The Advocate - a feature documentary film


Set in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, The Advocate is a portrait of the personal sacrifice required to make change in America as told through the eyes of four young Chicago-based activists. This feature length documentary film begins when a cadre of organizers successfully shuts down Chicago’s first and only Trump campaign rally, asserting their role as both the voice of their community and their generation.  

Told partially through the lens of their own cameras, the story follows the “Facebook Live” era of street activism in which Jedidiah Brown, Will Calloway, Aleta Clark and Lamon Reccord attempt to inspire wholesale transformation in the utterly dispossessed communities of Chicago’s South Side using nothing but their phones.

Unraveled against the backdrop of one of America's most segregated cities, during the most violently segregated political era since the 1960s, this film documents the extraordinary levels of hard work, sacrifice and trauma experienced by these self-appointed advocates as they attempt  to make our country a better place to live for everyone.

From Laquan McDonald, to Harith Augustus, to Kenneka Jenkins, our characters use their voices to lift up those silenced by police brutality, institutional racism, and a broken democracy. They consistently put their lives on hold, and without a decent wager for success, they persevere with an undying faith that sets them apart and shines a light on what the work of true change actually looks like.

Bridging the narrative from front-line leaders who have confronted these challenges for decades to the more eclectic generation of activists mobilizing post-George Floyd, The Advocate serves as a testament to the power of one person’s will to do the right thing for the greater good.


The South Side of Chicago is Jon’s chosen home. A resident and elementary school teacher in the neighborhood for over 20 years, Jon’s most meaningful relationships were forged here. In the wake of the 2016 election, these relationships were strengthened through the desire to tell the stories of those advocating for the South Side, for the Black community, and for the recognition of the existence and significance of both. In hopes of illuminating the South Side’s story for a global audience, Jon began filming Jedidiah and other powerful Chicago activists in 2017.


Until now, The Advocate  has been a self-funded passion project for Director, Jon Lowenstein. However, the project now seeks  funding in order to complete production and edit the film, utilizing a newfound team of  passionate creators. If this campaign is fully funded, it will help The Advocate team complete this film with the attention and care Jedidiah and our other character's deserve. Post production costs include but are not limited to: editing, editing assistants, original score and composition, and distribution efforts.  Each donation  will help bring us one major step closer to bringing this film into the world. Anyone who donates will be named in the film; The Advocate team doesn't believe in crowdfunding hierarchies. Everyone will be invited to the virtual launch party and included in the credits. It is truly a community-driven effort and we are grateful for your support in helping us share this incredibly meaningful story. 


 Donations of:

$25-100 will receive a digital postcard from Jon Lowenstein
$101-250 will receive a mailed postcard from Jon Lowenstein
$251- 500 will receive a mailed 8x10 print
$501- 1,000 will receive a monthly newsletter with exclusive footage, scenes, and updates about the film as it develops
$1,001-2,500 will receive a personal, one-hour Q&A with Director, Jon Lowenstein
$2,500 and up will receive a chance to meet our lead character, Jedidiah Brown. Join him and Director, Jon Lowenstein, in a one-hour Q&A!

*All donations will also receive the gifts prior their donation bracket! 


The Advocate Website 

Jedidiah on Channel 4 News 

HuffPost Highlight 


Jon Lowenstein -  Founder Gristle and Bone Films, Director and Producer
Jon Lowenstein specializes in long-term, in-depth documentary explorations that confront the realms of power, poverty and violence. Through the combination of photography, moving images, experiential writing and personal testimonials, he strives for unsparing clarity by revealing the subjects of history that lack voice. Lowenstein’s commitment to social justice through community engagement runs both deep and long. As a son of a Holocaust survivor he’s particularly interested in Diaspora communities and the struggle for autonomy and personal security.

Rachel Webster - Editor / Writer 
Rachel is a seasoned visual storyteller whose experience ranges from broadcast journalism to feature film editorial to interactive museum production. Known for her extraordinary talent for story editing, Rachel specializes in experimenting with form and subject at the intersection of comedy, drama, music, social justice, documentary and narrative. Her feature film work (three documentary / three narrative) has premiered at SXSW, Seattle IFF, Nitehawk, MoMA and played in over 20 different countries, on Air Canada, Netflix and the Sundance Channel. With a background in Emmy-winning TV journalism (PBS), her one constant in an eclectic career has been her dedication to crafting stories grounded in truth and empathy.

Phil Harvey- Executive Producer
Phillip Harvey has over 25 years of experience in developing arts education curriculum and African diasporic curatorial content for local, national and international institutions as well as independently produced projects. Programs have served audiences in Tokyo, Japan; London, UK; Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Palau, and a host of American cities. He is a Fellow of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and US State Department International Visual Arts Institute as well as a JP Morgan Fellow in Arts Management. Motivated by meaningful roots in South Side Chicago and a lasting history of friendship with Jon Lowenstein, Phil joined The Advocate team committed to widening its audience and strengthening its funder base. 

Alex Wesser- Producer

Alex is a New York City–based creative and activist with a history deeply rooted in community organizing, non-profit development, and documentary production. Committed to the marriage of these pillars, her career has traversed creating film production curricula for justice-impacted youth, founding mutual aid organizations in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the resulting protests, and joining the Board of Directors and officer team for Ride to DC, a startup non-profit devoted to advocating for Black lives. Entrenched in the current movement and dedicated to the strength of this story, Alex is utilizing these experiences to skillfully manage the production, funding and organizational strategy for The Advocate. 

Karen Frances Eng – Cryptomaven/Communications Advisor
Karen Frances Eng is a UK-based American writer, editor and artist working across a wide range of disciplines. Most recently she is exploring the possibilities of digital art, VR and cryptoart (under the moniker oculardelusion) as tools of expression and connection, as well as social justice and conservation. As a longtime contributing writer in the TED community, she has followed and written about Jon’s work for many years. Now she’s working with Gristle & Bone to bring The Advocate and Jon’s work to the blockchain and will be editing his forthcoming book on the South Side, to be published by Hatje Cantz in early 2021.

Ben Austen - Conceputal Consultant
Ben Austen is a writer from the South Side of Chicago. He is the author of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing, which was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Nonfiction, shortlisted for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, and named one of the best books of 2018 by Booklist, Mother Jones and the public libraries of Chicago and St. Louis. A former editor at Harper’s Magazine - his feature writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, The Best American Travel Writing, and many other publications. He is currently at work on a narrative nonfiction book about the parole system and the county’s practices around crime and punishment.

Anastasia Page - Digital Strategist + PR Manager
Anastasia Page is an award-winning documentary photographer, who pivoted their talents towards digital content strategy and creative producing upon moving to New York City 2016. Anastasia has worked with clients in advertising, fashion, and documentary photography. 

INTERNS - David Kiernan and Kitty Luo.


Music for the trailer provided by Indian Wells by use of the Free Music Archive and Creative Commons under license 
CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0. 


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Jon Lowenstein 
Chicago, IL
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