For those who missed the Kickstarter campaign, it's not too late! We set up a GoFundMe page for those that may have missed the Kickstarter and still want to donate and support "I am Maurice." Yes, we have enough to make the film, but we would love to raise as much as we can for the following reasons:
1) During the production of a film, there are always unforeseen costs that we may need extra funds to cover. If something causes delays or disruptions during filming, these extra funds will cover extras days of shooting.
2) There are scenes that take place in Haiti and we would really like to shoot it in Haiti rather than find a location that doubles as Haiti. These extra funds will help us do that.
3) We want to make the best possible film we can and with the extra funds, we can find and pay for the best actors, the best locations, and the best crew!
4) Film Festivals. Once the film is complete we plan on submitting it to several film festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, and SXSW, so we can find a distributor to release "I am Maurice." There are fees involved with submitting and these extra funds would cover those fees.
5) Marketing. When the film is complete, we will need to get the word out about the film and how people can see it.
“You have everything to gain when there’s nothing else left to lose.”
I am Maurice is a drama about a Haitian immigrant named Maurice, who travels to the United States shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, to pursue his dream of becoming a boxer.
I am Maurice is co-written by comedic powerhouse Wil Slyvince along with his writing/producing partner, Bryan Kennedy. The pair joined forces to bring this unique tale to light. Armed with the conviction to create a film that tells their story, they created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to bring this script to the silver screen.
THE CREATIVE TEAM – Brwilliant Minds Productions
Bryan Kennedy and Wil Sylvince are the creative force behind this production company where they serve as writers, actors, and producers.
"Br"(Bryan) + "Wil"(Wil) = Brwilliant
(It also happens to be the way Wil pronounces "Brilliant")
They teamed up together while working in comedy clubs in the early 2000's and started writing sketches together. They brought their skills as actors and writers to the web series, The Patrice O'Neal Show Coming Soon! and have continued to write together ever since. They punched up movie and television scripts for others and then decided to start writing their own shows and feature films. They have written 9 feature scripts so far and have chosen I am Maurice as their first to produce.
WRITER/ ACTOR/ PRODUCER – Wil Sylvince
Wil Sylvince is one of the most explosive comedians performing around the world today. His comedic performances on COMEDY CENTRAL, HBO’S DEF COMEDY JAM and SHOWTIME, all garnered standing ovations, a feat rarely seen accomplished by many performers. His unique perspective on political and social issues, with a twist of his West Indian Haitian culture, makes Sylvince a comedian in high demand.
He has been hand-picked by comedian heavyweights Dave Chappelle, Damon Wayans, D.L. Hughley, Wayans Brothers, Katt Williams and Gabriel Iglesias to tour the country.
WRITER/ PRODUCER/ ACTOR – Bryan Kennedy
Bryan is a writer, producer, actor and comedian from New York. As a voice-over artist, he has narrated over 100 books. His voice has also been heard on Saturday Night Live’s TV Funhouse, Word Girl, Poppy Cat and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS. He has booked and produced countless comedy shows for Carolines on Broadway, Governor’s Comedy Clubs and The New York Comedy Festival.
Bryan is a proud member of the Friars Club where he roasted Omarosa. Bryan has appeared in several television commercials and has been featured on Sirius/XM Radio as well as in Time Out NY, The NY Daily News, and The NY Times.
DIRECTOR – Jerry Lamothe
Jerry is a writer, director, and producer born and raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. His debut award-winning film, Amour Infinity, is regarded by many as an underground cult classic. He has since gone on to build a distinctive body of work, which includes Blackout, Nora's Hair Salon, and The Tombs.
LaMothe has won numerous film festivals for Amour Infinity including the Atlanta Independent Film Festival, the Jamerican Film Festival, and the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Blackout premiered and was an official selection at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, and the film also appeared at the Chicago International film festival, the Zurich International Film Festival and Urbanworld, where Lamothe received the "Director's Spotlight" award. His short film, The Tombs, enjoyed a successful film festival circuit run in the states and abroad, showing at the Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival in London, the Act Now/New Voices at BAM, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, the Pan African Film Festival, and several others.
The Tombs was also nominated for a 2012 Black Reel Award for Best Independent short film. LaMothe has directed many talented actors including Michael B. Jordan, Jeffrey Wright, Jamie Hector, Zoe Saldana, Saul Rubinek, Latanya Richardson-Jackson, Turron Kofi Alleyne, Melvin Van Peebles, Jenifer Lewis, Tatyana Ali, Tamala Jones, Lil' Kim, and Whitney Houston.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Ben Wolf
BEN WOLF is a DP, director, and owner of Brooklyn-based film production company Topiary Productions, Inc. A graduate of Yale (BA Philosophy) and Columbia (MFA Film), he works in a wide variety of genres, including documentary, commercial, and fiction film-making. Recent projects include serving as DP/co-producer of the documentaries OBIT (dir. Vanessa Gould), THE HAPPY FILM (Stefan Sagmeister), WAYS TO GO (dir. Todd Drezner) and WAVE GOODBYE TO DINOSAURS (dir. RoseMarie Fitzsimons), shooting commercials for Citi, Wells Fargo, and New York City, and directing promos for Knoll Furniture and The Museum of Modern Art.
CASTING DIRECTOR - Winsome Sinclair
Winsome Sinclair is an Atlanta based casting director that has collaborated with such directors as Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, John Singleton and Lee Daniels. She has also joined forces with casting principals and/or extras for the films such as Amistad, Malcolm X, Waiting to Exhale, The Best Man, Inside Man, Too Fast Too Furious, Black Snake Moan, Cadilac Records, Sparkle, and Precious, among others.
In the documentary realm, Sinclair has collaborated with the Oscar-nominated director Sam Pollard on 3 occasions, "2012—Slavery By Another Name, " 2014—August Wilson’s "The Ground On Which I Stand” and currently in 2017 on "Maynard," on which she also served as co-producer. In 2014, Sinclair cast the LIFETIME TV movie “Seasons of Love” produced by Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson, as well as the HBO film BESSIE starring and produced by another academy award nominee Queen Latifah and directed by Dee Rees of the critically acclaimed PARIAH, on which Sinclair also contributed. Her most recent television projects include the Atlanta casting for the pilot for the new Fox series "Star," as well as the 4th season of BET's "Being Mary Jane.”
In 2015 Sinclair completed the Atlanta casting for the feature film, "Barber Shop 3" directed by Malcolm Lee, executive produced by and starring Ice Cube. 2016 found Sinclair and her team completing the principal casting the much anticipated " All Eyes On Me" The TUPAC SHAKUR biopic directed by Benny Boom, which will premiere nationwide in June 2017.
With almost three decades of experience to her credit, this film industry veteran sits on the board of directors for the African-American Women In Cinema Foundation. She is also a member of the New York Women In Film and Television, an active member of the Television Academy and most recently, a new member of the Casting Society of America.
For more information, please visit: www.wsaentertainment.com
PRODUCER – Chris Bongirne
Chris Bongirne (Producer) Chris was Executive Producer on the recently released MARSHALL, about the early life of Thurgood Marshall, in which Chadwick Boseman played the title role, alongside Josh Gad and Sterling K. Brown. The film premiered on October 13 on over 800 screens with Open Road Films.
In the indie world, he has produced the well-received, BLACKOUT (directed by Jerry LaMothe) with Michael B. Jordan, Jeffrey Wright, and Zoe Saldana; MULTIPLE SARCASMS, with Mira Sorvino and Timothy Hutton; THE TENANTS, based on the Bernard Malamud novel, with Dylan McDermott and Snoop Dogg as well as the ensemble drama, ORDINARY SINNER, starring Elizabeth Banks.
Major studio work includes Madonna’s directing debut, W.E., and I AM LEGEND (Warner Bros) as production supervisor and also co-produced the ultimate big wave surfing flick, IN GOD’S HANDS with Sony Pictures. His documentary work includes the PBS film THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE directed by Ken Burns and with Ric Burns directing on THE PILGRIMS, THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN BALLET THEATER, DEATH AND THE CIVIL WAR and INTO THE DEEP.
MUSIC – Great Elk
We are so proud to have Brooklyn rock band, Great Elk to be first music group to sign on to the "I am Maurice" team! They were the first band we thought to be part of the soundtrack of our film and we are thrilled to have them on board.
Founded in 2009, Great Elk band members Paul Basile, Patrick Hay, Bryan Trenis, Tommy Harron and Bryan Bisordi have collaborated on several acclaimed albums including: Great Elk, Autogeography, February, and Star Stuff.
The New Yorker says - “The Brooklyn rockers Great Elk display the control and restraint of a band with deep chemistry, as they sway gracefully between gentle ballads and mid-tempo indie-rock tunes.”
Check out this video clip from their album "Autogeography": https://youtu.be/w4dKRVHl8OM
We had meetings with several interested parties; they all loved the script, but they all wanted to change something about it or have complete control over it. We feel passionate about the choices we have made and the reasons behind them. We want to tell this story the way we wrote it and intend for it to be told.
This script is not only a significant part of our lives but also comes from our lives. We want to tell the story that is written on the page an translate it onto the screen. All films have the risk of not meeting the highest expectations, and some films even fail (see Risks & Challenges below.) In our view, we’d rather handle the worst-case scenario of the movie failing by doing it our way, than allowing it to fail in someone else’s control. We, therefore, decided that there was no better way to learn and succeed than to make this film on our own.
Following our passion is not about money for us; it’s about creating something and building off of it to create more projects we are passionate about. So, we’ve decided to fundraise the money ourselves to be able to control how the movie is produced. We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign but in order to make this movie the best we can we will need more funding. We want to shoot the Haiti scenes in Haiti, cast the best possible actors we can, and if you know anything about filmmaking there maybe unseen expenses.
Wil: I used to talk with my best friend Patrice O’Neal, who I used to live with, but who sadly passed away, about being healthy and wanting to change our health. We would make excuses and never go to the gym or do anything to change. One day Patrice bought a treadmill and put it in the living room. When I saw it, I could no longer make any excuses so I just got on it. The TV was there so I would exercise and watch TV at the same time.
When I started seeing a change in my weight, I wanted to train hard and lose more weight. I gave up fast foods and drinking soda. The stronger I became the stronger I wanted to keep getting. However, exercise was no longer cutting it for me, so a friend of mine suggested I go see the trainer, Steve Frank.
When I did my first boxing class it was the worst class ever; it was physically hard and I was extremely tired. Every time we got a 30-second rest break I would drop to the floor. I didn’t care that people were watching me. I didn’t have the energy to try and act cool. I remember when I took a shower and left that class how good I felt. I had so much energy that I ended up going every Sunday and then eventually I built it up and ended up going almost 6-7 days a week; I absolutely loved it!
Boxing changed my life and I have been boxing ever since. You can't control all of the opponents and obstacles you will face inside or outside the ring. For me, boxing is all about the fight within yourself to make yourself the best you can be.
Why New York City?
Bryan: New York has always been home to both Wil and I. They say to write what you know and we know and love this city. I fell in love with NYC at a very young age and could never get enough. Whether you're a native New Yorker or move here, you are a part of a special place where amazing things happen. It is a city with so much culture and opportunity. It's where people come to realize their dreams and make them come true. I have always dreamed of making movies and am thrilled to be on the verge of making my first one here.
Wil: I am Haitian-American. I have always felt a connection to Haiti and the culture, but felt the need after the 2010 earthquake, to bring more awareness and support to the country and to the people of Haiti. I have tried to incorporate Haiti into my art, whether it be talking about my family in my stand-up or writing about it for this film.
My dad came from Haiti to pursue his dreams of being an Engineer, as in Haiti it’s difficult to progress or make something of yourself. When he came to America, he busted his ass and got all these degrees and worked hard. Maurice is named after my dad. In fact, I Am Maurice is anybody’s story who wants to work hard and make something of themselves.
Bryan: Our story, I Am Maurice, is your story. It is an American story. It is a story of Hope. Freedom. Friendship. What better symbol of all of those themes than the Statue of Liberty?
What we are doing with crowdfunding for I am Maurice, dates back to the summer of 1885, when the Statue of Liberty was in New York, still in pieces, awaiting assembly. Lady Liberty was a diplomatic gift from France to the US. However, the US had been unable to raise $250,000 for a granite base for the statue to stand upon.
Statue of Liberty Pedestal "Kickstarter" Campaign
It seemed as though New York had run out of options when renowned publisher Joseph Pulitzer decided to launch a fundraising campaign in his newspaper, The New York World. The campaign eventually raised money from more than 160,000 donors, totaling $101,091 - enough to cover the last $100,000 to complete the pedestal.
We believe that this number is both symbolic of the film we have written and want to make, as well as by the means by which we are trying to achieve this goal. We hope you join us on this journey and we thank you for your support.
Lady Liberty - the original crowdfunding muse
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