Updating backers on how your project is moving along is an essential part of using Kickstarter. Heather Donnell and Chris R. Smith of Shadow Angel Films, whose project On It just reached its goal (Congrats!) were really, for lack of a better term, on it when it came to updating backers on how their film was progressing. Take a peek.
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Thanks to her successful Kickstarter project, photographer Olivia Wyatt spent the better part of last summer embedded in the most remote regions of Ethiopia, documenting the traditional tribal music of 13 different indigenous tribes. The intimate glimpse of life she captured — everything from wedding ceremonies to wild hyena feedings (seriously) — will soon be available as a combination DVD and book set called Staring at the Sun, but Olivia is still hard at work in the meantime.
A recent stop by her studio revealed her busily reviewing last minute edits, remixing audio tracks, and paging through the final proofs for the book. The girl never quits! When asked how she paired the images for her photobook, she smiled modestly — “I did it all by feel” — and spread a few images across the table as an example. Alternately compelling and starkly beautiful, they’re too good not to share. Below are some of my favorite shots, along with the stories behind them.
“Hairstyles in Ethiopia are incredibly beautiful and unique. You can sometimes determine a tribe just based on hairstyle alone. Each time I visited a new tribe, women wanted to do my hair the way they style theirs. There were always 16 hands twisting it, braiding it, or putting coppery soil and butter on it. The men in the Hamer tribe shave portions of their head, and then use clay and paint to harden other parts, while leaving balls of hair untouched in the front and back. The men also carry special wooden seats that they also use as neck pillows so their hair never touches the ground and they can maintain their hairstyles.”
“There were at least 100 camels in this field (top right) and all of them are owned by two Afar men. At night, the men sleep with their AK-47s on the ground just beyond the fence to protect their camels.”
“This young woman is from the Afar tribe. The Afar live in the Dankil Desert, one of the hottest places on earth, and are surrounded by active volcanoes. They are all Muslim and the men rock Afros with combs tucked inside their hair.”
“Each night 4 men from the Harar tribe each go to a one of the four corners of the city and feed wild hyenas raw meet from a stick dangling out of their mouths. They have a special bond with the hyenas and have even given them each a name.”
Amazing stuff! Can’t wait to see the finished book.
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When filmmakers Colwyn Thomas and Greg Lomas first traveled to South Africa, they knew about the plight of the leopard, the only jungle cat whose numbers were in decline over the past five years. This was in large part due to the illegal skin trade, a practice widely accepted as part of the Shembe Church, whose members, five million strong, don leopard pelts during ceremonies. While some members of the church wear fake fur, when the filmmakers first encountered the Shembe they saw approximately 500 members wearing real leopard skin, a startling number, especially given the illegal nature of the skin. While faux fur is available, many still choose the real thing, despite that it is much more expensive than the fake skin.
Enter Tristan Dickerson, a leopard conservationist who noticed the trend first hand and decided to do something about it. Rather than lobbying the government to beef up its enforcement of poachers, Tristan began studying the faux furs many young Shembe members wear. His goal; to develop a high quality, low cost synthetic leopard skin to heed the Shembe’s interest in killing leopards for ceremonial garb. To Skin A Cat follows Dickerson as he works on his prototype, which he plans to present to Shembe leaders in an effort to curb their reliance on real leopard skin. It’s not every day a Kickstarter project has the ability to preserve the animal kingdom, though, hopefully, projects like To Skin A Cat will change that.