Here at No Film School, we're massive fans of the fine folks over at Stillmotion. Day in and day out, they're not only doing what they love (and doing it well) in order to make a living, but they're also sharing everything they learn along the way on their blog and through their numerous workshops. For the past year or so, Stillmotion has been in the process of producing their first feature-length independent documentary, entitled #standwithme. Not only does the documentary itself look fantastic, but the way that it was funded, produced, and (will be) distributed breaks the mold, and it may very well set a new precedent for how independent films are made in the future.

First and foremost, here is the trailer for #standwithme:

#standwithme isn't your typical "issue documentary." It started as a short doc about a young girl named Vivienne, who, upon seeing a photograph of two enslaved Nepalese boys, decided to do something in the only way she knew how, by selling lemonade one glass at a time. The documentary quickly grew into a full-fledged feature. Vivienne's story lead to another one, the story of a photographer whose life is dedicated to creating awareness about modern slavery through the art of photography. The story then grew into a first hand look at fair trade practices and how people can get involved.

Exclusive Behind the Scenes Video Premiere

Who better to explain how #standwithme was taken from concept to finely-tuned finished product than the folks at Stillmotion themselves? Here's their fantastic behind-the-scenes documentary (which is premiering exclusively on No Film School):

What started out as a simple documentary about a young girl in California fighting for change turned into a global journey for Stillmotion, one that would take them across multiple continents in the pursuit of the larger story. It turned out not to be a documentary about an issue, but a documentary about the people who are legitimately doing something about it.



#standwithme isn't just an ambitious film in terms of its content. It's also an extraordinary example of the direction in which independent film might very well be headed in the future. All of the integral processes of filmmaking, from funding to distribution, were rethought for this individual film. Instead of taking the one-size-fits-all approach of crowdfunding and film festivals, Stillmotion tailored their own unique strategy for funding and distribution in order to make sure that the film would be seen.

So, how can you be one of the first to see #standwithme? Well, come February 1st, Stillmotion will be taking to the road and premiering the film (plus running day-long filmmaking workshops) in 30 cities across the United States. If you want to see if they're dropping by your town, have a look at this map.


In future posts we'll talk in-depth about what Stillmotion did in order to get this film made. We'll look at everything, from their unique funding and distribution models, to how their extensive pre-production provided them with the material to not only power through a complicated and multi-faceted production process, but also woo investors in order to pursue the larger story of the film. We'll have even more exclusive articles on this subject, so stick with us.

To learn more about the film, and to find ways to get involved, head on over to the Stillmotion blog.

What do you guys think about #standwithme? Let us know in the comments!