A Gentle Magic A Project of Creative Visions Fiscal Sponsorship
We are a team of journalists and filmmakers based in the United States and South Africa. This July, we received a service grant and sponsorship by the Creative Visions Foundation for a film about skin bleaching in South Africa. We couldn't be more excited to finish this film and bring it to audiences across the world. However, we still need to raise more funds to make it a reality. And for that, we need your help.
Why we are making this film
- By 2019, the global market for skin lighteners is projected to reach $18.7 billion dollars.
- Skin lightening affects tens of millions of women and men, in dozens of countries, on every habitable continent.
- In South Africa, an estimated 9,300,000 women use skin lighteners.
- These are big numbers. Dangerously big.
- When people see big numbers of people, particularly when they're used to describe people, our brains fail to grasp their weight. That's why we think "wow, what a shame," and then forget about them the next day.
- This is especially true for how Americans (particularly white Americans) compartmentalize "African" issues. In the majority of mainstream Western media, black African women and their daily triumphs, challenges and hopes are, at best, portrayed in a reductionist way - at worst, they aren't portrayed at all.
- These women are not numbers. They are not statistics. They are not victims. They are not triggers. They deserve to tell their own stories. This story is as multifaceted as human nature, and yet up until now it's been cast in terms of light and shadow, black and white.
- A Gentle Magic will act as a prism. We seek to make a film in the tradition of the finest documentaries, filtering the broader issue through multiple stories and traditions in an attempt to reach clarity.
At age 17, Lizzy Nkomo earned second place in a nationwide beauty pageant. Now, at age 45, she is a widowed mother of two boys and a girl; she cooks and cleans for a family in Langa Township, and earns fewer than three dollars a day. She spends most of her money on food, but spends whatever she has left on Caro Light, a beauty product she's used on and off since her beauty queen days. Caro Light makes Lizzy beautiful, she says, because it lightens her skin. It contains hydroquinone, a powerful bleach.
Following the end of apartheid, South Africa was set to become the "Rainbow Nation" - a country where all backgrounds, beliefs and skin types were celebrated. Instead, the opposite has happened. Over the last six years, the nation has seen an unprecedented resurgence in skin bleaching. Following a steep drop-off in the 1980s to early 2000s, today, more than 35 percent of South African women use creams and injections to lighten their skin, in an effort to attain the look of a "yellowbone." What is behind the skin-lightening surge in South Africa -- and, for that matter, the world? A Gentle Magic investigates these questions by weaving together the stories of individuals with history, psychology and anthropology; ultimately, it will dig all the way down to the practice's roots, which extend deep into our shared history - much deeper than they first appear.
Meet the team
Abimbola Adanritaylor is an entertainment/media enthusiast who thrives on seeing and promoting diversity in the media. She wants nothing more than for black women of all different colors to embrace their beauty and achieve their goals, whatever they may be. She has previously worked at VICE Media and the Oprah Winfrey television network.
Graeme Aegerter -
Graeme Aegerter is a sociologist and documentary filmmaker who seeks to understand and creatively contribute to contemporary struggles for social justice and cultural change through his films and research. Most recently, he collaborated with indigenous communities in Emmonak, Alaska and Navajo Mountain, Utah on films examining Alaska Native women's anti-violence activism and the reclaiming of an abandoned Indian Boarding School, respectively.
Lerato Mbangeni -
Lerato Mbangeni is a young black multimedia and print journalist in Johannesburg South Africa who, although she writes widely on social issues in the country, focuses on capturing the upcoming arts movements in South Africa following the period of struggle arts during the apartheid era. Her writing has appeared in the The Star, Cape Times, Cape Argus, The Mercury, Daily News (KZN), The Saturday Star, The African Independent and online publication OkayAfrica. Lerato was recently one of three finalists in the 2016 Sikuvile Awards' Young Journalist of the Year category.
Samantha Andre -
Samantha Andre is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. Born in Paris and living in LA she has always been surrounded by diverse cultures. Through her films she seeks to capture the unexpected and beautifully simple moments in the lives of people across the world. She has made films in Cuba, India, London, Alaska, Singapore, Nepal, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, and South Africa. Family life and its complexities lie at the heart of the stories I tell, always seeking to better understand the human experience. Currently Samantha works at VICE in Los Angeles, California.
Susie Neilson -
Susie Neilson is a journalist and essayist based in New York who writes on a wide variety of topics, including women's health, cognitive science, and genetics. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, VICE, The Atlantic, Newsweek, The Week, The Star, Nautilus, The San Francisco Examiner, and other publications.
Where your funding goes
- Plane travel to and from South Africa ($4,200)
- Living expenses while filming & editing (food, housing, bus tickets) ($6,200)
- Meals and travel for our subjects ($400)
- Camera equipment ($1,200)
- Sound mixing and animation ($1,000)
- Salary for our associate producer ($3,600)
- DVD production ($75)
- Distribution (in particular, to areas of South Africa and the U.S. that aren't normally on the festival circuit) ($500)
- Mastering a Digital Cinema Package (needed for theater screenings) ($650)
**All donations are tax-deductible. If you would prefer to donate to us directly, let us know. We accept PayPal, Venmo, personal checks and wire transfers.**
If you'd like to know more about the Creative Visions Foundation, click here.
If you'd like to reach out to us directly, email email@example.com.
THANK YOU so much for your support. Really, we can't say it enough - whether it's financial, emotional, a "like" on Facebook, every small thing you do for us contains many more benefits and blessings than you'd think. Please share us on Twitter, Facebook, your family dinner table, your current place of employment, etc. Write about us! We thank you, again, in advance.
We look forward to producing and sharing these stories.
The Team :-)
Sam, Susie, Lerato, Graeme & Abi
$5 – link to watch film for free
$10 – name on website, link to watch film for free IN EACH ADDED LEVEL, SAY THE NEW PERKS AND THEN WRITE "+ EVERYTHING ABOVE"
$20 – special thanks in credits, link to watch film for free, surprise gift J
$50 – special thanks in credits, invitation to screening in L.A.
$100 – special thanks, 'coffee table magazine' of photos, invitation to screening
$500 – producer credit & 'coffee table magazine', invitation to screening
$1000 – executive producer credit
$2500 – executive producer credit, private screening of film and bar night/discussion
Supported by 1 Donation:
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