The Jay DeMerit Story : The Final Push Is On

If you read any football blogs or follow Twitter, you can’t help but have noticed the promotional funding push for “Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story”.

Football fans across the world have got behind the documentary in their droves.

AFTN has championed the film from the start and it’s been great to see fans and supporters groups throughout North America and beyond feel the same way about the project.

When film-makers Nick Lewis and Ranko Tutulugdzija decided to shun the traditional route of funding films and go down the Kickstarter road two months ago, it was a brave and bold decision.

The goal was to raise $215,000 in 75 days.

It looked to be a challenge, and it has been, but the same something that grabbed our attention about the film back in March, also seemed to capture the imagination of football fans the world over and with three days left, the project needs just under $7,000.

It’s a remarkable achievement, with so many remarkable tales to be told from the whole project, but remember, it’s not over yet.

Whether it be no pledge but spreading the word, a $1 pledge, a $10 pledge a $100 pledge or a $10,000 pledge they are all still equally important.

Pledges so far have come from all walks of life, and we’ll be featuring some of these stories on AFTN next week. It’s been amazing to watch money come in from kids, the unemployed, celebrities and even serving US soldiers over in Afghanistan.

Without getting too gushy, but they’ve all been touched by the message of hope and ‘follow your dreams’ that the film portrays.

From the start, the producers had hoped to take the film on a cinematic grassroots tour to raise awareness and pledges and this was a huge success, with screenings from coast to coast in America, along with events in Canada and the UK.

Although not finalised, if all goes well and the project goals are met, there are hopes to take the finished film on a thank you tour of the cities that have also helped the most.

The US national team’s supporters group, The American Outlaws have played a huge part in the success, organising screenings throughout the country and raising a huge amount of money for the film in the process.

Chris Olenik, who is executive producer on the documentary and has overseen the social media aspect of the funding project, told us:

“We have to give a huge thank you to the American Outlaws. They have been amazing and we couldn’t have got this far without the support of their amazing organization”

A number of other supporters groups have had screenings, including both The Southsiders and The Northsiders in Vancouver.

Co-Producer Nick Lewis told AFTN upon the project launch in May:

“We [the filmmakers] want to take this project to the fans. It’s a community project and kickstarter.com aligns perfectly with how we want to get this film distributed and have Jay’s story told.”

“This film is not just for those who love soccer, but for anyone who has a dream. No matter who you are or what your passion is in life, Jay’s story is one that will inspire.”

That was then and a lot has happened in the short time since.

We caught up with Nick again this evening to ask him how he felt about the support they’ve received in the last two months and how the whole project has gone:

“The support has been amazing. And I’m not talking about the support of big organizations, but of everyday people who simply love Jay’s story and want to support the beautiful game.”

“To have people reach out and volunteer their time and creativity has been something we didn’t expect. It really is a testament to Jay’s story and to Jay as a person.”

“It is clear that there is a passion for the game, but to see others put their effort, money, and creativity into the project is what it really is all about.”

“I think the funding aspect has gone great as well. This is a tough economy and we have raised quite a bit of money and it is all going towards the film.”

So what does it feel like now that the Kickstarter project is coming to an end and that final goal is ever so close?

“I am feeling like I need a vacation!” (laughs)

“In all honesty we still have a lot of work to do. The editing and licensing is going to be a process and we want to do it right because Jay’s story deserves it (this is all assuming that we finish the funding).”

“So we have a lot of work to do on that end and most importantly on getting it out to a wide audience. But we will take a few days and relax… much needed!”

As Nick notes, there is no room for complacency though. The goal has not been met yet and these closing hours of the project are vital.

The way that Kickstarter works, every project must be fully funded before its time expires and the same is true of this one. If the funding is not fully there by 12.20am PST on July 18th, then the project will not proceed.

Everyone that has supported the film so far needs to make sure that we don’t let this happen.

So we need one last push for pledges. Encourage everyone to go HERE to pledge and get some great goodies as their reward.

Let’s get this done.

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