Fight Forward

Los Angeles, California | Film Feature

Comedy, Documentary

Luz Tapia Gaitan

1 Campaigns | California, United States

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This campaign raised $16,616 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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California’s public universities have been tuition-free for the better part of its existence. However, in the last 20 years, the cost of attendance has tripled. Why? Fight Forward documents a movement of empowered students advocating for affordable and accessible higher education.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

This is a documentary made by students for students. Fight Forward focuses on empowering young activists and aims to join the movement and take action against tuition hikes. Our commitment to diversity starts with our crew, which is intercultural and led by a female , first-time director.

The Story

Fight Forward is fiscally sponsored by The Film Collaborative, a 501(c)3 organization. ALL donations are tax deductible.


California’s public higher education has been tuition-free for the better part of its existence. However, in the last 20 years, the cost of attendance has tripled. State funds have plummeted and college students are paying more money to public universities than the government is. Fight Forward documents an ensemble of empowered student activists across California in their quest for affordable and accessible universities. Their goal is to persuade the state to invest more in higher education.


Students today face a new alarming reality: tuition hikes, massive debt,  homelessness, overcrowding and the increasing privatization of public universities. The documentary investigates these matters through their voices at the forefront.  Moreover, the documentary analyzes the current cost of attendance and the increasing for-profit trend across public colleges nationwide. The film includes interviews with advocates, professors, student associations, administrators and state legislators.

In 1960, the California Master Plan for Higher Education outlined the basic principles of the state college system. It promised free, accessible universities “for all”. However,  most of its core foundations were never enacted into law. A decade later, Ronald Reagan changed the country's perception over public policy. Through a push for privatization including enforcing tuition increases, Reagan hoped to suppress the anti-war sentiment and progressive students rising up in the late 1960s. Ever since, students have become more and more riddled with debt, financial insecurity, and a decreased quality of overall education.


Currently, students from California are paying the UC school of their choice $13,900 for in-state undergraduates and $40,644 for out-of-state. With these tuition prices, undergraduates, not only in the UC system but across the nation, have accumulated a grand total of $1.48 trillion in loans debt, affecting 44 million young adults. With that in mind, because tuition and the cost of living is so high, a significant percentage of university students suffer from homelessness. These issues continuously fall through the cracks as the image of a seemingly perfect college persists. 


Legislative proposals to make college tuition free are surfacing in a number of states, including California, as the level of public support for the idea becomes clear. Polling conducted by Penn Schoen Berland exclusively for the Campaign for Free College Tuition (CFCT) indicates that over three-fourths of the American public (77%) favor state governments providing free tuition at their colleges or universities for those who are academically qualified.


Fight Forward is aimed at young, college students and therefore has a fast and dynamic rhythm, combining knowledge with humor and using the visual language that the film’s target audience is familiar with. The film’s narrative intercalates between observational scenes with student leaders and organizers and brief thematic blocks with talking heads, expert sources. Moreover, in order to emphasize the comic nature of the documentary, the film also will include several Vox Pop selections shot with students and professors across California.


Fight Forward’s main focus is to empower students into defending their rights. We hope that students will take more personal responsibility for their education and use their financial power to support university policies that truly puts students first.


We are partnering with Rise California, a student group fighting for a return to free colleges in the state. Our belief is that the social impact aspect of this documentary begins before a single day of shooting. We're currently in the process of securing and discussing further collaborations with other student-led groups and public-policy California-based initiatives. 


With our Impact partners, we will distribute educational materials to accompany the film and launch social media strategies to fight tuition increases and #demandaplan. These campaigns are integral to the social impact of the documentary and will carry its message to a national platform.


Our goal is to organize a Congressional screening in California with state assembly lawmakers and higher education public policy experts. We'd like to make that happen in light of the 60th Anniversary of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, next April 27th of 2020.


Can Californians do better?


Important note - All incentives are subject to change depending availability. The photos above are mock-ups and do not represent the actual look of the reward/object in question.


In collaboration with Rise California



A note from our Fiscal Sponsorship: 

In accordance with IRS regulations, The Film Collaborative (TFC) issues tax receipts for all donations of $250 and over. Seed&Spark and credit card processing fees are deducted before TFC receives the funds. TFC issues tax receipts on the amount they receive.





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6TB Desktop Hard Drives

Costs $500

During Post-Production, we need to store and organize our footage in a secure and effective manner.

Used 4K Camera Package

Costs $3,000

Includes a 24-105mm zoom lens.

Travel Expenses

Costs $500

We plan to film across California and visit Sacramento, Berkeley and various campuses in the state.

Production Office

Costs $750

Includes funds for printing, permits, parking, transportation expenses, petty cash, etc...


Costs $500

More than 15 hours of conversations with students and experts that will need to be written down.


Costs $2,000

We need to hire an editor who can effectively convey the message of the film through its cuts.


Costs $1,000

Good original music makes the difference!


Costs $1,000

The tone and color value of the image carries a great influence on the appearance of the film.

Sound Mixing

Costs $1,500

The manipulation and enhancement of the sound of a film happen during the audio mix process.

Motion Graphics

Costs $1,500

They are a key aid to visually convey information and/or data related to the pertaining issue.

Lavalier Wireless Microphones

Costs $500

A pair. In order to film proper observational footage we need no sound cables attached.

Festival Submissions and Distribution

Costs $1,000

Includes the cost of deliverables, printing & advertisement and premiere related expenses.

Lodging in Berkeley

Costs $1,500

We will be filming in Berkeley several times throughout the year, including July 17-27th.

Lodging in Sacramento

Costs $750

Lodging needed for 4 crew members during 5 production dates during Fall of 2018.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Social Media, Web & Communications

Costs $2,500

Made by Veracity Media, a digital strategy firm specializing in political advocacy and non-profits.


Costs $1,500

We need coverage! Does Obamacare cover film productions?

About This Team

We are a team of students, both undergraduate and graduate, passionate about the pursuit of affordable, quality higher education. Each one of us comes from a different background, whether that be technical or creative. Through the process of developing this documentary, we are helping one another to grow professionally and become a truly collaborative force. Every step of the way, we consult our professors, mentors, and partner organizations to ensure that our vision is in line with the larger push for tuition-free public universities in California. 


Our team members struggle with their own financial anxieties and student loans, but even those who are debt-free understand that this is a fight for all of us to reclaim what it means to attend a public university.


Current Team