Carry That Weight - A Rockumentary
Doug Burris’ dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom are crushed when he's diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. A quadriplegic for most of his career, Doug found purpose in life through music education, realizing his dreams through his students, who now look to follow in his footsteps.
Inclusion StatementCarry That Weight tells the story of the struggles and abilities of an inspiring teacher who was a quadriplegic. The film focuses on many generations of music educators and performers who come from a variety of backgrounds. Our team consists of women, Latinos and the best musicians from Miami Beach!
About The Project
This is the story of one man, his perseverance in the face of adversity and the lives he changed through music. Doug Burris had dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom. At the age of 23 years old his world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Through years of coming to terms with the debilitating effects of the disease he discovered purpose in his life through music education by founding the first ever high school rock band and the second oldest high school sound engineering program in the country. Even though MS ravaged his body, leaving him a quadriplegic for most of his career, Mr. Burris lived life on HIS terms, realizing his dreams through the accomplishments of his students.
HOW IT STARTED
In 1972 Mr. Burris started teaching classical guitar classes at Miami Beach Senior High School. Later that year he decided to plug them in and create the Rock Ensemble. Forty six years later the Rock Ensemble is still Rockin' The Planet! Carry That Weight tells the story of Doug's life as a teacher, the way he changed his students’ lives inside and outside of classroom, and his battle with multiple sclerosis. Over four decades of teaching he inspired his students, many of whom came from difficult situations, giving them a purpose and vision for their lives.
MEET THE EDUCATORS
Besides telling the story of Mr. Burris and the Rock Ensemble, the film also focuses on Doug's former students who are continuing his music education legacy in Miami.
Michael MacNamee, a former student from the 80's and the assistant director of the Rock Ensemble for the past 20 years is taking over the group during a transition period.
Sammy Gonzalez, another former student, was inspired by Mr. Burris and created Young Musicians Unite, a non-profit built in the image of the Rock Ensemble, which establishes music groups in underserved communities in Miami.
And finally Dave Burris, Doug's younger brother, who is in his final year of teaching elementary school music education.
FINAL STAGES OF PRODUCTION
We are wrapping up interviews in Los Angeles, New York and Miami by the end of October. We have already started editing the film and our goal is to have a rough cut by the end of 2018. From there we will dial in the film, score the soundtrack and aim to finish by May of 2019.
WHO WE ARE
Our team is made up of two former Rock Ensemble members, an Emmy award-winning director and producers that have worked around the globe.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
Take a look at our Wishlist and you will see how we are going to spend the money. It will cover getting an editor for the rough cut and provide an edit station and storage. The money will also go to licensing footage and music as well as sound mixing and color correction of the film.
As part of the Hometown Heroes campaign we can become eligible for $50,000 in no interest loans as well as having the Duplass Brothers come on board as Executive Producers. This requires the GreenLight (80% funded) and at least 1000 followers.
TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION
Your donation is tax deductible! Carry That Weight is a fiscally sponsored project of the International Documentary Association (IDA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions in support of Carry That Weight are payable to IDA and are tax deductible, less the value of any goods or services received, as allowed by law. The value of goods and services being offered is noted under each donation level. If you would like to deduct the entire donation you have the option to simply decline the reward at checkout.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
BRIAN J. LEITTEN - Director/Producer
Brian is an Emmy award-winning television and film director. For the past 5 years he was an executive producer and Director of Production at Vevo. In 2011, Brian co-founded the Production Master Class at the University of Cincinnati and runs his own production company, Hyperion XIII.
RODOLFO TRONCOSO - Producer/Audio Engineer
Rodolfo is schooled in classical guitar, rumba flamenco, bossa nova and pop music. He was the lead guitar for the Miami Beach Senior High Rock Ensemble for four years. He is an accomplished guitarist, singer and composer and has over 15 years of experience performing. He is the founder of Satori Sounds, an audio visual production company in Miami.
JUDE LEITTEN - Producer
Jude has worked at The White House Executive Office of the President, The Brookings Institution and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has a Master’s of Public Administration in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
EDUARDO BELAVAL - Director of Photography
Eduardo is an accomplished DP who grew up north of Miami Beach and for two years was a part of the Rock Ensemble as an Audio Technician and then the drummer. He films for MTV, Fox and the Discovery Channel.
MACKENZIE HOUSTON - Associate Producer
Mackenzie is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. While at the university she executive produced Expedition Alaska, a feature documentary about a wilderness race in the Kenai Peninsula. Currently she is a producer with Kertis Creative in Louisville, Kentucky.