Nearly 50 years ago, Maronite monk Kamil Kayrouz refused to join a Christian militia in Lebanon because he didn’t want to fight his fellow countrymen. Today he’s engaged in a different kind of battle: an interfaith collaboration to save Lebanon’s sacred cedar trees from rising temperatures caused by climate change.
Through meditative vérité cinema, Cedars of God shows how record temperatures and wildfires have put Lebanon’s historic cedar trees at risk of extinction — and how this has led to an unlikely alliance of Maronite monks and the environmental non-profit, Friends of the Cedar Forest Committee. Together, they’re on a mission to save the trees.
Because this documentary is observational, there will inherently be many elements of the film that will remain unknown until we capture them. What will guide our film will be the actual process involved in working to save the cedar trees and the obstacles that inevitably arise along the way, including the potential for an all out regional war.
“The Monk” is a documentary film which follows the journey of a transgender man charting an unprecedented path in the Catholic Church.
Because of the sensitive nature of the story, further information is only being distributed on an individual basis. Please email email@example.com if you would like to learn more.
BOMBSHELL (wt.) is a feature documentary about the fight to control the narrative of the most significant military event of modern civilization –the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Accurate reporting and valid questions are systematically dismissed or discredited by the government’s publicity machine— until John Hersey’s New Yorker masterpiece, Hiroshima, pushes the nation to search its collective soul. The film explores the staying power of narratives, how journalists and others can either deliver or challenge the official storyline, and how a public can convince itself what to believe, despite the evidence.
The film will fuse strong storytelling, creative visuals, great acting, and animation to breathe dramatic life into its story. It will draw on previously unreleased audio recordings, newly digitized archival footage, photographs, and personal diaries. As the New York Times has noted, Loeterman’s films rely on traditional techniques, but often “reverse the usual percentages” to create an entirely new viewing experience.
BOMBSHELL has been awarded development and production funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Director and producer is Ben Loeterman, an award-winning PBS filmmaker known for his investigative journalism, powerful storytelling and ambitious filmmaking. Keen journalistic instincts help him investigate compelling moments in history using primary sources and fresh techniques. The New York Times applauds Loeterman for finding ways to “mesmerizingly recreate and explore” subjects that don’t naturally lend themselves to a film treatment.
BOMBSHELL is currently in production, with a target completion date in late 2024. Starting 2025, Ben Loeterman Productions Inc plans a comprehensive outreach and impact campaign that will coincide with the 80th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Check out our Pitch Deck to learn more about Bombshell.
To contact us directly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Threaded reveals the powerful stories behind ancestral clothing, jewelry, and textiles, along with the mythology that inspired them. This allows us to reconnect with our roots and gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of humanity. This unique 30 minute docu-series guides viewers on a worldwide exploration of diverse cultures through the lens of their traditional attire. Historically, clothing has been more than just a practical necessity, it’s been a language that gives insight to a society’s traditions, values, and environment. Local guides will take us on a journey of discovery, by engaging with local artists, leaders, and storytellers. Through examining their designs, materials, and myths, we reveal the extraordinary role of clothing in their culture and gain a deeper connection to the people who wear them, their history, and their way of life.
Beautifully filmed in Northern India, the first episode follows the Naga Konyak, who are known as “headhunters”. This practice of collecting their enemy’s skulls was officially banned by the Indian government in 1960. However, human skulls and the mythology surrounding them, dominate in their traditions, beliefs and art. Through the use of drone footage, interviews, historical records, animation, and local music, we learn about the Konyak while focusing on their views of power, fertility and wealth.
This idea beautifully emerged from the collaboration of its creators, Gabriela Barnat and Natalia Benesz, whose individual passions and experiences have enabled them to present our world through this unique lens. As a journalist, Gabriela’s focus has been on fashion across diverse cultures. Natalia has been in movie and TV production for more than a decade. Both have spent their lives traveling in order to understand and engage with remote and indigenous people around the world. Together … they bring you Hidden Fashion World.
For more details please check our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/threaded.series/
Your support not only helps us share the untold stories of indigenous communities and ethnic groups but also makes a direct impact, with 10% of your donation going to support local causes.
OG* (*The Right Side of History, Wrong Side of the Law) is a non-fiction, feature film about the OGs of the Emerald Triangle – the hippies, the hustlers, the activists, and yes, the outlaws, who changed our world with their weed. They fought the war on drugs and created the marijuana culture we take for granted today. But the real story of how it all happened has never been told…until now.
Because the greed rush is on, the OGs are ready to break their wall of secrecy to share their stories of the hopes, the craziness, the heart – and what it’s really like to be on the right side of history, but the wrong side of the law.
THE BIG PICTURE (TBP) is a documentary feature that seeks to illuminate the critical role community movie theaters play in social cohesion by fostering feelings of togetherness, similarity, and cooperation. It follows the struggle of the residents of Belfast, ME, as they seek to wrest their treasured theater away from closure and create a community art center. Interwoven with this story will be the story of the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, MA, which was rescued from destruction in 1989 by one of the most dynamic nonprofit fundraising events in the area’s history, as well as a deep look into the neuroscience behind shared experiences and their effect on human behavior.
Dying to work in the film industry
What is our campaign goal? Our goal is to raise $75,000
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
- Equity investment and large donation opportunities for individuals and organizations will include contributor titles in the project. (ex. Funder, Associate Producer, Executive Producer)
- We are actively seeking partners and underwriter supported virtual and in-person events, and screenings.
- In-Kind donations of time or material donations are always welcome.
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:
- A feature-length documentary designed to enlighten and educate general audiences while also encouraging change within the film and TV industry.
- Live events and educational discussions, screenings, and film festival participation.
- Public Television broadcast to reach a nationwide audience.
- 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?
- Complete editing, sound mixing, color correction, 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 intimate interviews with film industry experts from multiple locations in North America and working in a multitude of positions in the film industry. In addition, we have interviewed medical experts with a working knowledge of the film industry.
- Shoot locations: Los Angeles, Oakland, Boston, 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 future course curriculum for film schools.
- 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, 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.
Director, Subject Interviews, 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.
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.
Editor, Writer, Co-Producer: 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.
(For guidelines on how to support this project, see https://bit.ly/BTW-How-To-Donate)
Patrick Lydon is a rare bird. A ‘social artist’, his raw materials are human relations. He is a man of vision, intelligence, principle, discipline, huge energy, passion, courage, humour and, most obvious of all, he’s bursting with love for his fellow man, especially the more vulnerable amongst us.
An idealistic intellectual growing up in a high-achieving family in Boston in the 1960s and fuelled by rock ‘n roll, he was destined for a career in rock journalism. By 19 he had reported for the New York Times on The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park and on Woodstock. But a deeper disenchantment with American culture, and then a call to arms in Vietnam, took him instead to Ireland, where his discovery of the Camphill Movement, and with it the love of Gladys Kinghorn, changed his destiny, gave him his vocation and made him the legend he became.
Camphill saw people with and without disability as of equal spiritual integrity, equal in respect and citizenship. They lived a radical form of community life-sharing, guided by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, with particular emphasis on the potential, education, integration and integrity of all, regardless of ability. Their communities were based in largely self-sustaining, organic farms and gardens. Nobody was paid. People coming to live there found their lives enriched. ‘Cared for’, and ‘carers’ and ‘service provision’ were alien concepts. All contributed according to ability. Many people spent their entire lives in Camphill communities.
In the fifty years since Patrick met Gladys in Camphill, they have been at the heart of that movement in Ireland, in the establishment of over eighteen residential communities and social initiatives, including a concert hall, a café, a biogas energy plant, social farming & gardening, social housing and town planning initiatives, an impending inclusive neighborhood and an arts centre, KCAT, in Callan, Co.Kilkenny, now a busy international hub of creative endeavor.
In 2021, just as Patrick is collaborating with his friend, the filmmaker Éamon Little, on a work to mark Camphill’s fifty years in the Republic of Ireland, he is diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
Born That Way documents Patrick’s final year, in which he looks back on a fascinating life, lays the ground for posthumous, ‘green-shoot’ projects and prepares for death. It will be an unflinching journey to the end of an exemplary life, probing ‘otherness’ in our society and asking searching questions about the future we want to create.
At the end of February 2023, we received Production Funding from Screen Ireland to “the tune of the full sum we asked for, amounting to 28% of our entire budget. This also opens doors to other sources of traditional film funding that, all going well, should bring us up to just under 70% – so we’re happy that the momentum is growing now and the film will be made to the standard envisaged.
Born That Way now has its own Facebook page!
The children’s book Intersection Allies, published by Dottir Press, is an incredible, illustrated children’s book that addresses the important issues going on in today’s world about race, sexuality, class and gender. The three authors behind the book collectively have over a dozen years of experience in helping create constructive conversations about identity and social justice. It is my hope as a filmmaker and animator to bring their compassionate, empathetic book to life through animation, for children and adults to enjoy, engage with, and gain understanding about inclusion and diversity
Albert Corado grew up in Los Angeles raised by his parents who emigrated to the United States from El Salvador. Albert spent many years working as a barista in the city until Mely’s death awakened his political drive. After becoming deeply engaged with his local activist community, Albert sets his sights on the politicians who apologized for the LAPD after his sister’s death. What better way to engage with your local politicians than to run to unseat them?
As the only police abolitionist in the race, Albert’s strategies are unconventional at best, cursing at cops from upscale Hollywood debate stages and promising to “roast marshmallows on burning precincts.” The scope of his campaign illuminates questions that get to the center of local city politics: Who is allowed political speech? What kind of speech is encouraged? Who does it serve to ignore the voices most affected by the failings of our society?
At Albert’s side and a cofounder of the People’s City Council, Ricci Sergienko, is an abolitionist that has helped re-popularize an old form of activism in LA, “birddogging.” This causes some of LA’s most powerful social leaders – like Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva and mayoral candidate Rick Caruso – to take out Facebook ads to demonize him.
A friend and supporter of Albert and the People’s City Council, William Gube, known as @FilmThePoliceLA to his tens of thousands of followers on twitter, spends nearly every night on the streets of Hollywood, listening to police scanners and rushing to nearby police stops to film. He knows nearly every cop in the Hollywood precinct by name because he has filed hundreds of complaints against every one of them.
Throughout the film, our characters rally around Albert’s political campaign, attempting to influence LA politics towards their abolitionist mission.
The campaign, unapologetic in its rhetoric and hatred for LAPD, makes big waves in the race, but ultimately fails to make it past the primary. In the reflection of this failure, Albert and our characters are forced to reevaluate tactics. Do they acquiesce to the critics’ tone-policing of their anger or double down on their hatred of the world they desperately want to change?
No Peace will attempt to tackle structural questions with the criminal justice system in the United States through deeply personal vignettes of three characters working to change it.
This project is 2 years into filming. We intend to film for approximately 1 year more to follow Albert’s evolution as a political actor, the relationships between our characters, the status of police reform following the upcoming election, and engage with expert interviews to further analyze the ideology of police abolition as well as the use of social media in the political sphere of Los Angeles.