COOKED: Community Asset Mapping Project

by Judith Helfand


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Deep belief and serial optimism are the two emotions I harness for producing challenging, disarmingly entertaining yet serious non-fiction films and engagement projects like COOKED.

COOKED, a feature documentary film and engagement project, will boldly ask questions every U.S. city must address, be it faced with extreme weather or extreme poverty.  Will their most vulnerable citizens die of the heat? Or will they die of long-term social and economic disinvestment?  Can the disaster masters, "crisis czars" and emergency preparedness teams conceive of community resilience as a preemptive necessity -- before the next disaster?

My intention with COOKED is to inspire and embolden individuals and policy makers to actively participate in redefining "disaster."  Five years from the film's release, I hope "disaster preparedness" and "adaptation to global warming" will become synonymous with creating healthy, equitable, livable communities, complete with stores, "green jobs," and access to locally grown affordable food.

On this site and at this time I am seeking $12,500 to go towards the development and production of an interactive, community-driven assets mapping project -- "BLUE PRINT for TRANSFORMATION".  This will serve the film and the long-term engagement effort in two different ways. The process of making the interactive map and using it will be a transparent part of the narrative in COOKED. The actual 2.0 "Blue Print for Transformation" project will live on the web as an ever-evolving map and "tool kit". The long-term goal/role: to serve as a model for other under-resourced and socially/economically isolated neighborhoods who are striving to redefine "disaster preparedness" as resilient and actively working towards turning "blight" into local "green" economic opportunity.

The Todd and Betiana Simon Foundation have generously offered to match every dollar raised on this site up to $12,500.

25K will enable us to bring together a team of South Side community activists and residents [ages thirteen to eighty] who will be trained on mapping/gathering asset data that is both visual and narrative in nature, an interactive "gamer"/designer, urban agriculturalists, a representative from Google's mapping division, public health experts and GIS geographers to workshop ideas, train the "mappers", build a prototype of the toolkit and use it to develop the actual map in the film and on the web and supply travel/"work" stipends. [Our goal is to get FLIP to donate digital video cameras and a Chicago based camera/media outfit to donate digital still cameras and GIS units].

Over the next year we'll collaborate with and follow South Side residents and activists as they map their neighborhood's assets, envision and redevelop the local economy around urban organic agriculture and "green job" opportunity/demand. We will record this community-driven vision of resilience, one that will challenge decision makers to not wait for the extreme weather to reveal extreme poverty but to redefine "disaster preparedness" as prepared to thrive everyday.


Sponsor Perks Full Description

Support $36:

Production blog access and a “Friend for Life”!

The meaning of this number is LONG LIFE in Hebrew. This meaningful contribution will buy you one subscription to Judith Helfand’s field production/DISASTER DETECTIVE blog which will include bi-monthly updates on Director Judith Helfand's sojourn into “disaster politics” and the circuitous odyssey we expect to take on the way to helping to reshape and reframe the definition of DISASTER (the push to turn THE OFFICE OF DISASTER PREPAREDNESS into the OFFICE OF COMMUNITY RESILIENCE).

Support $72:

Autographed BLUE VINYL DVD + Tchotchkie (Limited to 100)

A DVD of  – BLUE VINYL - signed and sealed with one of those INFAMOUS "tchotchkies" (literally a piece of the house and the thing that helped launch a consumer revolution dedicated to transforming a toxic market place -- see "Showcase page"). This Sundance award winning film that Helfand directed/produced with Daniel Gold is one of her early experiments with "toxic comedy" -- balancing horror with humor  -- and connecting the dots between class, power, race and "disaster".

Support $136:

Exclusive “Virtual Cutting Room” Screening and Moderated Feedback (Limited to 50)

A chance to see a new work-in-progress scene of the COOKED asset mapping project-in-progress, “blue-print for transformation" -- give feedback and discuss directly with director Helfand on a conference call.  You will get to do this via an exclusive "VIRTUAL CUTTING ROOM" SCREENING: view a new work-in-progress of COOKED, witness the behind the scenes process of making a documentary and offer your own feedback, if desired: a chance to see the mapping project as it comes together, before anyone else, participate with Judith Helfand via conference call to have your own impact on this new documentary film. 

Support $172:

A special COOKED autographed photo (Limited to 20)

You’ll receive a still photo of the mapping project-in-progress -- signed by Judith Helfand and Jasmine Easter, plus access to the virtual editing room and discussion. (See above.)

Support $218:

Autographed copies of A HEALTHY BABY GIRL, BLUE VINYL, and a Tchotchkie (Limited to 30)

You’ll receive signed copies of A HEALTHY BABY GIRL (Peabody award winning film prequel to BLUE VINYL -- see "Showcase page") and BLUE VINYL along with a signed one-of-a-kind blue vinyl tchotchkie [throw away in Yiddish] from the actual BLUE VINYL HOUSE (this was the "radical environmental justice totem" given out in 2002 during the first year of the film's release and now a coveted keep sake to thousands!

Support $504 (36 X 14):

A South Side Organic Garden Tour, a box of VEGGIES to take home & a TOMATO TASTING! (Limited to 12)

On this South Side Organic Garden Tour -- which will include Growing Home's very own Wood Street Urban Farm (featured in COOKED), you'll sample and revel in the locally grown, South Side produce at a private "tomato tasting": many say Growing Home's tomatoes are the "best tomatoes they've ever had" and not just because they've never had one that was grown on the South Side of Chicago -- now you can discover why!  Additionally, you'll receive your very own Organic South Side Vegetable or CSA box, hand selected and ready to take home. (Non-Chicago residents can regift the VEGGIES to a Food Bank on the South Side of Chicago).

Support $1,036:

Credit: “Friends of the Mapping Project” and a “First Look” at the project! (Limited to 7)

Receive credit on the film as “friend of the mapping project” and a "FIRST LOOK": you'll experience, as desired, a chance to be a part of the process. From an exclusive FIRST LOOK at the beta version of the online mapping project (be the first to see it and play around with it, before it goes live!) to the opportunity to host a special "work in progress/fine cut" screening of the film at your home or business, you'll get the first look at the interactive mapping project, a chance to host an intimate screening of the film -- and a chance to offer feedback and try out the producer's chair! 

Support $2,500:

Credit: “Friends of Cooked” and a VIP premiere/festival screening! (Limited to 7)

Receive a credit as FRIENDS of COOKED on the final film. You'll also receive 2 VIP tickets to a COOKED festival screening (or premiere) near you. After the screening, enjoy the festival/premiere reception or informal one-on-one with director, subjects, producers, crew as well as any advisors/producers or subjects in attendance representing the film. 


Match Funds are not currently available.

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    • January 06, 2011 shineon Community Member

      anything you do is worth supporting. go girl! you rock!!!!!