Kickstarter campaign hopes to redefine ‘Cajun'

by Heather Miller

Filmmaker Allen Clements, a Lafayette native now running a production company in Pennsylvania, is using his SoLa roots - and the online Kickstarter fundraising platform - to produce a new documentary on where Cajun culture stands and how Cajuns view themselves. "What do people think of when they hear the word Cajun?"

It's a question filmmaker Allen Clements has asked at least a few times since he moved from Lafayette to pursue a film production business in Pennsylvania, where the answers from non-Cajuns in the Northeast are, sadly, still pretty clueless:

"It is a ... It is a style of cooking."
"I think of Creole spices."
"I think of New Orleans."

Filmmaker Allen Clements

Clements, co-owner of Postage, Inc. film company in Lancaster, Penn., and a self-described "misplaced Cajun" who misses his home, is laying the groundwork for his next documentary, "We Are Cajun."

"Just being exposed to the melting pot of the Northeast United States, it started to change the way I feel, the way I act, and even the way I speak," Clements says. "After speaking with friends that still live at home, I realized it's not just Cajuns abroad feeling a loss of their identity, it's also Cajuns still living in South Louisiana. Cajuns have been able to continue their distinct culture better than most cultures in America. We aren't just alligator hunters and musicians. We're also bankers, entrepreneurs, tech professionals ... We're still Cajun, and just maybe our culture has something to do with our general success. I'm not really interested in discovering a textbook definition for Cajun, but rather what it's come to be and how Cajuns view themselves."

Clements, who worked for both KATC and KRVS while attending UL Lafayette, has taken his funding mechanism for the film to the digital world of Kickstarter, a popular website where artists and entrepreneurs can solicit donations for funding creative ideas.

"When I chose to do my next film on a topic very close to my heart, the Cajun culture... I knew I wanted to produce and finish it in a reasonable amount of time, accounting for all of the things I wanted to do but didn't have the money to do as well as capturing an image of the Cajun culture and lifestyle in the highest possible quality with as much thought and care as possible," Clements says on his Kickstarter campaign page.

His Kickstarter goal is to raise $30,000 by Aug. 4. As of noon Tuesday, he's at $1,397. Click here to see his Kickstarter campaign and learn more about the project.