Written By Jill Remensnyder
What does it take for one person to take a stand?
According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 5,764 young people ages 10 to 24 were murdered in 2007. That averages to 16 deaths per day. Among homicide victims in that same age group 84% were killed by a firearm. That same year in Illinois alone incidents of gun murders, gun suicides, and unintentional shootings killed 150 children and adolescents ages 19 and younger.
Many of these acts are committed by young people whose victims, whether intended or just innocent bystanders, aren’t any older than the perpetrators of these crimes.
Ready to do something yet?
These numbers, along with endless news stories about young lives taken before they’ve had a chance to live, are driving Chicago filmmaker Kevin Otterness to take a stand. Instead of turning a blind eye to the gun violence in today’s youth, he plans to open eyes to an epidemic that’s spread from high-density urban areas to the rural outposts of America. Kevin’s goal is to use his skills as a filmmaker to raise the awareness of this senseless violence beyond what the media portrays. His short film With One Eye Open intends to do just that. But he needs your help to make this possible.
With One Eye Open is a short film about a young boy caught in the vicious circle of urban violence and the desperation that drives him to emulate behaviors learned on the street that will eventually control the course of his life. Kevin knew this was a film he needed to make the moment he read the script written by Edgar Velazquez.
“My goal with this film is to bring to life the hold violence can have on kids who are surrounded by it everyday,” says Kevin. Not only does he intend to portray the violence that is very real to many younger people, he plans to make it so personal to the audience that they are compelled to take a stand against this kind of violence.
There are many different views on solutions to this issue. Some seem to think focusing on prevention programs is the answer, others tend to side with more legislation to create laws that handle serious youth offenders. While With One Eye Open portrays one boy’s pressure to succumb to violence it doesn’t mean to present an easy answer to the problem.
“There’s no silver bullet solution to ending youth and gun violence in our communities. I think it’s going to take a combination of factors – prevention and intervention programs, laws and legislation, and communities banding together – to bring an end to senseless acts of violence in our neighborhoods,” states Kevin.
This topic can easily be shrugged off as an issue that only plagues poverty stricken urban areas, but that just isn’t the case. It can happen anywhere at anytime. Columbine, Jonesboro, Virginia Tech, and the recent movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado are reminders that no one is immune to this sort of violence.
Pre-production for the film is tentatively planned in January 2013, with a goal to begin filming in the summer. All of this is contingent on whether or not he raises the funds in time.
With One Eye Open is seeking contributions on the crowd funding website Indiegogo. The $25,000 it will take to make the film will go to covering production and post-production costs including equipment rentals, locations, music, insurance, and legalities associated with making a film. This is an “all or nothing” campaign. If the $25,000 goal isn’t met none of the funds are made available to make this film.
If you can’t support the campaign financially, you can help by spreading the word to those who can. Share the Indiegogo page with friends and family, like the Facebook page, follow Kevin’s updates on Twitter and re-tweet to your followers. Every dollar donated is a statement that says, “Stop the violence.”
Kevin Otterness owns and operates Chicago based Posthouse Pictures; an independent film company producing groundbreaking independent films, music videos, and documentaries that appeal to a wide range of audiences. Kevin hopes that by creating quality content other productions will be drawn to Chicagoland and all it has to offer as a filmmaking location.
This film has the power to make a difference in the lives of many young people, their families, and communities. Are you ready to take a stand? If not now, when?