Crowd Funding Campaign: Support the Slum Film Festival!
In a few days, this crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo will be closed. We are hoping to reach the fund-raising goal of 4,000 Euros (approx. 5,140 US Dollars or 3,460 British Pounds) for this cultural event in some of Nairobi’s largest slums, but we still have a long ways to go. I know that there are many good causes that need your attention these days, but I hope that you will take a moment to read to the end of this e-mail and consider why our project really needs your support…
BACKGROUND: Kibera and Mathare are slums just on the outskirts of upscale suburbs of Nairobi with an estimated combined population between 200,000 to 1 million people living in just a couple of square kilometers. As you can see from the video on our website, the slums are composed of houses and shops made of corrugated metal sheets arranged in a maze-like arrangement with dirt paths, open sewers, and communal pit latrines. Due to the mass migration from rural to urban areas in recent decade, UN Habitat estimates that 1 in 6 people around the world live in slums like these.
The health, economic, and human rights issues that might arise from such a dense population and severe poverty have been well described by many organizations and news outlets. What many of these official reports and academic papers fail to capture, however, is the incredible cultural richness and vibrant creative energy that flows from the individuals in these slums. There are schools, butcheries, cell phone shops, clinics, football pitches, and bus stops where people are interacting with each other and living their lives. And while it looks starkly different from the daily reality of a British, European or American city, all of the essential components that bind a group of people into a community are present.
Our local film partners in these slums have been working for years to provide long term training and mentoring to creative individuals who want to develop their ability to share stories and ideas through the medium of film. The final products are truly outstanding works of art (you can see for yourself on youtube!) and, most importantly, resonate with the people in the community who see these productions.
PROBLEM:Here’s the problem: very few people in the slums see these locally made films. In an area where space is at a premium and pocket change is rare, there are no large movie theatres. In a community where few people have computers and even shared Internet is expensive, access to youtube or Hulu is limited. There are huge audiences who want to view these films and local filmmakers who want to show their films, but the requirements for screenings film media on a large scale require organization and funds far beyond the means of these communities… Until now…
Our solution: The Slum Film Festival! For 7 days at the beginning of September, we rent enormous inflatable screens, projectors, sound systems, and generators (remember, there is no steady electricity in these areas) to transform an open field in the heart of the slum into a massive outdoor movie theatre. We advertise the events several weeks prior to the screenings through printed programmes and cell phone text messages. Before the screenings, we also invite local performance artists to share their music and dancing with the crowds and create an entire evening of cultural activities. It is a lot of fun! For most screenings, we will usually draw a crowd of more than 500 people. While the audiences are seeing the final product of these filmmakers, our team of film festival partners and organizers are also working behind the scenes running weeklong workshops that educate early-career filmmakers on everything from the technical aspects of editing to navigating the process of bringing your art to a larger audience. Over 80 individuals have benefited from these workshops in the past editions and we are hoping to train another 50 this year.
Our film festival is not a traditional film festival because our target audience is not industry executives or the rich and famous. We believe in investing our resources in individuals who are often overlooked by our global society – the residents of these slums. This is why every euro/pound/dollar that you contribute goes directly to the costs of hiring equipment, reimbursing bus fare for local artists, purchasing text messages, and supporting the basic daily needs of our participants at the workshops. All of our international consultants are funded by outside grants and programs to specifically support their assistance with this festival. When you donate to the Slum Film Festival, you are donating directly to the artists and art-enthusiasts in the slum.
Thanks again for your support. We can’t wait to give you the update after our 3rd edition of the Slum Film Festival to let you know how many people you helped to have a great night at the movies.
Slum Film Festival website http://slumfilmfestival.net/