Filmmaker Jared Flesher has set out to tell the story of the last green spot on the map between New York City and Philadelphia.
What We're Up To:
We're raising money to make a feature-length documentary about a place you may have never heard of — The Sourland Mountains. They're the last green spot on the map between New York City and Philadelphia. Exciting and important things are happening here: Cutting-edge renewable energy projects, the resurgence of a local food economy, and a fight against suburban sprawl.
How You Can Help:
If Sourlands is a film you'd like to see, the best way you can help is to pre-order the DVD. (Check out the sidebar on the right for details and other reward options.) We’re borrowing this model from Community Supported Agriculture. We need your financial support early in the season, but you’ll be impressed with the quality you get by the end of the year.
(Update: More than $5,000 has been pledged in the first 12 days! Thank you! You can see that our Kickstarter meter is now at 105%, but we will continue pre-selling DVDs, screenings and sponsorships for the next 78 days. Documentary filmmaking is an expensive process, especially once equipment, salaries, marketing, film festival fees, and DVD manufacturing get involved. It’s our ultimate goal to raise $20,000 total, through a combination of Kickstarter funding as well as grant funding from organizations and charitable foundations. The more pledges we receive, the more resources we can devote to making a great film!)
Kickstarter really works. It's how we raised funding for our first film, The Farmer and the Horse, which has gone all over the world.
Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions. Contact director/producer Jared Flesher directly at email@example.com
The Trailer: The video above is a work in progress, and just one of more than a dozen vignettes that will be woven into the story of Sourlands. In the final film, expect to see everything from first-year farmers to land conservationists to tax-battling politicians to bird-chasing ornithologists. (Music in the video is by James Blackshaw and Kevin MacLeod.)
Find a map of the American Northeast and place your finger on New York City, the nation’s largest metropolis. Start to move your finger in a straight line toward Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth largest metropolis. During this journey, you will enter New Jersey, the nation’s most densely populated state. Before reaching Philly, your finger will travel past just one large splotch of uninterrupted green. Those are the Sourland Mountains, Central New Jersey’s last wilderness.
The Sourlands are hardly what most people would deem mountains—they rise to a height of just 568 feet—but their rough terrain has helped insulate them from New Jersey’s famously sprawling suburbs. They are home to Central Jersey’s largest contiguous forest, threatened wildlife species, and a history layered with legend. John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, hid out from the British in these hills during the American Revolution. Charles Lindbergh made his home here, as did bootleggers, hobos, freed-slaves, and the playwrights George Bernard Shaw and Eugene O’Neill.
In Sourlands, I will present the story of a place defined by ecological wealth and memorable citizenry. It is also a place that could easily lose its unique character. The Sourlands straddle two of the richest counties in the United States, where median household incomes are over $100,000. High land prices, high property taxes, and development pressure all threaten to change the Sourlands forever.
The structure of the Sourlands documentary will be that of a mosaic—many different stories linked by a shared landscape. As a journalist, my work has often focused on the topics of land use, sustainability, ecology, renewable energy, food, and agriculture. These topics will play a central role in Sourlands as well.
Human civilization has entered an era of unprecedented challenges: peak oil, global climate change, and an exploding population. In response, communities all around the world have begun to rethink the paradigms they rely on for food, water, energy, and economic stability. The same is true of the people of the Sourlands. They have important stories to tell about their progress, as well as the work ahead. These stories, told from one notable green splotch on a map, are universal and urgent.
The Sourlands Kickstarter campaign is finished. Can I still pre-order a DVD or donate to the project?
Yes! All the same project rewards still apply. To pre-order a DVD or otherwise make a donation, please send a check, made out to director Jared Flesher, to this address:
P.O. Box 358
Pennington, NJ 08534
Be sure to indicate which reward you're signing up for, and to include the mailing address where you want your DVD sent once it's ready.
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Pledge $20 or moreYou selected
GET THE DVD. You'll receive one of the first copies of Sourlands once it's released on DVD. Includes free shipping to anywhere in the world.
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
BECOME A FINANCIAL SUPPORTER. Get the DVD, plus receive special recognition in the film credits for your generous financial support. (You can also specify to have your business or organization recognized.)
Pledge $200 or moreYou selected
HOST A SCREENING. You get everything above, plus you'll receive a public screening license to show Sourlands at a public event or fundraiser once the film is released.
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
BECOME A MAJOR SPONSOR. As a major sponsor, you'll receive prominent recognition at the beginning of the film, on our website, in our press releases, and on our Facebook page. Basically we'll plaster your name everywhere, and we believe it will generate a lot of positive attention for you, your business, or your organization. Plus, you get everything listed above.
- (90 days)