a protest in front of the Max Midstream headquarters in Houston. The ACOE approval deadline to accept bids from dredging firms by spring 2022.

Into the Max Midstream story, we interweave Diane’s epic 30-year war with multinational petrochemical giant Formosa Plastics. Using archival news coverage, footage from past documentaries, and interviews, we explore the epic Formosa saga, which culminates in October 2019 when Diane’s suit against the company settles in her favor for $50 million, the largest penalty awarded for violations of the Clean Water Act in US history.

Throughout, we entwine Diane’s remarkable life story. The only female shrimper in her community, she has five children, the youngest autistic. She has authored 4 books, and is writing on her fifth. In 2001 Diane, broke into the Union Carbide plant in her hometown, and dropped a banner denouncing the company for the Bhopal India gas leak that killed 8,000 people. She was arrested and spent five months in jail for it. She was so moved by the incarcerated women she met there, she founded the Texas Jail Project, which holds county jails accountable for mistreatment and medical neglect of inmates. She co-founded the international peace organization Code Pink. Diane was arrested for hopping the White House fence to protest the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Despite a high school education, Diane is a sought after public speaker by environmental groups around the world. She has endured thirteen hunger strikes, the longest 57 days.…

Our final storyline explores the catastrophic impact of the all-powerful Texas petrochemical industry on low income/fence line Gulf Coast communities like Seadrift, Texas. Using industry-produced promotional films and PR campaigns, we show how these powerful corporations sell folks on the benefits of bringing their industries to their towns. In direct contrast, archival news footage of chemical spills, explosions, and daily releases of toxic chemicals, alongside testimony from victims of the pollution, reveals the devastation to those communities. 

Diane’s courage and selflessness is the engine that drives our film. Through the lens of her lifelong David vs. Goliath saga, Waterkeeper offers a boots-on-the-ground view of a fight for humankind’s most precious resource – clean water. 

But Waterkeeper paints on a broader canvas. In telling the specifics of Diane’s activism, the film points to the larger environmental justice story playing out in low income, fence line communities across the planet. Of our how industrial polluters skirt regulation, and continue to squander our dwindling water supply.  Waterkeeper shows how we got here, and how to move forward…

We have some amazing gifts for donations of $100 or more, including an exclusive ‘On-Camera’ CHEF’S TABLE event being filmed for this documentary. Details at bottom. We need to raise 90k to cover the cost of production and post-production. Please help us inspire more LOVE and SOCIAL CHANGE in the world by making a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation today.

Chef’s Sanctuary is a participatory documentary about the journey of an ordinary man who overcame extraordinary circumstances to discover his own inner Sanctuary. An epic Hero’s journey of a human being standing in his truth, while following his heart’s passion, amidst the horrendous struggles he faced growing up and then as an illegal immigrant in the United States.

Chef Tony Castillo’s incredible resilience and willingness to find the blessing in his struggles, has allowed him to go from a baby abandoned at birth in Venezuela, a child constantly bullied in Mexico for his love of cooking, to homeless and an illegal immigrant in the US, to shot and nearly killed, to now a proud restaurant owner and US Citizen, who was recently awarded “International Chef of the Year”.

Ex. Producer and Host, Danny McFarland, is a retired decorated Deputy Sheriff who was nearly killed and permanently disabled in the line of duty. Danny was awarded the Bronze Star for Bravery, and the Purple Heart. Danny suffered from excruciating pain every second of everyday of his life, until a decade later when he began healing his mind and body holistically. His darkest moments in life became his greatest gifts, and now he’s empowering others to do the same by sharing inspirational stories from Hurt to Happiness.

This heartfelt project has been blessed with an amazing team, primarily Latino based. Director/Co-Producer Mario Beauregard, Assoc. Producer Claudia Padilla, Primetime Emmy award winning and nine time nominated Cinematographer, Petr Cikhart, and Mexico’s award winning Cinematographer, Vidblaín Balvás (2nd Unit Camera Man).

DONATION GIFTS:

$1k (usd) or more: You receive one (1) seat to an exclusive Chef’s Table experience with Chef Tony. Various dates available, TBD.

$5k (usd) or more: You receive one (1) seat for exclusive (On-Camera) Chef’s Table special event being filmed for Chef’s Sanctuary documentary (TBD). 

$10k (usd) or more: Includes two (2) seats to same (On-Camera) Chef’s Table special event, plus your name in credits as an Associate Producer. 

$500 (usd) or more: Receive one (1) raffle ticket, chance to win two (2) seats to an exclusive Chef’s Table with Chef Tony (not on-camera). Four (4) winners.

$100 (usd) donation or more, all receive an invite to a special private party to thank our supports @ Longitud315 in Chicago area or @ El Santuario del Chef in Ticuman, Mexico (Your choice). Date TBD. 

*(On-Camera) Chef’s Table special event will be held @ Longitud315. Date TBD. Only eight (8) seats available. Lock in your seat today. 

*All other exclusive Chef’s Table events will be held @ Longitud315 and @ El Santuario del Chef (your choice) Various dates available TBD.

*NOTE on all donations for CHEF’s SANCTUARY film (Accepting checks, credit cards, crypto currency, stocks) Note: CHEF’s SANCTUARY please. 

This is our way of saying THANK YOU to all of our AMAZING donors. We literally can not do this without you heartfelt support.

www.ChefsSanctuary.com for more details and to follow our journey. ChefsSanctuaryInfo@gmail.com for any questions or interest in collaborating with our film. 

When filmmaker Alex Rappoport met then 79-year-old abstract artist Peter Bradley in early 2020, Bradley hadn’t sold many paintings or had a major show in over four decades – yet he still painted every day in his shipping-container studio, heated by a wood stove, no matter what the weather. Over time, Rappoport recorded Bradley’s fascinating life story, which occupies a unique and inexplicably overlooked place in 20th century art history. Bradley was one of the first important Black gallery dealers in the 1970s, likely the first Black abstract artist represented by a major New York City gallery, and curator of one of the first integrated art shows in America (read this New York Times article for more detail). As Bradley tells it, all this unfolds amidst the systemic racism of both society in general and the art world in particular.

Talented, willful and arrogant, Peter Bradley lived life to its fullest – until he fell upon hard times and drug abuse in the 1980s that nearly ended his career.  He now lives in an eclectic 18th century stone house in upstate New York with his wife and on-screen companion Rudolph the housecat. When COVID shut down most of the world, Alex started spending his days filming and deepening his friendship with Peter, a process which spanned more than a year. The result is a revealing 90-minute film about an extraordinary life.

WITH PETER BRADLEY is an intimate, provocative series of conversations with the now 81-year-old abstract painter and sculptor. At turns bitter and humorous, the recounting of Bradley’s rise to success as an artist – and subsequent fall from grace – unfolds against the backdrop of seasonal change at his rural home and studio.

Never Again Para Nadie translates as Never Again for Anyone. It means that no one should be a target. No one should be denied their human rights. The documentary short, Never Again Para Nadie, captures a moment when a diverse group of activists attempted to peacefully hold a system accountable for holding ICE detainees for no other reason than their country of origin. 

In the summer of 2020 a surge in demonstrations across the country supporting Black Lives Matter and social justice writ-large took to the streets to demand change, often meeting violent opposition. The documentary short film, Never Again Para Nadie, presages this moment by a year. Established by Jews, the organization Never Again Action seeks to put into practice the lessons of the Holocaust, including their support for undocumented and refugee neighbors, as they were once “strangers in a strange land.” 
 
Initially, Never Again Para Nadie, will be distributed to festivals and streaming sites. But this film will also be donated, along with a free teaching tools, to educational institutions and activist organizations nationwide. Contributions will fund free digital copies of the film, accompanied by curriculum, readings and discussion guides. From middle-school to college students, community organizers and educators, we can reach thousands of people. 

To date, Never Again Para Nadie has been primarily self-funded. Your financial support will help us reach people all across the country. 

For more information visit: neveragaindoc.com

 

Everyone wants to be happy — yet despite longer lifespans and a booming economy, Americans are drowning in an epidemic of suicide, addiction, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. But what if an illegal club drug classified as Schedule 1 was the life raft this country is searching for?  ECSTATIC follows some bold Americans, as they set out to change how we view drugs and therapy. Psychedelics, opioids and policing all play a role in this long form verite film. Some are training to become MDMA therapists, some want to change policing and drugs, and others are breaking the code of silence around research and drug use. All are mutineers from systems that have prevented us from accessing our freedoms. What the next few years will hold as Covid impacts depression rates and suicide, will make their work the difference between life and death.

Prominent Jewish scholar Ismar Schorsch fled Germany in 1938. Decades later, residents from his family’s hometown of Esslingen invite him back, restoring relations brutally severed by the Holocaust. In 2019 Germany awards Ismar its highest civilian honor. What made Ismar’s reconciliation possible? 

Through Ismar’s story, Life in Reverse reveals the courageous efforts of non-Jewish Germans to face the violent legacy they inherited. Their difficult memory work has broad implications beyond Germany. The struggle with their brutal past will serve as a model, particularly for America, as we have barely begun to memorialize the victims of our cruel history. 

Ismar’s humane spirit and devotion to historical knowledge as a path to redemption inspire as we consider the role of memory and truth-telling in building a just society.

Life in Reverse is a film about honest confrontation with a painful history and the uncertain journey from destruction to reconciliation.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

In this film we journey along with 26 year old Maria Smirnova as she strives to high dive professionally for Cirque Du Soleil and Red Bull. In doing so we introduce our audience not only to Maria but the sport of high diving as well as the recreational, and often dangerous, counterculture of freestyle cliff diving. This is a story about finding meaning in relationships despite the adversity of societal stigmas, gender inequality, racial tension, body image, and injuries. It’s a story about community, grit, perseverance, and pursuing your dreams at all costs.

Several women put their lives at risk by way of their common freedom of expression: Diving off of an 80 foot perch, soaring through the air at 55 mph, and plunging into a shallow pool of water. Although the mental aptitude it takes to be a high diver is a feat in and of itself, it pales in comparison to the transformative period of their lives ahead of them.  

 

Saving Southern Italy begins in the late stages of covid, when I return to the land of my Italian ancestry looking to find a home to buy and renovate, and along the way I’ll shepherd other ex-pats through the incredibly challenging yet rewarding process of honoring their roots in a tangible way. There are many well publicized schemes for the sale of abandoned properties, so I will engage property managers and lawyers who will help guide us through the options, from the  “case un euro” phenomenon to homes on the private market.

In essence, we are collectively “building gratitude” in a bricks and mortar fashion, which besides the possibility of buying a “heritage” home, we will meet other Italian-Americans who might be establishing a business such as a wedding venue, turning a village into an “Albergo Diffuso,” a diffused hotel, or perhaps populating an artist-in-residence borgo. 

The tone of the documentary will feel authentic and grounded, not “reality tv” but cinematic realism. 

After all, we’re filming Italy here!  So, I want viewers to smell every batch of bread baking, absorb the glow of every sunset, hear the music of feet shuffling on weathered cobblestones and feel the tug of their heartstrings when visiting villages that are literal time warps, many with an eerily melancholy aura of abandonment. 

The storyline will mainly be driven by the narrative of the interviews conducted with the subjects being featured, rather than a voice-over narration.