Purple Butterfly is a short narrative NYU student film which tells the story of Daisy, a five-year-old Bronx girl who is very excited to reunite with her mother while she is temporarily staying with her aunt Sandra. However, when her aunt drops her off at a foster care agency for her "visit," she learns that there is more to her mother's absence than she previously understood.
Concept art by our storyboard artist Zack Handler:
During my freshmen year of college I volunteered at a Halloween party at a foster care agency in the Bronx. Initially, I volunteered on a whim, hoping to make some new friends, and "do good" in the process. I only expected that I would volunteer that one time, but the children and families I met moved me and I ended up staying on as a volunteer for a year and a half. The children I worked with face a set of challenges which is absent from my own life and upbringing and these differences fascinated and created many questions for me. At the same time, I found that I could connect and relate to the children I worked with despite these differences. They yearn for the same things all children do: unconditional love, care, and respect.
During my time as a volunteer, I spent time with these children in-between visits with their biological parents, social workers, and therapists. Observing the tremendous emotional toll which the foster care system had on all parties involved was eye-opening for me. One of the things which strikes me most about my experience working with children in foster care (and perhaps children in general) is the lack of control we have over our social and familial circumstances, things which play an instrumental role in shaping our life and who we will become.
Many kids in foster care deal with parental abuse, incarcerated parents, financial hardship and poverty, and in some cases are afflicted with genetic complications and diseases passed down to them such as HIV. However, there is no easy target to assign blame, many of these children's parents are victims of equally difficult social circumstances, and in some cases, spent their own childhood in foster care as well.
Foster care is a complicated and multi-faceted discussion and one which I do not intend to make any sweeping statements about in this short, eight minute long film. Instead, it is my hope that through telling this story in an observational style, from the perspective of one child who is experiencing it, and figuring it all out for the first time, that audiences might be able to think more about this issue and related ones, and greater empathize with all those involved.
A few statistics:
- In 2013, nearly 13,000 children in NYC were in foster care (Administration for Children Services)
- In 2012, 17.6% percent of children in foster care in NYC were in the Bronx, the highest rate for any borough or district in NYC (NYC Administration for Children Services)
- Children in foster care experience PTSD at a rate nearly five times that of the general population (Foster Care Alumni Studies)
MAKING THE FILM
Purple Butterfly will be shot over three days from April 25th-27th. We hope to complete post production by September 2014, so that the film can be submitted to numerous film festivals and ultimately, impact wider audiences.
Making a film, even a short one, isn't cheap! Dozens of talented individuals from the NYU community and actors from the NYC area are volunteering their time and skills towards the making of this film. However, without the necessary budget, shaped around achieving essential parts of production, this film cannot be made!
The following is a break down of what your donations will go towards:
Production (three 12-hour days):
- Transportation (cargo truck for crew and equipment):
- Food (for a cast and crew of 20+ people)
- Camera accessories (gels and a monitor)
- Art design/ set decoration
Post Production/ Distribution:
- Hard drives
- Festival fees
MEET THE TEAM!
ADI MEHR, Director / Writer / Producer
Adi Mehr is a senior at New York University at the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies where she is concentrating in film, sociology, and media ecology. Adi is passionate about creating socially relevant content, which not only entertains, but challenges audiences and helps shift perspectives. She has gained production experience working on numerous student film projects at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and has interned for Participant Media for Pivot TV, Nuyorican Productions, and Warrior Poets.
HAMILTON YU, Director of Photography
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Hamilton has been studying film and, more specifically, cinematography at NYU for the past three years. He has shot several films in his time there and has accumulated production experience working with all kinds of cameras, actors, stories and directors.
Hamilton's brilliant reel:
MICHELE CHOY, Producer
Michele Choy is a third-year double major in Film & Television and Political Science. Having caught the travel bug after studying abroad, she is pursuing a career as a Foreign Service Officer. She is a former intern of Voltage Pictures and Parts & Labor Films. Aside from being overenthusiastic about everything, Michele's other interests include enjoying the blues, languages, baking as a form of therapy, and watching both high-concept and trashy reality television.
ELIZABETH PHILLIPSON-WEINER, Producer
Born in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in music, with a minor in film at New York University. Elizabeth stumbled upon her passion for producing a year ago and has since produced three short films and served in the production department for four more. She is currently in pre-production for four more shorts and is making her directorial debut this summer on a self-written comedic short. In addition to producing, Elizabeth is a working trombonist and composer for film and multimedia in New York City.
CARLOS PEREZ, Producer
Carlos is currently a junior at Tisch School of the Arts, majoring in Film and TV. In addition to producing, Carlos is also an experienced editor, as well as having written and directed his own short film, The Pop Warner, in the fall semester. He is also the only Puerto Rican he knows.
SARAH CORRIGAN, Producer
Sarah is a third year Senior at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts studying film production and producing. She grew up on movie sets and back lots in Los Angeles and has produced several short films while at NYU, one of which will be screening at the Cannes Festival this May. She currently works at Indian Paintbrush and has previously been an intern on an ABC Family TV sitcom, at London post production company, and in TV movie development.
BRIAN RYU, Art Director
Brian has Art Directed and been a Production Designer for many NYU productions since arriving and is very excited to work on Purple Butterfly. He is originally from Seoul, South Korea, but has also worked in LA, NY, and Paris, exposing him to many different cinematic styles and cultures.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP...
Even if you cannot donate money to this film you can still help!
- Share our Indiegogo and Facebook page with everyone and anyone you know!
- We are also still looking to fill some crew positions. If you believe you can help with any of the following, please contact us at Purplebutterflythemovie@gmail.com
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING US!