Badiou: A Life

Alain Badiou is France's greatest living philosopher. Our goal is to make the first ever feature length film about this iconoclast. We need your help!
Rohan Kalyan
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Los Angeles, California
United States
3 Team Members

Who are we?

Badiou: A Life is a joint venture of Nonetheless Productions and the Global Center for Advanced Studies that seeks to make the first-ever feature length documentary on France's greatest living philosopher, Alain Badiou.

Before we tell you about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a film about a once-in-a-generation philosopher, allow us to briefly introduce ourselves!

Gorav Kalyan (Director) is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and co-founder of Nonetheless Productions.  Gorav studied philosophy at the College of New Jersey and came to California in 2006, where he studied Film Directing at the California Institute of the Arts.  He was a 2013 Film Independent Project: Involve fellow, and has made feature length films, documentaries,  short films and music videos.  He and his brother, Rohan, have collaborated on a number of documentaries.  Their most recent film in development is "To the City Yet to Come," an essay film about the transformation of New Delhi, India told through letters written to the future citizens of the city.  

Rohan Kalyan (Producer) is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech.  Originally from the northeast of the US, he studied at the University of Hawaii where his research focused on critical theory and global politics.  He has worked on documentary films with his brother Gorav in India and the US.

Jason Adams (Producer) is a former student of Alain Badiou: he is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Global Center for Advanced Studies, as well as Executive Editor of Conatus Publishing.  Adams is author of Occupy Time: Technoculture, Immediacy and Resistance After Occupy Wall Street (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), the Co-Editor of Deleuze and Race (Edinburgh University Press, 2013) and has written for such publications as Radical Philosophy, Critical Inquiry, In These Times, Z Magazine and TruthOut, while he also served as Managing Editor for the Johns Hopkins University Press online journal Theory & Event from 2004-2010.

Ki Jin Kim (Cinematographer/Producer) is the co-founder of Nonetheless Productions in Los Angeles and teaches film production at the California Institute of the Arts.  Ki Jin graduated with his MFA in Film Directing from CalArts in 2010.  He has served as cinematographer on a number of films which have screened in such festivals as Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Rotterdam, BAFICI and many more.

What is it about?

Besides being anointed France's greatest living philosopher by the New York Times, and our generation's Hegel by Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou's writings have captivated artists, activists and academics across the world.  His contribution to concepts of the event, truth, being, subjectivity, politics, science and art have challenged many of the central underpinnings of continental philosophy, pushing it in exciting new directions.   The idea behind Badiou: A Life is to elucidate this complex body of work, contextualize it within his own life, as well as its social and political milieu, and experiment with the cinematic and documentary mode to engage the radical implications of Badiou's thought.

Badiou: a Life will be shot during an innovative five-day mini-course organized by the Global Center for Advanced Studies.  The course, which is entitled "Badiou on Badiou," will take place at Kendall College of Art & Design in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, from July 14 to 18. The five-day event will feature Badiou in-person. Each day, Professor Badiou will proceed through one stage of his own development as a thinker, culminating in the present period.  Our cameras will follow Badiou over the course of these five-days as he prepares and delivers his lectures, interacts with students and colleagues, and goes about his everyday life.  Finally, we will use the opportunity to interview Badiou as he reflects on his life as a philosopher and a political activist and on the possibilities of the contemporary period.

At this critical juncture of global economic turmoil, glaring inequality and impending ecological crisis, the work of Badiou sheds light on how we are to continue to resist power and exploitation around the world.  By bridging high theory and critical philosophy with political activism and art, Badiou's work continues to inspire and provoke.  Now 77-years of age, Badiou's limited travel availability necessitates that we take advantage of this unique opportunity to  document and engage the life and work of this iconoclast.   With your help, we will be able to bring the challenging and provocative ideas of a renown philosopher to audiences around the world. 

We need your help!

We intend to use the funds we raise to begin shooting this documentary over the five-day period in Grand Rapids.  The money will be used for:

  • equipment rental
  • travel and accommodation for our small crew
  • post-production work, including editing, color correction and sound design. 
If you help us fund this film you will be participating in the making of the first-ever feature length documentary on Alain Badiou, one of the great philosophers of our day.  We are offering exciting and unique perks for those that show their generosity.  These perks are listed to the right!

Even if we are unable to achieve our full fund raising goal, the money we collect can be used to defray pre-production, production and post-production costs to the greatest extent possible.  If nothing else, you will save us from having to sell our cars and homes to make this thing!

The Impact

Why make a film about Alain Badiou?  Badiou is widely recognized as a stalwart among the unique generation of French philosophers who made their mark after World War II.  Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir,  Louis Althusser, Francois Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and countless other French thinkers have re-defined continental philosophy and critical theory, influencing the way academics, artists and activists pursue political activism and imagine social change.  All of these thinkers have been the subject of biographical documentaries that treat their philosophical work along with their life stories, exploring the interconnections between a life of the mind and the social and political worlds that produced them.  This has yet to be done with the one French philosopher that has outlasted all the others and continues to produce captivating and provocative work today.  At 77-years of age, Badiou's limited travels necessitate that we use this unique opportunity to  document the life and work of this iconoclast.  

Through innovative cinematography, editing and sound design, we will bring to aesthetic life the complex thoughts of Badiou, who has himself called cinema the social and political art par excellence.  Through cinematic ruptures and provocations, we will explore concepts of the event, being, truth and revolutionary subjectivity, and link these to the life and times of Badiou, exploring the interconnections between biography and philosophy, and vice versa.  

We hope you can help us bring this exciting project to life!  With your financial assistance, we will be able to shoot captivating footage of Badiou in Grand Rapids, Michigan and interview him as he reflects on his life story and his development as a critical philosopher. 

But even if you cannot help us out monetarily, you can help us spread the word by sharing our Indiegogo and Facebook page ( with your friends online.  The more people that find out about this project, the greater the chances of our completing this film!

Find This Campaign On
raised by 172 people in 27 days
56% funded
No time left
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 13, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD

    You will reveive a prompt shout out via social media, i.e. our Facebook page!

    25 claimed
  • $25USD

    You will receive the social media shout out, as well as a personal message of thanks via email from the director and producers!

    32 claimed
  • $50USD

    All of the above, plus special behind the scenes images and video clips from our shooting in Grand Rapids!

    29 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $100USD

    All of the above, plus you will get a free digital download of the film before it is screened in public!

    24 out of 30 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $250USD

    All of the above, plus an amazing 'Badiou: A Life' movie poster designed by our graphics team!

    2 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $500USD

    All of the above, plus an autographed book by none other than Badiou himself!

    1 out of 10 claimed
  • $1,000USD

    All of the above, plus you will be listed as one of the Associate Producers of the film.

    0 out of 10 claimed
  • $5,000USD

    All of the above, plus you will be listed as an Executive Producer of the film!

    0 out of 2 claimed
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