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A longstanding friendship, oddly shaped blood cells, and a glass that's half full
Jaqai Mickelsen
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
1 Team Member

Omar and I have been like family for over 20 years, but there’s always been an unwelcome third party involved in our dynamic: a painful and often misunderstood blood disease, found mainly in the black community, called Sickle Cell. Beyond chronicling the substantial impact Omar’s illness has had on our friendship, this feature-length documentary strives to expose what many people living with Sickle Cell here in America have to deal with – harsh realities that often extend beyond the significant physical impact of the disease itself.

Imagine you accidentally spill a pot of boiling hot water on yourself and suffer third degree burns. You go to the emergency room in desperate need of treatment, but the staff there doubts you’re even hurt. They leave you in the waiting room, in excruciating pain, while people with less severe issues continue to cycle through ahead of you. In agony, you have to somehow convince them of the treatment you need.

Sadly, many people with Sickle Cell don’t have to imagine a scenario like that. While a Sickle Cell crisis is extremely painful, it can be invisible – which often perpetuates the stigma that those with the disease are drug seekers – consequently causing many care providers to undercut the pain medication that can help a patient get through an attack.

Our goal is to raise awareness about the disease through the lens of our close friendship and take steps towards eliminating that stigma. A little informed perspective in the hands of a caregiver can go a long way.

Omar is someone I’ve always held in high esteem. He’s an extremely intelligent guy. He’s an even-tempered guy. He’s a funny guy. He has penmanship that I’ve envied for as long as I can remember. His advice and perspective have guided me through countless personal challenges both big and small. In all the time that I’ve known him, I can’t recall him making a single enemy. And despite all of that, despite the good that Omar has brought to my life and to others around him, I’ve wasted time resenting the disease for being in the way of all he could have accomplished and all that he could have become. You can cry over spilled milk or embrace what you have. Spilled Milk is our reminder of that and it’s the title that Omar and I arrived at together.

We captured our first video for Spilled Milk during Thanksgiving of 2012 in Stockbridge, Georgia. Since then, we’ve collected, logged and organized over 60 hours of footage by speaking with close friends, family, and some of the leading minds in Sickle Cell care.

Jaqai Mickelsen | director, writer, executive producer, editor

Jaqai Mickelsen is a longtime professional graphic artist and cartoon illustrator. Most recently he served as Creative Director of The Marcus Buckingham Company, the bestselling author’s management and consulting firm in Beverly Hills, California. Working closely with Marcus himself as part of the executive team, he was a key contributor to the firm’s overall business strategy and had a hand in creating the visual aesthetic for everything from training workbooks to high-profile videos. After five years of learning and thriving with the TMBC team, Jaqai made the very daunting decision to leave his position and pursue making this film.

Omar Beach | producer

Not only is Omar the main subject of Spilled Milk, his creative input and ongoing first-hand experience are instrumental in shaping this film.  Since meeting Jaqai in 1991, he’s always had to deal with his friend’s camera obsession, and that has yet to change – it’s just that this time the stakes feel a little higher.

Spilled Milk is a member of Creative Visions' Creative Activist Program. Creative Visions is a publicly supported 501©3, which supports Creative Activists who use the power of media and the arts to affect positive change in the world.

Up to now this project has been 100% self funded. Expenses have included travel costs for interviews, numerous equipment, software and hardware needs, production insurance, LLC and other tax-related service costs, occasional production crew payroll, and ultimately moving my family cross-country from Los Angeles to Atlanta to be closer to Omar – the heart and soul of the documentary.
While my savings account has gotten us this far, the time has come to add committed resources that will turbo-charge the production process and ensure that we finish our film before year’s end.

First and foremost, I am looking to engage and work with an experienced full-time editor whose primary focus will be this project. We’d then like to hire a camera crew to spend two or three days with Omar and me, and there are three high-profile interviews we’re still hoping to capture – all of which require travel and additional resources. The final steps of the production process will be color correction, audio mastering, and close captioning.

This is a project of passion and one that’s very important to us. We still have a long way to go, but with help I’m confident we can make a genuine difference.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 184 people in 2 months
102% funded
No time left
$20,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on October 4, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Publicity Partner

    Can't spare the cash but want to help promote Spilled Milk? If you can share our fundraiser URL to a list of more than 2,000 people, or a facebook group of 1,000+, we'll list you as a "Publicity Partner" in the film credits. No donation required.

    8 claimed
  • $5USD
    High Fiver

    Thanks for helping us get one more step closer to finishing our film and getting the word out there.

    11 claimed
  • $15USD
    Public Thankee

    You'll get a super warm thank you from Spilled Milk's facebook and twitter account so that all of your friends can see how awesome and giving that you are.

    15 claimed
  • $30USD

    Once it's available, you'll receive an exclusive digital download of the film's original soundtrack by composer James J LaRue, plus everything listed at the $15 level.

    16 claimed
  • $50USD

    Once it's available, you'll receive a signed DVD of the completed film, along with everything at the $30 level and below.

    23 claimed
  • $50USD

    Live in the Atlanta area? The Spilled Milk Documentary Fundraiser for Sickle Cell Awareness will be Saturday, September 6th starting at 8pm. A $50 donation gets you in the door and covers parking, drinks, and savory snacks from local Castleberry Hill restaurants. Plus raffles! Not to mention, this includes everything already included in the $50 Cinephile perk. See. You. There.

    10 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $100USD
    The Visionary

    You'll receive an ORIGINAL film related sketch by Jaqai Mickelsen, a signed copy of the completed poster, your name in the film's credits, and everything at the $50 level and below.

    43 out of 50 claimed
  • $250USD
    Personal Thanks Video

    You'll receive a personal thank you video featuring Omar and Jaqai, your name in the credits of the film, along with everything in the $100 level and below.

    6 out of 15 claimed
  • $500USD
    Sounds Like a Song

    You'll receive a fun ORIGINAL song and video all about you from 22 Kings, a band featured on the film's soundtrack, along with everything at the $100 level and below, not to mention your name in the credits.

    3 out of 6 claimed

    Mr Fancy Pants

    You'll be awarded an Associate Producer credit, an open door to any and all film premieres and related events (travel and accommodations not included), and everything at the $250 level and below

    3 out of 3 claimed
  • $2,500USD
    President Senior Fancy Pants

    Associate Producers credit along with an opportunity to create a video of whatever you want (must be PG rated), up to 30 seconds long, that will be included in the closing credits. You'll also have an open door to any and all film premieres and related events along with everything at the $250 level and below.

    0 out of 2 claimed
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