The system that protects our children is broken. As a nation we are failing. We have lost empathy, and the result is fatal. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children in the United States. This film has a simple mission: to increase our collective empathy. It is a starting point for a much larger conversation. Rather than focusing on the topics that divide us, we seek to unite our audience around common ground: our central need to love and protect our children.
In this documentary, we follow a reporter and a photographer as they set out to memorialize the empty rooms of America’s forgotten children. They visit the homes of families who have lost a child, and photograph these sacred spaces frozen in time, exactly as they were when the child went to school for the last day..Rooted in emotion and shared humanity, the film will bypass traditional political divides, and work to bring us together on an issue that has been at a standstill.
Brought to you by the filmmakers from the 2023 Oscar-nominated Stranger at the Gate, Executive Produced by Malala:
Joshua Seftel, Director, Academy Award®–Nominated
Joshua Seftel is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker. His most recent film, Stranger at the Gate, Executive Produced by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and nominated for a 2023 Academy Award®, is part of Seftel’s Emmy- and Peabody-nominated Secret Life of Muslims project (SXSW), which combats Islamophobia with filmmaking. Seftel, who experienced antisemitism as a child, has been committed to working on this subject matter for the past seven years.
Seftel received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 with his documentary Lost and Found, about Romania’s orphaned children. The film led to the American adoption of thousands of Romanian orphans. Some of his other award-winning films include the political campaign documentary Taking on the Kennedys (POV), the underdog sports film The Home Team(SXSW), the story of a young refugee Zain’s Summer (National Geographic), the behind-the-scenes film about Annie’s Broadway revival It’s the Hard Knock Life (PBS), and the artist portrait The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano (Tribeca Film Festival) which won the IDA Documentary Award and became the most viewed New York Times Op-Doc of the year. He is also known for directing the Emmy®-winning landmark series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the feature film War, Inc. starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei and Ben Kingsley, and his regular appearances on CBS Sunday Morning where he interviews his 86-year-old mother. He is a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning podcast This American Life and to The New York Times.
Rev. Dr. Conrad Fischer, MD, Executive Producer
Reverend Dr. Conrad Fischer, MD is Professor of Medicine at Touro College of Medicine in New York. Dr. Fischer is Vice-Chairman of Medicine, Residency Program Director in Internal Medicine at Brookdale University Medical Center in Brooklyn.
He is ordained as Reader and Sub-Deacon of the Russian Orthodox Church and is the President of the Institute for the Studies of Eastern Christianity. Dr. Fischer is Executive Producer of the Oscar-Nominated film “Stranger at the Gate. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary. His area of interest is religious violence. He is the author of several textbooks of medicine.
What is our campaign goal? Our goal is to raise $375,000
How our campaign works
Safe Sets Productions is sponsored by the Filmmakers Collaborative, a 501(c)(3) public non-profit organization, which means that your donations are tax-deductible. All excess funds will be donated to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.
Other Ways You Can Help
1. Equity investment and large donation opportunities for individuals and organizations will include contributor titles in the project. (ex. Funder, Associate Producer, Executive Producer)
2. We are actively seeking partners and underwriter virtual and in-person events and screenings.
3. In-Kind donations of time or material donations are always welcome.
4. All profits from sales of Safe Sets merch will support the film CLICK HERE TO SHOP.
*All donors over $250 get their choice of a Safe Sets T-Shirt
What is the project all about?
In an unyielding exploration of the film and television industry, SAFE SETS host, Dr. Paul Heinzelmann, fearlessly delves into hazardous conditions, exposing the toll on cast and crew. From prolonged workdays and sleep deprivation to chemical exposure and abuse of power, Through riveting accounts of accidents, mental illness, and the detrimental effects on longevity and family life, SAFE SETS reveals the dark underbelly of the entertainment industry.
To expose the dangers faced by cast and crew, the film weaves first-hand accounts from leading actors like Jon Hamm and John Malkovich to production professionals, stunt performers, and union leaders. Each reveals insight into the collective dangers involved in creating the films and streaming series we all love to consume. SAFE SETS aims to inspire a new generation of changemakers who will challenge the industry’s unhealthy norms and prioritize safety and well-being alongside the desire to compel audiences with engaging stories.
What will we do with your donations?
The funds we raise will be used for the completion and distribution of:
1. A feature-length documentary designed to enlighten and educate general audiences while also encouraging change in the film and TV industry.
2. Live events and educational discussions, screenings, and film festival participation.
3. Public Television broadcast to reach a nationwide audience.
4. Educational materials and curriculum designed for film school students and other organizations aiming to create safe and healthy work environments for filmmakers.
What is left for us to do?
● Acquire behind-the-scenes footage and cutaway material, including that from feature films as well as anatomical images that help illustrate health risks associated with chronic sleep fragmentation, second impact syndrome from repeated concussions, exposures to toxins in makeup and props, and much more.
● Complete editing, sound mixing, color correction, music acquisition, etc. for the feature documentary
● Convert over 30 hours of footage into educational materials to provide a valuable resource for current and future generations of film workers.
● Enter Safe Sets theatrical feature into major film festivals.
● Market, sell and distribute this important content to broad audiences.
● Execute a Marketing, Sales & Distribution plan.
What have we done already?
● Preproduction research and development of the story arc.
● Principle photography, including 12 shoots, totaling 45 interviews with subjects ranging from a multitude of positions in the film industry, medical experts, and many more. Production spanned both the east and west coast of the United States as well as Vancouver, Canada.
● Build a professionally designed website
● Created strategic promotional and pitch materials for partners, distributors, and our own channels.
● Seven-episode rough cut to build a course curriculum for film schools.
● Rough cut of a feature-length documentary for theatrical release.
● Collated approximately 25% of stock cutaway material.
● Created a line of industry-themed merchandise.
Risks & Challenges
We are working to get this film out to the public ASAP, while the topic remains especially timely. The project ultimately aims to foster a stronger collaboration between unions, guilds, production companies, studios, and OSHA to create a safer industry for all positions. Broad distribution will be critical if it is to spark positive industry-wide change.
What would this mean for the industry?
In today’s ever-evolving film and TV industry, the importance of SAFE SETS cannot be overstated. As the industry adapts to compressed budgets, demanding timelines, and the growing influence of streaming platforms, the well-being of those behind the scenes often takes a backseat. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to shine a light on the hazards and sacrifices faced not only by those in front of the camera, but those behind it. By exposing the dark underbelly of the industry and sparking meaningful dialogue, SAFE SETS addresses critical issues that demand urgent attention. Telling this untold story, can serve as a catalyst to transform the workplace to one where individuals thrive, not just change and fostering a safer, more inclusive environment for all involved in the filmmaking process.
Executive Producer, Writer, Co-Director: Paul Heinzelmann is a practicing primary care doctor, additionally trained in public health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Over the years of providing medical support on sets, he gained a deeper understanding of how film and TV production operates. It became clear that systemic factors were creating unique risks to those working in this industry and sharing these observations has become an important call to action in his career.
Producer: Azadeh Nikzadeh is a Middle Eastern writer, director, producer, and women’s rights activist. She wrote, directed, and produced award-winning films including feature documentaries Banned and The Credible Fear. She has won multiple fellowships and awards such as the Women Empowerment Fellowship, Asian Film Academy Fellowship from the Busan IFF, Athena Film Festival Writing Lab, and an Honorable Mention at the Charlotte Film Festival.
Director / Producer: Jonathan Schwartz is a veteran of film, TV, and new media – with a sharp focus on innovation, human rights and above all successful strategies to protect the global environment and enlist all stakeholders in the realms of conservation and activism.
Producer: Kerri Combs has worked for three decades in creative industries as a musician, producer, arts educator & film technician.She has helped shape the curriculum of film schools in BC to place a greater focus on sustainable cinematography. She launched her production company, FireDance Media, in 2021.
Editor: Richard Levien / New Doc Editing His editing credits include Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight”, short film “Remigration”, and “A Fragile Trust” about the worst plagiarist in the history of the New York Times, which appeared on Independent Lens. He also edited “D Tour”, about a rock drummer struggling with kidney failure, which won Best Bay Area documentary feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Levien’s debut feature film as a writer / director,”Collisions” won four SFFILM/KRF Grants.”Collisions” premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October 2018, and won the Audience Award (US Independent Cinema: Gold). It has gone on to win 13 awards from 19 festivals. He has a PhD in theoretical physics from Princeton University.
Director of Photography: Zack Richard graduated from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1999 with a BFA in Film. While there he had the good fortune to study with some of the legends of Underground Cinema including George Kuchar, Lawrence Jordan and Bruce Conner. He is a creative, innovative and resourceful director and cinematographer with extensive experience shooting feature films, commercials, music videos and documentaries.
“Slide” The tale of a mythical cowboy showdown with eco-villains intent on paving over idyllic Sourdough Creek. Plympton’s wit and surreal animation takes on the fight for the wild west’s fading glory, peppered with swinging western tunes.
In “Slide”, a guitar-playing cowboy enters the lumber camp of Sourdough Creek to clean up the corruption wrought on the town by 2 obese twins, Zeke and Jeb. Most of the action occurs around the local dance hall/whorehouse, “The Lucky Buck Saloon.” One of the “hostesses,” Delilah, has ambitions to leave the sex trade and become a star singer in the club. At this auspicious moment, the town is attacked by an evil creature called the “Hellbug,” who haunts the town and attempts to end the ecological disaster caused by the greedy twins. To combat the bug, the evil twins enlist a battery of despicable assassins, each one worse than the other. And if that’s not exciting enough, a caravan of Hollywood movie-makers are arriving in Sourdough Creek to make their newest blockbuster feature, “Escape From Ecstasy,” starring the biggest movie star, Veronica Saltwater, who despises bugs. It becomes an epic clash of moral and cultural opposites drawn by only one person, Mr. Plympton. A truly handmade film.
“Slide” is also a wacky musical”. The songs are penned by my favorite musician, singer Maureen McElheron, with whom I performed in the late 70’s around the bars of downtown New York. She also wrote the beautiful music from “Your Face,” “The Tune” and the hit film “I Married A Strange Person.” The music for “Slide” is reminiscent of 40’s honky-tonk from such artists as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, and performed by the brilliant Hank Bones and Maureen McElheron, who I still owe money to, and that’s why I’m using the wonderful facilitates of “Filmmakers.”
I’m now in the post-production phase of creating “Slide.” The design, animation, music, voices, backgrounds are all completed and it looks beautiful! It’s different from any other animated film I’ve ever seen. But now we have to put all the pieces together and pay off my numerous debts that occured because of the Covid epidemic. Plus, I need financing for my sales and publicity campaign. Fortunately “Filmmakers” makes this film a non-profit so all donations are tax deductible.
As with my earlier films, I hope to take “Slide” to the important market festivals to make sales to theatrical, TV, and digital platforms. Festivals such as Cannes (we’ve already had interest), Toronto, Annecy, Stuttgart, and numerous others. Also, I expect to do the comic-con circuit, where I’m very popular. I already have a sales deal with ED Distribution in France and I have substantial interest from Spain, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, and Argentina.
A public television series and museum exhibition by Roberto Mighty
“getting dot OLDER” is a new, ‘docu-talk’ PBS Passport, Public Television and Museum series, talkin’ ’bout my generation – Baby Boomers!
Award-winning filmmaker, TV Producer and Multimedia Artist Roberto Mighty is a Baby Boomer. With support from Harvard University, The Institute for Museum and Library Services, The National Science Foundation, The National Trust for Historic Preservation and other funders, he has created acclaimed TV, museum, and online projects. Roberto conceived “getting dot OLDER ” after noticing how much he had in common with people around his age, regardless of their backgrounds.
Initial development of a proposed museum exhibit began in 2014 – by interviewing friends about their experience of aging. The project grew over the next four years. In 2018, development of a proposed TV version began in earnest. Season 1 debuted on public television to nationwide acclaim in January, 2022. By May, our broadcast presence was enhanced with online streaming 24/7 on PBS Passport. We are now in production on thirteen new episodes for Season 2, slated to premiere in April, 2023. Distributed by American Public Television. Presented by Northern California Public Media.
In Fall, 2022, Milton Academy, a distinguished independent school in Boston, premiered Roberto’s six-screen, interactive multimedia presentation “getting dot OLDER: The Exhibit” in their Nesto Gallery. The exhibit is now available for museums, libraries and other large-scale public venues through 2025.
“getting dot OLDER” features engaging, heartfelt, funny and poignant zoom interviews from around the country with our host and “regular people” – diverse Boomers from every walk of life. Excerpts from these interview clips are interspersed with brief commentaries by experts from Harvard University, Howard University, Johns Hopkins Medical School, and other respected institutions.
Season 2 New Features
New features for Season 2 include on-location reports with Boomers pursuing their “Hobbies, Pastimes and Passions”, including animal rescue; civil war reenactment; choir singing; community volunteering; and other activities. Boomer artists and musicians share their post-retirement pivots in our “Visiting Artist” short segments. In addition to tell-all interviews, the episodes also feature lighthearted, Boomer-centric content, including quizzes and calls for viewer input.
“getting dot OLDER” was designed from the start as a multi-platform project. It is broadcast on TV; streamed on PBS Passport; there is a multimedia website; and starting this fall, we are piloting our first museum exhibit. Viewers are encouraged to visit our website and fill out our unique, 27-question survey; upload their own photos and videos; and comment on episodes. For Season 2, the site will also feature web-only video shorts and bonus content that complements our broadcasts. Plans for a podcast are also in development.
We believe in an expanded concept of inclusiveness. Our goal is to include every kind of American in this series. Taken together, our content underscores the common humanity of aging. Our vision includes partnering with medical schools, geriatric programs, gerontology researchers, community organizations, developing teachers’ guides, and creating an internship program to help train diverse, emerging filmmakers to focus on older subjects.
“getting dot OLDER” viewers are raving about the series. Please see our website for press clips and viewer quotes. Season 1 metrics exceeded our expectations, including total PBS TV market coverage reaching 83.93%, of the USA, with the series airing in 45 of the top 50 markets – 247 TV stations coast-to-coast.
This series highlights 4 interviews per episode. As of this writing, over four hundred people have filled out our lengthy online survey, with more signing up every week. We have more than enough compelling Baby Boomer stories for several additional seasons.
Viewer Reviews for “getting dot OLDER” Season 1
(WNET-TV 13 NYC) “Just caught today’s show. It’s great seeing and hearing your interviewees, how comfortable they are telling their stories/answering your questions.” – Dan Z.
(Blue Ridge PBS in SW VA and OETA in Oklahoma City) Hi, I love your show and hearing everyone’s stories and answers to the questions! Love and Light to you all – Lori
(Facebook) The series shows how remarkable “normal” people are. Such a variety of people with diverse backgrounds. Thanks for expanding our sense of community. J. Johnson
(KRCB Berkeley, CA) Bro. Roberto Mighty YOU ARE FANTASTIC!!! YOU ARE A BLESSING!!! My husband and I often say there isn’t any thing on television that is relevant to us, to our age group, to our racial background (Black African-American) nor to our gender in being over 60 years old. Thank you again, Lee and Derek H.
(WQED, Pittsburgh, PA) I enjoyed this program , it gave me some positive things to think of and surviving my stroke at 60 and realizing I still have Life and dreams !!! – Carla W.
(Social Media – Anchorage, Alaska) Joe and I watched the show today. We really liked it. It was so great. We loved the way you put the interviews together. So revealing and relevant. Thanks so much for all you do. – Martha J.H.S.
An impatient seven year old with galactic hair (Hairiette!) goes on learning adventures with her friends Charlie the Comb and Barbara the Barrette!
Big Hair Hairiette is an educational system designed to increase literacy proficiency; the more kids read, the bigger Hairiette’s hair gets!
Big Hair Hairiette works with schools nationwide and includes books, TV, film, games and tech products all based around the story of Big Hair Hairiette. Organizational psychologist Peg Neuhauser found that “a well-told story is remembered more accurately, and for far longer than learning derived from facts and figures.” (Harvard Busines.org).
Our primary focus is on literacy: students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. K-2 assessments have shown consistent and large learning setbacks, particularly for children typically marginalized in the U.S. education system.
Big Hair Hairiette is created by two-time SAG Award winning actress Tanya Wright (Best Ensemble) for her portrayal of Crystal Burset in Orange is the New Black. In 2022, Tanya graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education (’22) with a degree in Learning Design, Innovation and Technology. While at Harvard, Tanya won the Harvard Innovative Venture in Education Award (HIVE) for most promising early stage venture for Big Hair Hairiette; additionally, Tanya is also an Education Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Harvard Innovation Lab.
Our world is changing. The cycles of our local weather, once familiar, are becoming unrecognizable. The changes are complex, and the ways people experience them can sometimes be devastating. Turnaround Films documents these changes, explores why they are happening, and introduces the people who are finding innovative ways to mitigate or adapt to them.
Turnaround Films’ goal is to provide quality, accurate videos to educators, students, legislators, and activists who need to communicate with the public about climate change. These people are on the frontlines of addressing problems and organizing workable solutions. They often don’t have the means to create video content on these specific issues. Our films are designed to be used in presentations, in classrooms, in town and city meetings, or on websites and social media — anywhere that well-told stories might inspire people to feel more empowered to become part of the solutions to problems caused by climate change.
Turnaround Films presents each environmental problem as a film series. In the first episode of each series, we show a problem we are facing and how it will affect us. In the subsequent episodes, we tell the stories of the individuals and organizations that are working to find solutions or a new way of adapting our lives to live with this change. In this way, we can look deeply into issues like stormwater flooding, renewable energies, education, environmental justice, sea-level rise, and many more.
We intend to keep the Turnaround Films project fully subsidized through donations and grants so that our films can be distributed as inexpensively as possible and that the audiences are never restricted by financial means.
“This is so big, and it doesn’t have a name,” said a student to me back in 2013 when we were editing our film Celling Your Soul explains No App For Life founder Joni Siani. Siani found that when she was trying to explain the harmful elements of our new digital world, she would get caught up in the either good or bad elements of technology. “We have to make a distinction between the utilitarian uses of technology as a tool of mass communication, and the way we use these tools to develop relationships and how we process the values and norms of a society.”
With the support of Filmmakers Collaborative, Celling Your Soul, went on to win more than 20 film awards. The cautionary tale of the first digitally socialized generation and their courage to speak out to say “something just didn’t feel right,” was the power of Celling Your Soul.
When the truth is known it can no longer be ignored, just denied.
We now have a young population more anxious, stressed, depressed – and, ironically, the most digitally connected generation are now the loneliest.
The stories and awareness of our mission now continues with our No App For Life Podcast. As big tech continues to squash and hide the damaging and harmful elements social media poses as a part of life, The No App For Life Podcast offers a powerful voice for those who want to feel a little less alone, learn the shocking activities that are a part of a teens experience, and how to address the mental health issues that have been connected to digital socialization.
In our series – The Harms – you’ll hear from parents who bravely share their stories of how they lost a child to some “silly” online challenge, anonymous apps that exacerbate bullying behavior, deadly drugs that are sold online, even advertised by drug dealers without any accountability.
You’ll also hear from teens and college age students who had no idea that their online behavior was linked to their struggles with depression and anxiety. We’ll also bring you conversations with the leading authorities on digital use and the human experience.
You can support our efforts with your donation. You can also sponsor a production! If you have a like-minded organization that meets the mission of the podcast, contact me directly if you’d like to be a guest!
Learn more at: NoAppForLife.Com
Listen on Apple – Spotify – Audio Boom: https://audioboom.com/channels/5032239
Teenagers in the United States are experiencing a mental health crisis. With soaring rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide, for many, the situation is often life or death – until now. Our Turn to Talk is a first-of-its-kind community of teen-led storytellers with a new vision to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Backed by Emmy®-Award winning Director and Principle Pictures Founder, Beth Murphy, filmmaker Patrice Howard, and a network of mental health professionals and partners, Our Turn to Talk is at the forefront of a paradigm shift, leading a National Impact Campaign to bring voice, healing, and pathways to care to millions of teenagers.
The National Impact Campaign is a holistic anti-stigma initiative built on three critical pillars: shifting attitudes through storytelling, leveraging media to amplify these conversations, and strengthening systems of care for mental health in school-based settings. Designed for teenagers and families, school counselors, and administrators, these programs have already proven to be successful in reducing stigmatized beliefs about those managing mental illness and increasing empathy amongst audiences.
With suicide as the second-leading cause of death for ages 10-24, there has never been a more pressing need and a more opportune time to support our nation’s young people. In mental health, one size does not fit all. Our new vision reflects a moral imperative to act, to meet today’s pressing need. Your gift allows us to seize this critical moment to bring essential resources directly to young people – when and where they need it, ultimately changing – and saving—lives. We invite you to join our ambitious vision.
Established in the fall of 2021 by Alastair Moock and Stacey Babb, The Opening Doors Project, Inc. aims to elevate voices of color and advance conversations about race through the arts. By bringing new cultural experiences to suburban Boston communities and viewing audiences across the nation, Opening Doors strives to promote racial justice work. Our programs are rooted in our conviction that white people have a role to play in advancing racial justice; that fulfilling this role requires interaction with new ideas and perspectives; and that the arts are a powerful medium for sparking advocacy.
To date, we have produced an online music and interview series hosted by co-founder Alastair Moock. The series features top national and largely BIPOC talent playing music and discussing issues related to diversity and inclusion.
The Opening Doors Project also produces live events that celebrate artists of color in our community and beyond. We aim to encourage family conversations around why DEI matters we hope to develop an ongoing series of visual art and live musical events featuring a diverse roster of artists and performers under the banner of “The Opening Doors Project.”
Storybooth is an award-winning digital storytelling platform that collects real stories from teens in their own words and voices, animates and distributes them across multiple digital media platforms. Since launching in July 2016, storybooth has become one of the fastest growing youth channels on YouTube. garnering over 4.55 million subscribers, and1.6 billion views. Over 600,000 story submissions from young adults all over the world have been submitted on a variety of topics – from bullying, self-esteem, racism and tolerance, to the everyday triumphs and challenges facing them as they journey toward adulthood. Recognized as a media property that is having a significant impact on kids and teens, Storybooth has won some of the most coveted awards in their category – the Webby Award for Best in Youth, two Shorty Awards and the Streamy Award for animation.
Storybooth was created in response to the rising challenges that adolescents face. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 3 of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. These numbers have been rising steadily; between 2007 and 2012, anxiety disorders in children and teens went up 20% and the rate of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers have doubled over the past decade. Bullying is now formally a “public health problem” and high school graduates register 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago. The platform’s mission is to empower and unify young people through authentic storytelling, giving teens a safe space to express themselves, share their real stories, and to find out that they are not alone in all that they are going through.
Storybooth meets GenZ where they are at, and uses emerging technologies that are integral to teens’ lives to distribute its content. In addition to its animated content format on YouTube, Storybooth has a daily podcast on Spotify – where every day a new story from a young storyteller is shared. Storybooth also has a book coming out in July 2022, published by Harper Collings Publishing.