Bent Marble Filmmaking Workshops

$12,530 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 214 people in 2 months
Thanks to so many of you, we have reached our initial target! This will allow us to facilitate up to ten workshops, over an approximate five-month period.  But we’d love to be able to teach even more, and empower more new filmmakers in developing countries, throughout the coming year and beyond.  With this in mind, I hope the momentum we’ve created in this campaign will continue to roll on.  And any additional funds we make beyond our goal will go towards even more free documentary workshops!

Everyone has stories to share, and has the need to both tell their stories and be heard. In April 2014 I launched the Bent Marble project, teaching free documentary filmmaking workshops in developing countries around the world.  In these hands-on classes, the students learn the basics of camerawork, lighting, sound recording, directing, and editing for documentaries.  In addition, each participant completes a short film about their world, using whatever cameras, phones, and computers they already possess. 

My teaching method, inspired by over a decade’s experience working with some of the world’s best documentary filmmakers in New York, emphasizes learning by doing, and has proven remarkably effective, even with individuals who have had no prior filmmaking experience.  Indeed, it is not uncommon for students, who had previously barely touched a computer, to tell me that their favorite part of the workshops was video editing!  And the confidence they each gain, in seeing themselves progress from novice to finishing their first film, is truly inspiring.  

To date I’ve taught more than 30 free workshops in 12 different countries, in world regions including Latin America, East Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific.  Through these trainings, I’ve empowered more than 300 new filmmakers, who would not have otherwise been able to afford this kind of specialized education.

Along the way, I’ve done everything I can to keep operational costs down.  Since the students use their own phones, cameras, and computers (instead of expensive professional equipment), the workshops are extremely cost-effective.  And while my travel and living expenses form the lion’s share of overhead costs, I always search tirelessly for discount airfares, use public transportation, and stay in humble local housing.  Because of these measures, the average total cost of conducting a month-long workshop for 15 participants comes out to just $1000, or about $65 a student.

Documentary filmmaking is a particularly effective way for poor and marginalized individuals and communities, who aren’t normally heard, to elevate their voices and broaden their communicative reach.  I clearly believe very strongly in this work… so much so that over the years I have whittled away the majority of my personal savings to develop and maintain this project.  Today I humbly launch this GoFundMe campaign, because I can no longer afford to continue without your help. 

Please make a donation, of whatever you can afford, so I can continue to offer these empowering workshops to a new generation of documentary filmmakers in poor and at-risk communities around the world.  Your contributions will help invest those most in need with skills that can serve them, personally and potentially professionally, for a lifetime.

For more information on the Bent Marble project, or to see examples of past participants’ works, please visit our website, bentmarble.com .

Let’s keep this marble rolling!!

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Greetings and salutations, members of the Bent Marble community!

Hope your year is off to a great start! Since last we spoke I’ve been busy setting up Bent Marble’s calendar of free documentary filmmaking workshops for 2018, working with numerous, organizational partners, both old and new, to bring our filmmaking courses to those who don’t normally have access to this kind of educational experience. And I’m excited to report that we have some great things lined up. In short… Bent Marble is back to Africa!

I just sent my visa application to the Algerian Consulate and hope to be in Sétif, Algeria in late February, offering a workshop with youth there, in partnership with the city’s Office of Culture and Tourism. From there I plan to return to teach two workshops in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with past organizational partners, Nafasi Art Space (a center of contemporary, visual and performing art) and Tumaini la Maisha (an organization committed to curing kids with cancer). From there I will head to Arusha, Tanzania to facilitate a workshop with the Ngaramtoni Youth Stand Up Group, an organization that seeks to inspire positive social change through arts education. From Tanzania I will return for my third trip with Bent Marble to Kampala, Uganda, where we will team up with past partner, Mediavision Academy, to offer another course with young adults interested in film. And I also hope to set up one more workshop while in Uganda.

Understandably, I am very excited about the first half of this year’s teaching calendar, and I hope you are too. And as I look to line up workshops for the second half of the year, I’d like to reach out again to you members of the Bent Marble community to see what kind of connections YOU may have with organizations (NGO’s, schools, community centers, etc.) in different parts of the world. Indeed, much of Bent Marble’s success is due to the partnerships we form with local, like-minded organizations, that help us, among other things, find a group of interested students and a space in which to teach them. If you have any contacts or connections in any country, that you feel might be interested in hosting one of our workshops, please feel free to put us in touch, either here on Facebook or at my email, steve@bentmarble.com.

Thank you so much again for your support of Bent Marble. None of these currently-planned workshops would be possible without you. I will certainly continue to keep you posted here, with news and updates. So great to have you traveling along with us!

All the best,
Steve : )
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We did it!! Thanks to you all, we did it!!

After a flurry of generous donations the last couple days, we edged past our fundraising goal of $10,000. So it’s time to give ourselves some hugs and high-fives… and maybe also hit a party tomorrow night to ring in the new year of Bent Marble workshops ;)

Now while we’ve hit our initial target, the truth is the more money we raise, the more workshops we’ll be able to teach, throughout the coming year and potentially beyond. And so I hope the momentum we’ve created in our first crowdfunding campaign will continue to roll on!

So Happy New Year to one and all! I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful weekend with family and friends. And thanks again for being such an important part of Bent Marble’s success!

All the best,
Steve : )
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We are in the home stretch!! Thanks to all of you we are now over 90% of the way to reaching our fundraising goal! I’m also happy to say that “we” now consist of over 150 individual donors… and it feels great to be supported in this venture by so many of you.

With an average cost of $1000 to run a workshop, we can now already afford to do about nine this coming year… which is truly tremendous. And we would love to do even more, and to empower more people, who otherwise would not have the opportunity, to express their stories through film.

As you know year’s end is traditionally a time of giving. And we still have a few days left to ride this wave of generosity. So if you can think of one more person in particular, whose values might resonate with our project’s mission, please take the time now to share with her or him what our project is, and why you decided to give. Getting this story out might just help several others get their (film) stories out too!

Thanks again to each and every one of you, for believing in this project, and for caring enough to offer your financial support. Together we will make a difference in many people’s lives, in many countries in the year to come. Happy New Year to you and your families and friends. I am so glad to have you as part of the Bent Marble community!

All the best,
Steve : )
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We are now over the hump, with your help! That’s over half-way to reaching our goal of $10,000. So far a total of 95 supporters have chipped in, in a big way… and I can’t thank you enough.

Besides raising funds for a good cause, I feel we are also growing the Bent Marble community… and I hope you stay connected with this project in the months and years to come. Indeed the ultimate goal of this story-making-sharing project is to connect us : )

While it may seem “all down hill from here”, I am sure it will continue to take steady effort, in getting the word out about this project and fundraiser, to reach our campaign goal. But you all have given me the confidence that we can make it!

Wishing you all a warm holiday season with your family, friends, and dear ones. And thanks again for your generous support of Bent Marble!!

All the best,
Steve : )
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$12,530 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 214 people in 2 months
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