ps – my email is firstname.lastname@example.org ...thanks again!
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.
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.
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... ;)
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!
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.
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...
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.
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!!
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that's 6 times you've posted this?