By Meghan Walker
A young Magnolia woman is working hard to raise money for a documentary about filmmaking in Rwanda. It’s called, “Film Festival: Rwanda.”
Aly Schoonover is a recent Washington State University graduate, and has been experiencing firsthand what it’s like to fundraise for the independent film company creating the documentary, Inflatable Film. “I saw the trailer, and I felt like I had to do everything I could to help with the project,” said Schoonover. The company has all the footage for the film, but now the editing process means more money is needed.
In order to raise money, the film company created a Kickstarter page, which allows donors to give money to fund the project. The goal was $29,000, and unless they received the full amount in 55 days, the project wouldn’t be funded. Now, less than a week before their June 1 deadline, the group has exceeded their goals. The group now has almost $29,500, with 378 backers.
Leah Warshawski is the executive producer on the project. The idea for the film came when Warshawski and the director of photography, Chris Towey, were visiting Rwanda four years ago. They met a couple Rwandan filmmakers, and were captivated by their story. So much so, they decided to create a documentary about the Rwandans’ filmmaking passions.
In an interview on Inflatable Film’s Kickstarter page, Towey said the film aims to be an alternative to the dark and dreary films that typically come out of Africa. In the same interview, Warshawski said a goal was to create something that hadn’t been done before. “This is something really unique, really different,” she explained. “The film is about hope, and creativity, and the power of story and imagination, and thousands of people showing up without shoes on to watch movies in their own language for the very first time on this giant inflatable screen.”
Schoonover says she’s been amazed at the amount of support from the Kickstarter page. “People have come out of the woodworks. People I knew in eighth grade have been touched by this film, and cared enough to give $10; I’ve been reaching out to everyone I’ve ever known,” Schoonover laughed.
“I’m excited that this film will become a reality because of everyone’s support. It’s a great project and I think it’ll bring a lot of hope and inspiration to a place that’s faced a lot of hardships,” said Schoonover.
(Disclosure: Schoonover is the daughter of the MagnoliaVoice editor. This piece was written independently by a student at the University of Washington.)