A Week Remains for the Death Doula Independent Film “Thunder” to Make its Fundraising Goals
Campaign highlighting the unknown profession of death doulas has recently signed Ralph Johnson of Earth Wind & Fire for original music.
Award-winning independent filmmaker Maxwell Addae has less than two weeks to make his visual/blues inspired narrative with a $30,000 micro-budget fundraising campaign for “Thunder,” a feature film. The film is about the obscure, yet culturally significant profession of death doulas. Using the crowd funding website Indiegogo, the Dallas, TX native has been off to a challenging start, but is on its way to becoming the first ever film about death doulas. However, if the “Thunder” fundraiser is not close to its goal by 11:59pm on Friday, July 17th, a film offering audiences a glimpse into this unseen work will not be made.
Music will play an integral part of the film’s landscape. Due to the combination of grief and hope, “Thunder” will be using one of America’s original music genres: Blues. “We have been able to sign on one of the world’s more legendary band members in Earth Wind & Fire, drummer Ralph Johnson. Also contributing music is an exciting up-and-coming soul/blues/acoustic musician named Runson Willis III. The lighting, mood, and outfits within the film will borrow from Blues music motifs as a way of creating its own world.”
In describing “Thunder,” Maxwell said: “‘Thunder’ was born out of confusion and pain. Barely a year has past since I experienced the most personal loss in my life, that of my father. My response was to turn towards my grief face-to-face and dive into it head first. I learned about the death doula profession recently and thought, what a perfect container. To put that much capacity to understand death into a young man and ask him to deal with it on a personal level, was exactly what was needed to tell this story with emotional rawness.” Because the campaign is circumventing traditional private equity film finance models, Maxwell observed: “there would be some poetry if the experience that left me feeling vulnerable and alone, creates a film supported by a community of people.”
On Indiegogo, individuals receive rewards in exchange for supporting a project. Backers who pledge $25 to the “Thunder” campaign will be sent a digital download of the film when it is completed along with other gifts; additional rewards include, a virtual day on the set, producer credit, and “grief beads” utilizing stones used for healing and emotional expression in alternative medicine, which will be worn by the lead character. Producer Erinn Bell notes: “We know we have a steep hill to climb for our fundraiser, but we’ve seen some impressive final week contributions on other campaigns and we are confident that the money will come given enough spotlight is put on us.”
“A story like ‘Thunder’ is not only rarely told with these types of characters and this focused of a narrative, but also it is not the type of film studios have much need for anymore. Fortunately, we live in a connected world where the audience has an opportunity to tell stories that are usually buried or unsupported by large corporations. Stories that include universal themes of loss and resilience featuring characters of color, queer identities, Blues music, and frank experiences of life and death.”
“Thunder” follows a man, Junior, who spent most of his young life as a family/neighborhood death doula (an individual who helps a person or their family with the dying process). What may be an unnatural profession for most was, for Junior, the equivalent of discovering you’re a young genius with an incredible natural ability to understand math. Death was a language Junior knew exceptionally and comfortably, therefore spending most of his adolescence helping and comforting others as they transitioned beyond this life.
The single location, live-action, micro-budget, feature-length film follows the 21 year-old accountant as he is suddenly visited by the Grandfather who raised him and trained him in his former death doula profession.
While Junior is asked by his ailing Grandfather to help him transition comfortably, he must choose to help a person who represents a complicated past, deal with the arrival of his emotionally expression and troubled older cousin, confront a life he wants desperately to forget, and as with most 20’s angst, feel the pressure to decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Maxwell said of the story: “Grief is a universal theme. Typically, these types of films are done with dreary melodrama. There actually is beauty/art and opportunity for growth within grief. Those sides are not usually seen on film, but will be explored in this story.”
About Maxwell Addae
His first short, “The Man in the Glass Case,” was a black and white character piece inspired by Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.” The short film was a success and went on to win several awards and some press. The experience was motivating and served as a catalyst to push further. His next short, “Descry,” was a sci-fi drama, which influenced his style and narrative storytelling. With his feature, “Thunder,” Maxwell will be using everything from his film school education to his personal, intellectual, and artistic pursuits to bring this important story to life.
For more information about “Thunder,” contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Thunder” Indiegogo project can be found at http://maxwelladdae.com or http://igg.me/at/thunderfilm/x/4144195
This press release is also available to download at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/57607610/ThunderPressRelease.docx
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