The Ritual

The Ritual

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The Ritual is a personal autobiographical documentary exploring the commodification of the wedding ritual and how market demands map onto the bonds of friendship through the process of becoming a bridesmaid.
Green Light
64Supporters
Project owner

Our POST-PRODUCTION Wishlist

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Post-Production Picture
Item Image Item Name Price Quantity
Colorist
To help us correct the color from using so many different cameras over the 12 years of filming.
$25.00 per hour 11 of 20
fulfilled
Publicity&Advertising
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Graphic Designer
To help us build our website.
$10.00 per hour 5 of 50
fulfilled
Crew
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Producer
This story consultant will help us shape the film and get it ready for the film festival circuit.
$25.00 per hour 3 of 200
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Total value raised : $6,003
Wishlist total : $6,000

Incentives

$ 10 or more

You will receive: - Shout out on social media - Behind the Scenes exclusive newsletter
Estimated Delivery : September, 2013
10 Supporters

$ 25 or more

  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
Estimated Delivery : September, 2013
18 Supporters

$ 50 or more

  • The Ritual magnet
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
11 Supporters

$ 75 or more

  • Digital download of the film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
2 Supporters

$ 100 or more

  • DVD of the finished film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
6 Supporters

$ 175 or more

  • Your name will be added to the credits in our film!
  • DVD of the finished film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
2 Supporters

$ 250 or more

  • Personal thank you call from the director
  • Your name will be added to the credits in our film!
  • DVD of the finished film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
1 Supporters

$ 500 or more

  • Half-hour video chat with the director
  • Your name will be added to the credits in our film!
  • DVD of the finished film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
Limit : 10
2 Supporters

$ 1000 or more

  • Dinner with the director at a screening near you
  • Your name will be added to the credits in our film!
  • DVD of the finished film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
Limit : 5
1 Supporters

$ 2500 or more

  • You are now an Associate Producer of the film!
  • DVD of the finished film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
Limit : 4
0 Supporters

$ 5000 or more

  • You are now an Associate Producer of the film!

  • Private or Public Screening anywhere you want in the US

    Director in Attendance, Travel Expenses included
  • DVD of the finished film
  • Thank you digital postcard from the Director
  • Shout out on social media
  • Behind the Scenes Exclusive Newsletter
Limit : 2
0 Supporters
About the project

This story begins 13 years ago after a particularly rough year of trying to make ends meet as a graduate student. My girlfriends and I were in our mid to late-20s and mostly apathetic about traditional expectations for women. In the eyes of some, we may have been putting off a lot of things in our life to pursue a doctoral degree. We had just enough time to earn $11,500 year to teach public speaking at the university while attending classes, fueled by hopes of one day becoming professors.

I picked up the camera and recorded our lives when our road to social mobility was fraught with unanticipated barriers. It wasn’t unusual when our life choices tended to collide with traditional female expectations but nothing caused more friction and joy like the bridesmaid ritual. Most of our peers had gone on to start families and begin professional careers. The costs of becoming a bridesmaid in just one wedding, let alone three in one year, required multiple jobs and a serious love for the ladies in our lives. There was always great sacrifice involved, financially but also emotionally.  

Becoming a bridesmaid is ripe with tension, beyond the usual personality clashes that come with completing the tasks of a wedding. Being a bridesmaid is at once a reflection and a meditation. It is a witnessing of the love before you and a meditation on the state of companionship in your own life. As much as the ritual is filled with joy it also has the potential to evoke great sorrow. How this tension maps on to the relationships of women across their lifespan is complex and sacred. At the same time, these moments are mostly overpowered by joy and laughter. Becoming a bridesmaid is one of the only few moments in our lives where sisterhood is written into our communal rituals, a time when the relationship between women are honored. 

One of the major social transformations in our time is the speed in which women are postponing marriage until their 30s, especially as they gain access to social mobility. This means most of us are living in at least two decades of a wedding haze, where we are asked to be in weddings, attend them routinely, plan them, set them up, and some choose to throw their own wedding. One thing is salient, throughout our lives—and some decades in particular—we routinely asked to engage with the consumer habits the wedding industry cultivates without much room to question.   

There seems to be another dimension to understanding bridesmaids’ culture from the perspective of educated, socially mobile, working class women. Representations of these women who are reprioritizing traditional female priorities as a choice are mostly nonexistent in popular culture. Our life as assistant professors did not contain much space for the domestic expectations that women often confront. We were entering the kind of profession where it is of great advantage to be partnered with someone who takes care of all practical matters in life so one can completely focus on work. The kind of field where motherhood is often understood as getting in the way of a proper research agenda. It was hard to know which way to step and there were few roadmaps. How one engages traditional female rituals, like becoming a bridesmaid, was tricky on this terrain. This was especially tricky in our late 30s, where slipping into the wedding patterns and formulas packaged for women a decade younger just felt uncomfortable, strapless dresses and all.

These are not tragic problems. These are just the kinds of far reaching tensions we don’t talk about. Cultural codes that are weaved into the very fabric of our socialization. They are the kinds of problems that profoundly effect the way women in the United States think of themselves and what they expect from each other. I strive to make films that document untold stories, alternative history, bottom-up thinking, and critical of our most basic social conventions. We are doing this film on bridesmaid culture this so that we can all consider and (re)consider how the unexamined ritual conditions us all. 

Synopsis

The Ritual is an autobiographical documentary exploring the commodification of the wedding ritual and how market demands map onto the bonds of friendship through the process of becoming a bridesmaid.

Can women have it all? It is the question that has troubled women of late industrial capitalism for decades. This is the central question of the film as it is understood through the perspective of four working class women in their late 20s, from different parts of the country, who are pursuing graduate school in Austin, TX at the turn of the century. The structure of The Ritual will pivot around the lives of Angela, Lisa, Caroline and Kristen as they encounter the bridesmaid ritual in their late 20s and at the cusp of becoming professionals.

Taking on multiple jobs to support their dream of becoming university professors, the film follows the four women as they spend thousands of dollars each time a friend asks for their participation as a bridesmaid. Earning just above poverty wages to teach for a local university, these women meet a brave new world of choice and consequences as the rest of their non-academic peers proceed with the expected developmental life patterns. At the detriment to their economic stability, these women find themselves torn between the ritual and a new world of shifting gender roles and social mobility.

The bridesmaid ritual functions as a kaleidoscope in which contemporary womanhood is filtered, solidified, negotiated, socialized and challenged. This documentary provides an alternative history of women’s thoughts on the relational underbelly of the bridesmaid ritual, the comedy found in unexamined traditions, the often-unacknowledged joy of connections between women, and the contradictions that bind us all together.

ABOUT THIS TEAM

Angela J. Aguayo, Director

Angela J. Aguayo is an Assistant Professor of Cinema and Digital Culture at Southern Illinois University. She has produced several documentary shorts and is currently and producing her first feature length documentary. The Ritual (2014)  Angela is also an author of essays and book chapters focused on the civic possibilities for documentary to engage the process of social change.

Learn more about our team on our website: http://theritualmovie.com

 

Lauren Pruemer, Editor
Lauren Preumer holds dual roles as Editor and Digital Asset Manager at WSIU Public Broadcasting in Carbondale, IL. She works primarily on the series 
WSIU InFocus, a magazine-style program highlighting local achievements and innovations in agriculture, community service, and fine arts. She has also worked as Supervising Editor and Digital Media Specialist at SIU Social Media. In Spring 2012, she received a grant through Southern Illinois University to produce a 30-minute children’s television program highlighting the United Nations Millennium development Goals. Currently, she is working as Director, Production Designer, and Editor for the pilot through the REACH program at SIU. Concurrently with her work in children’s media, she is also acting as Editor for her first feature length documentary, The Ritual.

 

Stacy Jill Calvert, Associate Producer

Stacy Jill Calvert is a Graduate Student in the Mass Communications & Media Arts program at Southern Illinois University focusing on Documentary and New Media. She has over fifteen years of experience working in the New Media industry as a Content Producer but more recently has lent her efforts to helping businesses with their Social Media marketing and promotions. She has spoken at several national conferences including BlogHer 2012 and the NIRSA National Marketing Institute about Social Media and Mobile Media production. She is currently working as an Associate Producer on a feature length documentary, The Ritual and is also directing an autobiographical documentary short, A Million Directions. The film focuses on her lifelong struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder and how it has affected the world around her.

Schedule
Monday, July 1, 2013 to Sunday, December 1, 2013
Distribution plan

We have been accepted into the Women Make Movies Fiscal Sponsorship program which will allow us to distribute through their programs.

Amount you want to raise on Seed&Spark:
10 000
Log Line
Exploring the commodification of the wedding ritual and how it maps on the bonds of friendships.

UPDATES

We did it! Not only did we get the green light to keep our funds but we are 100% funded. Words cant express how grateful we are to #teamritual! It took a village of supportive patrons to do this and we would like to express our gratitude for all your support. We are so touched by the donation of our 64 financial backers, those who posted our links to their facebook page, those who told their friends about us, as well as the hundreds of likes and tweets. In an environment of declining grant funding for the arts, independent cinema is thriving because of people like you!

The results of this funding campaign with our few recent grant awards gives us a little budget to take this film to the next level. We will always be grateful for your willingness to reach out! Thank you so much! Now, we are off to work on brining you a great documentary! xoxo

Comments (0)
Angela J. Aguayo 11 months ago

We are JUST this close to being 40% funded! Help us make that goal today! 

Also, here is webisode #4, Drinks with Team Ritual! 

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Angela J. Aguayo 11 months ago
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Angela J. Aguayo 11 months ago

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Angela J. Aguayo 11 months ago

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Angela J. Aguayo 11 months ago

Today, we are taking a peek at a tradition within the wedding ritual: the first dance. 

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Angela J. Aguayo 11 months ago

Hello! We have something really exciting to share with you! We have an amazing donor who has offered to match EVERY donation given to us for TEN...

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Angela J. Aguayo 12 months ago

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Angela J. Aguayo 12 months ago

Good afternoon friends!  Here is our first of many webisodes that will provide clips and other goodies that might not make it into our final film...

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Angela J. Aguayo 1 year ago

Our associate producer, Stacy is hard at work gathering more fun clips for you to watch from the film! Stay tuned...

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Angela J. Aguayo 1 year ago

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