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Women Make Movies

Verified 501(c)(3) Non-Profit

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A-Town Boyz is a story about the growing up experiences of Asian-American men in Atlanta, Georgia. A vérité on the vulnerability of immigrant families in the US, the film brings sharply into focus the problems many Asian-Americans face due to cultural, economic and linguistic barriers. It unveils the quiet suffering, sacrifices and hardships of those who came to Atlanta in search of a brighter future. 
 
Bold and provocative, A-Town Boyz is a tale of the American Dream derailed. Help us finish the movie and bring it to audiences around the world!

SYNOPSIS

A-Town Boyz is a feature-length documentary about the lure of gang life for Asian-American men growing up in Atlanta, Georgia. Offering unprecedented access, the film provides a rare insight into the lives of Asian immigrants in our nation's South who do not fit the model minority image but instead grapple with issues of assimilation, racism and masculinity.

 

Guiding our story are the first-hand accounts of three young Asian-American men who reveal their decision to join gangs in pursuit of kinship, identity, and a way out of poverty. Watching their stories unfold, the viewer gleans a window into the underground Asian-American gang culture of Atlanta, as well as the the cultural, economic and political realities in which they exist. The film challenges the pervasive and often reductive stereotype in mainstream media of Asian-American males as nerdy and desexualized. A-Town Boyz paints a complex and nuanced portrait of diverse and often misunderstood individuals of the Asian-American community. 

 

Above all, A-Town Boyz is a story of the American Dream derailed--a verite look at the vulnerability of immigrant families in the US. It unveils the quiet suffering and untold hardships of a large number of AAPIs (Asian and Pacific Islanders) who live beneath the poverty line. Unlike the "tiger mom" image too commonly and mistakenly associated with Asian parents who are exacting and ambitious for their children's success, our subjects' parents are exhausted working-class immigrants who struggle to make ends meet and barely have time to see their children grow up. Working long hours at low-wage jobs, these parents have no time or means to help their children overcome the social and cultural barriers to help their children assimilate in a new country.

 

VickzOur main subject is Harrison "Vickz" Kim, a Korean-American Atlanta-native and father of three. Vickz is a talented emerging rap artist, but after several run-ins with the law, he turns to God and decides to start afresh as a better father, partner and son. His life takes many sharp turns as he struggles to break free of gangs and realize his dreams. But Vickz' father is hopeful:

 

"I want to tell [my son Harrison] how sorry I am. And to all the other parents out there who are immigrants, I ask them to try and understand the difficult circumstances that their own children face."

 

 

Integrating footage of daily life with in-depth interviews, the film oscillates between an edge style of noir in the nocturnal world and the brighter, warmer ambience of home life. As we navigate through the lives of our subjects, we see how they are connected by a common experience of isolation and aspiration for a better life. Now facing years in prison for gang-related crime, they each bear testimony to the devastating consequences of discrimination and neglect, but also the resilience of the human spirit whatever the circumstances. 

 

THE TRAILER

 

WHY THIS MOVIE MATTERS

Bizzy, Vickz & familyThere are over 18.2 million Asians living in the US today, but American mainstream media fails to represent them in all their complexity and diversity. Diana Yu of the U.S. Department of Education addressed the White House on July 17, 2014 with the following: "AAPI youth experience bullying at higher percentages than expected but people and schools don't realize that." Instead, the model minority myth persists. It is no coincidence that Asian-Americans struggle to integrate into society the  most--a society in which AAPIs are routinely misunderstood, under-represented and without role models.

 

A-Town Boyz is important because:

- It gives voice to the silent majority of the Asian-American community, generating greater awareness of the problems faced by immigrants and their children

- It captures a diversity of immigrant experience that challenges harmful stereotypes of Asian-Americans as one-dimensional persons without purpose. 

- It shows the devastating consequences of racial prejudice and bullying, which makes gang life an attractive option for young men seeking power and retaliation

 

This project represents a growing movement that shines a light on issues facing Asian-Americans and other marginalized groups in order to foster greater undertanding and spur specific actions. We hope A-Town Boyz will continue to spearhead a dialogue that brings about real and lasting change.

 

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

A-Town BoyzThree years ago, Spike Lee, our first backer, set this project in motion by awarding it a production grant. Since then we've been travelling back and forth to Atlanta, following our subjects and immersing ourselves in their world. Today, we are knee-deep in footage in the editing room, combing through hundreds of hours of film, cataloguing thousands of files, and transcribing dozens of interviews.

 

We need to raise funds to push the project through post-production, festivals and distribution. Your support will pay for the editing of the film, the composition of an original soundtrack, and a return trip to Atlanta to carry out final pick-up interviews. Our campaign goal is the minimum amount needed to do this.

 

Every little counts, so we really appreciate whatever you can give. Please help us finish the feature and bring it to a city near you!

 

TIMELINE

With your support we aim to have a final cut ready by early spring, and premiere at a top tier film festival soon thereafter. Theatrical, digital and DVD/Blu-ray release in North America will follow.

 

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP

From the outset our approach has been collaborative, drawing together many interest groups, NGO partners and other stakeholders in order to optimize impact at all levels. We aim to harness the full power of the media in order to bring about a change of discourse and greater diversity in representation of Asian-Americans.

 

Please help us grow the momentum by spreading the word. Check out our website, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram! Send us messages, leave us comments, and stay in touch!

Email: info@atownboyzmovie.com

Eunice LauDIRECTOR: Eunice Lau

Eunice is an award-winning filmmaker with over a decade of journalism experience at Al Jazeera, an NYU Tisch MFA graduate, and a region 3 Student Oscar winner and Social Impact Media Award finalist for her documentary Through the Fire (2013). Eunice's story treatment A.I. was shortlisted for the Sundance and Sloan Foundation Commissioning Grant in 2012. She co-directed a TV pilot that was a finalist at the 2012 New York TV Festival. In the same year, her documentary Hero on the Thai political conflict was nominated for two awards at the Watersprite International Film Festival. More recently, she directed Chineseness, a feature-length documentary for Discovery Asia which was named Best Documentary at the Rainbow Awards.

 

Grace JungCREATIVE PRODUCER: Grace Jung

Grace is an award-winning writer and film producer. She's the creator of Billo, an animated film directed by Catherin Min, which won the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Student Grant Award in 2009 and screened at the First Run Film Festival. She is a published author in fiction, essay, poetry, and translation. She is a former Fulbright scholar, and currently working on a feature narrative.

 

Sarah WinfieldPRODUCER: Sarah Winfield

Sarah is a filmmaker with a background in business, research, and the arts. Her devotion to documentaries is formed of a longstanding belief in the power of film as a means for encourging cross-cultural and inter-generational understanding. As a co-founder of Delphin Films, Sarah's media work has been featured in the Guardian, the Times, and the BBC. She is also a founding member of the Watersprite Film Festival and Cambridge Media and Film Academy (CAMFA). Most recently, she produced Through the Fire, an award-winning documentary directed by Eunice Lau. Sarah holds a PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge.

Rewards

US TAX DEDUCTIONS

Tilt will send your contribution directly to our fiscal sponsor, Women Make Movies, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit media arts organization registered with the New York Charities Bureau of New York State. Women Make Movies accepts donations and grants on behalf of our project and is responsible for administering funds received.

 

Your contribution, minus the value of the goods you receive as rewards, is fully tax-deductible. You will automatically receive a receipt by email when you back this project.

 

INTERNATIONAL DONORS / DIRECT TO FILM (NON TAX-DEDUCTIBLE)

If you are making a contribution from outside the USA, or do not require a tax-deductible receipt, please support our project here. There are many ways in which you can donate and all funds will go directly to the film, without extra administrative fees.

 

FOR QUESTIONS ON DONATIONS

Email: donate@delphinfilms.com

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I back this project from outside the USA?

    Yes you can! If you wish to back our project but don't live in the USA please make a donation via our website (www.atownboyzmovie.com/donate). There are a number of ways to contribute and the funds received will go directly to the film, without extra administrative charges.

  • What happens to funds raised beyond the target?

    Funds raised beyond our goal will help us go the extra mile in post-production and extend the reach of the project in the distribution phase. Filmmaking is a costly business and there's a great deal more to cover than the campaign target will allow.

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