Below is the letter I just emailed out to a few hundred folks I know. Even though I’ve been filming and reporting for the documentary for weeks, I have yet to launch the fundraising campaign for the project.
When I do, I hope the Kickstarter funds will be enough to repay equipment and labor expenses.
As I’ve said, the project is aimed at a local audience and I want to eventually make it available for free. So raising a Kickstarter fund is the best way to go about it. If it’s successful, I won’t have to worry so much about making money off of a theatrical release of the film or through a distribution deal, as we did with the first film.
Hope you can make a contributions. Let me know if I can put you down for a few bucks. Email me at email@example.com
Here’s the letter:
If you are receiving this email, it’s because you are interested in the subject of gentrification in North/Northeast Portland or know Cornelius Swart (that’s me.)
I’m currently producing a sequel to my 2002 documentary on gentrification and affordable housing.
I’m about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help defray the costs of the production and I was hoping you would be willing to make an early commitment to donate to the production.
To make a successful Kickstarter campaign will be key. I’m looking to raise $10,000 to pay for equipment and labor. Kickstarter, an Internet service, allows you to crowdsource a project through hundreds of very small contributions.
A Kickstarter campaign usually needs to raise 30 percent of its total funding on the very first day. I’m asking a handful of people if they can commit to making a small contribution on the day we launch (in about 2 weeks).
If you can make a pledge from $5 to $50, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can plan out my campaign. Early contributors will be eligible for donation rewards ranging from tickets to screenings of the work in progress to an ironic T-shirt (of course).
Northeast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream was a critically acclaimed and prescient documentary that showed what life was like in the black neighborhoods of North and Northeast Portland in the late 1990s as gentrification was making early inroads into the neighborhood.
Now, almost 15 years after the film was shot, Governing Magazine has ranked Portland as the “Most Gentrified City in America.” The black communities of North/Northeast Portland have gone from being a majority black to majority white. Rents are climbing, homes are being replaced with apartment blocks, and the word “gentrification” is on everyone’s lips.
The new film, working title Northeast Passage 2, will reconnect with the residents and activists featured in the first film to see what’s happened to the neighborhood and find out what will happen next as the community continues to struggle with its identity and its place in the American Dream.