All over the country, people have been asking me, "So, Byron, what's your next film going to be about?" The truth is, I have a long list of ideas for films that I'd LOVE to make, but after consulting with my closest friends and advisers, and giving it some careful thought, I've finally decided that my next film will explore the topic of hazing in American culture.
In order to bring Hazing to life I need to raise $60,000 in 60 days for the film's development phase.
Why This Topic?
I have long wanted to make a documentary about this subject but never felt courageous enough to address it. This is a sensitive and controversial topic. However, after I learned about the tragic death of Robert Champion (below) - the Florida A&M University band member who, in November 2012, was tragically killed by his fellow band members because of a traditional hazing ritual - I felt compelled to illuminate this issue in a documentary film.
Contributors to the development phase of the Hazing project would be supporting a seminal film about the hotly debated topic of hazing in fraternities and sororities, clubs, sports teams, marching bands, military, etc. By supporting this Indiegogo campaign, your dollars will allow me to:
- Immediately hire a top-notch production crew and a support staff,
- Pay for production equipment rentals and production insurance,
- Hire an excellent, experienced editor, and
- Create a high quality trailer to heighten awareness and to raise additional funding for the other phases of the project.
As a filmmaker who is a fraternity member (I am a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated) and someone who has been hazed (that's me below) and has hazed young men, I feel uniquely qualified to make this film. As I have done with all my other work, I will approach this subject with sensitivity and care. This documentary will be thoroughly researched and the story will be well told, but only if I can count on you to help me get it done.
I plan to break new ground with this project. I also expect this film to serve as a teaching tool for those who want to preserve the rite of passage experience but who also want to eliminate some of the more dangerous and harmful aspects of hazing.
Making films is a very costly endeavor. For past films, I have received generous support from funders such as ITVS, The Ford Foundation, the National Black Programming Consortium, and others, but I have always needed to raise additional monies. Most independent filmmakers will tell you that crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo help us tell our stories and share them with the world.
As some may remember, my team and I exceeded our last fundraising goal in 2011 via a crowdfunding campaign. That campaign was crucial to the success of Soul Food Junkies, which went on to become an award-winning documentary film that was televised nationally.
Previously, I have counted on community support to complete my documentaries I Am a Man: Black Masculinity in America and Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. I hope I can count on you again and that my body of work (see below) gives you confidence that Hazing will be another thought-provoking, important film.
Every Dollar Matters!
Raising $60,000 in 60 days is a big "ask" yet I'm only asking for a portion of what it would take to deliver an excellent film. So no contribution is too small and every single dollar counts towards meeting and hopefully exceeding our $60,000 goal. If you help make this campaign a successful one, I promise to make you a proud contributor.
In exchange for your contribution, you'll get some cool perks in return. See what we're offering for your much needed dollars in the "Perks" section (right).
Other Ways You Can Help
This is a bold and ambitious fundraiser for a bold and ambitious film. But if you cannot contribute at this time, you can help by spreading the word. Word of mouth is really important if we're going to be successful! Please tell your family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, and associates about Hazing and our goal to raise $60,000 in 60 days. That would be a HUGE help!
Thank you for taking the time to WATCH THE VIDEO and for reading my statement. My team and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us on Facebook and Twitter, or via email at email@example.com.
As always, thank you for your support.
About Byron Hurt
Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, published writer, anti-sexist activist, and lecturer. He is also the former host of the Emmy-nominated series, REEL WORKS with BYRON HURT. His documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was later broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens.
In 2010, MSNBC's TheGrio.com named Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes one of the "Top 10 Most Important African-American Themed Films of the Decade." The Independent named him one of the "Top 10 Filmmakers to Watch" in 2011.
His writings have been published in several anthologies, including Michael Eric Dyson’s “Know What I Mean?” Kevin Powell’s “The Black Male Handbook,” and Shira Tarrant’s “Men Speak Out.” Hurt as also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, O Magazine, Mother Jones, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Tribune, The Final Call, and AllHipHop.com. He has also appeared on NPR, CNN, Access Hollywood, MTV, BET, ABC News World Tonight, HuffPost Live, Our World with Black Enterprise, C-Span, and many other outlets.
Byron Hurt's current film, Soul Food Junkies, was completed in 2012 and made its national television premiere on PBS’ Emmy award-winning series, Independent Lens, in January 2013. Soul Food Junkies won CNN Best Documentary at the American Black Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. It is currently touring nationwide.
Learn more at www.BHurt.com. Learn more about Soul Food Junkies at www.itvs.org/films/soul-food-junkies. Hurt is available for speaking engagements and screening talk-backs. Contact Kevin MacRae at firstname.lastname@example.org. Public relations and media inquiries are directed to AKILA WORKSONGS, Inc. at 718.756.8501 or email@example.com.