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Bent Marble Filmmaking Workshops

$12,620 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 216 people in 4 months
Update:
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!
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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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Yesterday we celebrated the successful conclusion of our documentary filmmaking workshops here in Setif, Algeria, in partnership with the city’s Office of Culture and Tourism. The participants screened an impressive 14 new short films at the presentation event, held in a charming, historic theatre in the city center. Equally impressive was the fact that the students made these 14 fine films in half the time of our typical one-month workshops! If you’re curious to see what they’ve whipped up (with your much-appreciated support;) please check out the following playlist on Bent Marble’s YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4vRbl-iG-Q&list=PL6FWElbG7gqAmCg4K5mJOzePq1peLqYKG

All in all, I really couldn’t be more pleased with the discipline, dedication, and spirit of friendship that the participants lent to this accelerated learning process. As much was gained in terms of new friendships and personal connections, as in knowledge of grassroots documentary filmmaking techniques. And all this was accomplished while communicating daily in a remarkable mix of English, Arabic, and French… with fellow participants jumping in as impromptu translators when needed.

While I now have a brief moment to catch my breath, in a few days my own "accelerated" life will be whisking me away to Dar es Salaam Tanzania, where I’ll be teaching two workshops concurrently throughout the month of April. And just between you and me, I’m hoping the pace will be a bit more “pole pole” (meaning laid back in Swahili).

Thanks again for traveling with me... and let’s keep this marble rolling!!

Best,
Steve : )
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Allons-y! Here we go!

Greetings from Sétif, Algeria… where I have recently arrived and begun an accelerated (two-week) documentary workshop series in collaboration with the city’s Office of Culture and Tourism. The participants are highly motivated and have shared some fantastic ideas for the documentaries that they will be making (ranging from the “ancient” art of watchmaking, to the important role of the local Boy Scouts organization, to the difficult decision of choosing a retirement home for one’s parents, to the hard work of the local garbage collectors). And I look forward to keeping you posted on their progress here, as well as on my project’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bentmarble.

From here in Algeria, as mentioned in the previous update, I will be heading to East Africa for a few months, teaching as many as six workshops in collaboration with local organizations in Tanzania and Uganda.

And in the month that follows, things are beginning to come together to do another series (or two) of workshops with Syrian refugees, this time in Lebanon. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

All in all, I’m so glad to be back doing what I do better, facilitating workshops and sharing what I know (not fundraising:) And I’m soooo grateful to have your support. Let’s keep this marble rolling!!

All the best,
Steve : )
Steve and our workshop class in Sétif.
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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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$12,620 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 216 people in 4 months
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HJ
$25
Hal Jennings
1 month ago
$65
Geoffrey Michell
1 month ago
ML
$10
Meat Loaf
2 months ago
JC
$50
James and Martha Clark
2 months ago (Offline Donation)
EL
$100
Ellen Loeb
2 months ago (Offline Donation)
SS
$40
Sharon Shackelford
2 months ago
ML
$100
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2 months ago
MA
$10
Marlon Altoe
2 months ago
$65
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2 months ago
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$15
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3 months ago
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