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Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Amy Berg, actor Nate Parker and writer-director Matthew Cooke have teamed up to make a documentary about what they’re calling “the black male crisis,” focusing on the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the deaths of other unarmed black men over the past few years, including Trayvon Martin, Ramarley Graham and Eric Garner.
The filmmakers set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the project on Tuesday, a day after a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson despite his fatally shooting Brown in August. The decision has spurred protests in Ferguson and across the country, and sparked controversy, with many Hollywood stars expressing outrage at the decision on social media.
The project, which will continue to be funded through Jan. 5, 2015, has raised $3,115 of its $25,000 goal as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday afternoon. The Indiegogo page states that filming began in Ferguson in August, stating that the filmmakers thought it was important to document life in the Missouri town even before the grand jury verdict.
“We knew that the time was of the essence; our goal — capture a moment that months prior to any grand jury verdict was already destined to set a nation on edge,” the Indiegogo page reads.
Parker and the filmmakers plan to shoot a docuseries “that will illuminate the magnitude of this pattern of the murder of black males in our country,” the Indiegogo page states.
Although they’ve already shot footage in Ferguson, the filmmakers say they need funding to shoot additional material.
Indiegogo describes the project as follows: “In response to the growing problem of racial disparity due to the ongoing dehumanization of black men, actor and activist Nate Parker is setting out on a journey of investigation. He will venture into black communities to speak to various stakeholders about the crisis facing these men. Through the examination of specific cases, Nate will create relevant and responsive discourse with the intention of mining strong and tangible solutions to combat this ever-growing crisis. We will also highlight existing programs that are creating effective and sustainable counter action to the crisis.”
The documentary will feature interviews, news excerpts and historical footage. The filmmakers say they hope to give voice to those who’ve been killed and plan to create a visual timeline to illustrate how little has changed in post-Civil Rights America.
Berg was nominated for an Oscar for her documentary Deliver Us From Evil. More recently, she’s been in the news for her latest documentary, An Open Secret, about child sex abuse in Hollywood, which features interviews with Bryan Singer accuser Michael Egan and others. That film screened at the DOC NYC festival two weeks ago, but still doesn’t have a distributor. She also directed West of Memphis, a documentary about the West Memphis Three case. Berg recently helmed her first narrative feature, Every Secret Thing, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, meeting Parker, who can currently be seen in Beyond the Lights, on the set of that film. Cooke previously collaborated with Berg on Deliver Us From Evil and wrote and directed How to Make Money Selling Drugs.
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