Dear Awesome Foundation,
Thank you for considering FITE Film (From Incarceration to Education) for your grant. We wanted to give this grant application its own private page on our website, to more adequately show (we are visual artists, of course!) what FITE means to us, the students it directly affects (both currently and formerly incarcerated), the overall Berkeley community, and, in many respects, the country as a whole.
Provided are the FITE Film trailer and our First Look sneak preview.
We initially created a 23 minute cut of the educational film, which is specifically for audiences who are, or have been, incarcerated. Before making a feature, we first wanted to make sure we knew we could create a film that could impact viewers and provide tangible results, affecting perhaps the most important, smaller audience of the formerly and currently incarcerated (despite any external obstacles they will face, it is these populations, after all, who must decide for themselves to enter into education when/if released).
And...after months of screenings at universities and jails, we can say that the short FITE Film has been inspiring and motivating viewers, just as we had hoped.
5. After attending a FITE screening, viewers have taken classes about prison reform and artistic activism, to deepen their understanding of these topics
4. FITE Film has spread awareness about the Underground Scholars Initiative, an organization of system-impacted students and faculty. In doing so, viewers have reported taking steps to start chapters at their own college campuses
3. Increased demand for screenings at universities and colleges across the country, even though the film is Berkeley-centered
2. University-level schools expressed desire to screen FITE so they can boost admissions and resources for formerly incarcerated students
1. At one panel session after a screening of the FITE, one person currently incarcerated at San Francisco county jail (the largest jail in SF) asked,
“So, once I am out, I can contact USI and they will help me go to college?”
David, a subject in FITE, replied, “You don’t have to wait until you are out, you can write to us and we will help you as soon as we can.”
The final response? “Wow, I think I want to go to college.”
TOP 5 MOST “AWESOME” RESULTS AND EFFECTS OF FITE FILM TO DATE
(and further examples why FITE: The Feature needs to be funded).
As we move forward with production for an expanded cut of FITE, a feature-length geared towards the general public, funding we receive will go directly towards creating a film that has a very real and probable ability to catalyze change. FITE has thousands of followers (~6500 on Instagram, ~1200 on Facebook), and we haven’t even made the film meant for the public, film festivals, and national distribution yet.
The audience is there. They’re waiting for a feature length, and we know this to be true because we receive so many messages asking for it. When it comes to shooting for FITE, this $1000 from the Awesome Foundation will make all the difference: with it we can cover the expenses of all sit-down interviews of our 6 subjects.
Feel free to take a look around the website.
And remember: a great future does not require a great past.
-The FITE Film Team
SYNOPSIS: It’s a pivotal semester for all of our subjects. Clarence is graduating from his master’s program at the Goldman School of Public Policy and pursuing a job after graduation at the Department of Justice. Both Shalita and Richard will be graduating from undergraduate studies, and are hearing back from graduate schools to continue their studies in higher education. David is continuing his studies as a PhD student and his teaching as a graduate student instructor. The mounting pressures of school throughout the year are amplified by the stigma and challenges by having a criminal background. The world they left behind when they enrolled in Berkeley does not stop. Constant issues that plague many communities across the nation also affect our subjects. Gun violence has taken Clarence’s sister, Cierra Ford, from him – as someone who actively speaks out against gun violence, the death of his sister is a tragedy that Clarence is still having a hard time processing. Richard’s brother is currently serving a 20 year sentence, one that tears his family apart and has Richard at the edge of his limits, juggling school and his brother’s legal defense. David and Shailta, both have sons and daughters and are significantly older than most Berkeley students, now worry about job prospects. Soon both of them will have to decide between raising their families and following their dreams of changing the system.