Block Zombies

27 3Arts supporters
$4,029 raised of $4,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on September 03, 2018
    • 101% contributed

As a professional illustrator and animator, I’m excited to develop a short animated film called Block Zombies, which follows a young boy in Chicago whose school is in jeopardy of closing. I’ve had this idea in my head for over a decade, and in the past year I’ve worked out the initial character sketches and story lines inspired by real people and events in the city. This project is very important to me because it’s not just a cartoon with funny remedies. It’s a cartoon that addresses real issues in Chicago and is very relatable to anyone who has come from similar circumstances. As an educator and current artist-in-residence working in SAIC at Homan Square this spring, I’ve been teaching young people animation and story design and involving them directly in creating characters for the film. Some have been based on their siblings, others have created new super heroes, and many are serving as “extras” in the production. Nearly thirty students are estimated to be involved in the film. I’m seeking the community’s support to help us get this film developed because people will be educated and inspired by the story and characters that reflect our city.

About This Project

The story line of Block Zombies focuses on Kelvin (the main character), who discovers that the city is threatening to shut his neighborhood school down because of political corruption. He goes head to head with the system after getting inspiration from his history teacher. Ultimately, he rises to the challenge to beat the corruption, all the while dealing with the daily life struggles as a young boy in Chicago.

Now for a little bit about myself. I’m one of those kids who was always drawing. By the time I became a teenager, I knew I wanted to create cartoons, but I never knew the process. After working a few dead-end jobs, I decided to move my wife and son to Eastern Illinois University, where I studied graphic design. As an eager older student, I taught myself animation, reached an expert level, and began interning at an animation firm downtown Chicago. After working as the lead animator for three years, I was laid off, so I began my own company called Mudwingmedia. Now I am on track to turn it into one of the first 100% full-time animation studios in Chicago.

Animation is a popular and growing interest among young people. While I was the artist in residence at SAIC, I mentored high school students on the west side of Chicago in the animation field. By being introduced to so many interested students, I decided to incorporate them into the production of the film. Block Zombies directly involves these students in the character design and the voice acting. The visual style of the film will be unlike most flat, 2D animations. The images have rich colors and dramatic lighting. It is rare to see a cartoon that has a sense of nice cinematography.

Block Zombies has a special place in my heart because it is something I have been planning for years and now finally have a chance to really do it. We want to have a complete 30-minute episode by the end of the year. Along the way we will keep people updated on our social media.

This is also the first film that my animation studio will put into motion, setting a tone for the kinds of stories we want to create and how we involve the community in everything we do. Thank you for helping me bring this project to life.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Special recognition on our social media and website. Photoshopped face on Block Zombie character ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above, plus your name in the film credits ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above, plus ten Limited Edition 4x6 "Block Zombies" prints and stickers (limited to 20) ($80.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $200
    Above, plus your name/logo listed as “Special Contributors” in the film credits (limited to 10) ($180.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $300
    Above, plus your name/logo included in the film as visible recognition or product placement (limited to 5) ($280.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    A character designed after you in the film and a signed film poster depicting your character (limited to 2), plus a set of “Block Zombies” prints and stickers, your name in the film credits, and recognition on social media ($400.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $750
    Your name/logo listed as Executive Producer, plus character designed after you, signed film poster, set of “Block Zombies” prints and stickers, and recognition on social media ($630.00 is tax deductible.)

Leon DaVinci Kelsick

Leon “DaVinci” Kelsick was born in Vancouver and moved to the South Side of Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood at a young age. While growing up in Hyde Park he discovered his interest in art. In the high school …

View Leon DaVinci Kelsick's profile
  • Update 1: Block Zombies hit the goal!!!!
    Posted on August 21, 2018


    Ok, I have to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to my campaign. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and how quickly it came. You all have a special place in my heart as you were the few who REALLY made Block Zombies The Movie happen…

    I soon will begin teaching classes again at SAIC Homan Square and I cant wait to let the students know that the fundraiser was a success! They will be so excited to know that the characters they created are being used as extras in the official film.

    Please do not stop sharing this campaign, we want to go for a stretch goal now... Stay tuned for another update soon.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -Leon "DaVinci" Kelsick

    instagram: @leondeadfacedavinci

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Mashaun Ali Hendricks

    • Ian MacLeod

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jean de St. Aubin

    • Ebony Jamison

    • Jon Satrom

    • Jessie Black

    • Scotty Nobody

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Kathleen Christie

    • Kent Jones

    • Jay Simon

    • Jaclyn Jacunski

    • Steven Lopez

    • Melvin Rodriguez

    • Ashley Mercer

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Charles Honeywood

    • J.R. Bang

    • ACE Williams

    • Jaimie Brunet

    • Charles Honeywood

    • Charles Honeywood

    • James White

    • Zach Walker

    • Troy Walsh

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council