They’re making a movie
Young students undertake webcasts to fund their film
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Sep 02, 2018 | 3354 views | 0 0 comments | 113 113 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GIVING A SALES PITCH – Students did a series webcasts to raise money to make a movie, and even used the stage at Loews Theater.
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When the students from The Ethical Community Charter School (TECCS) in Jersey City gathered on stage for a special webcast, the goal was to sell a certain number of rain ponchos in a 15-minute period to raise money to make a movie in the fall.

TECCS is a kindergarten through eighth grade school that has launched a performance program with the help of volunteer parents and the Family School Association. The money raised from the webcast will go into the school’s performing arts program and will pay for filmmaking that is expected to start this fall at various locations throughout Jersey City.

Joining them on stage was Michele Sorvino of the Golden Door International Film Festival, who has promised to sponsor a red carpet event for the film when it premieres in January.

Forty students signed up to be on the producing team and took turns all summer appearing on the Talkshoplive show with host and parent volunteer Noreen Francis, a fashion designer who also designed the ponchos.

In addition to the show, they put together a summer selling tour and made appearances at local farmers markets and festivals.

“We have challenged them to do some of the hardest work, and raise between $2,000-$3,000 towards the budget for the project,” said Kim Correro, another parent who volunteers for programs at the school, in an interview earlier this summer. She also serves as art director. “This is a special group of kids who have challenged themselves to raise part of the money it will take the make this movie on their own. Many of the students have taken on producer roles, giving up some evenings and weekends.”

Before the end of the summer, the students had surpassed their fund-raising goal.


“We have challenged them to do some of the hardest work, and raise between $2,000-$3,000 towards the budget for the project.” – Kim Correro


Using a new platform to raise funds

Correro said Bryan Moore and his sister Tina Moore launched less than a year ago as an online selling platform.

“One day I had the idea,” Correro said. “What if people were to go on Talkshoplive to fundraise? It could take fundraising to a whole new level. At the time, all FSA Performing Arts had to sell were tee-shirts, and I didn’t think they would take us very far.”

At the end of the school year, parent Brenda Dhanabalan, owner of a company called All Cotton & Linen, offered to donate products students could sell to raise funds for the movie.

“We saw an open door and walked through it,” Correro said.

The school became the first nonprofit group to use Talkshoplive as a fundraising tool.

Filming will take place in the fall

The screenplay for the fictional movie, set in various locations around Jersey City, was originally supposed to have been written by an author parent. The program decided to make the movie into an additional learning experience, by having students write the screenplay.

Actor Clark Middleton will serve as a mentor for the students in this project, and the film will be directed by Kris Van Nest, videographer, producer and owner of This Learning, a Jersey City-based media school.

Correro said they hope to create a quality film they can submit to film festivals.

Although there are about 300 kids involved in the theatrical program, the film will involve 50 to 60 kids.

“For this project we are working with busy New York casting agent Meghan Rafferty of M & M Casting,” Correro said. “Every step of the way on this project the students will be learning from industry professionals.”

Rafferty, known for her work on “Café Society,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “Shutter Island,” will mentor the children.

The show is generally on Tuesday nights, live at 7 p.m. They also have a lot of video on their Facebook page @fsaperformingarts.

Donations are tax deductible to the FSA Performing Arts “Fall Movie Project” and can be sent to (important to put “movie project” in the note).

Al Sullivan may be reached at

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