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Indiegogo Campaign For 'Savage' - A Film Out To Challenge The 'White Savior Complex'

by Sergio
November 29, 2012 11:36 PM
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When I first saw the trailer for the new short film by filmmaker Wendy James called Savage, the first thing that came to mind was "Oh No! Not another white savior helps poor black people movie!'"

In fact I told the producer, Jasmyne Pope, that I think that our readers (including myself) are pretty sick of these films, but I was informed that, this was not the intention of James' film at all, but actually the opposite. It is a film that sets out to criticize and challenge that tired, old film cliche.

As James says herself, her film "takes a critical look at the ''white savior complex'' which we all know is alive and well in American cinema. Think about movies such as Dangerous Minds, The Blind Side, even the film Avatar. In the film Savage, we observe Sara Maris, an idealistic young white teacher (in a Brooklyn Bed-Stuy high school) , as she tries to optimistically ''save'' her black student, James. However, in this film we seek to question: who really is in need of saving? James never asks to be ´´saved´´. Might the white heroine actually have some prejudices and desires that should be scrutinized? The story we aim to tell with this film is a complex one, and we hope to promote discussion amongst our audience about White Privilege."

She went even farther to say that Savage is intended to be "a challenging piece. It’s about the way people perceive their world and their position in it. It’s also about the way this perception causes us to create boundaries for ourselves in our society, most specifically through categories of racial and class “otherness”. Sara’s perception of her own authority, both real and imaginary, affects every move she makes. In Savage, salvation is a strong theme. We’d like to challenge the viewer’s ideas of salvation and the “white saviour” trope. We highly agree with James Baldwin when he said, “salvation is a two-way street."

Well that's a relief, and I wish more films were made that set out to examine and take apart that worn out concept.

But frst, some backgorund on James herself (pictured below) who is an Afro-Latina, and who currently (and proudly) lives in the Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn neighborhood. A native of Los Angeles, she got her BFA in film at UCLA, and is currently working on her MFA in Film Directing at Columbia University. She's inspired by films made in the "neo-realist" style of post-war Italian directors such as Vittorio de Sica (Umberto D, The Bicycle Thief), Roberto Rossellini (Open City, Germany Year Zero), and the Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, Amores Perros).

Currently there is an Indiegogo campiagn to raise $6,000 in 33 days to help pay for post-production and a few pick up shots. As James and her producer Pope say "as a couple of young black women making films, it hasn't been easy an easy road getting this film made, but we'll continue to strive to create meaningful and challenging work."

To contribite to their fundraising campaign go HERE.

Below is the trailer for the film.

Wendy James

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  • Wendy J | December 31, 2012 3:56 PMReply

    Hey S & A readers! I have only 1 day to finish raising funds for Savage! Please check the Indiegogo link here: This film will both challenge and enthrall you! Peace & Love - Wendy

  • Micah | December 1, 2012 4:35 PMReply

    I'm not knocking this film by any means, but I think the best way to combat the "White Savior" story lines is to make films where Black people save each other. I don't like to go down the road of demonizing people that might sincerely want to help. There enough white people that want to do the opposite. There are actually plenty of true stories of Black People helping Black People. I know stories like that are near impossible to get funding for. I just feel it's the best way to proceed in order to have more dynamic and uplifting black cinema. From the posts and comments we see on this site I feel there are many trying to bring these stories to the screen.

  • Carl | November 30, 2012 7:46 PMReply

    I tell ya Sergio, you have a way of getting bitch ass negroes upset. They follow you from post to post like cubs to a bear. lol

  • sergio | November 30, 2012 8:15 PM

    As Bugs Bunny used to say: "Ah my public, how they LOVE me!"

  • Fred | November 30, 2012 1:09 PMReply

    "In fact I told the producer, Jasmyne Pope, that I think that our readers (including myself) are pretty sick of these films" And yet Sergio, you are looking forward to Django Unchained. How about some consistency, man?

  • Fred | December 2, 2012 8:50 AM

    What question, Sergio? You didn't ask me a question. In any case, my last response was directly in reply to your last comment. It was hardly subtle.

  • NO BRAINER | December 2, 2012 1:35 AM

    "It's simplistic mentality like that which allows whites to maintain white supremacy especially in Hollywood," says Fred. I'm glad not to be the only one whining about this anymore. Nothing against Sergio, one of the few S&A'ers who I don't have a problem with, but I believe in the old law of attraction adage that basically says "you get what you ask for." Simply put, blacks would've found equal ground by now in the motion picture industry, as we did in the music industry, if we asked for steak and lobster instead of settling for the hot dogs.

  • sergio | December 1, 2012 8:10 PM

    However you didn't answer my question so it must be true

  • Fred | December 1, 2012 6:53 PM

    You're really reaching. Sorry to tell but you got nothing to grab on to.

  • sergio | December 1, 2012 1:20 PM

    Bet you've got a white girlfriend. Guys who talk like you always do

  • Fred | December 1, 2012 12:08 PM

    Sue you? So that you can end up broke and running around looking for a white savior to get you back on your feet again? Nah, man. I wouldn't want you to start getting some sort of a complex.

  • sergio | November 30, 2012 7:08 PM

    O.K,. so I'm simple. So sue me

  • Fred | November 30, 2012 1:49 PM

    As if there has never been movies made that had blacks killing whites? You need to raise the standards of what you accept otherwise there's no progress. It's simplistic mentality like that which allows whites to maintain white supremacy especially in Hollywood. They give out only crumbs and you say that from that you have a full stomach.

  • sergio | November 30, 2012 1:33 PM

    You've got a black guy killing white guys out of revenge. That's enough

  • Silly Sergio | November 30, 2012 10:50 AMReply

    That's why you don't make ignorant presumptions. :)

  • burp | November 30, 2012 10:45 AMReply

    I love this idea a lot. I hope she gets the funding for this project. Thanks for posting SAN.

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