With our first ever update, we want to draw attention to a handful of Kickstarter projects. One of our stated goals is to help other artists tell their stories, and Kickstarter is an excellent means to do that.
Our biggest support this month goes to a short film titled Liftoff by Signing Animation. The film "explores the mind of a Deaf dancer as she faces her fears about her big audition," but the story behind its creation is much broader. From the Kickstarter page:
While assembling our team, we found that Deaf/HoH talent was severely underrepresented in the animation industry, as were Deaf/HoH stories. Therefore, we created the animation studio and non-profit Signing Animation to uplift talent of all hearing types in integrated environments while creating Liftoff. We are creating meaningful representation for the Deaf/HoH community through our film, and affecting meaningful change to the animation industry for Deaf/HoH artists...
"Liftoff jumped right off the screen," says Kevin Koperski, owner of Streetlamp Media. "It touches on everything I hoped Streetlamp Media might represent or be involved with. Here's a small company using technology to create art that simultaneously calls attention to an underrepresented community and demonstrates the power of that community to enact change. That's a powerful thing. I'm just a Kickstarter backer, but the team welcomed me enthusiastically."
Liftoff has reached its minimum fundraising goal, but the team has loftier ambitions for its stretch goals. We encourage everyone to visit the Liftoff Kickstarter and contribute if possible.
In addition to Liftoff, we've made smaller contributions to two other animated projects.
The first, Pritty: The Animation, is best summed up with these two paragraphs by director and poet, Terrance Daye:
There are too few stories that simply feature black boys at play, discovering their full humanity and vulnerability—and learning to heal because of it. I longed for my own work to engage more intentionally in this practice. I changed my perspective on filmmaking and committed to bringing a new question to the big screen: “What would it mean to visualize the softer, more intimate sides of black men without fear of consequence?”
With renewed vision and a devoted team by my side, I set about bringing Pritty to life. Visualizing this world and now getting to animate it has given me permission to hope again. It has been one of the highlights of my year and has taught me that filmmaking is just another form of dreaming. The world may be chaotic now. But it won’t always be. Black lives may exist on the cusp of constant peril now. But somewhere there must be joy and laughter. The media can’t imagine this for us. But we can imagine it for ourselves. Can’t we?
"A week after backing this project," says Koperski, "I was talking to my partner about tropes and misrepresentation. She mentioned the tendency of art to focus on suffering instead of normalizing happiness and humanity. Without realizing it at the time, I think I backed this project for exactly that reason. We all deserve joy and laughter, and not only in our dreams."
Pritty has reached its minimum goal, but the team will need more funding to hire voice talent, record a score, and improve on their animatics. Visit Pritty on Kickstarter here.
The last project we backed is a short-film titled Kind of Fishy by Norwegian filmmaker Aleksander L Nordaas. The film follows the innocent adventures of a fish made of driftwood. Its creator describes it thusly:
"Short deepdives into an offbeat and tranquil undersea, where language, logic and logistics doesn't exist. Where you can let your imagination drift off and just - slightly ironically - breathe."
After the year that was 2020, we felt many people might benefit from a moment to drift off and breathe. Visit the Kind of Fishy Kickstarter here.