A week ago today the people of La Toma were schedule to be evicted from their land. A week ago today the future of La Toma seemed bleak and almost broken . But a week ago today me and my producer, Juan, were able to witness the people of La Toma win a battle in a their war.
When we arrived to La Toma we were told that four police trucks filled with policemen had just arrived. The trucks had posted up at the local market and the policemen were milling about, m-16 strapped to their backs and their fingers laterally on their triggers. The tension in the air was thick. No one knew what was going to happen but everyone was preparing for a fight.
I was nervous, Juan was nervous, the people were nervous but there was work to do so we put our heads down and focused on the task at hand. One of our main characters, Lisifrey, decided he wanted to assess the situation and drive around La Toma to see what information he could gather. We all jumped in a jeep and off we went. He took us through the back roads, showed us parts of La Toma we had never seen before, he told us how he was praying that blood would not be shed, he was scared. Not for himself, but for his people, because he knew what his people were willing to do and what they were willing to sacrifice. He jumped out of the jeep, spoke with some people, talked on the phone, admired his land...it was amazing watching this man in action, watching this man preparing for battle.
When we arrived at the market, we jumped out of the jeep, camera in hand and never stopped filming. The policemen, did not ask us questions, they simply stayed where they were...watching everything...watching the people that had began to gather at the market...and most defiantly watching us.
The wonderful thing about La Toma is that the people are incredibly organized. They have international NGOs putting pressure on the local and national government, they have started to garner national and international press...in essence they have started a movement and it is this movement that was able to win a battle but their victory is very far away. On the eve of their eviction the people of La Toma received word that the displacement had been postponed. The key word here is postponed. The eviction is still looming and is very much still a reality. They continue to fight everyday, they continue to put pressure on their own government as well as international pressure. They know more than anyone that they can remain silent, they know they need not only their own community but the international community to stand by them.
Their story continues and you have allowed us to to continue to tell it. Keep spreading the word!
wonderful story of a project coming to life! truly inspiring stuff.on August 25, 2010
It's been a long start, but we're finally at what feels like a tipping point. People say Asheville's the kind of place that sucks you in, where a week turns into a year and ambitions of global proportions give way to sipping a hot cup of maté while your friend plucks a rusted out banjo to the gentle chorus of a million insects.
This place has sucked us in, with so many amazing stories to tell. We were planning on leaving on our bikes a couple of months ago, but the story has actually kept us mostly in one place. Between building bicycles, developing the concept, raising funds, accumulating (and discarding) equipment, endless research, and documenting some truly inspiring pockets of Asheville, we've had our plates overflowing. We've been staying at a community house, forming perspective-bending friendships with the twenty or so residents and a constant flux of travelers. We're now editing the story about this community, and along with a piece about bicycle culture and the cooperative where we learned how to build and repair our bikes, we'll have two stories to launch the website with.
Thank you to everybody who has been so supportive and patient as we get this project off the ground. It's been unbelievably encouraging to see so much faith in a project still in its nascent stage. Thank you to Tim Klimowitz and Jacky Myint for their time and enthusiasm in giving the project a home on the web. We're ecstatic about the site design. Thanks to our sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Thom, who have been enormously generous and have helped us find a home here. And thanks to 82 generous backers (and counting), we have surpassed our initial fund raising goal, taking some financial pressure off of us and allowing us to focus on story-telling. And our endless gratitude goes out to all our new friends in Asheville who have taken us into their lives and dealt with the constant probing. It's not easy to live in the presence of a camera and microphone, but everybody has been wonderful. You have all done your part to create to what is turning out to be a massive community effort.
We'll be on the road soon, and it will be well worth the wait.
-Noah and Tim
Our bikes are close to complete.
Noah has a 5-Watt solar panel to power our electronics on the road and I built a camera mount for the front of my bike (see video below).
After scratching previous ideas for the mount, I ended up finding metal brackets to attach together to hold a wooden plate with a bolt for a tripod head. After hours of sifting through nuts and bolts at the bike shop, I finally found enough to make it work. The wood plate is attached at five points. Four to the front rack and one to the upper fork. I'll attach some more brackets before I leave for extra security. Right now it is pretty rigid and reacts to bumps noticeably, but I'm working on making some rubber washers to absorb some of the shock.
The 5-Watt panel powers a 10Ah Lithium-Ion battery. We have a solar controller between the two pieces so we know the level of charge.
The panel is 12V, so I got a 12V power cord for my laptop. Works like a charm.
See the bike cam video at the end of this post on Tim's blog: http://thussin.blogspot.com/2010/08/america-recycled-update.html
of course, another planet. :)on August 25, 2010
Hey everyone, here's my latest painting of my own house, and a collage of some house paintings that I did in April and May. If you'd like to see a progression of the recent painting, check out my blog:
Thanks for the support - the project is up to 50% funded!
"As a film-maker, you must work alone, and yet you must handle actresses, you must deal with producers who may work against the best interests of your picture, you must face technicians who only want to go home. You must have talents of so many different kinds - talents that are contradictory. You must be timid and bold. You must be modest, in order to create scenes that are intimate, that are delicate, yet you must be authoritative and arbitrary, to enable yourself to do it as you must."
Beloved Flower Tower Backers,
Sorry that it's been a few weeks since I sent an update. Wooly Fair ends and for those involved August is a chance to catch our breath and try and piece together just what the hell happened. In truth the event was raucous/wonderful and made more so for the presence of the Flower Tower and all the great energy it generated. If you didn't make it to Wooly Fair this year, please consider dropping in next year. If you did make, then I hope you know what I'm talking about.
So the Tower is gone and many of the gardens have been distributed to excellent local organizations -- Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, The Ronald McDonald House, Crossroads (a homeless shelter), the Jewish Community Center, and many more. But we still have gardens left and we really want them to find homes. So if you or anyone you know would like to have one and promise to hang it in a location where it can be enjoyed by others, well, I hope you'll take one. We don't ship. We do deliver in the RI area. We do prefer pick up.
Also, you're rewards! We will be shipping those in September so I do thank you for your patience. The rewards are on their way.
The Flower Tower was a huge success made possible by all those on the receiving end of this email. As always, thanks so much for being a part of this project. It means the world to us.
Just a quick update to let you know that we have been hard at work. We moved our offices and laboratory to a new facility and expanded some of our electronic prototyping areas to better accommodate working on this project full time!
We just wanted to say 'Thank You' again and let you know that the postcards were sent out in the mail today! If you do not receive yours within 7-15 days, please let us know and we will send you a new one.
If you haven't provided us with your mailing address to receive our tokens of appreciation, feel free to do so at any time by emailing us at email@example.com or sending us a Kickstarter message.
Postcards are on their way!
Thanks again from the GRND Lab Team
Vi volevamo mandare un breve aggiornamento per farvi sapere che è stato un periodo di duro lavoro per il GRND Lab. Abbiamo recentemente traslocato gli uffici e il laboratorio, e siamo riusciti ad espandere alcune delle nostre zone di prototipazione elettronica per dedicarci a tempo pieno a questo progetto!
Cogliamo questa occasione per ringraziarvi ancora del vostro supporto e per comunicarvi che le prime cartoline sono state spedite oggi! Se per caso non doveste ricevere la vostra entro 7-15 giorni, fatemi sapere e provvederemo a spedirne una nuova.
Se non ci avete ancora comunicato un indirizzo a cui spedire i vostri souvenir, potete ancora inviarcelo via email a firstname.lastname@example.org o via messaggio tramite Kickstarter.
Le cartoline stanno arrivando!
Grazie ancora dal Team del GRND Lab