CROWN follows Keith Smith, a Black photographer and sommelier, who’s forced to sacrifice his identity to protect his stability as an artist in NY. The short film examines the hypocrisy of a world that celebrates the “art” but not the man.
Mission StatementDash Kolos and her team seek to tell impactful stories about artists on film. Using rich imagery and documentary-style storytelling, the goal is to bring raw moments that touch on the everyday and imperceptible to the forefront while centering the diverse group of artists.
About The Project
“86% of Black teens who experience discrimination state they have experienced discrimination based on their hair by the age of 12. Hair discrimination can start as early as five years of age.”
Hustle culture is a term that New Yorkers live and breathe. "Day job" is a term that artists tend to dread. When Keith, a Black photographer, and sommelier, submits to the whole day job thing, we wonder, can Keith’s personal expression be accepted and celebrated in the same spaces and in the same way his bold photographs suddenly are?
In CROWN, we experience the protagonist as the outsider in spaces that should invite him with open arms. When he tries to fit in professionally, in pursuit of his dream, he’s left with the trauma of sacrificing part of his identity.
In the United States, there is no existing federal law that prohibits discrimination based on hair texture which is a form of social injustice predominantly experienced by African Americans. There have been legislative proposals to do so with The C.R.O.W.N Act. According to the official website, 18 states and local governments have passed laws prohibiting such discrimination. California was the first state to do so in 2019. However, the fight for federal legislation continues. Learn more and sign the petition here: The C.R.O.W.N ACT.
In support of the C.R.O.W.N Act, the film CROWN is a call to action for audiences who do not understand the impact of hair-based discrimination.
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
I’m Dash Kolos. I’m the writer, director, and producer of CROWN. In my work - be in narrative or documentary films, fine art, or street photography - I always look for small imperceptible moments. My desire is to turn those moments into subtle, meaningful stories. My last film was a documentary feature called INSIDE COLOR, following a New York up-and-coming artist Cavier Coleman. The film was released in 2021 and received festival buzz. CROWN is my next narrative short film.
One can not be a world citizen without recognizing how hair-based discrimination impacts people of African descent. Discrimination based on natural hair is still legal in 32 states, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
In creating this film, I am placing the main character in the world of art and wine – a world that is meant to expand worldviews (but can also be insular and small) – I want to speak directly to an audience that hasn’t had a chance or a need to acknowledge hair-based discrimination.
It’s my hope that anyone who doesn’t know about The C.R.O.W.N. Act and these stories can connect with the main character, Keith, and is moved enough by the experience to become an accomplice.
SHOOTING ON FILM
To create the intimate and immersive world of CROWN, I want to shoot it on film. There isn’t just some nostalgic love, but the desire to deliver an incredible cinematic experience to the audience.
The magic of working with film is that it captures an incomparable depth. Film feels unique and has a particular quality that I want to evoke in CROWN. Working with film also requires a lot of trust and an extra amount of preparation, which in my experience, gives a great amount of freedom to create.
The CROWN Team needs your generous support to help make this film come to life. Pledge to the amazing team and fantastic cast. Support a film that has something to say about the world we live in now and wants to play a part in creating a kinder world in the future.
Pledge. Follow. Share.
Seed&Spark requires at least 80% of our goal in 30 days to receive ANY funds. They call this “The Greenlight.” Your pledges will go towards cast and crew wages, locations, equipment, insurance, and other production expenses.
CROWN Production Goal - $48,440
- Camera & Set Lighting (Shooting on Film) - $17,868
- Producers & Production Staff - $9,069
- SAG Talent - $3,750
- Locations - $4,800
- Hair & Makeup - $1,400
- Art Department & Wardrobe - $3,160
- Set Operation - $2,682
- Transportation - $2,838
- Production Sound - $1,000
- Insurance - $1,873
CROWN Stretch Goal Post-Production - $10,476
Additional funds raised will go towards Post-Production.
CROWN Stretch Goal ~
Any funds raised on top of Production and Post-Production goals will go toward our festival, distribution, PR, Marketing and promotional goals.
We are grateful you've decised to join us on this journey.
We will be coordinating in compliance with New York State Laws. All crew will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 24 hours ahead of shooting and wear masks on set. The same requirements will be extended to the cast, though they will be permitted to remove masks while on camera.
The requirements of keeping even an independent film set up to SAG standards are expensive. Your pledge can be used in part to keep the cast and crew safe which is of utmost importance.
USE THE TEMPLATES BELOW TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD.
Hey Friends! I’m writing to tell you about a special project I just pledged to on Seed&Spark called CROWN. Check out this impactful short film that examines the hypocrisy of a world that celebrates black artists but fails to celebrate the richness of their humanity. You can check out their crowdfunding campaign to learn more about the project here: https://seedandspark.com/fund/crown#story
The filmmaker has XX/DAYS left to make their goal. So pledge today!
SOCIAL MEDIA TEMPLATES:
1. Pledge to CROWN. The short film examines the hypocrisy of a world that celebrates the “art” but not the man. https://seedandspark.com/fund/crown#story
2. A powerful story about hair-based discrimination shot on film. Run to support CROWN! https://seedandspark.com/fund/crown/edit#story
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About This Team
Dash Kolos Writer/Director/Producer
Dash Kolos is an actor, photographer, writer and a filmmaker. Born in Moscow in the 80s, Dash spent her late teens and early 20s getting to know the world. Six months in London and more months in Europe were followed by an adventurous year in Egypt. Dash immigrated to the United States in 2010 to pursue her artistic calling that was probably evoked by her dad’s film camera at the age of about 4. After a few years on the West Coast where she studied under Gregory Berger - Yale School of Drama graduate and faculty member, Brooklyn became her home. This is where she finds most of her stories and endless inspiration. With quite a few network acting credits under her belt, in the summer of 2020, Dash had her debut as a cinematographer, creating a full length documentary ‘Inside Color’, that was released in 2021. Dash has written a number of narrative feature films and has been developing a documentary TV series. Right now all of her focus is on the short film CROWN that she wrote and is set to direct.
Anjini Taneja Azhar Producer
Anjini Taneja Azhar is an award-winning director, screenwriter, and producer. She began her journey in the film industry as an actress, working in lead and principal roles for network TV from HBO to NBC and feature films such as JJ Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness. Although appearing on screen for a large portion of her life, Anjini took her experience and network to pursue her true passion: filmmaking. She has directed and written multiple award-winning shorts and produced narrative, music, and commercial projects for both major artists/ companies and indie teams. In 2020, Anjini founded her production company, 'A Ghost Story' film company where she facilitates and produces narrative stories that don't want to follow the status quo. In 2021, Anjini and her work were featured in Forbes, and she is now preparing to move into development for the first feature film (second feature film as a screenwriter). For Anjini, cinema is her home, and she is thrilled to join the team and produce CROWN.
Philey Sanneh Director of Photography
Philey Sanneh is a Director of Photography working between New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. He primarily works in the Editorial, Commercial, Music Video, and Fashion worlds. His documentary work includes projects like Donda, Yeezy, A&E. He is an Alumni of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and in the past worked as a photographer for Billboard Magazine, 7x7SF, SF Gate, and Butchershop Creative.
Shanice Hoo Mills Associate Producer
Shanice Hoo Mills is the London based Founder and Managing Director of Kallure; a communications agency that delivers services for clients across lifestyle and tech. A communications specialist, providing high quality public relation services across international markets within finance, technology and consumer brands. Shanice started her career organizing music events under Grounded Live in collaboration with LinkUp TV and completed a number of interns including assisting the Fashion Editor of Notion magazine. After finishing university with a combined degree in the arts, specializing in performance, journalism, news and media, she went on to work with the Evening Standard on their 'The Estates We're In' campaign raising awareness on social disparity in inner London estates. Shanice then joined Citi Bank, Public Affairs EMEA and found her place on the prestigious PR programme, the Taylor Bennett Foundation. She has worked for a diverse range of companies, including Vodafone, Editorial Intelligence and Grayling: Atomic PR. A passionate speaker, Shanice has spoken on subjects such as social inclusivity, race, mental health and women in leadership. Through her past works as an influential voice in her community, Shanice has been featured in The Evening Standard, ITV News, BBC Radio London, Politics Show, We Are The City and Brixton Blog.
Brandon Middleton Cast/Co-Producer
Brandon Middleton is an American TV and Film actor. He was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He grew up playing sports but always had a passion for art and media. Eventually he went on to study Media Management at Middle Tennessee State University. After graduation he married and moved to Los Angeles where he began auditioning and studying acting seriously. This led to many movies and TV appearances and a full time pursuit of acting. His most recent credits include Animal Kingdom on TNT, Family Reunion on Netflix and All American: Homecoming on CW. He is currently in pre-production on a new film by Dash Kolos called CROWN, in which he will be the lead and co-producer.
Benjamin Franczuszki Cast/Co-Producer
Benjamin Franczuszki is an actor originally from the Philadelphia area. Ben grew up in Malvern Pennsylvania and moved to Los Angeles after graduating from La Salle University in Philadelphia. Ben has worked in Television, Film, and Theater with actors like George Clooney and Colin Firth to name a few. Ben is set to star in and co-produce CROWN.
Rand Faris Cast
Rand Faris is an Arab actress & writer, who has completed her studies in England, graduating with a BA hons degree in Drama and Psychology. Born in America and raised in Jordan, she values and continues to expand her diverse perspective. She has been in New York for six years, practicing her craft at various acting conservatories. She has participated in theatre work at a number of venues around New York, and worked closely with two Brooklyn based theatre companies exploring experimental & physical theatre with one, as well as classic, contemporary and original work with another. She continuously explores her voice through her acting and writing, and hopes to bridge the gap between Arab and Western Cultures through work she creates, participates in, and contributes to. Rand has recentrly joined the CROWN team.