WE HAVE THE SKELETON OF A STORY...
Given the popularity of Mexico’s Day of the Dead, there clearly exists a hunger for rituals that provide inventive, imaginative outlets for grief. For over 20 years, the All Souls Procession in Tucson, AZ has offered all comers a creative way to honor the deceased. Although many have filmed the colorful Procession, no one has ever made a feature documentary about it. Until now!
I have directed many documentaries for PBS affiliates but Many Bones, One Heart is my first indie project. I plan to create a poignant film that explores the All Souls rituals and history and chronicles the struggles of the artists producing the event, despite financial difficulties and bureaucratic resistance. Although we have recorded some material we still need to document behind the scenes this fall and to interview Tucson officials about conflicts. Because of the Procession’s growing size, (30,000 participants in 2011) its future form remains in doubt. 2012 may be the Procession’s last year in downtown Tucson. Therefore, it is vital we film this fall!
This film needs a Patron - YOU!
In order to cover the costs of field production, we need to raise $7,000.00. Specifically, we will use the contributions to pay our award-winning camera people, (who have already donated time to the project) buy wireless microphones, some meals for crew, and purchase external hard drives to store our media.
I will continue to donate my time and money to the film. If we reach our goal, that would be so excellent! If we exceed it, double the excellence! We could spend more time recording, ready to capture those emotional and revelatory moments that make an unforgettable film!
What you get in return:
First of all, you get the satisfaction of joining in a grassroots funding effort to make a film about a grassroots ritual! And there are material perks as well: at various levels of donation, you will receive DVD's of the finished movie, mixed media artwork, short films, tickets to our premiere and more! If you prefer to make a fully tax deductible donation, simply waive the perks.
We promise to do this right!
The PBS Network broadcast my last documentary, Divine Mission San Xavier del Bac nationwide and the film went on to receive 5 Regional Emmy Awards. I was passionate about Divine Mission and am even more enthusiastic about this film!
Many Bones, One Heart will reveal the efforts of artists and participants to heal their community, despite personal costs (the hero’s journey), while depicting the difficulty of shepherding a free event through financial shortfalls and official resistance (dramatic conflict). And it will inspire viewers to see a multicultural populace bubbling over with extravagant Do It Yourself creativity and contagious joy even as they pay tribute to their deceased loved ones (a celebration of the human spirit)!
Why make Many Bones, One Heart?
I first heard about the Procession in 1992, but did not see it until 1997. At that time it was a few hundred people, and although remarkably creative, I was busy working at the PBS affiliate, and forgot about the Procession until one Sunday evening in 2004. I heard drums, headed towards the music and followed thousands of costumed revelers downtown until we stopped for the concluding ritual, the Grand Finale. We were watching fire spinners and stilt walkers perform when suddenly, high above, an aerial acrobat flipped into sight. The audience roared and I was hooked!
In 2006, the All Souls folks added another event on Saturday, making the All Souls Procession a Weekend festival. In a park downtown, children paint cardboard wings, and come sundown, they put on their wings and parade in the Procession of Little Angels. At the same park, grieving adults share their sorrow with small installations for the Personal Altars Vigil.
Deeply moved by the altars and stories of loss, I decided to make a documentary about the Weekend. However, after interviewing the event’s founder, Susan Kay Johnson, and the married couple who currently organize the festival and Finale, Nadia Hagen and Paul Weir, I realized these artists intrigued me as much as the rituals. All three are tightly woven into the fabric of the Tucson arts community and I want to document their activities this fall--that’s where you come in!
Other Ways You Can Help
This campaign is about more than raising money: we want to let folks know what we are doing! Please share this campaign with your friends through email, FB, twitter, etc., or get the word out in other ways. It’s easy to use the IndieGoGo share tools!
The photographs of the Procession on this page are stills from the film: check out the Gallery for the work of Tucson photographers Kathleen Dreier and Emily Ann Jones. They will be adding images to the Gallery over the next couple months. Thanks to the ever-so-talented Kathleen and Emily! We are developing a website, ManyBonesOneHeart.com, and as soon as it is ready you can find out more about the project.