Hidden Blueprints Film
Welcome to Michael Jacobs's Personal Fundraising Page!
Hidden Blueprints, is a hybrid documentary-narrative that tells the story of a young man named Jeremy who is sent to a corporate prison around the time he should have gone to college. It shows his journey to design a collection of wood-scrollwork that would illuminate the stories of prisoners in mythic forms.
In prison, Jeremy became a member of a group of prisoners who bet money on praying mantis fights. Eventually Jeremy found a champion fighting mantis named Mikey that won all of its fights. As the prisoners became closer to Mikey, the mantis made them realize their humanity by becoming a friend and showing intelligence they never expected. They stopped fighting mantises, realizing that they aren’t just stupid insects and shouldn’t be kept in boxes or be made to fight each other.
Soon after that, Jeremy and his friends were selected for a new college program for inmates, but the conditions for the inmates were deteriorating. The prisoners faced a dilemma: either pursue the college opportunity or support an uprising. Ultimately, they decided that they must take a stand against the abuses they were suffering, but vowed that no one be killed. It quickly escalated into a full blown riot. The prison was burned and the warden was fired. But Mikey the mantis was killed, and became the one martyr of the prison riot.
In the years that followed, Mikey became an enduring legend among prisoners and motivated them to keep telling his story, and their own. A decade later, these stories continued to inspire prisoners and people on the outside alike, and eventually led Jeremy out of prison and into college, where he became a 4.0 student.
Our total fundraising goal is $25,000. We have already raised 23% of our budget through the financial support of Champlain College SGA and the Freedom and Unity: Work in Progress Award. We are also awaiting decisions on three additional grants, but need your support to ensure that we are able to begin principle photography on time. Depending on the outcome of these grants, we will need to raise a minimum of $10,000 to $15,000, and if we can go over that goal, it will only help the project with additional funds for post-production and distribution.
Our story’s focus on mythology and storytelling necessitates an innovative approach. It’s an extremely ambitious project that involves the building of sets, hiring actors, and accessing a multitude of props and locations.
We are incredibly grateful to have the support of a strong and creative community that is passionate about telling this story. As such, we are receiving considerable in-kind resources from many local artists and technicians volunteering their time and skills by waiving day rates and equipment rentals.
However, this can only take us so far, and we need your involvement to tell this story the right way. Our current budget will allow for the resources needed to create a cinematic approach to our compelling story.
Jeremy Lee MacKenzie is a filmmaker and wood-scroll artist who has not only run numerous successful art shows displaying his work Hidden Blueprints, but also earned a screenwriting fellowship at Stowe Story Labs, directed numerous short films, and won Gold in the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.
Julie Pacino is a Manhattan-based producer. She has produced the off-broadway production Phoenix starring Julia Stiles, the feature film Billy Bates, a number of music videos, the short film Abracadabra, and her most recent project, The First, a biopic about Mary Pickford; the woman who made Hollywood.
Aron Meinhardt has a BFA in Film Production and built his own business in Burlington, producing documentaries, commercials, music videos, and art. He is a co-producer of the in-development national docu-series Sugar Rush, and led the post-production on Vermont PBS’ series InnoVaTe with Victoria Taylor, editing picture and sound. He’s also worked as an associate producer for James Lantz and his documentary A Defiant Dude.
Mike Jacobs is a creative producer & photographer who works for Champlain College managing the institution’s media production equipment. He specializes in coordinating the nuts and bolts of creative collaboration and has worked in numerous roles on film productions including Flicker, Plato’s Cave, and Everything and Nothing.
Director of Photography:
Joel Wolter is a New England based cinematographer focused on both commercial and narrative filmmaking. His desire for collaboration, and drive to seek innovative techniques push the limits of tradition to challenge and change perspectives, which makes him the ideal person to shoot this project. His past work includes director of photography on the short films: Joan in Owl Land, Last Night, Cry About it, Boy Blue, Fine Upstanding Youth, and the feature documentary Suck it Up Princess. His experience also includes cinematography on the short film Men’s Rea, as well as numerous music videos.
A final and overdue update to this page. Thank you to everyone who supported this project, or shared it with others. The support of a large and growing community of people is what made this film a reality, and helped us reach and pass our goal.
With production over we will soon have a film to share back with the community, and to share with as much of the world as we can. We told the story we intended to tell in this film. And I am immeasurably proud and grateful for everyone who contributed to help us tell it.
With that said, I’ll leave behind some photos of the experience we just had bringing this film to life, and some uncolored stills from the film itself. Once again, THANK YOU...
We Reached Our Goal!
We'd like to thank everyone who shared and contributed to this project. We are thrilled to announce we have reached our goal of $10,000! You have graciously afforded us our budget for crew, props, transportation, and so much more. We cannot thank you enough! This gives us the green light for production, but isn't the end of the fundraising for us.
Stretch Goal and Donation Match!
Now that we have money to cover basic production, we have expanded into our stretch goal of an additional $1500 for production. This will help us bring on extra crew for some of our biggest shoots, allowing us to move faster and lighter, and focus on getting the most out of our busiest days. Also, we have an incredible oppurtunity to shoot additional footage at a retired maximum security prison in New York. This will lend even more authenticity to our prison scenes, but we would need to cover travel expenses and the location fee.
To help us move towards these goals, an anonymous donor is matching dollar for dollar each contribution made to our stretch goal, up to $1000.
Through your generous contributions, we really believe that this is your project too. Moving towards production, we want to keep you up to date on our work. So, we are launching a facebook page to keep you updated on our progress throughout production. Check it out, give it a like, share it with your friends, and stay tuned.
Thank you again for making this all possible!
The Hidden Blueprints Team
After many years locked up, when I finally left prison I went directly to college and began my four year journey toward my degree, and a new life. Graduating recently was not only a huge milestone, it was the crossing of the next threshold. I first started studying screenwriting in prison with the goal of one day going to college and becoming a filmmaker. Ironically, I left college as a graduate, and am now spending my days back in a prison preparing to make a movie about it...
It has been important to me for a long time that I one day tell the story we are telling. When our film is completed, I look forward to sharing it with the community. And I look forward to one day looking back over the mountains I had to cross to get here. But for now we still have a long journey ahead. I thank everyone who helped me along the way, and I thank all of our supporters who helped our film get this far. We will make all of your contributions worth it. The journey itself was worth it...
We are happy to announce that we’ve already raised almost half of our goal! We’d like to thank everyone who has been making calls, sending emails, and otherwise sharing the project with the community. We view this as a story that brings together communities of different people under the umbrellas of storytelling and human understanding. It’s been beautiful to see that very story come true before our eyes from all the communities who have joined with us to tell this story.
Since you are now a part of our production, or thinking about becoming a part, we’d like to share some exciting news. As you may know, we aren’t creating a typical documentary. We have a lot of narrative elements that will really bring this story to life, and many of those are reenactments of scenes in prison. In fact, over half of our film takes place in a prison cell, and getting the right spaces has been critical. In fact, the prison cell is easily one of the most important characters in our film.
So we’re thrilled to tell you first: we’ve found a vacant prison space that will fit all of our shooting needs. It’s an old jail building in Northern Vermont.
Since this space isn’t actively being used, we’ll be able to set our own schedule, have total control over the lighting conditions, and our Art Director, Kim Squires, will have complete artistic control over the look of the space. Here she is getting comfortable in one of the bunks:
This location is going to need a lot of work to transform into a functioning mid-2000 Kentucky prison, but we’re up to the task. The amount of flexibility and control we’ll have at this location is going to be crucial for our production, and it is all being made possible by your support.
But that’s not all we’ve been up to! This last weekend, Jeremy went down to the Freedom and Unity Youth Film Festival to speak with young filmmakers and accept the 2017 Freedom and Unity Work in Progress Award. Freedom and Unity has been a great resource to filmmakers in Vermont, from supporting young filmmakers, to helping finance projects like ours. We’d like to thank Nora Jacobson, Orly Yadin, Bill Stetson, Kate Cone, Michael Beahan, and the rest of the Freedom and Unity team for all that they do!
Finally we’d like to give special thanks to Paul Racz, Mary Simons, John Crabbe, Colby Kervick, Maxwell Brisben, Austin Kase, Joseph MacKenzie, Michelle Hill, Rona Klein, Jill Michaels, Walter and Katherine Baumann, James Lantz, Matthew Cropp, Karen Akins, Todd R. Lockwood, and some of our supporters who chose to remain anonymous for their invaluable help with this project.
Eric Sample Sample
Bill & JoAnne Hoblit
Senator Michael Sirotkin
Walter and Katherine Baumann
Todd R. Lockwood
16 supporters have chosen not to be listed for "Hidden Blueprints Film".
Make an Impact
Help us buy things like food, coffee, and rolls of tape.
Help us do the moving and shaking with truck rentals, generators, and gas.
Help us secure the props, costumes and set dressing that will bring this film to life.
Help us secure locations, and give us the financial freedom to do the heavy lifting.
Help us pay our cast and crew for their time and skill.
Patron of the Arts
Donations of this level helps us cover entire line items, and ensures we don't have to sacrifice our creative vision. Thank you so much!