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20 days ago, I wrote a diary about two passionate dreams held by two passionate dreamers.  One of them is a 24-year old young man from the Ivory Coast, Landry Assokoly, who dreams of studying in conservatory and storming the world of Opera someday because of his passion for the art form, nurtured only through You Tube Videos and self-directed study.
The second is a 30-year old African American/Biracial world traveler, photographer and filmmaker Taneisha Berg (aka Kossack Hotkamali), whose love of Landry's story, the nexus between it and her vision of change (in which stereotypes and assumptions are best combatted through the telling of human stories) and her own desire to make movies compels her to tell Landry's story to the world through film as her directorial debut.

That diary, A Different African Story, was about the politics of how these two dreamers' lives merged. It was about the politics of opera, of crowdfunding, immigration and filmmaking. It was also, indirectly, about the politics of community here at Daily Kos.

Periodically since that diary, I have been asked for updates about how things were going with the Kickstarter campaign for Taneisha and Landry's movie, The Tenor from Abidjan. The short answer is that the story of this Kickstarter effort is much like the story of a gripping, emotionally challenging, operatic drama.  There has been an incredible outpouring of support from all over the world, with nearly 1200 shares of the Kickstarter page and 500 of the film's Facebook page.

Landry's story and the Kickstarter campaign have also had a fair bit of attention from the online community.  In addition to the diary I posted here about the film, salutary articles urging support have in key blogs such as IndieWire, Africa is a County, MusicFilmWeb, and This is Africa.  It even resulted in Taneisha's first appearance in online radio, with an interview on DJ Grandpa's (online guru of Kickstarter support and overall fascinating guy!) inaugural show for his second season.  

The everyman/woman appeal of Landry's story is certainly indisputable: most documentaries that crowdsource attract far fewer backers than 238 backers/sponsors. And most documentaries don't raise the $17,793 that Taneisha's Kickstarter has raised as of right now.  

Yet here's the reality: the reality is that despite the love, despite the backing, despite it all, the Kickstarter for The Tenor from Abidjan--which raised 50% of its target level of funding in less than 2 weeks--is now in some danger of failing.  Despite the commitment of more than 230 backers, all of whom have proven that there is power in the grassroots no matter what level of the grassroots you hail from with their caring and supprt), As of today, it still needs $4,731 to reach the finish line.  

There are only 4 days left to this Kickstarter campaign.  It ends on Saturday.  As a reminder, Kickstarter is an all or nothing proposition.  If a project does not meet its goal, it gets nothing at all.

Which is why I am asking for help, for this campaign, just one more time.  The dream of Landry to sing the opera, and Taneisha to share the story of his love for opera, isn't ephemeral.  It's easy to chase rainbows, and I suspect some think that's precisely what this movie is about - pipe dreams. Yet those who have earned fame and prominence in the industry that Landry seeks to storm feel that it's not all that unlikely an idea, if only he had the training he needs to succeed:

Micaela Carosi, Italian soprano, reacts to Landry's intro video. from HotKamali on Vimeo.

Let's be clear: despite the politics of this which I discussed in my last diary, supporting Landry and Taneisha by backing this Kickstarter won't guarantee that Chris Christie will never see the White House.  It won't stop the GOP from sending out ads trying to con folks into funding them taking down Democratic candidates.  It won't solve the problems of NSA spying, climate change, net neutrality or heroin addiction taking from us some of the best and brightest far, far too early.  It won't even probably finally get President Obama some of the basic respect of the office that he has been denied throughout his tenure by foe and friend alike. It won't even get you a Bruno Mars concert at your house.  (Which is a shame because he kicked ass at the Super Bowl on Sunday!)

What might it do? It will further the cause of dreams, and dreamers, who choose to buck stereotype.  Who choose to expand the vision of what it means to be Africa, and African. To be a filmmaker. A director.  It will support the efforts of the independent film makers of the world.  And it would demonstrate once again that Daily Kos is more than a platform for debate, discussion and argument--it is a community.

(Here is where a MAJOR shoutout goes out to our sister Aji, who has taken her passion for causes to new heights and made this advertising Hotkamali's Kickstarter something of a personal mission!)

My understanding from HotKamali, the director, is that third single largest source of traffic to the page was Daily Kos, following my first diary about the project a few weeks ago. Eight (8) wonderful Kossacks have also lent their financial support to this effort.  I am writing again not just as a update, but also in the hopes that more people might hear of this wonderful film in the making, and step up to lend a hand.   As the writer who profiled Tenor from Abidjan in MusicFilmWeb noted, ""It's both a compelling individual story and an aria of inclusion that you can help ensure is sung to its fullest."

So, with nearly a million registered Kossacks out there the world, let's see if we can collectively sing this one across the successful finish line together.  

Here's the link to the Kickstarter campaign again.  

Remember: where crowdfunding is concerned, even one person can make a huge difference!

PS  Have I mentioned the Good Karma thing? Imagine the incredible good Karma if we could all truthfully say that a Daily Kos diary may not have guaranteed we won't have to listen to Republican insanity all day every day for the next umpteen years, but it helped just when it mattered most in fulfilling two young, aspirational, people's merging dream.

Thanks for listening, and for everything Kossacks have done, and can do, to make this campaign a success during its last 4 days of funding.
 

Originally posted to Maat's Feather on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 12:26 PM PST.

Also republished by SFKossacks, Black Kos community, and Barriers and Bridges.

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