We are very thankful to the Southern Documentary Fund; who has taken us under their fiscal wings. This means that your contribution (less the value of any perks received) is tax-deductible.
I met Tommy, by pure chance a few years ago, while filming a project with autistic teenagers. I was immediately struck by his love for life and his desire to share his gift with the world. Tommy is a sixty year-old autistic man with the life long dream of singing with a Big Band.
We are seeking post-production funds to finish a feature documentary about Tommy, who, against all odds, armed with his golden voice and his all-American optimism, embarks on a quest to have the "world on a string". (Hint, he loves Sinatra)
As we follow Tommy's journey, the film takes you into his community of autistic adults, the world of jazz musicians, his ups and downs, his work, his quirks and even his dirty laundry.
The intention here is for you to get to know Tommy devoid of all outside commentary and bring you as close possible to what it feels like to be him, a man full of vibrant contradictions, deep human insights and a contagious sense of humor.
In the process, I’m sure you will fall in love with Tommy and his universal struggle to retain his dignity and his dreams in the face of adversity. Tommy’s mother (she’s 83!) put it best: “ this film can reassure parents of autistic children that there is a future for them and will inspire those children to seek a place in the world they can call their own.” I believe the film can also reassure anyone who has ever doubted that their dreams can come true. But paradoxically, as Tommy puts it, first: “You have to be – content.” There is something very powerful to be said for Tommy's voice: he speaks his heart and he tells his truth without getting lost in the grammar of the ego... and we are the better for it. I can’t think of a more important film to be making right now. And we invite you to join us in helping bring Tommy’s uplifting story from the small screen, to the big screen and to every screen in between.
What we need:
Principal photography is finished; the film is in the can. The production was self-financed, basically and act of love. So now, we need $20,000 to jump through a series of necessary and coslty post-production hoops in order get this film ready for the big time (Festivals and broadcast):
1) Finish editing and lock picture
2) Mix the final soundtrack of the film
3) Color correct the video
4) Pay to have the expensive rights to use the following songs Tommy sings: “I’ve Got the World on a String”, “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Shadow of Your Smile”. We are also using “Inner Search”, a song composed by Matt Savage, the famous piano player (who also happens to be autistic)
5) Pay to get an insurance of “Errors and Omissions”
6) Pay for a lawyer to put the cherry on top.
In the unlikely case we don’t meet our total funding, the raised funds will be allocated in this order: we have to secure the rights to the songs, or else there is no film. We then need to get a rough cut, then get a lawyer and obtain the insurance (which allows the film to be broadcast), finally comes the soundtrack mix and the colorization. Whew!
Your Contribution is Tax-Deductible:
We are very thankkful to the Southern Documentary Fund who has taken us under their fiscal wings. This means that your contribution is tax-deductible.
Tommy and I have come up with some very exciting perks. I think the best one so far seems to be the one where Tommy records your favorite song and sends it to you for your personal use. Along side DVD’s, posters, invitations to the world premiere and other perks, we know there’s going to be something for everybody!
Tommy! is a feel-good movie. No doubt about it. There is a happy ending and we want share the hope and the glory with everyone who sees it. At the same time, the film is not sugar coated to hide the bitter-sweetness of Tommy’s life. Tommy in this film has laid himself bare – he has gone a far as he can go in sharing the intimate details of his life-long struggle to find a place in the world. We believe the film can have a double impact: it can give those inside the autistic community a vision of an expanded horizon where the future is a world of possibilities and it can also offer those outside the autistic community the vision of a common humanity that will move their perception of autistic adults in a positive direction.
In the end Tommy! The Dreams I Keep Inside Me is literally an attempt to get those dream out into the world where they can help create spaces of self-realization; spaces where different communities can come together and share their common dreams. In the past I have been involved in successful financial educational campaigns for Latino immigrants and I have seen the power of bringing together the right message, coupled with a grass roots effort and the right use of social online networks. My film Angelica’s Dreams won the Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility and was used across the USA as a way to educate (and entertain) Latinos on the ins and outs of home ownership.
In order to promote Tommy! and its message of inclusion and perseverance, we have reached out to dozens of national and state organizations that deal with autism awareness and offered them to use the film for their campaigns. We want to multiply Tommy’s impact a thousands fold across the world and we hope you will join us in this effort.
About the director
I’m a Chilean American filmmaker with seven feature films and dozens of shorts under my belt. My films have been shown in many of the world’s most prestigious film festivals like Toronto, Edinburgh and Telluride. I’ve made documentaries about Latino immigrants, abducted children, refugee women collectives, kite makers, Muslim scholars, whirling dervishes, Jazz musicians, autism inclusion and the Occupy movement. But truly, in my twenty-five years of filmmaking, no one has managed to touch me like Tommy. I know he will capture your imagination too.
Other Ways You Can Help
Not everybody has extra money to give for a good cause, but everybody can be made aware of those around us who could use a kind word, a simple hello, a recognition of their existence. Autistic adults are often relegated to the backrooms of our society. You might not have met children or adults with autism and if that's the case look around and you might find someone in need. And who knows? It might even change your life, like it did mine.
Meanwhile, please pass this funding campaign around, spread the word using indieagogo sharing tools and remember: one step at a time, one dollar at a time, I know we’re going to get there!