Despite an heroic last-minute effort by many generous supporters to get us closer to our goal, our crowdfunding campaign failed to reach its objective last Friday. Since then we have been doing some serious soul searching. If you haven’t realised, as we did not hit our $30,000 goal, we did not get any of the $18,250 that supporters pledged (as per the crowdfunding terms). As such, we are depressingly back at square one. However, Red Earth is attempting to forge ahead with a revised plan for the Street Dreams dream, not giving up on our mission to tackle the subject of human trafficking and modern day slavery.
During the course of the crowdfunding effort, many supporters affirmed us with messages that strengthened our resolve to continue. Again this has reminded both of us that Red Earth supporters are more than financial backers, but consist of a community of encouragement and shared conviction to serve the poor. This has given us the renewed energy to tackle this challenging issue. We will attempt to make sure that Street Dreams: Monsters, Mafias and Manipulators marches on, however there are two things that have to happen in order for that to be possible: a new strategy to account for our current financial reality, and the direct financial commitment of those who pledged to help us on our recent campaign. The latter will ultimately inform the former, so we ask that anyone who did pledge to back us or would still like to please deposit your promised amount to us as soon as possible (see below for details)
>> NEW STRATEGY <<
We will break the new campaign into three aspects:
1) START FILMING — This is what Mike and Jason do best. We will be filming trafficking and slavery as it unfolds on the ground throughout Asia, and in particular, in the sub-continent (India, Bangladesh, Nepal etc). The goal will be too explore trafficking and slavery on the grassroots level and then follow the money trail to find out who the monsters, mafias and manipulators really are. We are presently in negotiations with a prominent Australia anti-trafficking group who is keen to take us to their contacts in India to meet the victims and perpetrators of both sex and labour trafficking. Previously we were going to focus on Eastern Europe and Russia, but at this stage Southern Asia is far more financially viable. We are also exploring the possibilities of uncovering trafficking within Australia.
2) ASSIST MORE AID ORGANISATIONS — One of the most positive aspects of Street Dreams was how the organisations that featured in it benefited from the exposure. Even at this early stage of production we are encountering groups that are directly and indirectly involved in the fight against trafficking and slavery – mostly in areas of prevention and rehabilitation. (And then there are few groups who are just doing good stuff for humanity). Because these groups operate in the vicinity of where we are shooting and may have the chance to contribute financially to Red Earth (albeit quite small), we want to take this chance to film promotional videos for these smaller groups and give their operations the opportunity to increase their profile so they can continue their good work. These groups would not necessarily feature in the final product.
3) NORTH AMERICA — Finally it has been our goal since the Street Dreams release to give the film exposure in North America believing that the film would find a support base there. After the enthusiastic feedback we received from a screening in Sidney, Canada our suspicions were confirmed. For the long-term growth of Street Dreams and Red Earth Films, we are convinced that we need to widen our support base internationally. In the long term we cannot expect our Australian support to carry the Red Earth projects all by themselves. We also believe that we will find further financial interest in supporting the new Street Dreams film if we tour the existing film in this manner.
>> FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS <<
Even though our recent campaign raised $18,000 there is no getting away from the fact that this is still an expensive venture. Despite downsizing Street Dreams 2 in several areas, we predict the budget is at least $20,000, with the hope that other organisations come on board with some small financial contributions. We are yet to prioritise the above strategy in the event that we obtain less then $20,000. Should we fail to receive the promised funds from pledgers or new sources, we would once again be confronted with scaling back even further. The realities of the financial burden of the first film (more than $60K in donated time, resources and sacrificed wages to make the film) are too real to ignore and we cannot afford to do it again.
>> TIMELINE <<
The short answer regarding timeframe is “when the money arrives”. We dislike that it must come down to that necessary evil, but as mentioned above, we cannot tell this story without financial help. Mike and Jason will be in Thailand in December and we hope will to start filming then. It is unlikely that we will filming the documentary in large blocks like we did last time. It is more likely that we will shooting intermittently over the period of a year or so, once again, depending on finance. However, throughout the shoot we will continue to post video footage online whether it be a mini-doc or the promotional clip for an aid organisation.
So here it is folks, Red Earth strikes back! Once again we will be looking to you, our committed support base to step up and turn this strategy into a reality. If those who committed to $18,125 to the crowd funding campaign could replicate that generosity by contributing the amount that you pledged on Pozible then we are right back in it (remembering that the money you pledged did not leave not get processed and still sits in your account).
>> HOW TO DONATE <<
To regenerate Street Dreams: Monsters, Mafia and Manipulators we have three methods for you to contribute:
1) Deposit your contribution amount straight into our Red Earth Account:
Account number: 174114
(please add the recipient subject line/description on your bank statement: “SD2 donation”)
2) For a tax deductible option in Australia then give to www.documentaryaustralia.com.au/films/details/1110/street-dreams-2
— This page describes how it works (you will donate via Documentary Australia Foundation)
3) Donators from outside Australia, please feel free to contribute via PayPal. You can send funds using the email email@example.com from within PayPal.
We are also exploring other avenues for supporters to contribute so please stay tuned for information on that.
If you want clarification on particular point of this project then please do not hesitate to contact either Mike or Jason on firstname.lastname@example.org . And if you are wanting to promote Red Earth work then feel free to point people to our website www.redearthfilms.com.au or our Youtube site www.youtube.com/watch?v=hntyrdq4V2E
Thanks everyone for journeying with us and believing in our struggle against human trafficking and slavery!
Jason and Mike
Red Earth Films