All over the country, people have been asking me, "So, Byron, what's your next film going to be about?" The truth is, I have a long list of ideas for films that I'd LOVE to make, but after consulting with my closest friends and advisers, and giving it some careful thought, I've finally decided that my next film will explore the topic of hazing in American culture.

In order to bring Hazing to life I need to raise $60,000 in 60 days for the film's development phase.

Why This Topic?
I have long wanted to make a documentary about this subject but never felt courageous enough to address it. This is a sensitive and controversial topic. However, after I learned about the tragic death of Robert Champion - the Florida A&M University band member who, in November 2012, was tragically killed by his fellow band members because of a traditional hazing ritual - I felt compelled to illuminate this issue in a documentary film.

Contributors to the development phase of the Hazing project would be supporting a seminal film about the hotly debated topic of hazing in fraternities and sororities, clubs, sports teams, marching bands, military, etc. By supporting this Indiegogo campaign, your dollars will allow me to:

Immediately hire a top-notch production crew and a support staff,
Pay for production equipment rentals and production insurance,
Hire an excellent, experienced editor, and
Create a high quality trailer to heighten awareness and to raise additional funding for the other phases of the project.

As a filmmaker who is a fraternity member (I am a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated) and someone who has been hazed and has hazed young men, I feel uniquely qualified to make this film. As I have done with all my other work, I will approach this subject with sensitivity and care. This documentary will be thoroughly researched and the story will be well told, but only if I can count on you to help me get it done.

I plan to break new ground with this project. I also expect this film to serve as a teaching tool for those who want to preserve the rite of passage experience but who also want to eliminate some of the more dangerous and harmful aspects of hazing.

Why Crowdfunding?
Making films is a very costly endeavor. For past films, I have received generous support from funders such as ITVS, The Ford Foundation, the National Black Programming Consortium, and others, but I have always needed to raise additional monies. Most independent filmmakers will tell you that crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo help us tell our stories and share them with the world.

As some may remember, my team and I exceeded our last fundraising goal in 2011 via a crowdfunding campaign. That campaign was crucial to the success of Soul Food Junkies, which went on to become an award-winning documentary film that was televised nationally.

Previously, I have counted on community support to complete my documentaries "I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America" and "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes". I hope I can count on you again and that my body of work (check bhurt.com) gives you confidence that Hazing will be another thought-provoking, important film.

Every Dollar Matters!
Raising $60,000 in 60 days is a big "ask" yet I'm only asking for a portion of what it would take to deliver an excellent film. So no contribution is too small and every single dollar counts towards meeting and hopefully exceeding our $60,000 goal. If you help make this campaign a successful one, I promise to make you a proud contributor.

In exchange for your contribution, you'll get some cool perks in return. Check out the perks at igg.me/at/byronhurt

Other Ways You Can Help
This is a bold and ambitious fundraiser for a bold and ambitious film. But if you cannot contribute at this time, you can help by spreading the word. Word of mouth is really important if we're going to be successful! Please tell your family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, and associates about Hazing and our goal to raise $60,000 in 60 days. That would be a HUGE help!

Thank you for taking the time to watch this video and for reading my statement. My team and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us on Facebook and Twitter, or via email at info@bhurt.com.

As always, thank you for your support. Shout out to Cinque Northern for editing the Hazing video!

Byron

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