Courage

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Biography

Eric Hernandez

1 Campaigns | California, United States

28 days :06 hrs :40 mins

Until Deadline

218 supporters | followers

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$11,215

Goal: $46,700 for production

"Courage" is a heartfelt, family-friendly film about an urban Indigenous boy who reconnects with his culture through hoop dancing. Set in 2000s Los Angeles, his journey mirrors "The Karate Kid," with Uncle Terry as his mentor. This film celebrates cultural resilience and modern-day Indigenous life.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

"Courage" aims to empower Native American voices, challenge cultural stereotypes, and celebrate indigenous heritage through the transformative story of a young hoop dancer's journey to self-acceptance.

The Story


In this short film, we follow the inspiring journey of an urban Indigenous boy who reconnects with his culture and identity through the traditional art of hoop dancing. Set in a modern suburban environment, this film aims to break down stereotypes about Native Americans and rewrite the narrative that has been inaccurately depicted in cinema for the past hundred years.


Eric, our young protagonist, struggles with feeling out of place in his own family and community. Cut from the school basketball team and dealing with his parents' separation, he feels increasingly isolated. His life takes a transformative turn when his Uncle Terry, reminiscent of Mr. Miyagi from "The Karate Kid," introduces him to hoop dancing. Through this ancient and beautiful practice, Eric discovers the strength and resilience of his heritage.


As Eric prepares to perform at his school’s cultural festival, he faces the challenge of confronting and educating his classmates about the true essence of Native American culture, moving beyond Hollywood clichés and history book misrepresentations. His journey is not only a personal reclaiming of identity but also a powerful statement that modern-day Native Americans are vibrant, multifaceted individuals who contribute to contemporary society.


"Courage" is a kid-friendly, family-oriented film that echoes the heartwarming and inspirational tone of classic Disney movies. By supporting this film, you are helping to bring a much-needed perspective to the screen, honoring the past, and inspiring future generations to embrace their heritage with pride.



Why Me?


My experience sharing this narrative through dance and speech across global stages has equipped me with a unique insight into not only the cultural significance of our traditions but also the universal themes of identity and resilience that resonate with diverse audiences. My background in filmmaking, combined with my firsthand understanding of Indigenous cultures, positions me uniquely to tell this story with authenticity and artistic integrity. I am committed to using this platform to amplify the voices of Native American communities and ensure our stories are told by us, for us, and with the respect they deserve.


Why This?


This film seeks to bridge the gap between generations and cultures, providing a fresh perspective on the Indigenous experience in a modern world. By focusing on a young protagonist who rediscovers his identity through the traditional Hoop Dance, This film offers an engaging, uplifting, and transformative story that counters the often negative and inaccurate portrayals in mainstream media. This project will not only entertain but also educate and inspire viewers to appreciate and learn more about Native American cultures and their contributions to society.


Why Now?


The current cultural and social landscape is calling for greater diversity and authenticity in storytelling, making now the perfect time for "Courage" to enter the conversation. As movements to support Indigenous rights and representation gain momentum, there is a growing audience eager for films that accurately depict Native stories. Additionally, the film industry is increasingly recognizing the need for films that reflect true diversity—not just in casting but in whose stories are being told and who gets to tell them. "Courage" meets this moment by offering a compelling, culturally rich narrative that celebrates Native American heritage while addressing universal themes of identity and belonging. Your support now will help propel this timely and necessary film to audiences worldwide, contributing to a more inclusive and accurate media landscape.



Growing up in the 90s, I was profoundly influenced by suburban stories that showcased the intersection of culture, family life, and personal growth. This film will reflect those influences, portraying a realistic and relatable suburban environment where our protagonist, Eric, navigates his journey of self-discovery and cultural reconnection.


Visual style:

  • Cinematic Quality: We are committed to achieving a high production value, using top-notch equipment such as the Alexa ARRI camera, renowned for its superior image quality and cinematic look. This ensures that every frame is meticulously crafted to enhance the storytelling experience.
  • Lighting and Sound: High-quality lighting and sound equipment will be used to create an immersive and visually appealing atmosphere. The lighting will reflect the warm, golden hues of Southern California, while the sound design will capture the ambient sounds of suburban life.
  • Color Palette: The film will feature a vibrant yet natural color palette, emphasizing the contrast between the everyday suburban setting and the rich, cultural elements of the hoop dance tradition. This visual approach will highlight the beauty and significance of Eric's journey.

Influences:

  • Suburban Stories: Films that capture the essence of growing up in the suburbs, such as "The Sandlot", will influence the depiction of community and family dynamics.
  • Cultural Films: Movies like "Stand and Deliver" showcase the cultural richness and challenges faced by communities in suburban environments, providing a backdrop for the cultural themes in "Courage."
  • Disney Originals: The heartwarming and inspirational tone of Disney films will be reflected in the storytelling approach, making "Courage" a family-friendly film that appeals to a wide audience.

Production Quality:

  • Attention to Detail: We take pride in every aspect of production, from set design to costume choices, ensuring that the film's aesthetic is cohesive and enhances the narrative.
  • Clean and Polished: Our commitment to high production standards means that the film will be clean and polished, with no distractions from the story. The focus will be on delivering a compelling and visually stunning experience.


By investing in top-notch production quality, "Courage" aims to be a visually captivating and emotionally resonant film. We believe that this aesthetic approach will not only engage audiences but also honor the cultural significance of the story we are telling. Join us in bringing this vision to life and help us create a film that inspires and entertains.



Eric Hernandez - Producer, Director, & Supporting Actor


Eric Hernandez is a renowned Native American hoop dancer and storyteller from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. This film is based on Eric's own true experiences, reflecting his journey of embracing his heritage amid prevalent cultural stereotypes. A former TEDx speaker and World Hoop Dance Champion, Eric has performed in over 5,000 shows, including as a lead performer with Cirque du Soleil. With a social media following of over 500,000, Eric brings his rich heritage and dynamic approach to storytelling to "Courage." His passion for cultural expression and education aims to inspire and enlighten audiences through the power of film.


Pyet Despain - Co-Producer, Actor


Pyet Despain, a member of the Potawatomi tribe, brings a deep personal connection to the narrative of "Courage." Having lived a story similar to the one we are telling, Pyet is passionately committed to rewriting and reclaiming narratives about indigenous communities. Her insights and dedication are invaluable in ensuring that the film resonates with authenticity and serves as a powerful tool for cultural education and change.


Geneviève Gros-Louis- Music Composer


Geneviève Gros-Louis is an LA-based film and television composer, violinist, and producer from the Huron-Wendat Nation in Wendake, Québec. Fearlessly tackling topics like mental health, women's issues, and challenges faced by Indigenous communities, her art resonates around the world. With heart-wrenching original compositions, Gros-Louis weaves narratives through interdisciplinary arts, showcased in esteemed museums worldwide. Notable recent appearances include performances at the Cannes Film Festival, Paris Fashion Week, and Sante Fe Indian Market. Her recent film/tv score work includes season 3 of National Geographic's Life Below Zero: First Alaskans and may currently be found scoring the new season of National Geographic’s 

Life Below Zero. 


Adam Conte- Assistant Director


Emmy award-winning filmmaker dedicated to uplifting Indigenous voices through powerful storytelling in the video medium.


Sharona Eskeets- Wardrobe


Sharona Eskeets is Diné, of the Navajo Nation. Although raised primarily in New Mexico, she had the opportunity to live in several different states across the country and is currently based in California. Her passion for cultural regalia lead into working in costuming and wardrobe in film. Her credits include set costumer, FX makeup artist and costume designer for projects varying from commercials to tv shows and independent films. While working on various projects, her current work is fusing pop culture with the traditional in her personal art and cosplays. 


Pj Vegas- Actor, Music


PJ Vegas is a singer, songwriter, composer, and son of Pat Vegas founder of legendary Native American rock group @Redbone. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He is a MTV VMA winner for Best Video for Good in 2017 and co- produced Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in collaboration with the city of Los Angeles.While carving out his own lane in music he has become a voice for a new generation of LA/Indigenous artists reclaiming their space in mainstream music.


Petra Battiest- Makeup


Petra's artistic skills and vision has graced red carpets, film and television productions, theatrical performances, commercials and music videos. Notably, she has collaborated with renowned fashion designers such as Oscar De La Renta and Lauren Good Day, showcasing her skills in high-profile fashion shows. Additionally, Petra has formed successful partnerships with brands including Toyota and Hard Rock International. Her exceptional work has garnered recognition, earning features in publications like NBC News and Vogue.




Funding Allocation and Impact:


We are committed to ensuring that every dollar contributed to "Courage" is spent wisely and efficiently. Our primary focus is not only on creating a high-quality film but also on providing meaningful opportunities for Indigenous people to participate in the filmmaking process.


Empowering Indigenous Communities:


  • Job Creation: By funding this project, you are directly contributing to the creation of jobs for Indigenous people in various roles, including actors, crew members, production staff, and consultants. This empowers our community by providing valuable work experience and financial support.
  • Cultural Representation: This film offers a unique platform for Indigenous voices to be heard and stories to be told. By involving members of our community in the filmmaking process, we ensure that our cultural narratives are authentically and respectfully represented.
  • Skill Development: Participation in this project allows Indigenous individuals to develop and hone their skills in filmmaking, from technical aspects like cinematography and sound design to creative roles such as writing and directing. This fosters long-term growth and opportunities within our community.


Budget Breakdown:


  • Production Costs: Funds will be allocated to essential production needs, including equipment rental (such as the Alexa ARRI camera for superior image quality), set design, costumes, and props. High-quality production is crucial for delivering a visually stunning and professional film.
  • Personnel: A significant portion of the budget will go towards compensating our cast and crew, particularly prioritizing Indigenous talent. This includes salaries for actors, directors, writers, and production staff.
  • Post-Production: Professional editing, sound design, and color grading are vital for the final polish of the film. Allocating funds to post-production ensures that the film meets the highest standards of quality.
  • Marketing and Distribution: To reach a wide audience, we will invest in marketing and distribution. This includes festival submissions, promotional materials, and strategic partnerships to ensure the film’s success and visibility.
  • Community Engagement: We will also allocate funds to community outreach programs, screenings, and workshops that engage and benefit Indigenous communities, further amplifying the film's impact.


By supporting "Courage," you are not only helping to bring a powerful and important story to the screen but also investing in the future of Indigenous filmmaking. Your contribution supports job creation, skill development, and cultural representation, ensuring that Indigenous voices are heard and respected in the film industry. Join us in making "Courage" a reality and help us create a lasting impact within our community.



We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for your support and belief in "Courage." Your contributions are not just funding a film; they are empowering a community, preserving a culture, and providing opportunities for Indigenous voices to be heard. Together, we are making history by telling a story that breaks down stereotypes and celebrates the rich heritage of Native Americans.


Thank you for joining us on this journey. Your support means the world to us, and we are excited to share this incredible film with you. Let's make "Courage" a beacon of hope, inspiration, and cultural pride.


Thank you for being a part of our vision and for helping us bring this story to life.

Wishlist

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

Film Festival submission Fees

Costs $5,000

We plan to submit to the largest film festivals around the world

Music Composition

Costs $3,500

Music is such an important element for telling this story.

Post Production

Costs $5,000

Color grading, sound design, Editing,

Lighting Team

Costs $2,500

Lighting for the Film is a must

Hand made regalia for Hoop Dancer

Costs $2,500

We need Eric to have a handmade hoop Dance regalia.

AC

Costs $1,200

In "Courage," capturing the intricate details of hoop dancing and the emotional expressions of characters is crucial.

Gaffer

Costs $1,500

The gaffer will play a key role in setting the emotional tone of the film.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Arri Alexa 35 Production set Rental

Costs $8,000

Opting for the Arri Alexa 35 to personally ensure our film's visuals match the profound depth of our cultural narrative.

Cast the Perfect Lead Actor

Costs $4,000

This story requires a talented hoop dancer and actor to be involved in pre- production rehearsals as well as 5-7 days on set.

Assistant Director

Costs $2,000

Manage shooting schedule, coordinate crew, ensure director’s instructions are followed on set.

Craft Services for Production Team

Costs $1,500

Providing two meals a day for a 15-member crew ensures sustained energy and focus during shoots.

Compensation for Film Extras

Costs $2,000

Supporting extras financially enables vital, realistic crowd scenes, enriching our film's storytelling impact.

Director of Photography

Costs $5,000

Responsibilities: Oversee visual aspects of the film, select cameras and lenses, work with the director to achieve desired look.

Makeup Artist

Costs $1,500

Responsibilities: Apply makeup to actors, ensure continuity in appearance, handle special effects makeup if needed.

Sound Technician

Costs $1,500

Responsibilities: Manage sound recording on set, ensure audio quality, handle sound equipment.

About This Team

Eric Hernandez - Producer, Director, & Supporting Actor


Eric Hernandez is a renowned Native American hoop dancer and storyteller from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. This film is based on Eric's own true experiences, reflecting his journey of embracing his heritage amid prevalent cultural stereotypes. A former TEDx speaker and World Hoop Dance Champion, Eric has performed in over 5,000 shows, including as a lead performer with Cirque du Soleil. With a social media following of over 500,000, Eric brings his rich heritage and dynamic approach to storytelling to "Courage." His passion for cultural expression and education aims to inspire and enlighten audiences through the power of film.


Pyet Despain - Co-Producer, Actor


Pyet Despain, a member of the Potawatomi tribe, brings a deep personal connection to the narrative of "Courage." Having lived a story similar to the one we are telling, Pyet is passionately committed to rewriting and reclaiming narratives about indigenous communities. Her insights and dedication are invaluable in ensuring that the film resonates with authenticity and serves as a powerful tool for cultural education and change.


Geneviève Gros-Louis- Music Composer


Geneviève Gros-Louis is an LA-based film and television composer, violinist, and producer from the Huron-Wendat Nation in Wendake, Québec. Fearlessly tackling topics like mental health, women's issues, and challenges faced by Indigenous communities, her art resonates around the world. With heart-wrenching original compositions, Gros-Louis weaves narratives through interdisciplinary arts, showcased in esteemed museums worldwide. Notable recent appearances include performances at the Cannes Film Festival, Paris Fashion Week, and Sante Fe Indian Market. Her recent film/tv score work includes season 3 of National Geographic's Life Below Zero: First Alaskans and may currently be found scoring the new season of National Geographic’s 

Life Below Zero. 


Adam Conte- Assistant Director


Emmy award-winning filmmaker dedicated to uplifting Indigenous voices through powerful storytelling in the video medium.


Sharona Eskeets- Wardrobe


Sharona Eskeets is Diné, of the Navajo Nation. Although raised primarily in New Mexico, she had the opportunity to live in several different states across the country and is currently based in California. Her passion for cultural regalia lead into working in costuming and wardrobe in film. Her credits include set costumer, FX makeup artist and costume designer for projects varying from commercials to tv shows and independent films. While working on various projects, her current work is fusing pop culture with the traditional in her personal art and cosplays. 


Pj Vegas- Actor, Music


PJ Vegas is a singer, songwriter, composer, and son of Pat Vegas founder of legendary Native American rock group @Redbone. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He is a MTV VMA winner for Best Video for Good in 2017 and co- produced Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in collaboration with the city of Los Angeles.While carving out his own lane in music he has become a voice for a new generation of LA/Indigenous artists reclaiming their space in mainstream music.


Petra Battiest- Makeup


Petra's artistic skills and vision has graced red carpets, film and television productions, theatrical performances, commercials and music videos. Notably, she has collaborated with renowned fashion designers such as Oscar De La Renta and Lauren Good Day, showcasing her skills in high-profile fashion shows. Additionally, Petra has formed successful partnerships with brands including Toyota and Hard Rock International. Her exceptional work has garnered recognition, earning features in publications like NBC News and Vogue.




Current Team

Supporters

Followers

Incentives