Indiegogo...Go Go Power for Sugar Pie DeSanto!

BitterSweet - A documentary film on the life and music of the legendary Sugar Pie DeSanto
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Team Sugar Pie
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Film
San Francisco, California
United States
12 Team Members

First, listen to Go Go Power and tell us you don't want to dance to Sugar Pie's music. ;-)

Next, listen to the Etta James/Sugar Pie deSanto duet, In The Basement. Now tell us you're not just a tad curious about being invited to a basement party.

Martina McBride and Kelly Clarkson recently remade In The Basement. Sugar Pie appreciates that her music is being rediscovered (Kelly sang her part), but some of their promoters dubbed it "originally an Etta James song." They seemed to have forgotten Sugar Pie who, in In The Basement, Part 2, sang and improvised the lyrics without Etta. Another Etta/Sugar Pie duet, Do I Make Myself Clear, tells of strong women who tell their guys they're not girls to be fooled with.


And now, the Sugar Pie DeSanto legend

Can you name the Blues music legends in this picture?

This photo is from the American Folk Blues Festival that toured through Europe in 1964 and influenced many musicians from the UK including The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. From left to right in the photo: Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, Sleepy John Estes, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sunnyland Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, Hubert Sumlin...all legendary Blues men! The only woman in the group, 3rd from the right, and the youngest, is Sugar Pie DeSanto.

At 4'11, Sugar Pie was small next to the big boys of Blues. However, she carried her own. Watch her in these videos from that tour: Rock Me Baby and Baby What You Want Me To Do.

Sugar Pie is the center image in this record album cover. See above.

Once called the "Lady James Brown," Sugar Pie opened for James Brown at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Every night, Sugar Pie whipped the crowd in to a frenzy that he needed to make sure to step up his performance to avoid a letdown. "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" later said that Sugar Pie made him "wooork!" Also part of the act for the Godfather of Soul was Tina Turner who once asked Sugar Pie why she was getting all the applause. Sugar Pie replied, "You gotta mooove girl!" Tina got the memo.

Sugar Pie grew up with Etta James and they were both signed to Chess Records, the illustrious Chicago music label. The two sang three powerful duets: (Do I Make Myself Clear, Somewhere Down The Line, and In The Basement.) All became hits. While Etta is a household name, Sugar Pie became the hidden gem. Lucky fans who have seen Sugar Pie perform live still talk about her energetic performances. When you search her name on YouTube, you often encounter artists that have covered her songs. There are even a new generation of DJ's that play her music in clubs and parties. When the R&B Foundation finally honored her with a Pioneer Award in 2009, she got up and killed it! See for yourself: Sugar Pie's Pioneer Award.


 

Who is this wild woman?

We will tell you through the documentary film. You will learn about her beginnings: a Filipino immigrant father and an African-American mother, a family of 11 or so children, that included Etta James at some point, in a small house in the Fillmore district of San Francisco, a girl gang, sneaking into music clubs, joining music contests and winning too often, to finally being discovered and renamed by the great Johnny Otis --- from Umpeylia to Little Miss Sugar Pie. You will discover the driving force behind her music, the connection it has to her life, and how her mother influenced and encouraged her, even though her father disapproved. She will also tell us about the Fillmore renaissance, the Chicago music scene and Chess Records, the American Folk Blues tour, more on Etta, and performing with James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Otis Redding and other music greats. You will also hear about her unique experiences in the South as an African Asian woman working the "chitlin' circuit" with her husband Pee Wee Kingsley, and finally coming home to her native San Francisco.

Her contributions  to various American popular music genres (Blues, Rock 'n Roll, R&B, Soul, Pop, etc) exceed more than 100! She wrote most of her songs in addition to others for well-known musicians like Fontella Bass, Little Milton, Billy Stewart, Minnie Ripperton and many more. She is the undisputed "Queen of the West Coast Blues" and a legend in her own right! 

This documentary is our way to honor her contributions, to remember and rediscover her music, and relive the way she lit up the stage! This is the recognition she never received, but truly deserves.


 

Team Sugar Pie

For her storyteller, Sugar Pie has chosen Auraeus Solito/Kanakan Balintagos, an independent filmmaker acclaimed in Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto and other major international film festivals, and included among the the top emerging and most-talented filmmakers in the world. Auraeus directed the international hit Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros); winner in Berlin, selected at Sundance and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (for Best Foreign Film).

Jong de Castro produced the gorgeous Cannes-selected film "Busong (Palawan Fate)," a documentary-like feature film and winner of several international awards including the FIPRESCI Prize at the Eurasia International Film Festival and the "Best of Stories" Merata Mita Award at National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival.

Benjamin Pimentel is a journalist and the author of the novel “Mga Gerilya Sa Powell Street” (The Guerrillas of Powell Street), which won the 2007 National Book Award for fiction in Manila and was adapted for the stage by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2008. He co-produced “Toxic Sunset: On the trail of hazardous waste from Subic and Clark,” which won the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Jim Moore knows the Blues. Jim previously managed Big Mama Thornton and personally knows many of the originators of popular Blues music. Jim has been Sugar Pie’s manager for over 40 years and was successful in obtaining for her the rights to some of her own songs. He is the owner of Jasman Records and eRoom Music Publishing, and the author of a manuscript, Throw Away People, on the post-WWII evolution of African-American Blues music specific to Northern California.


 

The Perks: Get To Know The Sugar

We want you to get to know the real Sugar Pie DeSanto through this documentary film, even before its release. The perks for supporting the film are all about that. Receive personal shout-outs from the creative team, posters, and postcards, Sugar Pie's' music, exclusive access to film and music releases, a film wrap-up "basement" party, master classes with Auraeus and Sugar Pie (learn about filmmaking and music performing, respectively), a music recording session, private film screenings and receptions, and the film's premieres. By supporting this film and taking advantage of the perks, you will get to know her more intimately and understand what makes her a first-rate musician, admired by many including other legends of popular music.

We will use the Indiegogo funds to produce the first third of Bittersweet. We will create a teaser for our supporters to view in advance. This is our "Thank you!" to you for believing in us and showing Sugar Pie your love! The preliminary work we produce using the Indiegogo funds will help us raise the rest to complete the film. We will try to get a deal on the film's distribution. Of course if that doesn't happen, we will do the distribution ourselves...we're not distributors but we know enough to get the completed film directly to you. Promise!


 

Other Ways You Can Help

Be a part in helping us tell Sugar Pie's story and even beyond this campaign, we ask you to support in your own way and capacity.

So, here are other ways to Get Involved.

Share this Indiegogo campaign to your friends and to everyone who loves music. The more people that know about this upcoming music documentary, the better! More supporters will make this film a reality.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! This is for Sugar Pie!

Find This Campaign On
$9,999USD
raised by 114 people in 2 months
10% funded
0 time left
$100,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 3, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $3USD
    Thank you!

    Our heartfelt thanks to you for supporting our film.

    2 claimed
  • $15USD
    Supporter

    As a supporter you get to screen the teaser of Bittersweet via a private link ahead of everyone.

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2014
  • $30USD
    Fan

    All of the above and a thank you postcard from the filmmakers. You will also have advance access to various releases from the creative team on the film's progress and news. Sugar Pie will occasionally send messages to her fans too and you get them ahead of everyone.

    5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $40USD
    Super Fan

    All of the above and the thank you postcard from the filmmakers will be signed by Sugar Pie.

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $50USD
    Sugar Fan

    Instead of the thank you postcard, we'll send you the film poster (11.25 in x 17.3 in).

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $60USD
    60+ years in the biz!

    Honor Sugar Pie's 60+ years of music! She's amazing isn't she? Sugar Pie's love to you across space and time for bringing this film about her life and music closer to reality, and we will also send you the film poster signed by Sugar Pie.

    9 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $75USD
    K Fan

    We will send you the dvd of Busong (Palawan Fate), director Kanakan Balintagos' Cannes-selected film and winner of several international film awards. The Wall Street Journal called it "among the Top 10 Asian films of 2011!" The film is Kanakan's love letter to his pristine home province of Palawan; critics have described the final scene as "truly beatific!" and "a new high bar in cinematic poetry!" Kanakan will autograph your copy.

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $100USD
    Go Go Sugar Fan

    We will send you the Go Go Power album, an amazing and recent compilation of Sugar Pie's music from her Chess Records years, and we'll ask Sugar Pie to sign your copy.

    27 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $150USD
    Fan-tastic!

    We will send you the Go Go Power album and the film poster, both signed by Sugar Pie.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $200USD
    Fan-tabulous!

    We will send you and the dvd of the completed film and the film's soundtrack as soon as they are released. We will ask Sugar Pie to sign your copies.

    4 claimed
  • $400USD
    Sugar Music Fan Forever

    We will send you the Go Go Power album and the four albums Sugar Pie released on the Jasman Records label (Classic Sugar Pie, Refined Sugar, Sugar is Salty and A Slice of Pie). You will also get the film's soundtrack when it is released and we'll ask Sugar Pie to sign your copies.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $500USD
    Private Screening (SF)

    We will send you two tickets to a private screening/reception of BitterSweet in San Francisco. At the reception you will have a chance to meet Sugar Pie in person. If we get a really good response to this, we will explore her giving a mini-concert at this event too. (Travel and accommodations on your own.) You also get the dvd and soundtrack when they are released.

    2 out of 150 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2015
  • $600USD
    Private Screening (Europe)

    We would like to enlist her fans in Europe to get Sugar Pie back there; 150 donors needed for this to happen. You and your guest will have a chance to meet Sugar Pie in person at the screening/reception that we will organize in London. If we get a really good response to this, we will explore her giving a mini-concert there too. If there are not enough donors, you are welcome to the SF event. (Travel and accommodations on your own.) You also get the dvd and soundtrack when they are released.

    0 out of 150 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2015
  • $1,000USD
    Par-tay, in the basement!

    You and your guest will be invited to our film wrap up party in SF where you will meet the filmmakers and Sugar Pie. Sugar Pie will show us what a real basement party is like! You also get the dvd and soundtrack when they are released. (Travel and accommodations on your own.)

    1 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2015
  • $2,500USD
    Masterclass/Film

    Attend a masterclass in independent filmmaking to be given by internationally-acclaimed and award-winning independent film director Auraeus Solito/Kanakan Balintagos. (Travel and accommodations on your own; schedule and location will be provided to you in advance.) You also get the dvd and the soundtrack when they are released, The-Making-Of, outtakes and a compilation of interesting clips that don't make it to the final film.

    0 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $3,250USD
    Masterclass/Music

    Attend a masterclass in music and performance to be given by Sugar Pie (who else?). The class will be conducted in San Francisco and at least 5 donors required for this to happen. If we don't get enough donors for this, you are welcome to the film masterclass. (Travel and accommodations on your own.) You also get the Sugar Pie DeSanto collection: Go Go Power, her four CDs with Jasman Records, and the dvd and soundtrack when they are released. We will ask Sugar Pie to sign the collection for you.

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2015
  • $5,000USD
    Co-producer

    You get a co-producer credit. And you are welcome to the activities above (choose one masterclass). You will be invited to the US premiere screening of BitterSweet as one of our co-producers. (Travel and accommodations on your own.)

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2015
  • $10,000USD
    Producer

    You get a producer credit. And you are welcome to the activities above. You will also be invited to the World premiere screening of BitterSweet as one of our producers. (Travel and accommodations on your own.)

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2015
  • $25,000USD
    Executive Producer

    You get an executive producer credit and you are welcome to the activities above. You will also be invited to a recording session with Sugar Pie for new music she is coming out with that we're planning to include in the film. We will film the session and we may include the footage in the film or in the dvd extras. (Travel and accommodations on your own.)

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
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