Posts tagged inspire
Independence Day Inspiration

This Independence Day we were really inspired by immigration activist Therese Patricia Okoumou. She is forty-four years old, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who lives in Staten Island and works as a personal trainer. On July 4th, Okoumou arrived at Liberty Island and scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty to protest the current administration’s separation of migrant families at the border. She cited former First Lady Michelle Obama as the inspiration for her protest climb: “When they go low, we go high. And I went as high as I could.” Okoumou was arrested for trespassing, interfering in an agency function and disorderly conduct. The next day, at her arraignment hearing, the courtroom erupted in applause when she plead not guilty to the charges. While her case remains to be made before a judge, it’s clear that Therese Patricia Okoumou has won people over to a just cause by disrupting norms and amplifying her voice. Using the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom, compassion, and strength to stand for the voiceless is bad-ass and we’re inspired by that. Happy Independence Day, 2018!



Therese Patricia Okoumou Climbed the Statue of Liberty on July 4th to Protest of Trump's Immigration Policies


She refused to leave until "all the children are released."

By Nerisha Penrose

Jul 5, 2018


What did you do on the Fourth? Eat some BBQ? Post a 'gram?

Therese Patricia Okoumo spent her holiday scaling the base of the Statue of Liberty in protest of President Trump's immigration policies, which included separating migrant parents from their children at the US-Mexico border.


Okoumo is reportedly part of a group called Rise and Resist who journeyed to the historic landmark to protest migrant family separations. Okoumo refused to come down from the statue unless "all the children are released," a source from the New York Police Department told CNN. She climbed the statue around 3 p.m and continued to climb (even resting at the feet of Lady Liberty at one point) for about three hours until law enforcement arrived and carefully helped her down.

Okoumo's demonstration wasn't the only protest at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday. Rise and Resist, an organization dedicated to fighting for "equality, justice, and human rights" unfurled a banner that read "Abolish I.C.E," calling for the Trump administration to put an end to immigration policies.

Okoumo was arrested and could possibly be charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, among other charges. Rise and Resist took to Twitter to share that they support Okoumo's display of resistance.

"Rise and Resist will be doing jail support for Patricia, and is arranging great legal representation for her," a rep for the group wrote on Twitter. "We will let everyone know how they can further support her as soon as we find out more info."

Okoumo also garnered praise from several activists including Shaun King and Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, who shared a photo of Okoumo along with a quote from the late MLK.

Fomenting the Revolution

It is hard to overcome the challenges of making films, especially in our current time. No one can deny that! There is progress in regard to gender and race and sexual orientation, but it is not perfect yet. But what has been added as a challenge is that budget have been dwindling with changing appetite for film and way of consumption. Sometimes it is hard to get up in the morning and keep going. Trust me! But then you find a newsletter and video in your inbox, which is inspires you and reminds you why it is worth to keep chipping away at the big mountain of creativity.  I’m there with you and will keep on creating with #NoPermission

Thanks Bright Ideas!

Fomenting the Revolution


On August 14, 2013, six weeks after starting at Seed&Spark, I sent an email to our CEO, and BRIGHT IDEAS‘ future publisher, Emily Best. In it I laid out a patently insane idea: What if our fledgling startup, at a time when we hardly had the money to cover payroll, launched an aggressively independent print publication about American film? 

“To build a community of innovators,” I posited, “we will profile the people innovating in accordance with our values. We will create genuinely cool, vital, and intelligent content, for and about the people we want to read our work—and with whom we want to work.” 

When Harold Ross defined The New Yorker in his 1925 prospectus, he asserted that his magazine would “print facts that it will have to go behind the scenes to get, but it will not deal in scandal for the sake of scandal nor sensation for the sake of sensation.” In other words, The New Yorker would cover what its editors and writers felt deeply interested in investigating and its readers would read it, because, in short order, they would grow to trust the taste and ethics of the staff.

The strain of idealism Ross first articulated, and that I was parroting, flushes the cheeks and raises the pulse. But it also tends to empty bank accounts. Nonetheless, when Best responded to my email, she wrote: “I have reread this, like, four times—including out loud to my mom. Let’s do it!”

To a number of our investors, and even a few founding employees of the company, her enthusiasm smacked of impulsiveness. But what Best identified in my email that instilled in her the confidence to, quite literally, risk Seed&Spark to make a print magazine, was that we weren’t making a print magazine: we were launching a laboratory.

In the summer of 2013, less than a year after our site went live, we were only just coming to the realization that Seed&Spark was an independent film ecosystem. We already had empirical proof that our core competency, crowdfunding, provided diligent creators a path to financing. We had, in a sense, solved funding. But crowdfunding is only sustainable in the long term if filmmakers can hold onto and grow their crowd. To develop a true ecosystem, in which creators and audiences coexist and co-sustain, we somehow needed to test out, publicly and transparently, a series of wild ideas and approaches. If Seed&Spark was the factory, BRIGHT IDEAS needed to be the R&D department. 

So that’s what we’re going to be in 2016.

We’ve identified four primary obstacles plaguing creators: lack of funding, unavailability of transparent distribution, sexism, and racism. Over the next 10 months, we’re going to explore each of these obstructions, while profiling filmmakers who’ve found creative solutions to their problems. 

In a truly sustainable independent film ecosystem—where filmmakers can access capital and audiences through crowdfunding, then distribute their films to those audiences without acquiescing their ownership—someone must constantly challenge the citizenry to stay ambitious and idealistic. If Seed&Spark is the great leveler of independent film, giving content creators the tools to build their careers without having to ask permission, BRIGHT IDEAS is the experimental laboratory hell bent on fomenting the revolution.

And if our integrity should remain above suspicion, you the filmmakers and audiences powering this new generation of diverse, fair, and brilliant storytelling, must keep us honest and demand of us an insoluble sincerity and transparency. 

We’re taking this shit seriously, and we know you are, too.

Stay tuned.

“Art is the bullet of democracy, and the people the powder. But the press aims the gun.”
— Anastasio Sevilla


We went to Park City to ask the boldest filmmakers in America about the barriers in their way, and how they plan to smash through them. 

Watch the video

In 2016, we invite you to stop asking permission, and start making shit.