We Woke

Chicago, Illinois | Film Feature

Drama, Fantasy

Bradford Stevens

1 Campaigns | Illinois, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $5,192 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

39 supporters | followers

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Race and cancel culture divides two friends in a battle over the company name.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Land of Misery Films is all about telling personal stories that touch on Universal themes. From comedies to dramas, documentaries to fairy tales, we love to explore the gray areas in life and in ourselves. Creative, offbeat storytelling is our forte and a trademark in all of our productions.

The Story


(These are Stock photos not actual actors in the film)


We Woke follows Nikki J., a teaching artist with the Mickey's Monkey Theater Company located in beautiful Chicago, IL. Named after the hit song by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Mickey's Monkey has become a major part of her life, and teaching creative writing to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders is one of her greatest joys.

But fellow company member Miranda can't stand the name. Founded in the mid-'90s by all-White actors and teaching in predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods, Mickey's Monkeys is very problematic. There's a long history of comparing Black people to Monkeys, Apes, and Gorillas. And with the company being more diverse than ever, it's time for a change. So with the help of new board member Robert, they set out to change the name and take the company in a new direction.

Though the vast majority of the group agrees with Miranda and fully supports a name, Nikki is taken aback. The sentiment makes sense, but the context is totally different, we ain't talking about the same thing. Monkeys, Apes, and Gorillas are not racial slurs, some racists have used them as slurs. Most importantly human beings are primates and belong to the family of Great Apes. So why are we changing our name because of a lie? If you don't attack lies head-on, you empower that lie, no matter how good your intentions.

Da Great Apes

Never fearing being a lone wolf, Nikki voices her opinion via email and a number of members hit her back. Secretly agreeing with her but fearful of voicing their thoughts out loud. Fearful of swimming against the tide, fearful of offending fellow ensemble members, fearful of appearing culturally insensitive, fearful of being viewed as racist.  This leads to a heated debate between Nikki and Miranda that gets very ugly and very personal, turning best friends into bitter enemies.

Because the world is bat crap crazy yall! We're living in an amazing time period in which incredible conversations are being touched on yet not actually being had. Context doesn't matter. Meaningful and nuanced discourse is a thing of the past, and any difference of opinion leads to people, places, and things being canceled if they even remotely offend someone. A burning desire for many to break complex individuals and issues into simple categories of right and wrong, right and left, good and bad, with an incredible intolerance of gray areas, which leads to living happily in echo chambers, with loathing and animous towards anyone who sees things slightly differently. We Woke explores the challenges of having serious conversations about race against the backdrop of cancel culture and the toll it takes on a friendship.




We Woke is an off-beat world filled with imagination. A world in which the music is as much a character as the characters themselves, contrasting the seriousness of subject matter with the lightness of sound, embracing the style of films like Alexander Payne's "Election" and Richard Ayoade's "Submarine"





As fans of the great Orson Welles, we look forward to using wide camera lenses, to create great depth of field in shots; while playing with symmetry in composition. Very much in the style of Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and Rosemary Myers's, "Girl Asleep". 


Moonrise Kingdom 


Girl ASleep 


We Woke will not only be a great story well told but an amazing looking film, that embraces the beauty of cinema.


Thanks so much for supporting "We Woke". We have been working on the film for close to four years and are looking forward to finally shooting and making it a reality. We're looking to raise $30,000 for the production and here's where the money will go.

$16,000 for cast and Crew

We'll be embarking on an adventurous 4-week shoot and definitely want to pay our amazing cast and crew for their time and hard work.

$6,000 Music and Visual Effects

The music and visual effects of "We Woke" are just as much a character as the characters themselves and we want their impact to be felt on screen.


$4000 Equipment

Lights, mics, and other filmmaking tools to help make the production a reality.


$4,000 Transportation and Locations

We want to showcase the beautiful city of Chicago and we'll be shooting at multiple locations throughout the wondrous city.



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Thanks so much for your time and for contributing to "We Woke". Words can not express how much it means to us!















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


Costs $1,000

Insurance to cover the rental of the equipment and for the cast and crew. Safety is very important.

The Amazing Cast and Crew

Costs $2,000

We want to pay our amazing cast and crew. $2,000 will go a long way to helping us do just that.


Costs $1,000

Catering services to feed our amazing cast and crew, while also adhering to Covid protocol.


Costs $1,000

We're looking for a house to shoot in for the interior shots. Ideally within the city limits.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team


Stacey Carpenter our fearless leader was born in Paris, France, and moved to the wonderous city of Chicago at the age of two. In high school, she met up with her running buddy Bradford Stevens and started writing short plays and commercial gingles just for fun. Years later they both attended the DePaul Theater School where they earned their MFA's in acting and founded Land of Misery Films. Stacey's writing and directing credits include The Dazzling Cool Cat Jones Show web series, Beyond The Door, Flying Man, and Walt Brother Walt.


Bradford S. Stevens a native Chicagoan, met his partner in crime Stacey Carpenter at a high school theater camp. After graduating from Florida A&M University, he attended The DePaul Theater School and earned his MFA and acting. His acting credits include the Goodman Theater, Chicago PD, and the Dazzling Cool Cat Jones Web Series.


James T. Alfred is a Chicago native and an award-winning actor. He wrote produced and performed the acclaimed solo show A Brown Tale. Television credits include Power Book II GHOST, The new LAW and ORDER ORGANIZED CRIME, FBI, THE BLACKLIST,  CHICAGO PD, BLINDSPOT, EMPIRE, BOSS, and PRISON BREAK. James is stage actor as well and has performed in theaters across the country including the Tony Award-Winning Steppenwolf and Guthrie theaters. James T. Alfred is a graduate of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University and holds an MFA in acting from the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia.


Harold Dennis is happy to come on to tell the story of We Woke as a producer and actor. Harold and Bradford met when he formed the Actin' Up performance Throop in 1998 and have been friends and colleagues ever since.  Today they produce the Harold and Brad Windy City Filmmakers podcast.  Harold has trained in acting classes for over twenty years and has produced over a hundred acting workshops over the years.  He currently teaches Acting On Camera classes at the Second City Training Center.  Harold has been in over two hundred short and feature films and continues to work at mastering his abilities.  You can find more information on Dennis at IMDb.com.


Valerie Stevens a native Chicagoan started taking tap dancing lessons at Mayfair Academy at the age of 6. After attending Florida A&M University she went on the get a Master in Public Relations from Roosevelt University and an Advanced Degree at North Western University. She also served as casting director and producer for her brother's Bradford Stevens film company Land of Misery and has appeared in a number of their productions.


Tamarra is an emerging Director, Producer, & Documentary Filmmaker in the Chicagoland area. She is eager to capture life’s beautiful moments, create & improve production processes, & document the impactful stories of others. Tamarra values the effect of film and how it shapes the world today. To her, storytelling is powerful and she strives to convey that in each of her productions. 









Current Team