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Here's your chance to reach a broad public interested in documentaries. Get the (D-)Word out!

Please include a LOCATION. Spam will be deleted.

As this is a PUBLIC forum, it is also a good idea to write email addresses longhand (person[AT]d-word[dot]com)

Carlos Gomez
Pro

Heather, if I knew of any I'd send them your way... But what an intense and crazy story. I want to know what happens! Definitely KEEP THE CAMERA ROLLING. Stem cell research might be an unexpected subject for you to dive into, but given you have a totally engaging and spectacular subject that could be something of a dead end dramatically (BASE jumping), going into Maggot's accident and WHY STEM CELL RESEARCH IN THE US IS IMPORTANT, or more precisely why he has to go all the way to China (if stem cell research is indeed the issue) and wether he makes it or not, might catapult your project to another level.

This may be hard to come to terms with, but helping him get to China shouldn't be your main or only focus. You are a filmmaker, so FILM WHATEVER HAPPENS. Either way you have an extremely powerful flesh and blood example of the real implications of bigotry and narrow minded science policy. Listen, I could go on with this for hours but you shouldn't be reading this. You should be filming Maggot and his doctors and everyone who cares about him and is trying to get him to China.

I don't know, maybe you don't want to just ditch your BASE subject. I'm sure there's a lot more to it than Maggot. But I know that if you manage to combine the two, or rather to start with one story that suddenly, brutally turns into another, it will not only be a faithful record of your experience as a filmmaker, but it will also be a much more powerful film. One that more people will care about and one you'll get more funding for, short or long term. Try stem-cell advocacy groups, they might have ideas.

A quick search brought these up:
http://www.sabrinacohenfoundation.org
http://www.christopherreeve.org
http://www.travisroyfoundation.org

And there's a handful of docs on the subject that could probably point you in the right direction.

Maybe if you can convince one of these groups of how powerful an advocacy tool your film would be if you could show how stem cell research did indeed save this person from paralysis, and that he had to go all the way to China to get it, they might help you find the money for the trip.

Christopher Wong
Pro

heather,
i don't normally advocate people to take out loans on their credit cards, but if that's what you need to do in order to fly to China and accompany your subject, then that's what you need to do. if your gut is telling you that this is one of the key parts to your story, you can't miss it.

it's nice to approach foundations and organizations, but there's absolutely NO way that they are going to give you the money you need that quickly – especially not to a recent film-school grad who doesn't have any prominent broadcast credits. so don't waste your time with foundations at this crucial juncture.

the only other option is some wealthy individuals who are either part of the BASE jumping community, or connected to the stem cell advocacy cause. and then there's always your family and relatives... ;)

Carlos Gomez
Pro

Listen to Chris, he knows what he's talking about.

And re-reading your post I realize you didn't need my silly pep-talk. You had already figured all that out. Good luck!

Robert Goodman
Pro

The request is to fund this person's treatment not figure out how to pay for an $800 ticket to china.

As much as you care about this person, the "China" solution is a scam.
If there were a way to regenerate spinal cord breaks using stem cells, Teddy Pendergass, the late Christopher Reeve, and many other high profile people who have these injuries would be lining up and it would be major news in the medical journals. That is not true.

A decade ago people in my local film community received a similar request for an A.C. who had lost his sight in an explosion to go to Switzerland for an experimental surgery to replace his eyeballs with cameras wired into his brain.

There are unscrupulous doctors around the globe who will do anything to experiment on your body. I understand because I've been there and considered some wild things – thankfully I wasn't facing life as a quadriplegic.

Nicholas Bruckman
Pro

Robert: Sadly, I think that your right, though that could make the story even more interesting.

I would say Heather that a twist like this is the kind of thing that could make a doc leap out from the competition. Consider the excellent "Favela Rising", which went to every festival in the world, HBO, academy shortlist, etc....if that hadn't ended with the main character having a spinal cord injury (which, like your case, had nothing to do with the plot of the film) and valiantly overcoming it, it simply would not have been Favela Rising.

No two cases are the same though...

Christopher Wong
Pro

robert, if you read her post, you'll see that it's slightly ambiguous as to what heather is asking money for. but certainly, one of the things she needs is production money. of course, you are correct about the scam nature of all the alternative healthcare remedies in China (and elsewhere).

i agree with nicholas that FAVELA RISING was definitely aided by the lead character's paralysis (and resultant recovery). that, however, is unlikely to be an option in this case. still, documenting this struggle to get one's physical abilities back is going to be compelling on many levels.

Heather Olson
Fan

thank you guys for commenting ... it's definitely brought me back down to reality and everything that you've said has made me think more about what i need to do!!

Charlie Phillips
Pro

Sheffield Doc/Fest's MeetMarket is now open for Project Submissions!

Doc /Fest presents the UK's biggest international documentary marketplace and its unique pitching initiative: MeetMarket where, in pre-scheduled match-made one-on-one meetings, documentary makers pitch their newest and most unique projects to dozens of UK and international buyers, Executive Producers, commissioning editors and distributors. MeetMarket provides high quality, original ideas with the possibility to be fast-tracked from development to production, in a supportive and dynamic setting. The projected worth of sales in negotiation sparked at MeetMarket 2007 adds up to £4,321,980, and rising. MeetMarket is a unique and exciting way to pitch and discuss the projects you're most passionate about with the documentary decision-makers who matter

Online project submissions are now open. Projects can be any stage of development and applicants can be from any geographic location and background. Interactive and cross-platform projects are also very welcome. To see the full list of confirmed buyers, see http://www.sheffdocfest.com/view/buyerslist <http://www.sheffdocfest.com/view/buyerslist> . For more information on applying, email charlie@sidf.co.uk or visit http://www.sheffdocfest.com/view/meetmarket <http://www.sheffdocfest.com/view/meetmarket>

"MeetMarket surprised me: I had an extraordinarily creative response to my film from 23 intelligent men and women who care passionately about documentaries. They reflected my story back to me and I came out richer – not just financially, although I have already been offered money to complete my film, but in terms of valuing my project." – MeetMarket participant 2007

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