Interview: ‘Bootstraps’ documentary launches crowdfunding campaign

Interview: ‘Bootstraps’ documentary launches crowdfunding campaign

The team behind the upcoming Bootstraps documentary, which will follow a group of actual basic income recipients, has launched a crowdfunding campaign.

Conrad Shaw and Deia Schlosberg, the Bootstraps team, announced the campaign on the UBI Podcast to raise $50,000, in the next two months, to start a pilot program with real people.

Once the first $50,000 is raised, Shaw said they can begin handing out the basic income, initially, to a small number of recipients. Each recipient will receive $1,000 a month for two years.

For each $50,000 raised, they will be able to fund two basic income recipients.

Every time $50,000 is raised, a member of the Bootstraps newsletter can choose an American to participate in the documentary and receive a basic income.

In addition, those that contribute to the crowdfunding campaign can get rewards, such as a Bootstraps t-shirt or even tickets to the premier of the documentary.

The overall purpose of the campaign is to bring awareness of basic income to the “public at large” in the United States.

“The reason our pilot is different is that it is designed to facilitate storytelling,” Schlosberg said.

To carry out the campaign, the team is working with Handup, an organization that is focused on helping homeless individuals. Shaw said the leader of Handup is a proponent of basic income.

Schlosberg is confident that greater media interest will follow once they raise enough money.

“A lot of people have said ‘Sounds great. Get back to us once it is up and running.’”

Each day, the team will release a UBI thought of the day, which will often be accompanied by an interview with one of many basic income scholars they have interviewed.

“We’ve been interviewing a lot of thinkers on UBI and we have hours and hours of amazing material,” Schlosberg said. “We want these great thoughts out there.”

So far, most of the academics whom the team has interviewed have been proponents of the basic income. The larger resistance to the idea, Shaw said, has been from people on the street.

“What we find, in general, is it is all about how you sell the idea. Basic income sells itself,” Shaw said.

In the last six months, during the initial stage of the documentary, the general public has become much more aware of the basic income, Shaw said.

For Shaw, the campaign is an important step in establishing a Universal Basic Income throughout the country.

“You have to pick which projects have the best chance of having a large impact and we designed this project to fill a hole that we see,” Shaw said.

The crowdfunding campaign can be found here.


Interview: ‘Bootstraps’ film to document basic income recipients

Interview: ‘Bootstraps’ film to document basic income recipients

As the debate about basic income heats up around the world, two documentary filmmakers are trying to bring the human element to the forefront.

Deia Schlosberg and Conrad Shaw are producing an ambitious documentary, “Bootstraps – A Basic Income Film”, that will follow a group of real people around the United States who will receive a basic income for two years.

I recently interviewed Schlosberg and Shaw as part of the new BI News Podcast series. Schlosberg said she wanted to do something different from existing basic income documentaries.

“I didn’t want to make another film that was just describing it and talking about the theory, I wanted to follow individual people and tell stories about individuals, and connect with the audience that way,” Schlosberg said.

Shaw said this project will be distinct from existing basic income trials, and will fund a basic income for around 15 to 20 individuals selected for the documentary.

From those a “handful” will be selected with the most “compelling stories,” Schlosberg said. Their intention is to stop the “othering” that takes place in society, they said.

“The problem we see with the pilots that are going on…is that they are very localized,” Shaw said. While this will allow the research to be more rigorous, he said, it makes it more difficult to present an inclusive ‘American pitch’ with people from all over the country.

The team is in the process of fundraising and is in the early stages of selecting participants for the basic income. Those that are part of the mailing list for the film will be eligible for a drawing that will allow them to nominate someone to be part of the film and receive a basic income.

As of now, they hope to start handing out the basic income this summer and release the documentary in time to be “part of the election discussion” in 2020.

Schlosberg has worked on films in the past, including “Backyard” and “How to Let Go of the World and Love all the Things Climate Can’t Change,” but she said this documentary will be a unique experience following individuals for two years.

Already, Shaw and Schlosberg have found potential participants for the film including a homeless man from the east coast who was released from prison, and a man in Boston who is still in prison and declined parole because he is “afraid” of not being able to reintegrate into society.

“With those we are exploring recidivism and how basic income could ameliorate that issue on a huge scale,” Schlosberg said.

The goal, they said, is to get people from all different backgrounds, locations, and occupations so “they can watch the film and relate.”

In administering the basic income, they said they are currently looking for an outside organization to partner with on this aspect.

In making this documentary, they want to discover whether critics are correct in that basic income will make recipients lazy, or if it will encourage positive change.

“How does it change someone’s day to day with a little extra security and a little extra power over their lives?” Schlosberg asked.


For the full podcast, listen here.

Follow Bootstraps:

Official website