American Santa

New York City, New York | Film Short

Documentary

Avi Weider

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

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This campaign raised $9,570 for distribution. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

90 supporters | followers

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Black Santas rise as superhero figures, spreading boundless joy and acceptance to families at a bustling mall. But as Americans prepare to celebrate, a haunting shadow threatens to unravel the season's true spirit, delivering an indictment against bigotry written on the back of a Christmas Card.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

"American Santa" is an unapologetic look at American racism, seen through the eyes of Black Santas. We are committed to sparking essential dialogue about bigotry and fostering unity during the holiday season while celebrating the spirit of acceptance and joy.

The Story

"Santa, I really want my slaves back."

Voicemail left for Stafford Braxton, owner of "Santas Just Like Me"


In the heart of a bustling mall outside Charlotte, North Carolina, we embarked on a poignant cinematic journey, capturing the essence of the holiday season. Over three magical days leading up to Christmas, our cameras bore witness to the profound joy and love emanating from the Black Santas as they brought smiles to families and children. The mall, bedecked in festive decorations, became the stage where we showcased these heartwarming moments. However, beneath the twinkling lights and cheerful carols, a haunting dissonance emerged. We listened to the distressing racist voicemails that Stafford Braxton, the owner of "Santas Just Like Me," confronts on a daily basis. This stark juxtaposition between the jubilant spirit of the season and the undercurrent of hatred became the defining narrative of our film.



As the director and creator of "American Santa," my personal connection to the subject matter has driven my commitment to tell this story. Drawing from my own experiences with hate-filled voicemails, which, in my case, were anti-Semitic messages, I've developed a profound understanding of the pain, anger, and frustration that can arise when confronted with such bigotry. These experiences equipped me with the empathy and the determination to create a film that confronts racism head-on. My journey to bring this story to life goes beyond just telling a narrative; it's about using the power of cinema to provoke change and open conversations around critical issues.



Today, "American Santa" stands as a completed work, now screening at selective film festivals. The anticipation builds as we prepare for a high-profile New York City festival premiere scheduled for November 11th, 2023. But our mission extends beyond these screenings, as this film is also an Academy Awards contender, providing a powerful platform for its essential antiracist message. But we cannot accomplish this mission alone. To bring this message to the awards stage, we need your support, especially in garnering press attention and expanding our outreach. 



Our ultimate goal is to release the film online and for broadcast in 2024, allowing us to reach the widest possible audience and spark those critical discussions that challenge racism and promote unity. Together, we can drive real change in our society.



Now, I invite you to be part of our mission. By supporting "American Santa," you're not just contributing to a film; you're joining a movement to challenge bigotry, promote inclusivity, and spread the message of hope. Together, we can turn this stark dissonance into a resounding call for change. Your support will help us reach audiences far and wide, spark essential conversations, and inspire action against racism. Join us on this powerful journey and let's make a real impact this holiday season and beyond.


Avi Zev Weider // Director

Wishlist

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Press + Outreach

Costs $7,000

We need to engage as many outlets as possible to get the film widely seen. A full-scale campaign can be costly and this is the bare minimum!

Promotional Materials

Costs $1,500

We need to print up postcards and posters to help let people know about the film!

Cash Pledge

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About This Team

STAFFORD BRAXTON

Owner - "Santas Just Like Me"

A native of Yorktown, VA, now residing in Huntersville, NC, Stafford Braxton, Jr spent almost a decade as a campus minister at VCU. Starting as a professional photographer, Stafford later formed his current business venture as a Santa broker. For the past eleven years with Santas Just Like Me, Stafford has provided Santas of color for various Christmas celebrations including parades, tree lightings, visiting ill children, and sleigh-bys. This year, Stafford launched a non-profit, Santas Just Like Me Too, focusing on providing no-cost Santa visits, toys, food & clothing for those finding it difficult to provide a traditional Christmas for their families.



AVI ZEV WEIDER

Director & Producer

Avi is a New York-based filmmaker and the co-director of the upcoming feature documentary “Speedbag,” director of “Welcome To The Machine” (SXSW), “I Remember” (Sundance), story producer of “Ghostbox Cowboy” (Tribeca), producer of “Danland” (Slamdance), and was the associate producer on the films “Scott Walker” (BAFTA) and “Cinemania.” Avi’s feature film project ZEROES AND ONES was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. He is the recipient of awards and grants from IFP, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome, Harnisch, and the Sloan Foundations. Avi was also selected by The Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of their Emerging Visions program.



ALEXANDRA BERGER

Producer

Alexandra is a New York City-based producer, filmmaker, and co-director of the upcoming feature documentary “Speedbag.” Her documentary feature “Danland” premiered in 2012 and was released on Netflix. Alex’s short film “Why Be Kind” was released on Upworthy on Inauguration Day 2017, and asks children to talk about the meaning of kindness. Alex was also the Director of The Fifth Night Screenplay Reading and short Film series at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, where she oversaw the production of over a hundred screenplay readings for an audience of New York City film development professionals. Her track record for getting films into production was unparalleled and featured such award-winning films as “TransAmerica,” “Girlfight,” and “Roger Dodger.”

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