There are moments when the film is right there in front of her, as if Jane Barr can close her eyes and watch the story unfold frame by frame, the credits rolling until the screen goes dark. It's her documentary, her idea, and it's right there in front of the SCAD graduate student, close enough to touch.

Then there are those moments when it seems to glide away as if riding on the thermals, rising, falling and incrementally moving beyond her grasp.

Welcome to the world of documentary filmmaking, an endeavor that is equal parts euphoric creativity and crushing reality.

Barr, 29, is an MFA candidate set to graduate from SCAD in November. She has chosen filmmaking as her career, and more specifically, documentary filmmaking. Or it chose her. It's not always easy to tell.

As part of her MFA requirements for graduation, Barr must complete a 15-minute thesis film. Her short film, currently in production, is called "The Black Elephant" and is a look at political affiliation in the black community and why black voters historically have avoided the Republican Party in favor of affiliation with the Democrats.

She and her team, which includes cinematographer Ernesto Fuentes, editor Brittany Haynes and co-producer Laurel Winters, have been hard at work on the short film.

"We have enough people lined up so that we can get enough interviews under the belt so that I'll have a product I can turn in for my thesis," Barr said.

The problem, if you want to call it that, is that Barr is a filmmaker, and filmmakers inevitably live with at least one foot in the world of the possible. She believes her idea is so fresh and the issue so compelling that it deserves more than just 15 minutes of fame.

"The goal is to create an hour-and-a-half documentary that really covers the full spectrum of issues connected to the subject, something we could sell to television," Barr said.


Click here to contribute to Jane Barr's Kickstarter campaign

The rub, as always, is money.

To expand the short film to something more substantial, Barr figures she needs to raise a minimum of $5,500 to fund the extended travel and other expenses needed to interview the wide array of subjects she needs for the proper telling of the story.

And if folks are feeling particularly generous, she figures $15,000 also would fund the necessary enhancements - additional photos, footage or music - to produce a viable offering for mass distribution.

"If we don't get the proper funding we're asking for, it's not going to be nearly as rich a documentary as it could be because all these people we need to interview are all over the country," she said. "I can't afford to spend a week in New York and a week in (Washington,) D.C., on my own."

She looked into other funding sources, including the grant system for creative enterprises established by studios such as Sundance.

"I applied for the Sundance Documentary Fund grant, which would have funded the entire project," Barr said. "But I was up against people from eight countries and like 800 projects. So I didn't get it."

She explored other grant sources, but found she was too late to apply for any mechanism that would have provided the additional funding she needs now.

So she has turned to more esoteric channels, such as her page on Kickstarter, a popular destination for people with ideas in search of people with money to get together for crowdsourcing.

Barr's Kickstarter page includes a three-minute video presentation explaining her idea behind the documentary and how the money would be used.

So far, with 16 days remaining until her Aug. 2 funding deadline, Barr has raised $870 from 16 backers.

"It's been shared on Facebook like 608 times, so it's getting around," she said. "But I haven't gotten it to the right areas yet where people are putting their money where their mouth is."

Still, she remains undaunted. She believes the topic has widespread appeal for anyone interested in the political process, regardless of race, regardless of political affiliation.

"The project is focused on black Republicans, but it is about both sides and how the country perceives each party and how that plays into how they vote," she said. "We're talking to people on both sides and trying to make it as well-rounded as possible."