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We are Family Documentary Update #1: January 3rd, 2019

Work is moving ahead on the We are Family documentary on three fronts: Administration, Video Production and Sound Track. Our goal is to host an exclusive showing of We are Family on Saturday, March 23rd in Indianapolis.

Here is a brief report of the work going forward on these three fronts:

The Administration Front

The successful Kickstarter campaign that concluded December 1st provided us with the economic resources to move forward with completing the We are Family project. We are currently working on the following administrative tasks:

  • Gathering release forms from the Arsenal Tech players and coaches
  • Researching the use of You Tube videos.
  • Seeking a venue for the exclusive screening
  • Communicating with video production crew and musicians
  • Getting feedback from consultants
  • And much more…

Julian Dorsey, having recently graduated from college and back in Washington State for a few weeks, has been incredibly helpful in moving the administrative front forward.

Julian

Here’s an example of old IHSAA from the 1966 State Championship game which Arsenal Tech lost to Michigan City. We’re in conversations with IHSAA about using some of their wonderful historic footage.

1966 IHSAA State Championship Michigan City Elston 63, Indianapolis[SD,640×480]

Video Production Front

David Lichty spent the days and nights of his Christmas break from work bringing the footage together into a very rough draft of the story. He’s hoping by January 7th to have that draft where it can be viewed by the rest of the video production team and we can begin the cutting, crafting and creation of the story in earnest. We’re super thankful to David for his heavy lifting.

David

Hopefully by mid January we’ll have a draft of the movie that we all feel is close to what we are shooting for. At that point Tremayne Reed will be joining David in the creation of the final version, through multiple edits, cuts, and video craftsmanship. We are super excited to his artistic, urban, special “sizzle” at work on this project, and to be able to work with the great young man.

Tremayne Reed

We’re also excited to have some important people providing consulting feedback on the documentary including Jeff Sparks, Donteau Gladney Sr., and Clarence Walker Sr.

We have a lot of work to do on this front, but we’re very pleased with how the footage is coming together. The hard part will be cutting it down!

Music Front

We’re taking the next steps on the Sound Track for the documentary. We’re working closely with the composers/musicians to take those next steps. A few songs have been delivered already. Many of the musicians/composers are waiting on the video draft to be at a point to where they can create their music based on the footage of the story.

Malcolm Jordan, for example, has submitted his terrific song “No Option”. I can’t wait to hear how this song gets synched with the footage.

Each of these musicians is a class act. I couldn’t be working with better young people! Their music will make an already inspiring story really come to life.

We are Family Soundtrack

Conclusion

In many ways, I (Jason) am way over my head on serving as the Director and Producer of this project. At the same time, I’m honored that I get to help share the story of a team of incredible young men who achieved an improbable dream and inspired a whole city as they did so. I’m honored by the trust of over 110 Kickstarter backers who provided the necessary funding to see the project through to completion. I’m working hard to ensure that the story will be well told and inspire many more young men and women to follow in the tracks of the Arsenal Tech Titan State Champions!

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We Did It! 30 Day Kickstarter Report

Sometime after 11:00pm on Friday, November 30th, my mom stopped by Sunnyshore Studio where Jenny and I were prepping for the “Christmas in Miniature” show the next day. She announced that we were so close to reaching our goal of 25K pledged in our Kickstarter campaign – just $200 dollars short. The deadline was at 5:29am PST the next morning and she was worried that by now everyone in Indy (EST) was asleep. She said that my dad was ready to write a $100 check to help, and was there any way that we could come over to their house to make a pledge on their behalf (we don’t have wi-fi at the studio). She said she wanted to be able to go to sleep!

Jenny was just about ready to jump in the car with mom when I checked my phone to see where things were at with the Kickstarter campaign. I saw we had just hit the goal of 25K. I sat down on the bed and it began to sink in that we had reached our goal – something that had seemed almost impossible just a few days before.

We did it! 1

 

Jenny congratulated me and then with a smile said, “you have your work cut out for you.”

As I took stock the next morning, I was blown away by the reality of how many people had stood with me, with us, in this project. I had asked people to “stand with me” in telling this inspiring story. I said that I had the creative team of video producers and musicians that could help me tell the story well, but that I didn’t have the fund to pay them for their work. As shared that I needed help, people to stand with me in bringing the project to completion.

And they did. 110 backers, and even a few more who weren’t comfortable using their credit card online and who sent checks. Many of them were old friends from Indy. The IPS community, many who I had collaborated with in working for renewal in IPS, stood with us, as did many Tech alumni. Friends and congregation members from Redeemer Indy stood at my side. The very first pledge, just moments after launching the campaign, was of 1K from a couple who I had walked through a very traumatic season of their life and their gift blew me away and gave me hope, from the very outset, that we might reach our goal. The deacon team at Redeemer Indy also contributed. There were many names of people I did not recognize. And there were anonymous gifts to, including a gift of 5K! My kids stood with me in making pledges to this project, and I was totally blown away by their generosity and support. And then towards the end, it was my new community here in Redmond, friends at Redeemer the church I pastor, and colleagues in the art community on Camano Island that stepped up in big ways even though they were more removed from the place and context of the story.

Many friends shared Kickstarter campaign on social media, and advocated for the project. Their support was so encouraging, and helped us reach the goal even though just a few days before we were hovering around 18K and I didn’t think it was possible!

We did it! 2

When I checked the Kickstarter report on Saturday, December 1st, I saw that it was a young couple from the church in Indy who had given to help us reach the goal. They had first given 40$ then bumped it up to $75 then to $275. Maybe they wanted to go to sleep too! I remember doing pre-marital counseling for them, and watching them begin to their life together. I knew that as a younger couple getting their feet under them, this was a very big, a very significant gift. I was humbled and moved deeply by their gift.

In short: feel very loved and supported, and a strong sense of responsibility to tell this inspiring story well. I’m also thrilled that I am going to be able to pay the creative team who will make this story come alive with their music and video production talents.

We are Family Soundtrack

Finally, as I said on a Facebook post on November 11th, this movie is…

For all the urban schools that struggle with bad press.
For all the urban youth that are told you can’t do this.
For all the urban teachers and coaches whose stories are never told
For Indianapolis Public Schools
For Arsenal Tech High School

We are Family!

We Are Family Poster

 

Kickstarter Campaign: 20 Day Report and Wrapping up Interviews

Kickstarter

We are twenty days into the thirty day Kickstarter campaign.  We are blown away that over 16K has been pledged by 58 backers. We are 64% of the way towards reaching our 25K goal. But we still have a long way to go and an uphill climb.

It has been so encouraging and so humbling to see who has stood with us in this project by making a pledge. My family has rallied. Many of my friends in Indy – both my old church and IPS families –  have stepped up to help too, which makes my heart sing. And then there are the people I don’t know who have eagerly supported the project. Their trust and support is humbling.

We have had one MAJOR gift of 5K. There have been five PRODUCER level gifts of $1,000 (or more). And then lots of smaller gifts ranging from $1 – $400. Popular pledge sizes are $40 and $100. The reward for a $100 pledge is the digital “uncut” version of the movie, where we will be able to share much more of the footage than we will for the final version of the movie.

The way Kickstarter works is “all or nothing.” If we hit our goal of raising 25K, we will receive the money that has been pledged. If we do not hit our goal, we won’t receive any money at all. The last day of our Kickstarter campaign in December 1st. We still have $9,000 to raise. So we are in the last push.

If you would like to support the project go to this link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jasondorsey/we-are-family-0?ref=user_menu

Wrapping up interviews in Indianapolis

Last week we wrapped up interviews in Indianapolis.  Director Jason Dorsey spent 2.5 days in Indy working with his video production crew, David Lichty and Tremayne Reed, to film the interviews.

November Trip 3

They also got some good B-roll footage.

The interviews were absolutely amazing!

Here is the interview lineup:

Tuesday, November 13 

  • Shaun Richardson, Player on the Tech championship team
  • Victor Bush, Tech/IPS Athletic Director (during the State Championship season)
  • Dr. Michael Brown, IPS Board Member (during the State Championship season)
  • Michael Woodson, Tech alumni, grandfather of Tech players Jerome Campbell and Jeremie Tyler
  • Mikey Jones, Tech basketball Player
  • Leo Williams, Tech basketball player
  • Terry Loux, Tech Alumni. He scouted 16 games for the State Champion Tech Titan team.

 

Wednesday, November 14

  • In the morning we filmed around the Tech neighborhood and at Arsenal Tech HS.
  • Then we drove up to Lebanon and interviewed John Sexson, brother of Joe Sexson who played for the 1952 Tech team who made it to the state championship game and lost to Muncie Central.
  • Donte Gladney Jr, Tech basketball player; and we got Mike Jones for a second round of interviews.

 

Thursday, November 15

  • Jamie Wolf, who was the athletic trainer during the Championship season.
  • Jeremie Tyler, Tech basketball player.
  • Devon Mickens, Tech basketball player.

 

All of the interviews were amazing and it is impossible to single any of them out. But Thursday’s interviews were special, and pretty much nailed out story down. The biggest challenge the video production team now faces is what to cut!

During a break on Thursday Jason asked David to give a plug for the movie and the Kickstarter campaign. Check it out.

One last thing. Early on Wednesday morning Jason was able to enjoy breakfast and catching up with three old friends from Indianapolis: Kipp N., Paul B. and Matt A. at Peppy’s.

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It was a whirlwind couple of days, but worth it in terms of the amazing footage we got.

We are family

            For all the urban schools that struggle with bad press

            For all the urban youth that are told you can’t do this

            For all the urban teachers and administrators whose stories are never told

            For Tech High School

            For Indianapolis Public Schools

 

 

Trailer for We are Family Documentary Released

On Saturday, November 10th, Sunnyshore Studio released the trailer for the We are Family documentary. Enjoy!

 

Tremayne Rayner did a terrific job on the documentary. Through our Kickstarter campaign we are seeking to raise money to compensate Tremayne and others to bring the documentary to completion.

Tremayne Rayner

Would like to help us tell the story of an urban basketball team who had an improbably dream and who won the Indiana High School basketball championship and inspired a city in doing so? Here’s our Kickstarter video that shares more about what we are doing and our need for help.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jasondorsey/we-are-family-0?ref=project_build

Every dollar helps us achieve our goal. To make a pledge go to:

https://www.kickstarter.com/

Search for “we are family”. Click on our project and everything will be there. Thanks for your support!

 

Kickstarter Campaign: Two Stories and 10 Day Report

On November 1st, Sunnyshore Studio launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to  complete the We are Family documentary. Learn more about the documentary here.

We Are Family Poster

We are 1/3 of the way through the 30 day support raising campaign. Before I share the stats of where we are at in achieving our fund-raising goal I have two stories to share.

November 5th

On November 5th I shared this on my facebook page.

“I’ve got to admit, I was pretty discouraged today with how the Kickstarter campaign was going. 4 days in and we had just broken $3,000 and seemed to be making slow progress, just a little over 10% with 25 days to go.

I had come to the conclusion that I couldn’t make this happen, as much as I would like to, and for the last couple of days I have been praying “‘not by might or by power but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD.”

I realized that I had to do all I could do, then leave it up to God. That is hard. I felt vulnerable, afraid, sad.

Today is my day off so I went to play basketball at the Y. I got into the car and checked Facebook and saw that Luke Sanders had shared my Kickstarter post and was advocating for the project.

Luke Sanders

[Luke had written this: “I need everyone to support this documentary about an inner city basketball team from Indianapolis. The film has my Superintended from elementary school in it, the sports reporter of the team, my second family and more! “We Are Family“ is produced and directed by Jason Dorsey. The Dorsey Family has played a HUGE role in my family’s lives so make sure you support this project by clicking the link below!”]

I started to cry.

I remembered back to the days when I first met Luke. My friend Kipp and I walked around the Old Northside soccer fields each weekday morning from 6-7am. On those walks we met Luke’s mom walking with her then little boys Luke and Will. That began a friendship with the Sanders family that lasts to this day.

I thought to myself, if nothing else, to have Luke stand with me in the way. This means the world to me.

When I got home Judah came up to me smiling. He asked if I had seen the kickstarter campaign recently. I said “no”. He encouraged me to look at it so I did.

I was shocked. It said we had 22 backers and were at $8,356! 1/3 of the way to our goal! Someone had given an anonymous gift of 5K.

I cried again.

No matter what happens, today was worth it all.”

November 8th

The morning of November 8th, I received an e-mail from Mark Nottingham, a deacon at Redeemer Indianapolis, the church I served as pastor at for thirteen years. Mark shared that the deacon team had agreed to give David Lichty and I a resource grant of $1,500 to help us complete the documentary.  We had applied for this grant because we believe that this film has a strong truth-telling and justice component. Urban schools like Arsenal Tech get so much bad press. We want to share a story of hope and overcoming to counter the negative.

It was super humbling to hear this, and so encouraging and affirming of our work. It was also so great to receive this support when years ago I had worked with the deacon team to create grants like this to encourage congregation members in the works of mercy, outreach and justice.

 

The Numbers

So where are we at 9 days into the campaign? It’s good news!

31 Supporters have pledged $10,336.

we are 41% funded

We have 20 days left to raise about 15K.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter FAQs

Many people are not acquainted with Kickstarter, so here are some FAQ’s

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. A home for film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography and more.

How does Kickstarter work?

In a kickstarter campaign “backers” support a particular project and receive “rewards” based on their level of support. If the project fails no money is collected from the backers. Their credit cards are not charged unless the project is 100% funded. So it is all or nothing. Backers receive “rewards” based on their level of giving.

So, for example, we’ve set our Kickstarter goal at $25,000. If we reach our goal and are able to make the film, backers who give $10 of support will receive the original sound track made for the movie. At $40 of support they receive (1) the sound track and (2) a digital copy of the movie. At $100 of support they receive (1) the sound track, (2) the movie, and (3) the “uncut” movie with extra footage, bloopers, interviews, etc. And there are more rewards at other levels of giving too. You can see these on the link to our kickstarter project which I provide below.

What happens if you don’t reach your goal?

If we don’t raise the money, we can’t complete the documentary. Every dollar pledged helps us reach our goal.

Why is the story important to tell?

So much bad is in the news all the time about urban schools in general, and Indianapolis Public Schools and Tech High School in particular. This movie tells the inspiring story of a group of young men, their families, coaches, that had a dream, who came together to achieve it, and who rallied an entire city in doing so.

How will the $ raised be used?

Here is the budget for the WE ARE FAMILY Kickstarter project

 ·         $ 8,000            Musicians/Composers

·         $ 2,000            Sound Track Mix/Mastering

·         $1,000             Documentary Trailer

·         $7,500             Video editing

·         $3,250             Production Costs (this is everything from

·         $ 2,000            Rewards Cost (what the rewards cost us)

·         $1,250             Kickstarter Percentage, 5%

 

The video we made for Kickstarter shares more about the story we want to tell, as well as the rewards we are offering, etc.

 

If you’d like to support this project go to:

https://www.kickstarter.com/

Search for “We are Family”

Thank you so much for your support!

 

Jason and Jenny Dorsey tried education reform in Indy before it became a popular political project

By Russ Pulliam, Associate Editor for The Indianapolis Star, director of the Pulliam Fellowship

Russel Pulliam

“Jason and Jenny Dorsey tried education reform in Indy before it became a popular political project.

A young pastor, Jason and his family checked out the Indianapolis Public Schools not long after 9/11. With four children, they had other options, including the new Oaks Academy. With classical curriculum and racial balance, it was popular in the Redeemer PCA congregation where he had become pastor near downtown Indianapolis in an area that was attracting an influx of middle class families.

Redeemer-Presbyterian-Church-1505-N-Delaware-St-01

They wondered if could all the bad things they heard about the city’s public schools could be that bad?

Students would get into fights. Teachers sometimes didn’t care and just showed up for work. IPS buildings were in poor shape. Students dropped out too easily. Too many parents didn’t care or were too young to discern how to care.

The Dorseys found another side of the IPS story. Jenny became PTA president at their children’s elementary school. She befriended teachers, principals and Superintendent Eugene White. Jason volunteered as a lunchroom supervisor at Tech High School. Then he became a baseball coach there and led a petition drive for capital improvements. They called their little group IPS Renewal. They thought Indianapolis could never be truly world class without excellence in IPS.

Elizabeth Odle was principal at IPS 14. She balanced love and discipline as families moved often and students brought the challenges of broken homes.

Jason's I-Phone 2013 016.JPG

When some of the Dorsey children were at Tech, the basketball team started to dominate the way city schools did back in the 1950s and 1960s. Tech took the school’s first state championship, in class 4A, in 2014, with a 27-2 record. The team won off-court victories, with an average GPA of 3.2. Star player Trey Lyles won the Trester Award for character and now plays for the Denver Nuggets.

 The Dorsey family has since moved back to their Seattle roots. They look back at IPS as a success for their family. Jason and some friends are finishing a documentary on the season, We Are Family, highlighting the ups and downs of the 2013-14 season.

With a kickstarter campaign, they hope to raise $25,000 to finish the film, using clips that Dorsey and others saved up from the season.

We Are Family Poster.jpg

Basketball is just a game, even in Indiana. For Tech High School, though, that championship season was a big off-court victory. They played in the Hoosiers film tradition of the underdog, yet not in a 1950s small country school. Their season showed that big city schools can overcome the obstacles of racial division, urban poverty and broken families and win championships in life.”

You can learn more about and support Sunnyshore Studio’s Kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of the We are Family Documentary by clicking on this link here:

Will you Stand with Me? I need your help to tell a story

I Need your help

Will you stand with me? I need your help to complete a documentary film that is scheduled to be released in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 23, 2019, called We Are Family. Specifically, I need your help to make the story come alive through financing a sound track and final video production costs.

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Why the story should be told

Racial divides continue in our nation. But in the darkness of division there are stories of hope. The We Are Family documentary tells the inspiring story of how a basketball team from an urban school in the heart of Hoosier basketball country united around an impossible dream, how they forged a bond as family and how they inspired a whole community.

After Arsenal Tech High School in downtown Indianapolis won the Indiana High School Basketball Championship in March 2014, Bob Kravitz, a journalist for the Indianapolis Star wrote:

 “Landmark State Title proves inspiration to entire Tech community”

“From the time they are young, these kids who attend Indianapolis Public Schools are told they can’t. Parents try, teachers try, mentors try to lift them up and out of their circumstances, but the lowly graduation rates at schools such as Arsenal Tech do not lie, nor does the alarming drop-out rate.

On Saturday night at Bankers Life, though, the talented and composed young men of Arsenal Tech believed they could do something very special, something that hasn’t been done since Broad Ripple earned the IPS’ last state title in 1980. And they did, knocking off Lake Central, 63-59, winning the Class 4A state title, showing everybody, yes, they could.

Sixty years ago this week, Milan won one for all those small schools.

Saturday night, Tech won one for all the schools and the students who have been told they aren’t good enough to ascend the greatest heights.

Remember the Titans.”

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We Are Family remembers the Titans by telling the story of that season. It explores the impact of this victory on the lives of the players, coaches, school and Indianapolis Public School community five years later. It proves that the relationships that are built when a team comes together as a family really do endure.

I believe that this story is important because it tells the truth about what happened – and what can happen – in inner city schools.  I know this personally. For thirteen years our family lived in Indy we were a part of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). Our kids attended IPS schools. And the IPS community became a family to us. This is my way of saying “thanks” to and standing in solidarity with IPS.

 

I’ve been working on this project for the last four years. Now I need your help to raise $25,000 to pay for a sound track and final video production costs to bring the project to completion. Will you help me tell this story?

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Kickstarter Campaign Costs and rewards 

To raise $25,000, I am launching a Kickstarter “crowd-funding” campaign on November 1st, 2018. The way Kickstarter works is that people sponsor a creative project through an on-line donation and receive a reward in return. If the project meets its goal that money will be debited. If the project does not meet its goal then that money is not debited. In other words, it is all or nothing!

Budget for the WE ARE FAMILY Kickstarter project

  •  $ 8,000 Musicians/Composers
  • $ 2,000 Sound Track Mix/Mastering
  • $1,000 Documentary Trailer
  • $7,500 Video editing
  • $3,250 Production Costs
  • $ 2,000 Rewards Cost for art prints, shipping and handling, etc.
  • $1,250 Kickstarter Percentage, 5%

 

Rewards for giving to the WE ARE FAMILY Kickstarter project

  •  Friends who support this project at $10 will receive a digital version of the sound track.
  • Friends who support this project at $40 will receive a digital version of the movie.
  • Friends who support this project at $100 will receive a digital version of the “uncut” movie: bloopers, extra footage, etc.

 

  • Patrons who support this project at $200, $400, $600 and $800 get to choose a beautiful print of one of two of my brother Jed’s paintings – either “The Golden Hour” or “Good Morning Indy”.[i]

 

  • Producers who support this project at or above $1,000 will receive the following:
    • Named in the credits of We are Family as a Producer.
    • Invitation to a VIP documentary release party in Indianapolis, IN on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019
    • Public thanks at the release of the documentary in Indianapolis, March 23rd, 2019.

 

  • Mega-Producers who support this project at or above $5,000 will receive all of the above plus:
    • A week long (7 days) stay at Sunnyshore Studio on beautiful Camano Island.[ii]
    • (Optional) An Identity Discovery Session and Five Life Coaching[iii] sessions with Jason Dorsey.

 

The Team

I’ve assembled a great team of video editors/producers and musicians/composers to complete the documentary. I want to tell the story in a way that packs a punch.  I’m thrilled that some of the contributors are IPS and Arsenal Tech alumni.

 Two ways you can stand with us

Here are two ways that you can stand with us in bringing this story to completion:

  1. Contribute to the Kickstarter Campaign: On November 1st I will share the link to our Kickstarter campaign. Any amount of support helps!
  1. Advocate for the Kickstarter Campaign: Advocate for the project when the 30 day Kickstarter campaign launches on Nov. 1 by:
  • sending a personal e-mail/text to five friends with the kickstarter link asking them to stand with us in this project.
  • sharing the kickstarter project on your social media platforms.

 Thanks for standing with us on this project!

We are Family is being produced by Sunnyshore Studio: www.sunnyshorestudio.com

You can learn more about our project here:

[i] Jed is a full-time artist who lived in Indy and was a big fan during that Championship season. He is offering us prints of these two paintings at his cost. To learn more about Jed and his art: www.Jeddorseyart.com

[ii]Sunnyshore Studio is located on Camano Island, in Washington State. Learn more here:  www.sunnyshorestudio.com

[iii] In his work as a Presbyterian pastor, Jason Dorsey has developed a curriculum that helps people understand their identity and step boldly into their calling. It is called “Identity Mapping”. The Identity Discovery Session is a two hour session where Jason listens to your story and helps you name your Identity. In the Life Coaching sessions  he helps you identify your roles and responsibilities in each sphere of your calling:  personal, family, work, community and place and coach you

Video Production Team for “We are Family” Movie gearing up for last push

I’ve worked on a documentary project sincet 2014 that tells the story of how the Arsenal Tech high school basketball team – against all odds – won the Indiana Basketball Championship and inspired as city as they did.

Now four years later, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, a date to release the movie in Indianapolis has been set for Saturday, March 23rd!

I want to introduce you to the Video Production team members who are working on this project. I could not do this without an amazing team to work with. I will start with my first collaborator, my son, Julian.

Julian Dorsey, Production Assistant

Julian

Julian has been with me from day one. In fact, it was his idea to film that season. He was a junior at Arsenal Tech then, and played on the basketball team. In August of 2014, Julian and I went to the head basketball coach, Jason Delaney and asked him for permission to shoot video throughout the season. He said “Yes”. So we went out an bought a video camera.

After Tech won the State Championship, Julian went through and organized all the video. I’m so thankful for his video help and technical support through thick and thin. Here’s his bio:

Julian Dorsey was a junior on the state championship team. Now a senior at George Mason in Washington D.C. studying Government and International Relations, he is excited to finish telling the story of the championship season!

David Lichty, Video and Audio Technician

David.jpeg

My friend, David Lichty,  has been my right hand man in the documentary project. From the beginning – after Tech had won the IN State Basketball Championship and I shared with David my dream of telling the story in a documentary – David believed in the project.

David has already spent over 300 hours already – all freely and cheerfully given – in organizing the footage we have, in shooting interviews, and getting lots of B-Roll footage.

We’re now in the fun part of telling the story: bringing it all together into a story. David has at least another 300 hours + of work to complete the documentary.  Being able to compensate him just a little bit for his upcoming work is one of the reasons I’m launching a Kickstarter “social funding” campaign November 1st.

A side benefit of working on this project together is that I get to stay in touch with one of my Indy friends. Here’s a little bit more about David:

David has had movies in his blood since childhood, and film making as the solid dream, and a passion, since 7th grade. He has a degree he invented at Indiana University, a BA in Film Making, has put together short film series of his own and has worked closely with larger film festivals. Presently, he primarily edits both narrative and documentary style work. It’s not what he does for money, but when asked what he does, this is what he does.

Tremayne Rayner, Film Trailer Producer

Tremayne Rayner

I learned of Tremayne through Julian. They were classmates at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet, which was both a middle and high school. Julian told me that Tremayne was an up-and-coming video producer and that I should talk with him.

I’ve asked Tremayne to create the Trailer for the movie. When I asked him to be on the team, he said that he was working hard at his professional career in video, had bought lots of expensive equipment, was taking his work very seriously, and couldn’t do this work for free. I affirmed him in that, and we worked out a contract. I’m thrilled to be able to be part of his professional work as an up-and-coming producer!

Meet Tremayne in his own words:

“Coming from the Far Eastside of Indianapolis I always had a dream. My name is Tremayne Reed A.K.A as a Young King. Although, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted out of life, coming of age I always knew I never wanted to become a product of my environment. God allowed me to form a passion for filming and with hard work and dedication I was able to self invested in the equipment/gear that I needed to provide fulfilling video services to my clients. I am happy with what I do and everyday my goal is to become greater that yesterday. God Bless. -T.REEDVISUAL.”

Jeffrey L. Sparks, Consultant

CROPPED-Sagamore Headshot 3 (1)

I’m so very thankful to have my friend, Jeffrey L. Sparks, has graciously agreed to be a consultant on the We are Family documentary.  As a rookie Director/Producer, it means a ton for me to have the wisdom and counsel of someone with his experience. I’ve already greatly benefited from his wisdom based in decades of experience, and you can see from his resume:

Jeff got his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Evansville, and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Florida State University. He worked as Professor of Theatre at St. Leo College, St. Leo, Florida 1978 – 80. He then served as the Executive Director of the Indiana Children’s Christian Home, a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed youth, from 1980 – 1990. He is a Founding Board member and was the Executive Director of The New Harmony Project, a writer’s laboratory developing new scripts for theatre and film, from 1987-1999.

Jeff was the President/CEO and Founding Board Member of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures from 1991 to 2013. With Heartland Jeff developed the concept of a film festival and presented that idea to sponsors and funders which resulted in getting the festival started in 1992, oversaw all aspects of the festival including artistic, business, and fund raising for the first ten years, and spearheaded the development of a management team to help take the festival from a regional event to a national movement. Jeff continues as Founder and President Emeritus, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures from 2013 to present.

Currently Jeff serves as Senior Fellow of Sagamore Institute where he is working on community development in the Twin Aire Neighborhood of Indianapolis. Recently Jeff completed his book, Changing Culture Through Stories: The New Harmony Project, Heartland Film Festival, and Beyond…

Jason Dorsey, Producer and Director

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Just a bit about myself. I’m definitely a rookie when it comes to producing/directing a film. Over the last few years I’ve done some film editing, so I have a general grasp of what that involves. But I suppose my main qualification is that I’m passionate about this project. I believe this story should be told and I want it to be told well!

Telling this story is the culmination of my calling in Indianapolis. From 2002 – 2015 I served as the lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in downtown Indianapolis, IN. During that time my wife, Jenny, and I were very involved in the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) where we sent all four of our kids. We wanted to be a part of renewing IPS. But when we left Indy to head back to the Pacific Northwest to care for my mom who was battling breast cancer, we realized that IPS had given far more to us than we had done for it. And more importantly, the kids, their parents, the teachers and administrators had become a family to us!

Telling this story of Arsenal Tech’s basketball team’s magical year, of the great young men that were on the team, and how they inspired a city as they achieved an almost impossible dream is my way of saying “thanks” to the IPS kids, parents and community.

“We are Family.”

 

The “We are Family” Sound Track Team

The music in a movie matters.

On August 1st I sent out a facebook post sharing that I needed musicians/composers to provide songs for the sound track for the documentary movie We are Family that tells the story of how a basketball team from an urban school in the heart of Hoosier basketball country came together around a common dream of winning the state basketball tournament, how they fought through personal and team challenges, how they forged a bond as family, and how they rallied a whole community around them. It is an inspiring story, and the movie needed a killer sound track.

It will have one.

Meet the team of talented musicians/composer who will bring the movie to life.

Mezzy

Osoking Mezzy

The first contract for the documentary “We are Family” rolled in August 27th. It was Osoking Mezzy, cousin of my good friend Donteau Gladney Sr.

Four years ago, when I was working on pulling this documentary together for the first time, I asked Donteau if he had any connections with musicians who would be interested in contributing to the sound track. He shared the project with Mezzy who sent in three tracks. We liked his work, but the project stalled out.

So after I put out the word for musicians in August I contacted Donteau to see if I could track Mezzy down. I shared with him that the project was back in the works, and that I really appreciated his early support. I asked him to send in a few more of his newer songs, which both I and David Lichty love.

Here’s his blurb:

Osoking Mezzy is an aspiring artist and producer in Indianapolis, IN. Mezzy brings a burst of energy and a new sound to the hip hop scene. This artist has used music as a way to express himself in way others can relate. Armed with dedication and consistency this artist is most definitely one to be on the look out for.

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Eron Harris

Another early contributor was Eron Harris. In fact, he was the first to contribute music over four years ago.

Here’s that story.

After Tech won the Indiana State basketball championship and Julian Dorsey, David Lichty and I  were well on our way in organizing he footage, I shared with some people at Tech our dream of making a documentary of that magical season.

Eron’s mom, Marveda, who was a police officer at Tech heard about the project and shared it with her son, who was playing basketball at West Virginia (he transferred to Michigan State).Eron submitted a song for the documentary, which David and I love and which has become something of a theme song for the movie.

I’m super grateful for his early support. Here’s his short bio:

My name is Eron Harris. I was born and raised in Indianapolis. My mother and father and both of their parents all went to Arsenal Tech High School so I have a big connection to that school. My mother has always been a singer so I’ve always been around music and I also played the trumpet and percussion growing up. Now I really love to record vocal music and make my own beats. But right now I am pursuing my professional basketball career. I am heading to Finland for my first year of professional basketball. I plan to get into the NBA. 

Nabil

Nabil Ince

I heard about Nabil in May when I was in Indy doing interviews for the movie. I was at Mike and Julie Berend’s home hanging out one night and asked them if they knew any local musicians who might fit. They had a house guest staying at their home named Big Mike, I think that was his name. Anyway, Big Mike shared with me about this intern at the Harrison Center for the Arts named Nabil Ince.

It turns out that I knew Nabil’s dad, Irwin, who the moderator of the presbyterian denomination I serve in and respected as a terrific leader. My wife Jenny worked closely with Irwin at the Church Planter’s Assessment. So that was a cool connection. When David and I heard the wide range of Nabil’s music, we were really excited to have him on the team. 

Anyway, here’s his bio:

Nabil Ince, stage name Seaux Chill, is an artist originally from Columbia, MD who has been in the Chattanooga area for the past few years. Piano is his first love, playing since he was 6 years old. However, Seaux Chill also loves writing, composing, and producing music largely influenced by pillars of black music. In 2018, he graduated from Covenant College with a bachelors of arts in jazz piano. He currently functions as the Program Director for a children’s music ed non-profit called East Lake Expression Engine and continues to build towards his own music career. His music can be found on all streaming platforms and more about Seaux Chill’s work can be found at www.seauxchill.com

 

Caleb Buse

Caleb Buse

I was connected to Caleb through Derek Fekkes. I knew Derek’s parents from years ago when I did an internship at Camano Chapel. Derek is now all grown up and is planting a church in Stanwood. We’ve had coffee together and hob nobbed about ministry and church planting. When I put out the Facebook post, he reached out to his friend Caleb Buse, who is a really talented, up-and-coming composer.

Here’s a bio on Caleb.

Caleb Buse grew up with a passion for music and pursued it in high school as a drummer in rock bands. After choosing to major in music in college, he expanded his skillset by learning to lead bands, as well as sing in the University’s Concert Choir. He played in rock venues all around Seattle, and did small tours of the west coast. After a show one night in the Seattle rock venue Chop Suey, Caleb met a film maker who eventually collaborated with Caleb on his first film score, which won an award at a film festival in Wroclaw, Poland.

Since then Caleb has won the following awards for his film music: Wroclaw Film Festival, Poland (Award winner for Chevy), Best Original Score (100 Hour Film Race), Canne Lions Film Festival in Canne, France (Award Winner for Chevy), an Addy for Microsoft Surface, and a Vimeo Staff Pick. He has gone on to compose music for narrative, animation, and documentary short films as well as commercials for Microsoft, Gatorade, Amazon, Pepsi, Chevy, American Express, Purina, Puma, Carenet, The Greater Foundation and many more. In 2018, he is continuing to work in short films and commercials and is beginning work on feature film scores later this year.

 

Malcolm Jordon

Malcolm Jordon

I am very excited to have Malcolm Jordon working with us on the “We are Family” sound track. David and I love his high energy, driven music. Best of all, he’s an IPS kid and friend of my son Julian Dorsey. Julian attended Crispus Attucks in middle school and played basketball with Malcolm there. I remember watching Malcolm play. Their 8th grade team was really good. They had a young man named Jalen Coleman on their team who went on to play Division 1 basketball. They came in second place to Harshman Middle School that year.

I knew Malcolm was a good basketball player, but I didn’t know that he was such a talented musician.

I’ll let Malcolm introduce himself:

My name is Malcolm Jordan, I’m 22 years old and I’ve been recording music since I was 17. I started writing raps at 8 years old and progressed with my skills later on with time. I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m proud to be from here and wouldn’t be from anywhere else. I live my life off of determination and working smart. I’ve been working since I’ve left college to do music and every time I look up I’m in a new spot with new opportunities. I’m thankful to be apart of this project and hope to help you guys get something out of it.

 

Daniel Dorsett

Daniel Dorsett

Daniel is another IPS kid. He is an alumni of Arsenal Tech High School which makes his participating in creating the sound track extra great. He’s a great example of the many really terrific kids who go to IPS Schools and go on to do great things. I remember being impressed with Daniel when I first met him, and I still am.

Daniel is going to be working on creating a full band edition of the Tech fight song.

Here’s his bio:

Daniel first encountered his passion for teaching music as a student at Tech when helping teach at Harshman Middle School. While studying music education at the University of Indianapolis, he was awarded the Outstanding Future Music Educator Award from the Indiana Music Education Association. Now in his fourth year of teaching, Daniel is the middle school band director for the MSD of Martinsville, 30 minutes south of Indianapolis.

 

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Boyhood Bravery

Not only do we have individual musicians, but an entire band, Boyhood Bravery, contributing to the sound track.

One of the bands members, Luke Livingston, attended Redeemer, the church I pastored in Indy. Another, Tyler Kniess, is like a spiritual son to me. I have lots of stories about Tyler. One of my favorites is when Tyler joined our family on one of our epic month-long road trips out west.

Like Daniel, Tyler is an Arsenal Tech alumni, so he gets how much it meant to Tech to win the Indiana HS basketball championship and what it means to say “we are family.”

Here’s an intro to the band:

Active in the Indianapolis and Bloomington independent music scenes, Boyhood Bravery is a folk-rock band known for their powerful performances, creative songwriting, and poetic approach to lyrics.

 

Steve Wick

I’ve mentioned how encouraging to me to see the way the team for the “We are Family” sound track has come together. Some of the musicians/composers have been people I know, like Tyler, Daniel and Malcolm.

Other’s have been referred to me by my son Julian and other friends: like Eron, Mezzy and Caleb. Steve Wick falls into that later category. When I put out that call for musicians/composers on facebook my friend and colleague on the board of Mission Eurasia, Wayne Shepherd, contacted me and told me about Steve.

We’re thrilled to have Steve with his gifts of mixing and mastering music, as well as composing, working with us on the sound track for the “We are Family” documentary.

Here’s his bio:

Steve Wick is an audio producer/guitarist/musician who has lived his entire life in the Chicago, IL area. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, he worked for Moody Radio throughout the 90’s as a live local and national engineer/program producer, then transitioned to a private recording studio as music composer in 2000. In 2002, he ventured out on his own starting Resonance Audio Media, Inc., and since then has produced numerous audio dramas, music releases, podcasts, radio programs/features, audio books and soundtrack foley/SFX. Steve also has recorded and released 5 albums of original guitar-based music and arrangements. In his spare time, he enjoys loitering in record stores, collecting vinyl, iPhone photography and creatively collaborating with others. Steve has been married to Kelli for 23 years and together they have 3 kids, Chloe-18, Mallory-16 and Carter-14.

Conclusion

Music matters in movies!

We have a great team of musicians who will bring the story to life. Their music covers  the movie’s wide-range of emotions and actions, and brings a wise range of styles, tones, and emotions.

I will be launching a Kickstarter “social funding” campaign November 1st to raise money to pay these artists for their contribution. Please consider helping bring this story to life by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign. Their work will be worth every penny they are paid!

 

 

The Story Behind the Making of We are Family, Part 4

I knew that Arsenal Tech’s basketball team’s coming together as family and winning the Indiana High School Basketball Championship as the inner-city school that no one thought could win it all would make a great story.

So I starting taking some baby steps towards making a documentary film about that season.

First Steps

The first step after the season was my son Julian filing all the footage. Julian was a real trooper, putting hours and hours into putting the footage into files where it could be found. It had been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Julian to be a part of that team, and he was motivated to see the project through.

I recruited my friend David Lichty, a film-lover and film-maker, to help me with the project.

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When David heard that the cumulative grade point average of the Championship team was over 3.0 he was intrigued. It blew away the stereotypes of an “ghetto school.” He directed me to go through all the footage and note what parts were good, what parts we should highlight, etc. It took me hours and hours to do this. Finally it was catalogued. I passed my notes on to David who started to compile it into a rough story-line of the season.

First musicians/composers recruited and first showing

I started to ask around for musicians/composers who could help with the sound track. Mrs. Marveda Saunders was a Police Officer who served at Tech. Her son, Eron Harris, was playing Division one basketball, first, I think at West Virginia. Then he transferred to Michigan State. Marveda told Eron about our project and he sent a great song that we are going to use on the sound track.

My friend Donteau Gladney Sr, whose son Donteau Jr. had played on the Championship team, recruited one of his nephews to lay down a few beats which were passed on to us too. We had the beginning of a sound track. But just the beginning.

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In October of 2014 we had a rough, and long, 2 hour movie of the season. We showed it to the Tech basketball team. Both David and I knew that we were far from done with the finished product, but we had a good start.

Then the project sat untouched. For almost four years.

My move to Washington State

In January of 2015 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. That rocked my world. We had buried our roots deep in Indy, but now I felt a real desire to be closer to home to help my dad and mom out in mom’s battle with breast cancer.

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A pastor job opened up at a Presbyterian Church in Redmond, WA. I applied and got the job. In August of 2015 I drove a big Uhaul truck across the country with my friend Donteau. We had all kinds of adventures in our cross country trip. But that’s another story.

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An hour before we got to Redmond I started crying because I knew I was going to have to say goodbye to my friend Donteau, and because we had left our home and a big part of our heart in Indy, with the church and friends there, and with IPS.

I didn’t know that I would ever have a chance to complete the “We are Family Project.” It just wasn’t on my mind. And I couldn’t figure out a natural way to go back to Indy and work on project.

On the Shelf

I put the “We are Family” project on the shelf. I didn’t have the time and energy to work on it. Besides my regular work as a pastor in Redmond, WA I was also starting up my long dreamed of Sunnyshore Studio on Camano Island. David, however, did put some work into the project. Donna Griffin, who taught media at Tech at that time, was very encouraging to us to continue the project. She connected us to a bunch of old footage of players being interviewed, of Tech in the past, and other great material. We owe her a real debt for all of her help!

But besides David spending time with Donna, the project sat on the shelf, until May 2018.

Judah in Indy and Jacob graduating from Purdue

In January of 2018 my third son, Judah, had gone back to be Indy as part of a “gap year” after he graduated from High School. He wanted to have some time to be with his friends, and to have some closure. He lived with my brother Jed and sister-in-law Renae, in their home just a block from Tech high school. Judah had had a great time in Indy. By May he was ready to come home to Redmond.

In May, my oldest son, Jacob, graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Purdue. This was a huge accomplishment and my wife, Jenny, and I determined we would fly back to Indy to celebrate it with him.

Finally I had a reason to be in Indy. I took a week vacation and started scheduling interviews.

Our friends, Nathan and Sarah Partain, were on a sabbatical trip. They live one block east of Arsenal Tech, just a few houses away from my brother Jed. This gave us a “base camp” to operate from.

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Jacob’s graduation was on Sunday, May 13th. How awesome was that for Jenny! It was great for me too, but especially gratifying for Jenny.

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We attended Brian Parks graduation party too. Brian played football at Tech. He received a scholarship to play football at Wabash where he graduated with top honors. At the party I was able to interview Brian, and Ms. Garing, who had been a very popular English teacher at Tech about that Championship season.

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The next three days were busy!

Monday, May 14th

On Monday, May 14th, David and I went to work.

For me that morning started out at Peppy’s Grill in Fountain Square where I met two of my friends, Matt Aalsma And Paul Baumgarten.

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David had arranged for us to use the studio of his friend, artist Casey Roberts, which is in an old warehouse on Mass Ave, near Tech, to film in.

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Casey’s studio was big and artsy and quiet, with space for interviewees to hang out and relax. It was perfect! I am so thankful for his gracious hospitality to let us use it.

David met me at the door. And we got to work right away.

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We had some technical difficulties, no pun intended, and my friend Paul Baumgarten graciously stopped by and helped us get one of our cameras in order.

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Our first interview was with Dr. Eugene White, President of Martin University. He had been a past Superintendent of IPS and gave us great perspective on IPS and what the Tech victory had met.

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On Monday I also interviewed Bob King, who was a parent of a Tech student during the championship season, and who also was a reporter for the INDY Star, covering IPS. I also friend, fellow IPS dad and huge IPS sport fan, Josh interviewed Josh Bowling.

For lunch my friend, local icon, historian and artist, Kipp Normand, joined David and I at La Prada on New York Street. I was able to twist Kipp’s arm hard enough to get him to promise to come back on Tuesday for an interview.

On Monday evening I interviewed Donald Mosley who was a Tech Student in 2013-2014 and part of the student sport reporting team that covered the basketball team. He has a great voice and had a striking perspective on it all.

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Tuesday, 15th

Early on Tuesday morning my son Judah and I walked to Tech and took some great footage of the school in the morning and as students began to arrive on campus. What a beautiful campus Tech is!

On Tuesday morning I interviewed Kipp, who provided lots of insight about Indianapolis and IPS history. At 11:00 I interviewed Kyle Neddenriep who is an Indy Star Sports reporter and who had followed Tech closely their championship season. It was very interesting to hear his perspective.

At 1:00 David and I went to the impressive history center at the Tech to meet with Linda Hill, who was a sophomore at Tech when they went to the went to the final at Muncie Central and lost; she was at the Championship game in 2014, watching the clock, as the game got close and closer. When Tech won she cried. We had also scheduled and interview there with Ken Kenipe.

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Ken had met his wife Joan in the 3rd grade. He graduated from Tech in 1949 (after just three years); Joan went four years to Tech and graduated in 1950. They started going to games when they were freshmen in 1946. They haven’t missed any games apart from a few years when they lived away from Indy. Ken and his wife had been recently written up in an article in the Indy Star as Tech basketball fans. Finally, we had scheduled to interview Sarah Bogard, who was the principal at Tech for a number of years before they won the championship. She created the Arsenal Tech museum and is a wealth of information about Tech and IPS.

Unfortunately, we had our wires crossed. They had planned to meet with us on Wednesday. So David and I spent a couple of hours researching, and getting footage of the impressive array of historical artifacts in the Tech history rooms.

We also stopped and took video of the Championship Logo on the Tech gym floor.

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That evening I interviewed Coach Keith Dabney and Coach Jason Delaney. It was great to get their perspective on that historic season. Late that evening my son Julian Dorsey arrived from George Mason University in the Washington DC area on the beginning of summer break. He had just come off finals week, and hosting a major UNICEF event, and hadn’t slept much the last couple of days. But he was a good sport and would help us out on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, 16th

We interviewed Julian first thing in the morning. Then we went back to Tech and interviewed Linda, Ken and Sarah. Those were great interviews.

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In the afternoon I interviewed Coach K. Then my dear friend Donteau Sr. stopped by, bringing his son, Onnie Harlin, whose big brother, Donteau Jr. was a part of the team and who had basically been a “gym rat” who hung out with the championship team that whole season. Onnie was just a kid in 2013, and now he was a grown up man, heading off to college in the fall.

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I also interview Justin Parker, “JP”, who had been one of the star players on the team that season. It was great to here his perspective now four years after.

 

Over those three days, Monday through Wednesday, we were able to capture an wealth of incredible, diverse, thoughtful interviews. One theme was heard through each interview: Tech’s victory had mattered in significant ways.

We got most, not all however, of the interviews we wanted. A few days later, David interviewed Kevin and David Van Horn, twin brothers and Tech alumni, and their dad. They were huge fans that championships season. David said that the interview was absolutely delightful. At the end of their interview, the twins asked David if they could help us out financially and gave him some money. That was super encouraging.

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We are continuing to get interviews of coaches and players, family members and fans as we are able. As it stands we have an incredible amount of footage, and, what’s more important, an inspiring story.

Conclusion

There is an important story in Tech’s championship season. A story about players and coaches in an inner city school coming together as family. It is a story for all those urban kids who are told “you can’t do this.” It is a story about people coming together – black and white, rich and poor – around a team and as a team.

We have the video footage. Before us now is the hard work of recruiting a team of musicians and composers to write songs to make the film come to life. Before us is the hard technical work of video editing, hours and hours and hours of that. And before us is the great challenge of raising funds to pay our musicians and video editors. We are committed to see this story through, and to tell it to the best of our ability. We have come this far. We have confidence that we will carry on to tell this story.  We do this because:

WE ARE FAMILY

 

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