The rally was created by Seed and Spark, a crowdfunding platform that focuses on film and film-related projects. Seed and Spark, one of the sponsors for the second annual Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema occurring in August, is hoping to use the rally to have more stories of hope, change, redemption and inspiration made.
“This is something that we need,” said Jayson Simba, founder and executive director of Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema. “With the times we’re living in now, with the political state and the school shootings, we’re kind of living in dark times so the 100 Days of Optimism will liven spirits up and make the world a better place.
“What we’re doing is something positive and we want to remind people that there is good stuff going on out there,” he added. “We want to inspire.”
For 30 days, the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema will make a case for optimism by displaying and promoting what the organization is doing as well as revealing plans for the upcoming festival.
Currently, they are announcing the jurors on social media. Jurors include Doug LeClaire, an award-winning line producer of national television commercials and major network promos. LeClaire has produced advertising and promotional campaigns for Lifetime, Comedy Central and MTV, as well as NBC and ABC TV Networks.
The goal is to gain 1,000 followers by the end of 30 days and raise $10,000. Although it’s a challenge, the organization will rely heavily on its social media platforms, newsletters, the community and elected officials. As an incentive, the organization’s campaign is offering perks to anyone who pledges a donation. Perks include festival swag and all access VIP passes to the festival.
To bring more awareness to the campaign and the festival, the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema participated in “Queens Day in Albany” last week. There, they had the opportunity to meet with state legislators and community leaders and explain a bit more about the rally in order to raise awareness.
“Hopefully people will spread the word once they see what we’re doing and what we’re bringing to the community,” Simba said.
The top 10 projects that reach their goal in the rally will qualify for additional funding which includes $9,000 in funding, $50,000 in grants and over $100,000 in marketing support.
For a young film festival, funding is incredibly important. Simba explained that new nonprofits typically don’t qualify for state and city funding until their third year but since the festival’s fiscal year ends in September, they possibly won’t qualify until their fourth year.
“Because we don’t qualify for grants and city and state funding, we do rely heavily on people donating to us and supporting us through advertising and sponsorships,” Simba said.
“We’re trying to bring a world class film festival to Queens, comparable to something like Sundance Film Festival or the Toronto Film Festival,” Simba added. “We want to be on that scale, where we present quality movies from around the world and locally you wouldn’t get a chance to see.”
Besides the screenings, the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema prides itself on being inclusive for everyone by offering various afterparties, comedy shows, podcasts, panels and networking events.
Additionally, the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is currently holding their "Be the Face of the Festival" contest. The organization is inviting all artists to submit their work for a chance at becoming the official festival poster and cover of their program guide. The contest is open to all residents of Queens.
For more information on the contest visit www.KewGardensFestivalofCinema.org. To check out the 100 Days of Optimism rally, visit https://bit.ly/2G77Php.