There will be an awful lot of talk about Kickstarter over the next few days, and probably it will be about already comfortable, successful people raising funds for new projects, which tends to be the common theme for talking about crowd-funding now. You’ll probably read a lot of thinkpieces about Zach Braff and Amanda Palmer and the people doing the new Veronica Mars movie and what does it all mean for how we back movies. But for all of Kickstarter’s flaws and all of the things that need to be said about it, there are actually still important projects being made and showcased on it by people with vital stories to tell and without big established followings, and this is one of them.
Out in the Night is a documentary by filmmaker blair doroshwalther that tells the story of the “New Jersey Four,” a group of young African-American lesbian friends from Newark who, after a night out in the West Village in New York, were harassed and threatened by a man on the street. They defended themselves, with both parties suffering injuries and the man who had provoked the group ended up in the hospital. The women were met with arrest, jail time and a media that demonized them, calling them a “Wolfpack” and “Gang of Killer Lesbians.” Director doroshwalther says the documentary unpacks a series of complex conversations about race, gender, gender identity and questions like “What does a victim look like? And who is allowed to defend themselves?”
As the Out in the Night team writes on their Kickstarter page:
“This is not an easy story to tell. The women defended themselves, forcefully. But by showing the events of that August night, you will make up your minds about what happened. For four years, our team has filmed important pieces of this story carefully and intimately that will allow you to understand how race, class, gender and sexuality came to bare upon this case. While we unpack the fight itself, we are most interested in revealing what happened after – including the trial that reveals the court’s skepticism around self-defense, and the mainstream media’s biased coverage.”
The film is only a few thousand dollars away from its fundraising goal of $23,700, funds being used to work with an editor, rent an editing space, create key motion graphics and finish some archival research, as well as an original score. To learn more about the project, watch the video below.