Zemi

Zemi is an explosive, dynamic and visceral short that explores identity and spirituality through magic realism, horror and of course - BANGING TUNES!

£4,129.00
raised of £12,000.00 goal
30 Days left
28 Backers
Genre
Film
Scope
Short
Seeking funding for
Production
Campaign type
Flexible Funding
Support project
    Project

    Zemi

    Genre
    Film
    Seeking funding for
    Production
    Scope
    Short
    Campaign type
    Flexible Funding

    During his first international tour, Zemi an up-and-coming Dominican rapper, faces the age-old battle between creative integrity and encompassing ambition.

    While external voices challenge his values, Zemi calls upon a powerful spirit to defend his veracity.

    Based in truth and ladened with taboo, Zemi is an explosive, dynamic and visceral short that explores identity and spirituality through magic realism, horror and, of course, BANGING TUNES!

     

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    A BIG HELLO FROM TEAM ZEMI!

    We are group of actors and filmmakers from RCSSD seeking your help in funding our indie short, Zemi.

    This project is a labour of love for all of us involved. For us collaboration is what makes film such a special art form and we are so excited by the team of talented, innovative, and passionate filmmakers we have assembled.

    Too often than not creatives are taken advantage of and asked to work for free. We strongly believe that all creatives should be paid fairly, directly and on time and should never be treated like the skills they have acquired through years of blood, sweat and beers (many, many beers) are 'just' a privilege or hobby.

    Therefore to help support our industry (especially post covid), we are aiming to raise an additional six thousand pounds to ensure our crew are looked after efficiently. We also pledge to support our local community by paying the asking price for our location - assisting our neighbours in hospitality to recover from equally devastating financial losses. 

    All pledges and donations will be gratefully received and an area to do so is located to the top right of this page, immediately under the current amount raised.  

    Why do we want to tell this story?

    This is a story about identity. We were inspired by some of the life’s big questions but we certainly do not intend to answer them.

    Instead, we want to spark-up conversations regarding spirituality and artistic expression as paths to uncover our place in a self-centred, money-orientated world. Our goal is to invite people to reflect on the implications of having (or lacking) a voice.

     

     

    Among the Taíno people of the Caribbean, a zemi or cemi was a deity or ancestral spirit, and a sculptural object housing the spirit (examples shown below).

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    Stament from the Writer

    This is film about a clash between self-discovery and the socioeconomic structures that merchandise and profit from the self. Which power dynamics come into play in the process of individuation? What does it mean to be who I am? To what extent do my beliefs, culture and history define me?

    These are some of the questions I've been asking myself for some time. I probably will never reach an absolute answer, however, both spirituality and music lay the foundations to explore them through both a postcolonial and postmodernist lens. Afrodominican traditional rhythms like Palos and contemporary Dembow bangers might bring us more reflections than expected about our past, present and future. And consequently, about ourselves.

    Víctor Arcturus Estrella

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    Character Breakdown

    Zemi

    Our central character is inspired by many Dominican rappers, examples shown below. He is a devotee to Belié Belcán and Papá Candelo, two of the main spirits of the 21 divisions, an Afro-Caribbean spiritual tradition.

    He grew up in an underprivileged community, and like many young Dominicans in similar circumstances, saw music as a way out of poverty. He has made an oath with spirits who granted him protection and success. He developed an online following across the globe and was offered the opportunity to travel to the UK for his first European tour. He is suspicious of the people who are in charge of this tour and managing his career.

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    Mauser

    Mauser is the venue's MC: a passionate, explosive, potentially violent man in his mid 20s. His body is a canvas of tattoos and he wears an excess of jewellery and piercings.

    He discovered Zemi’s music online and immediately saw potential in him. He convinced Kalei, Metanoia's manager, to pay to bring Zemi to the UK, seeing Zemi’s talent as a route to success.

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    Fray

    Fray is a washed up semi-successful singer/songwriter who has sunk all of his money into running a music venue.

    He met his wife Kalei at a gig in the late 2000s and they married soon after. Together they run the venue. He clings onto the past, refusing to accept his reality and has developed a severe drink problem.

    He is crypic, pessimistic and a music purist. Fray is vocal in his disdain for the musical direction his wife is taking his venue.

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    Kalei

    Kalei is a former raver, now in her late 30s, who has taken over as manager of the venue after her husband’s financial mishandlings left it on the brink of bankruptcy.

    She is direct and driven. The survival of the venue is her no.1 priority. She was convinced by MC Mauser into paying for the rapper’s travel to the UK, mirroring the belief that Zemi could be key to the venue’s survival.

    She is as colourful as the venue itself and is obsessed with New Age spiritual practices. In her eyes, meeting Zemi was not a mere coincidence but a gift from the universe.

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    Meet the Team

    Víctor Arcturus Estrella - Writer / Zemi

     

    FUN FACT: Victor aka BICtor has written all the original music for the film and has the best merengue hips this side of the Atlantic 

    Víctor Arcturus Estrella is a Dominican actor, writer, rapper and interdisciplinary artist. As a member of Teatro Utopía (DR based theatre company), he has devised and performed plays that have been shown at national and international theatre festivals. Short films he has starred in have screened at festivals such as New Orleans Film Festival, Miami Film Festival, Guadalajara International Film Festival and Outfest.

    His short stories appear in various anthologies and have won multiple literary awards. He was a member of La Ñapa, an experimental hip-hop collective characterised for their experimentation with Afro-Caribbean rhythms and cutting socio-political criticism.

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    Dominic Crane - Director / Mauser

     

    FUN FACT: Dom is a low key tech genius and photographer and is responsible for our promo images (NB don't ask him about his football chants)

    Dominic is an actor and filmmaker from Suffolk, England. His career started in theatre, where he had major roles in shows produced by the New Wolsey Theatre and the Seckford Theatre company.

    After graduating from The University of York in 2019, Dominic started his own videography business, making corporate videos for businesses around Suffolk. In 2020 he directed his first short film.

    It was during this time that he also began acting for screen, taking on roles in several independent UK short and feature films. In 2021 he moved to London to study acting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

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    Emir Ćatović - Production Designer / Fray

     

    FUN FACT: Once a mysterious long-haired biker, Ćatović has recently rid himself of his luscious locks and can technically be regarded as being hidden in plain sight 

    Emir Ćatović was born in 1988 in Bijelo Polje, Montenegro. He began his formal training at the Academic of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje, graduating in 2011.

    Emir is permanent member of the ensamble of City Theatre in Podgorica, Montenegro. Besides City Theatre in Podgorica, Emir is also performing in other theatres in Montenegro, as well as in Belgrade (Serbia).

    Emir’s filmography includes roles in several TV Series in Serbia and Croatia, as well as short films like Tranquility of Blood (by Senad Šahmanović), which has been awarded internationally. He also performed in Gorčilo and Diamond of Boyana, a movie and a TV Series (respectivly) directed by Milan Karadžić.

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    Libby Walker - Producer / Kalei

     

    FUN FACT: Libby hails from the same town as director Ridley Scott (alreet Riddaz?), we're hoping he donates. 

    Libby Walker is a London based, Geordie raised actress and producer. She began her career at a young age as a singer, dancer and actress before graduating from the London Studio Centre.

    Libby’s career spans all mediums of entertainment including; film, television, stage and radio. She even enjoyed brief success in the music industry as a member of an all female pop group (I mean, hey, we all have a past...).

    Libby can be seen in cinemas this September as ‘Becky’ in Fisherman’s Friends: One and All alongside Maggie Steed, Joshua McGuire, RCSSD alumni James Purefoy and fellow Geordie, Dave Johns.

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    A person playing a keyboard

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceEduardo Baldera - Composer

    Eduardo Baldera is a music producer and composer based in Santiago, in the Dominican Republic. He is the producer of Martox, a multi-genre music duo that have caught the attention of listeners across the DR, Mexico and Colombia. Outside of his own music, Eduardo has be comissioned to produced tracks for a variety of use-cases including commercially for TV.

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    Studio 9294

    The music venue will be brought to life in the phenomenal Studio 9294 in Hackney Wick.

    Fully kitted out with a stage and industry standard lighting equipment, this is a phenomenally versatile space that gives flexibility and authenticity to our production.

    Outside of the venue area is a labyrinth of tight corridors and side spaces. Green rooms and great views!

    Thanks to studio 9294, we have everything we need to tell our story under one roof!

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    We are very passionate and excited about working with Studio 9294 because not only does it perfectly suit our story aesthetically, but also our underlying narrative.

    Studio 9294 is equally as passionate about it’s coined hashtag #savehackneywick - something it had been trying to promote since the destruction of the dense creative community around that area due to the construction of the Olympic Village back in 2011/2012.

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    The area has since been struggling with its identity itself. Where was once a buzzing, creative environment full of artistic personalities - was now left basically baron and void of personality. In fact,  Studio 9294 is the only surviving warehouse of its kind spared from the mass flattening in 2011.

    Community and identity clearly go hand in hand, with the example of Studio 9294 providing more than proof to the pudding. We would like to show, through our work with the venue, not only our support to the local community and it’s causes (#savehackneywick) but more so what can be achieved when like-minded creatives come together to nurture individualism and are given the artistic freedom to thrive.

    Big shout out to Steph! ;)

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    To keep up to date with our journey and to see any of your 'Shout Out' pledges in action please follow us on our social handles below!

    We're looking forward to having you on this journey with us and welcoming you as an extend part of La Familia Zemí!

    Best,

     

    Team Zemi 

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    £4,129.00
    raised of £12,000.00 goal
    30 Days left
    28 Backers

    Pledge without reward:

    You can make a pledge to support Zemi without a reward. The minimum donation is £1.00.
    £
    We'll sing it from the roof tops (or from Social Media), Bébé!

    Pledge £20 or more and our team will personally thank you via their social media account for your generous donation - so you can show off your support to anyone who cares to listen! Belter!

    £20.00
    Your Movie Moment - Special Thanks, Schweety!

    Its official! Pledge £100 to Zemi and receive an official 'Thank you' in our credits. Your support immortalised! Epic!

    £100.00
    Roll out the Red Carpet, Honey!

    Pledge £250 or more and we will be rolling out the red carpet for your VIP moment at our EXCLUSIVE premiere screening!

    (Exact details to be sent closer to the time)

    £250.00
    She's an Executive Daaaaaarling!

    Pledge £1500 or more to become one of Zemi's most prized Executive Producers with full credit and Exec Producer status. Iconic!

    £1,500.00