16,000 Dollars

Los Angeles, California | Film Short


Symone B

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $28,185 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

489 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


As we approach the 2020 presidential race, reparations has become a major talking point among Democratic primary hopefuls. So, we asked ourselves, what would reparations look like in 2019? We're going to take audiences on a comedic journey, $16,000 and 400 years too late.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

This project tells a diverse story on a topic that dates back to our country's founding. Our crew has representation in front and behind the camera, making us well suited to tackle this subject. We're connected to the material and offer a unique perspective to the idea of reparations in 2019.

The Story


16,000 Dollars is a narrative comedy short film that imagines a world in which a struggling college grad wakes up to find that reparations have finally been paid to descendants of slaves in America. With this new found capital, he will decide how best to spend his reparations, totaling a mere $16,000.


Reparations has always been old folklore in the Black community, a mythical reward for building an entire country on the backs of slaves. When it comes to the actuality of receiving retribution for slavery, the issue often takes a back seat in the national political agenda.

The subject of reparations has become mainstream leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election. Many Democratic primary hopefuls are dangling the idea of reparations to secure the Black vote. Our film poses an opportunity to respond to the fleeting current political banter. It's a comedy film, because what's funnier than having a shot at reparations 400 years in the making?




Our film concept is very much inspired by Sorry to Bother You. We're playing with dark comedy while tackling social justice issues. The setting is in the "not too distant" future, but certainly a future we would like to explore. What would you buy with your reparations? Does paying out reparations end racism? And what does that future look like? We do know one thing's certain - there's gonna be a DOPE AF reparations party and you're invited!


We have confirmed casting!


David Gborie (Voice of Comedy Central & The New Negroes)


Francesca Fiorentini (Newsbroke & The Young Turks)


Brodie Reed (The New Negroes) - Lead


Ellington Wells (The New Negroes & Lazor Wulf) - Lead



On a more serious note, reparations can actually happen, but who would be paid and what would be the proper amount? This New York Times article dives into this idea [of reparations]. The lowest figure we've seen is close to $16,000, which is deeply concerning. A check that low couldn't do much more than pay off someone's student loans (or partially pay them off). Could a reparations check really compensate the Black community up to a perceived status quo? Does a check erase slavery, Jim Crow, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, etc?



When it comes to reparations, it's time to do the math!



We hope that this film at least raises general consciousness on why reparations are imperative. This is not a government handout, but rather an opportunity to reflect on our country's ugly past and move forward. There is no resolution, but reparations could be an excellent starting point.



As we embark on this project, we're hoping this material can connect with you personally or that you are an ally in the fight for reparations. We're going to make a hilarious short film and fill it with amazing talent (some of who you might recognize). If this sounds like something you're into, then contribute. You can even consider it as reparations if that makes you feel better! We hope that you'll join us on this journey!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.


Costs $8,400

We calculated the cost of our production crew for four days and this is where we landed!


Costs $4,000

We're filming at multiple locations in East LA - we'll need rentals, permits, and insurance.


Costs $3,000

This is how much we need to pay our cast of the film! This adheres to SAG minimum guidelines.

Camera & Lenses

Costs $1,600

We're using the Red Raven and this amount will allow us to also rent some accessories & lenses


Costs $1,200

We'll want to feed our cast and crew on set!

Post-Production Picture

Costs $6,000

This will allow us to hire an Editor, AE, and Colorist.


Costs $1,000

Sound mixing for final, locked picture.


Costs $300

Poster Design

Lighting Rental

Costs $800

This will allow us to rent a lighting kit plus sandbags.

Festival Submission Fees

Costs $300

Help us submit to festivals!

Music Licensing

Costs $400

Scoring/Music Licensing for film

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Brodie Reed Bio:

Brodie Reed is a politically conscious comedian, writer and actor from Inglewood, CA. Starting in 2012, he's been underpaid by digital content companies, cable conglomerates, even a couple independent movie productions and he's sick of it.


Ellington Wells Bio:

Ellington Wells is a cool time gal from the socialist state of Vermont. She moved to LA, where she currently resides with her dog Thomas, in order to pursue a career in writing for television and stand-up comedy. She also dabbles in short film writing. Credits: New Negroes (Comedy Central) & Lazor Wulf (Adult Swim)


Symone Baptiste Bio:

Symone Baptiste is a Director, Writer, Producer and comedy booker based in LA. She currently produces and books a roster of live shows including The New Negroes. Her core mission is to create content that reflects a wide range of diverse perspectives. She writes stories that elevate underrepresented voices, finding the humor in our differences while also speaking to social justice issues. She's a card-carrying socialist & member of the Democratic Socialists of America.


Michelle Zei Bio:

Michelle Zei is an impact producer and writer from Baltimore, based in LA.  She has contributed to publications including PAPER Magazine, Arts & Understanding, and NPR. She also manages marketing, distribution, and social impact for independent films and has worked in Sundance's Diversity Initiative and the Film Collaborative.  Her roots are in non-profit and community media where she worked with grassroots organizations, youth initiatives, and unions. She develops strategies for media projects/ films to propel social issues into public discourse, and is drawn to projects that engage youth and reach audiences in non-traditional ways to make the arts more accessible. 


Maha Thomas Bio:

Maha Thomas is a writer and community organizer originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. She currently resides in Los Angeles.  She is a member of B.A.R.E. Bourbon Alliance of Responsible Entertainers, which fights against discriminatory labor laws affecting sex workers. Prior to that, she was a Blavity writing fellow and coordinator for St. Bernards Project, a housing non-profit in New Orleans. She is the recipient of the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Community Partnership Grant for writing. Maha has also participated in Socialist Alternative, 15 NOW Minimum Wage Campaign, Justice Committee/ Cop Watch and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Current Team