Recent fundraising and awareness events

Girls Night Out poster

We’ve had a number of groups take the initiative lately to help get folks seeing Street Dreams and continue to raise funds for Red Earth as well as anti-trafficking groups FOCUS and Destiny Rescue. It is this kind of initiative that really is inspiring to see and we are grateful for this kind of amazing generosity of time and interest in the issue. Some highlights of recent events:

  • in Queensland, an encore performance at Jason’s old stomping ground at Centenary Uniting in Riverhills featuring a Remember Seven performance.
  • a great home-screening with about 20 folks who raised $800 for the cause (thanks Adrienne and Dave!)
  • generous former contributors at Wavell Heights UC got a special performance for about 40 members to say thanks for contributing to the project
  • in South Australia, good friends Kylie Johns and are group of her friends organised two events: a Girl’s Night Out fundraiser evening that raised $6000 (!) for Destiny Rescue and FOCUS and then a Street Dreams screening two weeks later where another $850 was raised towards the trafficking groups plus Red Earth. Congrats on that!

On top of that, we’ve had an impassioned individual decide to donate fortnightly to us in order to support what we are doing. We are deeply thankful for such generosity as it shows a commitment and validation of the work we are doing.

Thanks to everyone who is working hard so far for us. We are hoping that with the release of our DVD this week, we will start seeing more groups gaining traction in the fight against human trafficking.

Street Dreams Testimonials

I don’t think we could have forged on the Street Dreams Australian Tour this year without the support of audience members, friends and family, both from a production and fundraising point of view, but also as the Tour went on. It was physically and emotionally tiring being on the road for 5 weeks especially directly following a 7-day/week lead up to the event getting the film completed and the tour all prepared. Besides having people coming up to us and personally thanking us for the film, it was great to see the kind words that people offered through text & email messages, this blog site and Facebook. I have just put a few special notes here that warm our hearts and help us to continue on our quest! (I’ve listed the quotes anonymously so I don’t have to chase everyone up for their consent! ๐Ÿ™‚

“You did an amazing job capturing the voice of each girl, their heart and both my husband and I were very moved. Thank goodness that there are men in this world that will stand up for these girls and help them rather than abuse them.” ~ MT

“Thanks to these men who are not afraid to stand up to injustice or to push the boundaries on what is too much for sacrifice to save a life…even if it means coming to Tassie! We stand with you!” ~ AG

“What an awesome effort you guys are making towards creating change in the world. Totally humbling.” ~ JW

“Thanks to all those involved in the making of this film…I was so inspired and challenged by the film and the discussion afterwards.” ~ AM

“Saw this film in Maroochydore last night! Wow! A must-see! Has re-enforced our conviction that we need to do something. Looking fwd to getting to Cambodia in Oct. Katie Wallis is right – it’s going to take an army of people working alongside each other to stop human trafficking…” ~ SJD

“I am so proud of you both and the gargantuan effort you have injected into this project. To take an idea all the way from inception to a finished product that can move and inspire others is what film making is all about and I feel that you have achieved more with this truly international documentary than many film makers ever will….Stay the course, youโ€™re doing something special and magnificent.” ~ DS

“Just wanted to let you know how much your movie has inspired me…I don’t think I will get much sleep tonight as you have me so excited to get out there and do something about the issue. Thank you so much. It’s something I have wanted to do for so long but you have given me the extra push I need.” ~ A

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Of course, one of the best was from our new friend Christine McPherson on NSW’s Central Coast, who wrote a beautiful blog posting that we previously posted on this site, but here it is again if you didn’t see it…

http://christinemcpherson.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/dream-again/

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There were a heap more similar comments and we thank everyone who took the time to not only see the film and hear us out, but responded so graciously with their positive words. Thank you!!

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Street Dreams OzTour 2012 wrap-up

Well, after a 3+ week break since the end of the Australian Tour for Street Dreams I think I’ve recovered enough to write a bit about it. Joking (partly) about the recovering bit…Jason and I had to return to “normal” life after the extended traveling for the trip and try to get a sense of where to go from here. More about that in a moment… firstly, for anyone who is interested in seeing a bit more of a visual wrap-up to the Tour, I’ve put together a bit of a Photo Gallery on Facebook…

OVERALL SUMMARY

I think that much that needs to be said about the tour has been said in the previous blog posts during this tour that I did on the road while it was fresh having just happened or in the process of happening (you can only watch the same movie so many times so I wrote during some screenings!). Our overall impressions and gleanings of doing this tour can be summed up in tidy bullet points:

  • it was an excellent learning experience. We had never put something together like this tour on a scale like this (21 screenings in 34 days throughout 5 states, where a Red Earth representative was in attendance at each event) so we learned a lot about the costs, logistics and promotion required to make something like this work, and what to do better next time
  • despite the process of traveling around being a tiring and expensive way of doing this tour was, meeting people face-to-face plus fielding their questions and making a direct impact is something that we are very happy that we did. We feel that it was tremendously important for audiences to see a bunch of blokes standing up there, pouring their hearts out and trying to make people realise why it’s so important for men, in particular, to stand up for both women and people who are in desperate situations who need our help. The feeling went both ways; we felt an outpouring of love and support from many places that we went and a genuine desire for people to learn about and acknowledge that this is a significant problem. It helped us to understand the types of concerns and conclusions people come to when confronted with this issue.
  • although we already knew it, it made us realise where our limitations are and why it takes more than 2 guys to make a film and then adequately promote it!
  • we made valuable connections with people along the way who are currently, and in the future, able to: donate their time to help us promote the film; spread awareness about the issue; get on board with their own activities to fight slavery.
  • among many other things I could list here, it also gave us some confidence as filmmakers that we did something that could be critically viewed for both its content and the way it was crafted

HIGHLIGHTS

Here’s a few things that we thought were special over the 5-weeks of the tour:

  • seeing our name up in lights! Every filmmakers dream I reckon. We only saw ours in 2 places (Tribal Theatre, Brisbane; the electronic listing of films at Sydney’s The Ritz) but it was still pretty cool.
  • the film on the big screen! Probably moreso than the name in lights, seeing your film (especially one shot on a digital SLR camera) on a 5 meter high screen is great.
  • hearing Katie Wallis speak passionately about her personal story and her plea to audience members to pay attention to the welfare of our global neighbours.
  • visiting the students of Unley High School in Adelaide (thanks Jodie!) and seeing the clear expressions of acknowledgement of how wrong this issue is (particularly young guys) after we showed them the trailer.
  • the fantastic and passionate women of the Central Coast who brought the audiences and their energy & enthusiasm to the events
  • Tasmania! Such a beautiful place. Jason and I were both smitten with it.
  • despite being one of our smallest audiences, the folks at Parks Community Centre screening were passionate and very thankful for our visit. We visibly moved the projectionist who desperately wanted to help more. Fantastic to see.
  • the amazing folks who offered us places to stay with no hesitation, many of them were strangers or people that one of us had never met. We only paid for accommodation 4 times in 35 days (in Tassie, for 4 nights. We knew nobody there!). Thanks to Scottie & Mel, Chris & Beaux, Nick and Kirstie, Ralph plus Donna and family for your generous hospitality!

MOVING FORWARD

The next immediate step for Red Earth is get the DVD out to supporters and people who purchased the film on the Tour. The DVD won’t be widely available just yet as we don’t want to jeopardise our chances with overseas festivals, many of which will not accept a film if it is available for distribution on disc. Since we have done a modest tour and aren’t broadly publishing the DVD, we may still even be able to appeal to Australian broadcasters like SBS or ABC, but then again they have not had much interest in our attempts to woo them even before this, so I can’t see that they’re going to take the leap with us anyway.

One of the gracious people who wanted to donate her time to getting us started from a PR point of view was Robyn Devine from Devine Media in Brisbane who offered her marketing expertise to us at one of the screenings. We are hoping to nail down a plan moving forward as we are currently juggling the possibilities of DVD self-distribution vs a distributor, how to access the education industry and how to best target young males, touring the film more vs putting more effort into investors for growing the campaign or turning it into something more (like a series), film festivals and broadcasters vs a home-grown campaign focusing more on the issue than on the film, etc.

I guess at the end of the day we just want the film to be an effective medium to educate people, give them insight and motivation to do something to help people in need and allow us to make more of these films. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? erm….

Thanks for taking this journey with us folks! We look forward to the next stage of this adventure, whatever that may be!

Mike & Jason

Tour Diary – Days Nineteen & Twenty – Gold Coast

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We’re down on the Gold Coast screening the past couple of days in both Palm Beach and Broadbeach. It’s all about the beach here on the Coast and I’ve also enjoyed a bit of down time here relaxing on them.

The film is currently showing in Cinema 2 at the Event Cinema at Pacific Fair shopping plaza, one of the largest malls on the Coast. It’s looking great on that big screen again (though not quite as big as the Chermside & Sunshine Coast screens) but the numbers are a bit down unfortunately. I was always a bit worried about how we’d do here but Beachside church came to bat for us last night in Palm Beach and we welcomed a decent audience to the show. However, tonight there are echoes of our early screenings as groups we expected to come had clashing events that trumped us. It is one of our smallest showings…

Touring is hard work and despite the buoyancy of people appreciating our work and frequently telling us, it adds to the fatigue of travel and hopes for success when few people show up. I know it must sound like we should just roll with the bad as we have recently had the good but it always hurts our pride to see a fairly empty theatre. We’re artists dammit! We’re allowed to be emotionally sensitive…

On the plus side, the Beachside people were lovely and helpful last night. They set up all the A/V stuff and found people to put in the seats. Tonight has seen some generous crowdfunding supporters as our guests to the show plus my tv editor friend Samantha whom I haven’t seen for years. Additionally, a great conversation followed during the Q&A after tonight’s film and has illuminated some interesting possible prospects, so stay tuned about that one.

Well, I guess we’ll chin up despite low figures and hope for the best for the final showing on Thursday at Mt. Gravatt. That’s a cinema screening as well but hopefully we’ll be able to finally get some of our Brisbane faithful to see the tour out with a bang!

Thanks for reading and following our progress on this adventure folks. It’s been an eye-opening experience and has hopefully paved a path to the next step in this Street Dreams journey! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tour Diary – Day Seventeen – Chermside Event Cinema

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We’ve been hitting some big cinemas the past few days; as the screen sizes grow, so are the audiences it seems. Certainly the snowball seems to be expanding as people get to know about it and tell others. Great to see!

The Event Cinemas in Qld have been sterling so far compared to the cinemas down south when it comes to attentiveness and helping us out. They are also cheaper and have big screens and good facilities so kudos to them (and shame on those cinemas in Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney who were either difficult or, in the case of Sydney’s Reading Cinema, forget we were booked altogether!).

I’m always less certain about how much feedback we’ll get when it’s a general audience situation so it’ll be interesting to see how the Q&A plays out. The film is winding up now so we’re up in a sec….

…and I’m back. Well, it wasn’t a quiet crowd; lots of questions from all over the shop. I’m always impressed with the thoughtful ponderings…I’m so pleased that we’ve created some work that gets people thinking! Tonight especially it seems people were moved to help as we were approached from different professionals armed with business cards wanting to help out in any way they can. One person said: “you suggested that we can all help using the skills we were given to fight this issue, and this is mine” and proceeded to offer us help with our marketing, something we always need help with!

Great to see our old friend Duncan there tonight and thanks to Katja for her help and support and the many folks who attended plus pre-ordered DVDs from us which is always a huge help.

Next stop, Inala tomorrow before heading to the Gold Coast this weekend. Be sure to keep an eye out on channel 31 Digital for the Destiny Rescue/Street Dreams tv spots that the station is airing for us for free! Good on em…

Tour Diary – Day Fifteen – Sunshine Plaza

The Sunshine Coast is Destiny Rescue stomping ground plus both Jason and I have lived here so the hopes — as it was with our Premiere a few weeks ago — was that we would be coming “home” to Queensland and thus more support in terms of attendance. Truth be told, by the end of this night’s screening, we realised that many of the people who had attended were a result of having seen it through a variety of means of promotion for the film and not as many who already knew us. This was encouraging as it meant people felt compelled by the subject matter. It also means that our radio interview, newspaper article, social media, advertising through local businesses and the community was successful and is a powerful way to get the word out, something that we desperately wanted to do but didn’t have the time for our earlier shows. It also makes me wonder if we had done the Queensland screenings first, would there have been the trickle-down effect to the other national screenings or if that actually has been the case leading up to now?

Anyway, enough business-talk. The night was excellent in every way and helped buoy our enthusiasm for touring the film as we have been. Actually, the Central Coast screenings started these positive feelings that support is growing as we not only had good turnouts and excellent conversations with folks there but the gracious help we received from the locals as well.

For this screening, we were at the biggest cinema complex on the Sunshine Coast which was a rather exciting thing for us filmmakers! To be in a venue that you’ve always equated with big-budget Hollywood or international films, seeing the vast array of theatres, the popcorn machines and video billboard advertising was invigorating. This could easily be daunting but we know we have a good film and it honestly felt like we belonged there, which is a very special feeling. We were in a 250-seat theatre and the biggest screen to date. I was pleased when the film began playing to see that it stood up alright on the big screen and sounded good too; it hasn’t ceased to amaze me that my little Canon dSLR camera has managed to make this film look good on a movie theatre screen! I think I might just have to contact Canon about this (note to self)…! This is something that wouldn’t have been possible as little as 5 years ago…quite impressive.

It was great to see our great mate Katie Wallis back at the cinema and she said some important and impassioned words when Jason invited her to stage after the show. Along with her, my good friends and huge Street Dreams supporters Ricky and Liesl from Adelaide were in attendance as well as a number of Jason’s friends and support as well. All up, about 140 were there and it was great to see the cinema looking so full up. Because of the numbers, the Q&A could have been daunting for people shouting out questions, but a dozen or more queries meant we needed to cut things short and chat with people outside so the cinema could be cleaned for the next session.

I am currently writing this as about 80 people watch the show at Lifepointe church in Buderim, so another encouraging number of people seeing the film. We’re hearing more and more that the film has been highly recommended by a friend or family member to people attending screenings, so that’s exactly what we’re hoping to achieve. In attendance tonight we have the parents of the star of our film, Tony Kirwan, so we’re honored to have them here. I hope they are beaming with pride about their son!

Next up will be Brisbane again. If you have friends or family there, know someone in the media or any other helpful avenues we can attract more people to the screenings, please let them know.