December 4 – 12, 2018 — I flew to Oklahoma to accomplish two things:
- moving the needle in securing funds for our new documentary film called CIVIL …
- and filling the gaps in the story by conducting targeted research.
MEETING WITH POSSIBLE DONORS
While in Tulsa, I met with Alana Hughes (Schusterman Foundation) and Bill Major (Zarrow Foundation). Both seem very interested in the new documentary film CIVIL. Bill even gave me direction on how best to pursue the Jewish community both for the film’s storyline and for funding.
Alana loved it so much she planned on sharing it with Lynn Schusterman the very next day and will be helping me to navigate their donation request process.
I met with Jennifer Loren of the Cherokee Nation. She is helping me to navigate requesting funds from the Cherokee.
I then met with Chief James R. Floyd of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation. He is also interested in helping to fund this film project.
In OKC, I met with Mike Korenblit from the Respect Diversity Foundation and they too are interested in the project and will donate (amount to be determined).
Finally, I met with Oklahoma City Community Foundation and we will be setting up a fund at the foundation. This means people in Oklahoma can donate to the fund at OCCF and get a tax deduction (PLUS it means they will most likely donate $5,000 or $10,000 … or more … to this project sometime in 2019 based on what they donated for Children of the Civil Rights, the last film that I did).
TARGETED RESEARCH – WHAT I LEARNED!
I met with the Executive Director Dr. Charles Gourd and the archivist Jerrid Miller at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah.
Jerrid and Dr. Gourd spent three hours talking and sharing the history of the Cherokee people. I simply listened. They were awe-inspiring.
They shared with me how it is documented that Hitler modeled Germany’s concentration camps and ID Badges after the way the American government treated Native Americans, (rounding up and placing them in stockades and then on reservations in the 1800’s then, at the turn of the century, requiring Native Americans to carry id cards … which are still carried to this day). In three hours, they shared so much!
During my meeting with Chief James R. Floyd, he shared about today’s supreme court case of Muskogee (Creek) Nation vs State of Oklahoma … talk about eye opening!!!
Monday, I met with John Beaver, curator for the Muskogee (Creek) Nation. He too amazed me. We met at downtown square cultural center (reclaimed government building). What a beautiful space! And what a wealth of information John shared about the Muskogee (Creek) history. He is a gem! You can tell he cares deeply for what he does. I am so impressed.
Afterwards, I met with Melissa Hargo-Moffer and RaeLynn Butler in archives. Again, I learned so much!
Mike Korenblit from the Respect Diversity Foundation also shared some interesting information. He showed me the similarities between Jim Crow laws that restricted blacks in America along side the laws that restricted Jews in Germany … something I have never thought about and again, … very eye opening!
All of this is to say … I came to Oklahoma with a gaps in my story and left with the gaps filled and I am even more excited to make this film than ever before!
MY NEXT STEPS …
I plan on returning to the Tulsa area either in March or early May to raise funds from key businesses in Tulsa.
Assuming fundraising efforts are successful, early May is when I plan on filming interviews with key people from the Cherokee and Muskogee (Creek) Nations and others from the Jewish community.
After this trip … with the interest expressed for CIVIL from potential funders and the stories that I learned from everyone … I can’t wait to make this film! I know it’s going to be fantastic.