Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Movie:Rashawn's Desire: The Untold Story of Rashawn Brazell

About this project

RASHAWN’S DESIRE: The Untold Story Of Rashawn Brazell is a documentary that closely examines the story behind the 2005 murder of 19 year-old Rashawn Brazell of New York City, whose dismembered body parts were found on a trackbed in a subway station in what one magazine referred to as the “most horrific murder since Jack the Ripper.” Through in-depth examination of the sensational media coverage of the case and interviews with those who knew Rashawn best, the film tells the story of who Rashawn Brazell truly was, what likely led to the crime, the stalled investigation and one determined mother’s continuing quest to find justice for her son.

It has been six years since Rashawn Brazell was murdered. After a brief onslaught of sensationalistic coverage, the case remains unsolved and media attention has waned. The purpose of this film is not only to reinvigorate the interest in the case, but to correct certain factual inaccuracies that have been perpetuated via the media coverage that happened after Rashawn was killed. This will be the deepest, most accurate and thorough telling of the Rashawn Brazell story that has been seen to date.

This project began when Desire Brazell met filmmaker Terik King in the fall of 2009 for a one-hour radio interview on WNSR, the radio station of The New School in New York City.
According to Terik, “I had been curious about the case for almost five years at that point, and the radio show afforded me an opportunity to probe a bit beyond what little had been reported in the mainstream media and even on the blogs that rallied around Rashawn’s cause. I had seen the image of Rashawn in his graduation tux so many times, I wondered, ‘Who WAS this kid, really? Certainly he didn’t walk around in a tux every day. Is it possible he did something to somehow brought this upon himself?’ It was supposed to be a single show, a single hour. But after the interview, when Desire left the studio, there was an energy there that had never been there before. The crew was in stunned silence – my archival videographer said, ‘That’s the best one you’ve ever done.’ For my part, I felt like I had just scratched the surface, and couldn’t help but feel that there was much more to learn about Rashawn, the case…everything. I also realized that I had misjudged him to a degree, and that that was driven by the tenor of the press portrayal of him. It wasn’t until after the radio show had aired that I looked at the archival footage and realized there was a film there.
“So I asked Desire if she’d be interested in doing a documentary and, knowing her general disdain for the media treatment of their story up to that point, I honestly expected her to refuse. To my surprise, she said ‘yes.’ And I’ve been off and running ever since. It has been a journey that has taken me to places I never thought I’d go, it has made me confront my own biases and issues…and I’ve come to know Rashawn and his family in a way that I never dreamed I would. Now it’s important to me that the film allow the audience to come to know Desire, the family, and Rashawn as I have. I consider it a sacred obligation.”

The film is approximately 75% shot and editing is already underway, with Terik King pursuing final interviews and adding new visual components on a daily basis. There are still a handful of interviews to be added and several reenactments to be shot of actual events as recounted by interviewees in the film. A portion of the completion funds will go toward the financing of these reenactments in addition to postproduction expenses.

Our goal, when reached, will allow the film to receive top-flight post production attention in time to be submitted to PBS for inclusion in the upcoming season of the critically-acclaimed documentary series, Independent Lens.

The funds will be used to cover remaining expenses including:
Editors’ salary
Intellectual property licensing
Color correction/color grading
Sound mix and scoring
Legal clearances
Reenactment shoot costs

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