The Gem Project
In a time of increasing Anti-Asian hate crimes, criminalization of immigrants, and climate change, The Gem Project is a Feature Length Visual album comprised of 8 songs featuring music by SoulTree, that explores the multiple dichotomies of what the Undocumented Asian Pacific Islander experience is.
Mission StatementThe GEM Project (TGP) aims to connect underrepresented voices and faces behind and in front of the screen through a radically honest and vulnerable visual album project. Our goal is to bring this eight-track album to life, bridging the stereotyped expectations of Asian immigrants within the U.S.
About The Project
About the Project
The GEM Project is the first-ever Undocumented Immigrant, Asian, and Pacific Islander creative collaboration of a Visual Album for the GEM Mixtape. TGP is a visual album highlighting Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, immigration challenges, and the deeper connection of the essence of dehumanization.
Each song explores subject matters of Intimacy, Grief, Resiliency, Self-Reflection, Growth, and healing, all of which hereunder common human traits that are overshadowed by prelabeled news and tv show narratives.
The Album Is Finished?
Yes! The 8 songs from the Gem Mixtape are finished, what we are currently working on is a visual album that can capture the emotions, themes, and textures of the music.
What Did I Just Watch?
What you just witnessed is a proof of concept that was made by a team of volunteers who made it possible with the bare minimum of a budget. Filmed over a weekend, Paolo had the idea of filming portions of the visual album's story, inspired by the actual songs and interviews with SoulTree, to visually captivate audiences by making the album come to life. The idea was to captivate viewers on the edge of their seats yearning for more and display a mastery within the craft by the filmmakers, crews, and artists believing in the project. Through a demo of the visual album, viewers are encouraged to watch it multiple times to truly notice and dissect certain nuances that would not have been perceived the first time.
Our end goal is to have the visual album filmed whilst bringing in a community to participate and be part of the project. We also would love to have the Visual Album screened at film festivals and picked up to streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO, and/or Hulu. If an audience member or community member sees themselves within this project because of the themes that are being tackled, then we believe we have done our job in providing untapped narratives to the people.
While following COVID-19 guidelines, we will film within the LA area during the summer and will be inviting community organizations to be part of the project both behind and on camera. We want The Gem Project to be a community-led project and we care about adding experiences to folks' resumes both to the cast and crew, whilst portraying powerful narratives.
COVID-19 continues to leave many scars in the hearts of the API community with the growing Anti-Asian Hate Crimes, there is no better time than now to speak out on not only these experiences, but other experiences that are often overlooked.
How Can I Be Involved?
Imagine the possibilities of an impactful budget with the endless imagination of the talent, crew, and directors. Pledge & Contribute: Check out our amazing rewards that are our thanks to you for helping us create the project. You are more than just a backer, you are part of our community!
How else to help: Share, retweet, forward, DM, spread the word! Now is the chance to bring community members together and provide an enormous impact on the success of this campaign by spreading the word to your friends, family, and community members about this beautiful project.
Please follow the Director, Artist IG, & official GemProject Ig: @paolorein2 @soultreesounds @the.gem.project to share the campaign and posts about this film movement. You can also check out some of our uplifters such as the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective @undocufilmmakerscollective
We are also still looking for members of our teams from stylists and make-up artists to camera and lighting crew members. We welcome all experience levels that are in alignment with our mission and cause.
Our original budget is the bare minimum to make such a project happen excluding other fees that may come into place. Though we have an initial budget, we would love to make sure we do this film properly with the respect and love it deserves.
Additional Pre- Production, Production, & Post-Production: We would love to include various cultural practices like Filipino Martial Arts that would require a choreographer and rehearsal days to ensure that talent and cast are properly trained in the safety of equipment and movements.
Legal and Marketing Team: We would love to use the remaining funds to hire a PR rep for the film and album to best get the film the highlight and recognition it deserves. Creating excitement on the project is important to the movement where future narratives such as this can be made.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Born in the Philippines and brought over at the age of 2, Paolo Rein is an emerging Writer, Director, and Activist local to Carson, California, and the greater SouthBay LA Area. Having grown up undocumented with immigrant parents and navigating the gutters of gang life in SouthBay LA, Paolos early on exposure to such unjust systemic systems that keep folks poor and incarcerated have greatly influenced his passion for filmmaking. Inspired by the community around him, he aims to tackle issues such as colorism, representation on film, and addressing matters on social and political themes where his experiences offer a different humane lens where it is needed.
His last film, ‘Shaded Complexion’, revolved around survivor's guilt in progressing in society after having lived in the gutters and landing a studio corporate internship that has an unhealthy obsession with pre-existing narratives centered around brown and black bodies. As an activist through the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective and his various contributions towards immigrant rights, he has continuously advocated for immigrants and formerly incarcerated folks to be in the film entertainment space. Whether introducing talent on set with a darker complexion to offering guidance towards formerly incarcerated folks on how to navigate the industry, Paolo has provided experience(s) and education to those seeking to work in an industry that has long denied folks.
Lydia Tsou (she/her)
Lydia is a Taiwanese-American filmmaker and photographer who was born and raised in California. With her work, she aims to bring underrepresented groups of people and stories to light. Throughout her career in film, she most often works with various AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) artists and actors, including AJ Rafael and Will Jay.
She has had experience working on sets of feature films, short-form narratives, music videos, commercials, and more. Films she's worked on have received a Remi Award from the Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, been officially selected by the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, and LA Film Fest.
Outside of film and photography she enjoys learning and trying new things, baking, cooking, hiking, and watching documentaries.
You can find more of her work here: www.evergreencaptures.com
Soultree (all pronouns)
Soultree is a Pilipinx artist, creatrix, and connector of Waray, Pangasinan, Ilokano, and Ilonggo ancesTree and Marshallese cultural origin. Soultree uses prayers, chants, songs, moveMeants, and co-creations to uplift unseen spirits and untold stories from the places and peoples that have called them in while holding cultural, natural, spiritual, and political space for the community.
They launched SHHAA in Spring 2020, Soultree Holistic Healing Arts and Activations. They followed up their EP Soultree (released Spring 2019) with MalaGINTO.
Derek "DC" Cannon is a music producer & engineer born in Milwaukee, Wi and glown in Chicago, Il.
Growing up with a strong reggae and hip-hop influence has informed not only his musical style, but also his mindset as both of these genres emphasize community, justice, and truth. Since the beginning of his career, he has worked closely with the people and artists in the communities around him so that their stories can be told and vibrations can be felt. On this path he's worked with a wide range of artists from Chance The Rapper and Chief Keef to Bam Marley.
His experience creating with Soultree, especially for "Gem" is a perfect embodiement of this approach to life and music, as the project was created out of shared experiences and feelings.
Connect with DC on social media at @MixedByDC