GUERRILLA STYLE INDIE PRODUCTION ON NGOBE INDIGENOUS TERRITORY
- GIVE NGOBE PEOPLE A VOICE - GIVE "DEFENDERS OF LIFE" THE POST-PRODUCTION IT DESERVES
"Defenders of Life" is the first fiction feature film made with and about the Ngöbe or Ngäbe indigenous people of Costa Rica.
Background on the Ngöbe can be found here:
An original take on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "Defenders of Life" was shot on location in the first quarter of 2014 with a small non-intrusive international crew of 4 who shared the life of the community during the entire principal photography. The dialogues are in Spanish, English and for the first time in a movie in the Ngöbere language.
Far from the traditional ethnographic documentary, "Defenders of Life" reveals the dilemas of an endangered civilization through the individual destinies of Dona Carmen the controversial tribe leader, her murdered daughter and her adolescent granddaughter Esmeralda. Both the writing and the shooting process were done in close collaboration with the Ngöbe community and connected to a series of assistance projects for schools and women's capacity building in new technologies.
The subject matter deals with the delicate issues of early marriage and teenage pregnancy among Ngöbe. Our approach is not judgmental. We want to show the complexity of choices faced by today's Ngöbe men and women if they are to survive as a nation and civilization.
To make the project possible, I was lucky to assemble a unique international team of passionate film professionals from France, Brazil, Cuba and Costa Rica who were all 100% dedicated to the idea of showing Ngöbe as individuals facing the same critical dilemmas as the rest of mankind: love/duty, progress/tradition, violence/tolerance, identity/exchange and the struggle for life and dignity. For us, they were never an object of study but characters of their own powerful story.
This is the first full-length feature film that I am financing on my personal savings and producing from A to Z with the company I founded in 2012, Popcorn & Friends. After working in China on sino-Western coproductions for 10 years, I am really thrilled about this new challenge, its grass-roots, hands-on nature, no matter the personal risks involved. This is a totally independant film made without any institutional or corporate support.
We are now starting post-production for which we need and call for your support for all stages of the process including editing, color-correction, sound editing, soundtrack, sound-mix, the production of an encrypted Digital Cinema Package and Blue Ray DVDs which will be necessary to enter "Defenders of Life" into international film festivals.
We put so much heart, sweat and blood (sometimes literally...) into principal photography, shared such an intense experience living and working with the community...To our Ngöbe friends who acted and supported the movie in so many ways, I feel it is my moral duty to deliver a top end quality film that will shed the strongest and most beautiful light on their struggles and dilemmas.
What we need is $29000 to complete the movie. It is a lot yet a very competitive budget for post-producing a feature film. We have identified an excellent team of local talents in Costa Rica who are ready to join "Defenders of Life" as soon as we would be able to pay for their services. The breakdown goes as follows (we factored in the indiegogo fees):
$6000 > Editing
$8000 > Visual Effects (VFX)
$2000 > Color Correction or Digital Intermediate
$2500 > Sound Editing & Sound Mix
$8000 > Original Soundtrack
$2500 > Digital Cinema Package
If we can't reach our goal, here is the plan B in a nutshell: reducing the Visual Effects and the amount of original music, possibly editing ourselves.
If we manage to raise more than the goal, we'll use the extra funds to market the movie more aggressively through a professional trailer, an elaborate press kit, poster and advertisement campaign.
Alongside the regular film perks such as HD download links, DVDs and contributors end credits, we will include unique Ngöbe art and craft works including traditional woven bags and headbands, women's dress bearing the Ngöbe snake ornament, jewelry and more...all made by our lead actress
Doña Carmen, Ngöbe artist and community leader. And for those of you interested in the making of movies, we offer a personalized online consultation with me, Igor Darbo, on the concrete steps of producing a self-financed indie movie.
But most of all, by helping us out, you will contribute to the making of a powerful platform for raising awareness on critical issues facing indigenous people in today's world. We believe that through the fiction of a personal drama, we will have more chances to reach the hearts and minds of people.
And if you can't throw a coin or two, there is still plenty you can do for "Defenders of Life" by sharing our story and campaign with your friends and network, by liking our Facebook page and vimeo teaser, by writing about our film in your blog or drawing the attention of your local media to this unique project of collaborative movie-making with the Ngöbe people.
- A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MYSELF- FRENCH GLOBE-TROTTING PRODUCER
A Harvard and Paris Science Po graduate in International and Political Studies, I have lived and worked in the USA, Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, China and Costa Rica. First specialising the management of international cooperation projects in the fields of ICTs, media and culture, I then made the move to the film industry in 2008 as independent producer (and actor!), ever since happily combining my experience in administration and finance with my passion for creation and movies.
I had the chance to act in Jackie Chan's action blockbuster "Chinese Zodiac", to work with Beijing trilogy director Ning Ying as well as kung-fu master Tiger Chen on US-China coproduction "Kung Fu Man" executively produced by Keanu Reeves.
I also participated as consulting producer to the sino-Australian coproduction "Deep Sleep No More", a war drama about Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WW2 which featured in festivals accross Australia.
Then I went on to develop my own French-American-Chinese coproduction project "The Dragon Angel" which won the "Best Commercial Potential Film Project" award at the 2012 Shanghai International Film Festival.
Articles and interviews about "The Dragon Angel" can be found at: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/21/entertainment/la-et-mn-shanghai-film-festival-dragon-angel-20120621
My interview by China Radio International on the Reel China show:
My other references are here: