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USF students' Kickstarter raises more than $30,000

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Published:   |   Updated: September 21, 2013 at 09:43 AM

A group of students from the University of South Florida have raised more than $30,000 to fund a pilot about the life of 12th-century Muslim leader Salahadin, using the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.

“The Salahadin Project” launched by students Mohammad Jaber and Ahmad Saadaldin, hopes to raise $80,000 by Oct. 15. In the first three weeks, it has attracted more than 300 people who have donated between $1 and $5,000 to help the filmmakers' vision come to life.

The project's goal is to produce a 25-minute pilot that could lead to a full-length series on the History Channel or another cable network about the life of the warrior-sultan who defeated the European crusaders and recaptured Palestine in the 1100s.

“The project is really about the life of Salahadin. When we say the life of Salahadin, we mean his entire life. A lot of people know about his experiences with Richard the Lionheart and the Battle of Hattin and liberating Jerusalem, but not many people really know the experiences he went through as a younger man,” director Saadaldin says in a teaser video attached to the Kickstarter page.

The visually stunning teaser gives a taste of what the filmmakers hope to expand on, depicting violent and dramatic scenes from the life of a young Salahadin.

Kickstarter allows creators to ask for money to fund all types of creative projects, from movies to fashion to electronic gadgets. If the project reaches its goal by its deadline, the filmmakers will get the money. If not, the backers have their money returned to them.

While backers aren't technically buying anything, the Salahadin Project is offering incentives ranging from Twitter shout-outs for those who donate $1, to T-shirts for those who donate at least $25, to producer credits and horseback-riding lessons for those who donate $5,000 or more.

The campaign is online at kickstarter.com/projects/443788393/the-salahadin-project.

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