Kick off Canary’s impact campaign

Support a seed fund for impact. Help us build a strategy for 2017. Change the way the world sees ME.
18.63% Raised
$16,581.00 donated of $89,000.00 goal
85 Donors


In 2013, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund what was then a modest vision: to make a film beautiful and powerful enough to invite others into our hidden world and show what it’s really like to live with this disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (frequently referred to as “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”).

Thanks to thousands of patients, families and friends, the campaign was successful beyond my wildest dreams. Over time, we brought in prestigious film partners and assembled an award-winning team. And through that process, I came to learn that making the film was just the beginning.

What is impact?

The impact campaign is how documentary films find their audiences and invite those audiences to become allies for change. Impact campaigns can run for multiple years and ours, since it will likely span many countries, will need substantial planning to support its goals.

Our ask

What I am asking for your help with today is building a seed fund of $89,000 for our impact campaign. This fund will allow us to begin to build relationships with the partners who can help the film reach influencers and grassroots audiences alike.

This fundraiser is not a typical crowdfunding campaign. There is no end date and the goal may change if more opportunities arise.

There are no rewards, just me coming to you in the firm belief that that this is what we need. We are living in an important moment, one that could be a turning point. There are opportunities not only in the wider world but in the movement that is building around this film that our community has never had before. And I need your help in order to make sure that we have the resources and the infrastructure to seize them.

If we raise:

$16,000 – I will be able to fund what I believe will be my travel expenses for the next six to eight months. This includes airfare for me and my husband/carer Omar, modest environmentally-friendly hotels, transportation and expenses.

Where am I planning on going?


  • Nexus USA, a conference at the White House and the US Institute of Peace, where I will present a new trailer for the film to a group of philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and changemakers (Did it! See the photos.)
  • The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, to find inspiration in the latest and best of virtual reality for Canary’s VR project, and meet with potential supporters of the film and its impact campaign
  • Cavendish Global, where I will deliver a keynote to a group of family foundations and impact investors that support medical and scientific research
  • The Tribeca Film Festival as part of the 2016 TFI Network (we’ll meet with broadcasters and distributors)
  • The Fledgling Engagement Lab – a year-long fellowship to help us plan our 2017 outreach, audience engagement and impjact strategy
  • The TED Summit in Banff, Canada
  • Additional speaking opportunities in New York, Texas, and California

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$22,500 – I will be able to add a trip to the United Kingdom to meet my editor for the first time, screen the trailer for patients in London, and participate in other TBD speaking opportunities. The goal of this trip is to lay the foundation for the film’s UK impact campaign

$76,900 – I will be able to support myself and the team I need to fully take advantage of all these opportunities and lay the groundwork for the 2017 campaign. This means reaching out to disability organizations, foundations, medical associations, women’s organizations and human rights organizations to collaborate in several ways including organizing screenings for their members. The closer we get to this goal, the more people we can employ to support this time-intensive work, and the bigger we can dream.

$89,000 – I will be able to expand this groundwork to the United Kingdom

More than $89,000 and we’ll be able to expand this groundwork to Denmark and other Scandinavian countries


What does impact look like?

This work has already begun. We started it at Good Pitch New York and since have secured the pledge of one medical association to screen the film for several of its chapters around the US and at its annual meeting. We are also in conversation with a foundation to bring portions of the film into a residency training program in New York state.

We want to scale this so that we can host hundreds, if not thousands of screenings. We want the film to reach changemakers in policy and medicine and the widest possible public.

Lastly, we know that many will not be able to see this film in person. We want to design a rollout that puts patients at the center. It’s our dream to organize special screening events to connect homebound and bedbound patients to theatrical audiences.

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What if you raise more?

If we raise more, we can do more. Right now, our impact campaign is especially focused on the US and the UK. If we exceed the $89,000 goal, we can think of scaling the campaign to other countries and regions of the world.

Whether or not we have an active campaign in your country, we want to get the film out to as many countries as possible and to empower local organizations and patient communities to use the film for change.


Why do you need to raise this money now?

Right now, I am working 60-70 hours/week between #MEAction, the film’s post-production and the film’s impact campaign. I am blessed to have enough health to do this work sustainably (even if mostly from bed!) but it hasn’t been easy.

While we have a good, strong team to finish the film, on the impact side there are more opportunities and offers of help than we are able to absorb or take advantage of. This is a *wonderful* thing – it bodes extremely well for 2017 – but it means that in order to take advantage of these opportunities, and create the most beautiful, impactful film possible, we need to grow.

Thank you for your support!

Jen Brea

If you are a US taxpayer and would like to make a tax-deductible donation, you can send a check out to our fiscal sponsor: Women Make Movies, 115 West 29th Street, suite 1200, New York, NY 10001. Put “Canary in a Coal Mine” in the subject/for line of the check. (Note: they will deduct a 7% administrative fee from all donations.)

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