Leaving the country for work for six weeks may not be the ideal time to start an ambitious new crowd-funded project, but that didn’t stop Perennial Plate creators, chef and activist Daniel Klein and filmmaker Mirra Fine.
On Tuesday, the duo launched a new Kickstarter effort that will hopefully raise $50,000 by April 27 that will allow them to use their medium of filmmaking to tell the stories of immigrant families through five short films that focus on the family dinners of their cultures, plus a pilot that will be pitched to the likes of Netflix, PBS, and Amazon. Half of the funding will go to making the film, while the other half will go to targeted Facebook advertising that will put the films in the feeds of people who may not otherwise look for that type of content.
Klein said this project came together based on what he and Fine – his wife and filmmaking partner – have seen since the election.
“We’ve been thinking of this, as we’ve seen it, as an attack on refugees and immigrants. We started thinking about how we could have a positive impact,” Klein said from Mexico City, where they are filming their next season of the Perennial Plate, the two-time James Beard Award-winning online weekly documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating. “We all have our Facebook feeds and trusted sources on the left and right. I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to vary my news. I know it’s really hard when people are coming from different places. But my interactions with immigrants and refugees have been overwhelmingly positive. Muslims especially.”
Their plan includes sharing the stories of European, Latino, African, Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants.
“Each story you tell ends up unfolding in a new and different way,” he said. “Even though I’ve had these experiences [through Perennial Plate], this will be a new round of people. We’ll look for stories that resonate with all sides of American culture. Ideas of family, loyalty, valuing hard work and the aspects of being human that speak to those things. As we research stories, we’ll look for things that resonate.”
Through the first half-day of the Kickstarter being live, “Resistance Through Storytelling” has raised more than $4,000 from more than 70 backers. They did a Kickstarter once before for the launch of Perennial Plate, but this project won’t offer rewards to donors as they typically do.
“It feels really encouraging but it’s so much money,” Fine said. “I hope it keeps going. Right now people are passionate, and I’ve donated to a lot of places because I’m passionate about it. This isn’t a money-maker for us.
“To do Kickstarter brings it back to the people and we can tell the messages we want. I was pretty nervous; it’s scary to ask for money, and people are so vicious online. It puts a bullseye on you.”
Fine said she’s excited to find people to tell their stories to them for the films.
“We’ve been making these films for seven years,” Fine said. “We don’t want to tell people how to feel or to act in a certain way. We want people to feel connected. It’s really powerful.”
Want to contribute or learn more? Go to their Kickstarter page!