Trent, a college freshman, questions his commitment to the fraternity he’s pledging when he discovers that a brother raped his best friend, Sophie: a Latinx woman fighting to conquer this complex reality... A story that explores the danger of passivity in rape culture through the lens of Greek life.
Inclusion StatementSophie, a Latinx woman existing in highly diverse circles, will be contrasted against Trent, a cis white man existing in cis white social circles, in order to show what pure privilege and exclusion really looks like… And behind the camera, we'll definitely look a lot more like Sophie's world!
About The Project
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After watching the pitch video and reading our story below, please feel free to fill out the Active Audience Form, where you can (anonymously) share any personal thoughts, stories and advice that you feel might benefit the development of this project.
All the still images you see below are from Broken Dicks, the short film I made that Good Men will be based on.
Why this? Why now?
My first two years at an American university have been absolutely incredible, and I wouldn’t trade my experience thus far for anything; however, it goes without saying that there are serious problems that are often amplified within these privileged spaces. The central issues Good Men will tackle of contemporary masculinity, rape culture and cultural appropriation are undeniably thriving in 2018 America, both inside and outside of Greek systems. Such realities have been impossible for me to ignore, and therefore have been constant themes in my creative output.
Left to right: Beau D. Pearson, Magali Trench, Adam Forrest
Is Good Men really just a story about... good men?
Let’s take a moment to clarify the irony of the film’s title, Good Men. First, fraternities often pride themselves on fostering the best of the best men to improve our society, and this term “good men” is often used unironically by these organizations. Second and more importantly, one of the central themes of the film is how dangerous passivity and bystanding is in rape culture. It’s not enough to be an unproblematic “good man” when you have a voice to help make positive change a reality. Lastly, all of this only directly implicates all-male fraternities, but it's important to remember that sororities and anyone else who supports the system without working to improve it are part of the problem as well.
Left to right: Brandon Cannizzaro, Joseph Calderone, Anna Dale Robinson, Derek Poole
Enough conceptual stuff! What's the actual story?
Trent and Sophie met in their first semester at college as next-door neighbors, and they quickly became unlikely close friends (with benefits). The more involved Trent got with a certain fraternity though, Sophie learned that she needed to find her own social spaces. Good Men starts during their second semester, and Trent is well into the pledging process. Even though Trent is typically super clever and outgoing, we only see him as emotionally and physically drained, as he now spends all his time at his fraternity's house or doing intense tasks for brothers. If it wasn't for the support of his pledge class, he likely would've already given up.
Sophie has found her own place at college by this point: for the majority of the film, she's rarely even in the same scenes as Trent. She's far more that just "The Victim" or "The Latina" stereotypes that are still far too prevalent in American media today. Sophie's friends appreciate her perceptiveness and dark sense of humor, and rally around her as an outspoken advocate for underrepresented voices at the university. She's even the lead organizer of a DACA march happening on campus, and provides a window to New Brunswick's vibrant Latinx community, to help make it clear that New Brunswick is far more than a college town (and to show how a college town's development can negatively impact its surroundings).
Their paths converge only after Trent overhears his friends talking about a rumor that Corey, the fraternity's Pledge Master, raped "some bitch" named Sophie the previous semester. Trent has been trained by his surroundings to keep quiet about situations like this... The right thing to do isn't so clear to him.
You seem like just another mediocre straight white dude… And you’re not even in a frat! Are you really the right person to be writing and directing a story like this?
I completely understand this concern. While these themes/spaces have been fairly present in my life for a couple years now, I recognize that I'll need to continue to surround myself with wildly diverse peers and mentors in order to make sure that this film is as intimately accurate as it can be. No, I’ll never know what it’s like to exist as a Latinx woman in America, and no, I’ve never been a member of a fraternity myself; however, Good Men will be based entirely on true stories, first-hand experiences and proper research. While I respect one's decision to partake in Greek life, the nature of this film will allow even those who are deeply invested in this system to confront these pervasive issues, whether or not they actively promote such practices.
Whatever you say… So, what is this film going to look and feel like?
Trecartin. Reichardt. Paik. Dogme95. Herzog. Varda. Iñárritu. Steyerl. Mekas. Eggleston. Jarmusch. Russell. Godard. Both Spikes... Don’t worry, Good Men will not be a monstrous attempt to blend together this list of some of my greatest artistic inspirations; rather, my hope is that this list gives you a good sense of what formal and conceptual themes have stuck with me over the years.
Good Men will be a nontraditional/loose narrative, using a 24-hour plot to structure it. I've always been fascinated by hybrid filmmaking – films that blur the line between what we call fiction/narrative and documentary – and so while Good Men should not be described as a documentary, it will definitely make use of certain formal and conceptual documentary techniques.
Who doesn't love a frat basement full of sweaty white people proudly screaming *every* word of a Kendrick Lamar song?
Okay, I trust you. So what’s in it for me?
Check out the great incentives that are listed on this page! They start as low as $10 and go all the way up to $5,000. Also, you have access to the Active Audience Form whether or not you donate, which allows you to provide input to the film. You're supporting true independent filmmaking!
I'm used to working with literally no budget and microscopic crews. I took the photo on the left of my camera operator (Claudia Guzman) and sound recordist (Kierin Rogers). The right image is the result of the left!
What the hell will you be doing with my money?
This project will be independent guerrilla filmmaking to its core, so every penny raised will be put to good use. I’m lucky enough to already have access to a professional cinema camera, a variety of other production equipment, and wonderful friends. I’ll be squeezing as much as I can out of my local resources, e.g., the lively underground music scene in New Brunswick.
Go to the WishList section to see a breakdown of our $8,500 goal. Most of this money will go to having the right people in front of and behind the camera. We’re still in talks with the main cast and crew members, but I can guarantee you this: the cast will be entirely non-union actors and non-actors, and the small-but-mighty crew will be composed of underrepresented emerging talents.
Please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions/comments about anything! Make a pledge today, hit the FOLLOW button and share this page with friends!
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About This Team
Charles met everyone on the Good Men campaign team at college and couldn't be happier with this group of bright and passionate individuals. You can find individual bios under each person's photo above!