A documentary film about the use of goats to help with fire mitigation in urban areas and the story of one family dedicated to the work
Note from the Director: This is the last day of this campaign! I am so grateful to all the support that I've received and the excitement for this project. If there's anyone else who you think would like to contribute, please don't hesitate to tell them about it in these last hours!
In the SF Bay Area, the annual appearance of goats on the hillsides in the dry summertime is a common memory shared amongst locals. I have always been curious about this business and for so long it has remained a mystery...until I decided while on a bike ride in the hills one day, passing a hillside covered in hundreds of feasting goats, that I had to make a film about this. Since April 2011, I've been laying the groundwork for this film and am finally ready to head into production - - -
What Graze is about!
Graze enters the discussion around climate change and our responsibility to our ecosystem by presenting the story of a successful family business that has chosen to use natural, renewable methods in place of today's standard industrial technologies.
Goats R Us is a grazing company operating in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1993. Their goats are hired to graze the increasingly dry hillsides surrounding Bay Area towns and cities, protecting communities from the destructive paths of fires that occur with greater frequency due to global warming.
Graze tells the story of a company that uses methods of agriculture uncommon in an urban landscape. Goats R Us owners Terri and Egon Oyarzún formed the business shortly after the Oakland Hills fire of 1991 destroyed Terri's childhood home. The goats are only used as grazers and are never sold for meat. They are taken care of throughout their lives as though they were part of the family. Once they get too old to work, they live out the rest of their days on the Oyarzún ranch.
As we dig deeper, another narrative emerges: that of immigration and intercultural exchange. The herders, including Egon, originate from countries in South America, having journeyed far from home for opportunities in the US. On the Oyarzún ranch, the herders find work and a lifestyle that encourages a deep connection with the land.
Through the stories of Terri, Egon and their son Zephyr we learn about the positive results their business has on the environment, the challenges they have faced in the recent years, and ultimately their commitment to this lifestyle, their animals and the work.
Graze will inspire people in technologically dependent societies to adopt ecologically responsible alternatives that work in harmony with nature and other species, practices that will sustain our environment and ultimately, our own survival.
The Next Step!
Since this is the high and dry season and the goats are already hard at work at various locations around the bay area, we need to catch up and start gathering footage and spend as much time with the Oyarzun's as possible.
I have organized a fantastic and talented production team and we need your help to get this project started! Kike Arnal, an accomplished photographer and documentarian, is my Director of Photography and Chera Van Burg, an award winning filmmaker, is my Producer, and I will be Directing and Editing. We are going to be receiving fiscal sponsorship and approaching foundations, but in the meantime we just need your help to get up and running!
The amount we raise through this campaign will be used to kickstart us into a full-fledged production! My team deserves to be paid for their talents and I want to keep them around! We need to be able to buy or rent some excellent video/audio equipment because that's what makes or breaks any film and we want the imagery and experience to take center stage!
If you help us EXCEED our goal that will only make it even more possible for this project to happen: more paid days of shooting, a beautiful website created for Graze and we will also be able to travel with the Oyarzuns to penning competitions around the state!!
Your contribution will not only be helping to support a film project, but you'll be playing a huge role in bringing the inspiring work of grazing goats to audiences across the world. We will be submitting the film to festivals and to programs on PBS and other broadcast outlets, as well as creating educational materials that will accompany the final DVD.
An Extra Exciting Part of this Story, Which Must Be Told ...
In a year or so, Zephyr will be graduating from Cal Poly, where he is studying agricultural business, and returning to the ranch fulltime. He will be working extra hard in order to eventually take over Goats R Us and give his parents a well deserved break. This is a very important story, one that is all too rare, and we are going to be there to cover it ...
Help Us Tell This Story!
Thank you for your interest and please contribute now!! Time is running out...
(note: Safari doesn't display the colors accurately, use firefox or chrome. It is a grey shirt with darker grey image. The poster above is accurate in all browsers. Thx!)
Logo, T-shirt and Poster design by Jonathan Buck
They have had bad press because one herder, who they had just hired, neglected a few in the flock who were supposed to be receiving medicine for previous conditions and he wasn't paying attention to their declining health. He's in jail for it now.
They've since hired extra people on staff to go around to all the job sites and check in daily so they won't encounter this problem again.
They have a great relationship with officers and agencies around here, no one has disdain for them. It was a mishap and they've resolved the issue.
There was a herd that was killed in 2007 was a truck that swerved to avoid a collision with another driver and it ended up tipping on the freeway. The cops at the scene wouldn't allow the driver and herders to open the windows so the goats wouldn't suffocate. The cops were afraid of them getting out and causing a traffic jam...so many suffocated when they didn't have to.
The film will address these issues of course, these are the challenges they have faced and it has only reiterated their devotion and protection of the animals they depend on. They've been doing wonderful business for 20 years and actually are the only goat grazing company around here that takes care of their animals from birth to death and doesn't cull (kill) their herds or sell any for meat or for other profit. If you see the film, you will understand their commitment to their animals and their high respect for what they ask of them.
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THANK YOU! Now please spread the word!
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Your name will appear on our 'thank you' page on the film's website!
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A handwritten, personalized note on the back of a Graze postcard and a thank you on our website!
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A beautifully designed 11x17" poster for Graze signed by the filmmakers, a wrapped DVD of the finished film and a thank you on our website!
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A T-shirt for the film, the signed poster, the DVD and a thank you on our website!
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2 backers Limited (13 left of 15)
One framed goat portrait by Kike Arnal, the T-shirt, the DVD and a thank you on our website!
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An on-screen acknowledgment in the end credits, a phone or skype chat with the Director, the signed poster, the DVD and a thank you on the website!
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A production credit on-screen, the poster signed by the filmmakers and Goats R Us, a phone/skype chat with the Director, three production stills sent to your email, the DVD, and a thank you on the website!
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Associate Producer credit, the poster signed by the filmmakers and Goats R Us, a phone/skype chat with Director, five production stills sent to your email, the DVD, a hand written thank you letter from the Director, and a thank you on the website!
- (30 days)