UNZIPPED - A Feature Documentary

$1,500 of $30k goal

Raised by 2 people in 7 months
We are currently rasing funds for UNZIPPED, a provocative feature documentary about the growing economic and political divide across America.  After a bitterly contested Presidential Election, we’ll embed in the wealthiest and poorest zip codes in four cornerstone states.  We’ll profile one family, from each of the zip code extremes in California, Michigan, Texas, and New York, while investigating America’s shrinking middle class.  The goal?  To humanize the growing income divide, while searching for surprising people who are re-defining a new American Dream.  Our hope is to create more empathy through storytelling, and build more understanding with data about this crucial issue. 

Your donation will go towards making this essential documentary.  It will help us prepare, produce, and finish the film.  Any donations are more than welcome and immensely appreciated!

Why now?  With income inequality at its highest since the 1920s, a winner-take-all political system that increasingly favors the top 1 percent, and a powder keg of economic insecurity, populist rage, and anti-establishment anger surging across the country, UNZIPPED is a film driven by a simple question – is the “American Dream” still achievable today?

The statistics are sobering.  A recent PEW report found that middle class families are no longer the majority in the United States.  Why does this matter?  Because we neglect the desperately poor in America, demonize the uber rich, and pay lip service to saving the middle class - especially during Presidential elections!

UNZIPPED cuts to the chase.  We'll follow 8 families in some of the wealthiest and poorest zip codes in 4 states and provide a snapshot of two increasingly distant worlds.  We’ll personalize and humanize the growing economic and political divide, while digging into real life struggles of the middle class in each region.

The film’s POV is deliberately non-partisan.  Intercut with the zip code profiles, we’ll interview thought leaders from multiple points of views - politicians, economists, and activists.  Instead of re-hashing common assumptions, we’ll search for new frameworks, explore global influences, and review the historical context.  We'll also investigate how deep rooted economic anxieties are profoundly reshaping political power structures in America and around the world.

Ultimately, our goal is to flip the standard narrative about income inequality on its head.  We'll create a nuanced, yet deeply provocative film about the growing economic & political divide, catalyze a re-think about what kind of country America can be, while profiling a diverse group of people who are re-inventing the American Dream.

With a topic this pressing, we also feel it's important we give back.  UNZIPPED will be a cutting-edge experiment in crowd-sourced storytelling and social entrepreneurship.  We'll encourage people to re-engage in the political process through storytelling, and provide support to those who need it most.  We'll do this by donating twenty percent (20%) of the film’s profits to leading grass roots organizations and NGOs that are actively engaged in income inequality issues in communities across America.

Why me?  Leading the charge is yours truly, Colin K. Gray, an award-winning documentary filmmaker.  I was born in Michigan (the son of immigrants), grew up in Ottawa (Canada), lived in New York, and currently reside in California.  My family, on both sides, a long proud line of farmers, military service members, and academics.  I was the beneficiary of a classic middle class upbringing - great public schools, great public sports and arts programs, and I received a political science degree from the University of Michigan, a great public university.  Truly the American Dream brought to life!

Now, 26 years post graduation, I’m a new Dad.  But I’m pretty sure my daughter won't have the same opportunities that were afforded me as a typical middle class kid. I think this matters.  I think social mobility matters.  Good education and healthcare matter, whatever the circumstances of your birth.  Building a more inclusive society and trying to understand the "other side" matters.  So, I want to know how exactly we we became do divided.  I’ll provide the personalized tour of what income inequality looks in the 4 key states, and around the country, while optimistically searching for possible solutions.

Check out our website:  http://unzippedmovie.tumblr.com
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$1,500 of $30k goal

Raised by 2 people in 7 months
Created September 6, 2016
7 months ago
Charles Williams
7 months ago

Great Dog & Pony Show!

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