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A powerful documentary that reconciles humans with nature on America's western edge. Narrated by Jane Fonda, music by Pat Metheny. Read more

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This project's funding goal was not reached on June 13, 2014.

A powerful documentary that reconciles humans with nature on America's western edge. Narrated by Jane Fonda, music by Pat Metheny.

About this project

Thank you for visiting the Becoming California Kickstarter page!  We're thrilled that you're here.  We've spent the past 5 years working tirelessly on this film. It's been a true labor of love and we're in the final stretch. With your help we can get there!

THE PROJECT

Becoming California is a new public television documentary about our past, present and future relationship with our natural environment, and will explore how humans and nature can better coexist. 

The documentary is narrated by award winning actress Jane Fonda and has an original score by the amazing musician Pat Metheny.

Becoming California will examine one of the most important questions of our time. 

Can nature and civilization coexist? 

Becoming California will examine this question by exploring California's tremendously diverse, beautiful and yet astonishingly transformed environments, as well as compelling interviews with top scientists, educators and business leaders, and through hopeful and inspiring stories of how Californians are finding a new path of partnership with nature.

An epic journey across 250 million years of environmental change, it will also be a monumental tale of colliding tectonic plates, the community of life, human exploitation, coexistence and more. Full of stunning cinematography, astonishing aerials and photorealistic 3D animations, Becoming California will show how the legacy of California's tumultuous change – the synthesis of natural and human – will profoundly influence its future.

Jane Fonda - Photo credit Firooz Zahedi
Jane Fonda - Photo credit Firooz Zahedi

Click on the line below to hear a description by Pat Metheny describing how he came up with the musical theme for the documentary:

Becoming California will be told in three parts:

Assembling California —The Power of Time and Space
From the theory of plate tectonics to climate change to the ever-changing tapestry of life, act one explains how California came to be, how it naturally functions and how the accelerating pace of change may now signal widespread environmental collapse. Complex scientific concepts are translated into easy to understand, visually breathtaking sequences to provide the essential owner's guide to California’s natural history.

Reinventing California — The Power of Many
From native colonization at the end of the last ice age, across European and Mexican occupations, accelerating from the Gold Rush to the dizzying pace of change today, Reinventing California tells how population growth, resource exploitation and technology transformed California into the richest, the most populated and… the most radically changed region in North America.

Reconciling California — The Power of One
In this final act, we challenge the tired old tale of people versus nature and explore a new and hopeful story. From the redwood forests in the north to the deserts in the south, from the revitalization of the Los Angeles River to sustainable agriculture, living architecture and more, Reconciling California shows how nature and civilization are no longer bitter adversaries but indispensable partners in a statewide effort to engineer healthy functioning ecosystems amidst thriving economies. 

Narrator – Jane Fonda
Music Composer – Pat Metheny
Producer/Director – Kit Tyler
Executive Producers – Jim Baxter, Jeffrey White
Writers – Kit Tyler, Richard York
Animator – Richard Tsai
Graphic Designer – Lynne York

PROJECT PARTNERS AND PRODUCER

We have forged key partnerships that have contributed enormously to the balanced nature of the project. These include Sacramento State, Humboldt State University, California State Parks, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, University of California, Davis, and the San Diego Natural History Museum. These project partners have worked collaboratively with us to provide scientific expertise, technical support, and to help develop the overall project.

Becoming California is being produced by the award-winning producer/photographer, Kit Tyler (Saving The Bay, The Forgotten Journey). Kit’s career spans more than thirty years as a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker. He is the president of The American Mercury Inc., a production company specializing in broadcast documentary programs. 

Producer Kit Tyler on location at Mono Lake, California
Producer Kit Tyler on location at Mono Lake, California

Kit spent five years and logged more than eighty thousand miles, traveling the length and breadth of the state, researching, shooting and interviewing for Becoming California. He worked with over a hundred different scientists, historians, authors and academics in pursuit of a story worthy of California’s diversity, complexity and legendary beauty. Over sixty interviews were conducted; among the many notables were William McDonough, the visionary designer and author of Cradle To Cradle and The Upcycle; Michael Rozensweig, a pioneer of reconciliation ecology and author of Win-Win Ecology; and Kevin Starr, California state librarian Emeritus, Member of the California Hall of Fame and author of the defining California history series, Americans and The California Dream.

WHAT WE'VE DONE SO FAR

We have made enormous progress on this film. We have partially funded the film through a grant from the National Science Foundation, plus contributions from project partners, and our own investments.

We have completed all location filming, interviews, aerials, final scripting, narration, computer graphics, music scoring and music and picture editing. Altogether, more than sixty interviews have been recorded and almost three hundred hours of footage acquired for the film. 

Helicopter aerial of the San Andreas fault over the Carrizo Plain in California
Helicopter aerial of the San Andreas fault over the Carrizo Plain in California

We are now in the final stage of post-production for the project, which means that we are working to meet the required audio and video specifications for PBS broadcast. We are also developing the project's distribution and marketing campaign.

NEXT STEPS

To complete the film and get it broadcast, we must finish the film's final audio sweetening, closed captioning and color correction. These are essential technical specifications required by PBS for broadcast of the program.  

We also need to produce a trailer for the film. The trailer will air on PBS, stream on our website and be promoted through the project's social media outlets.

To effectively promote the film and get more people to watch it, we also need to mount a strategic promotion and marketing campaign, and produce DVDs and Blu-rays of the film.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can help us get this film seen by millions of people on PBS stations throughout the nation. With your help, we can increase public understanding of our rapidly changing natural environment and explore how nature and civilization can better coexist. 

We have an agreement with KQED, our local PBS station in San Francisco, to conduct a statewide campaign for fall 2014 broadcast of Becoming California. This means we have a guarantee from a nationally recognized PBS station for broadcast. But the contract with KQED comes with a price tag and requires that we deliver the finished film by July 2014!

The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to help us finish the film by the July 2014 deadline, produce a trailer, and cover the essential related costs of distribution and marketing of the film. 

Producer Kit Tyler and crew document the vanishing ice of Dana Glacier in California's Sierra Nevada mountains
Producer Kit Tyler and crew document the vanishing ice of Dana Glacier in California's Sierra Nevada mountains

Funds raised from this Kickstarter campaign will be used to complete all of the final technical specifications of the film that are required for PBS broadcast, as well as pay the final installment of our KQED contract. Money raised will also be used to produce a trailer for the documentary that will air on PBS and be distributed on our website and through our social media outlets. 

Funds will also be used to produce DVD and Blu-ray discs of the program, in addition to packaging and shipping costs. A portion of these discs will be given out free of charge to teachers and other educators (e.g., at nature centers, museums). Others will be available for online purchase to the general public through ShopPBS.org, the Project's website (calegacy.org), and other online distributors. 

For this Kickstarter campaign to be successful, we are also counting on you to share this project on as many social media platforms as you can. We encourage you to share this project on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, E-Mails, phone calls, and especially word of mouth! 

We have 30 days to fully fund this project. So please post and share daily or weekly about it so all your friends know about us!

ABOUT THE FUNDS

Your support will go to The Environmental Legacy Project, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and the fiscal sponsor of Becoming California.  All donations are tax-deductible.  

REWARDS

Legacy Project T-Shirt

Made in USA, 100% cotton.
Made in USA, 100% cotton.

 Legacy Project Poster

Approximate size: 32H x 19W
Approximate size: 32H x 19W

Risks and challenges

We are at the end of a five-year production effort, with over 300 hours of footage ranging from location shots, interviews, aerials, animations and more. So there is no risk that we will not finish production. We have also completed the editing to the point of “picture lock,” so there is no risk that we won’t finish editing. At this point the film is undergoing audio sweetening and color correction, which is required for PBS broadcast. We also have a firm agreement with KQED in San Francisco for statewide (California) broadcast on PBS through NETA (a PBS distributor). Becoming California will be available for national broadcast through the distributor's satellite feed. A challenge will be for us to convince PBS stations outside of California to pick it up. So getting distribution beyond California is one challenge we face. We intend to address this challenge by using a portion of the funds raised to launch our own station relations campaign to PBS stations around the nation.

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FAQ

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Rewards

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more
    About $5 USD

    3 backers

    A big THANKS for helping us reach our goal to distribute this remarkable film! Every dollar counts!

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    Pledge $10 or more
    About $10 USD

    1 backer

    A huge THANK YOU from the team posted on the Project's Facebook page!

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    Pledge $25 or more
    About $25 USD

    4 backers

    A heartfelt THANK YOU from the team posted on the Project's Facebook page and a Legacy Project poster (shown below).

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    Pledge $35 or more
    About $35 USD

    1 backer

    A personal THANK YOU e-mail from the team and a Legacy Project t-shirt (shown below).

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    Pledge $50 or more
    About $50 USD

    6 backers

    A DVD or Blu-ray copy of the finished program and your name will be listed in a special section of the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more
    About $100 USD

    4 backers

    You will receive a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the finished program, a Legacy Project t-shirt, and your name will be listed in a special Kickstarter Backer section of the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more
    About $250 USD

    2 backers

    You will receive a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the finished program, a Legacy Project t-shirt (shown below), and an official Legacy Project poster (shown below). Of course, your name will also be listed in a special Kickstarter Backer section of the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more
    About $500 USD

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    You will receive a DVD copy of the finished program signed by Jane Fonda, plus a Legacy Project t-shirt (shown below). Your name will also be listed as a Legacy Sponsor on the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more
    About $1,000 USD

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    BRONZE SPONSOR. You will receive a Blu-ray copy of the finished program signed by Jane Fonda, and your name will be included as a contributor in the underwriting segment of the broadcast program. Also, your name will be listed as a Bronze Sponsor on the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more
    About $1,500 USD

    0 backers

    SILVER SPONSOR. You will receive a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the finished program, a Legacy Project t-shirt, and an official Legacy Project poster. Your name will be be included as a contributor in the underwriting segment of the broadcast program and listed as a Silver Sponsor on the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage. You will also receive a VIP invitation to attend one of the Project's screening events.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more
    About $2,500 USD

    0 backers

    GOLD SPONSOR. You will receive a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the finished program, a Legacy Project t-shirt, and an official Legacy Project poster. Your name will be be included as a contributor in the underwriting segment of the broadcast program and listed as a Gold Sponsor on the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage. Plus, you will receive a VIP invitation to attend a private Project screening event.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more
    About $5,000 USD

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    PLATINUM SPONSOR. You will receive a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the finished program, a Legacy Project t-shirt, and an official Legacy Project poster. Your name will be be included as a contributor in the underwriting segment of the broadcast program and listed as a Platinum Sponsor on the Project's "Sponsors and Partners" webpage. You will receive a VIP invitation to attend a private Project screening event. Plus, the Executive Producer will take you and a guest on a private guided tour of one of the amazing filming locations of your choice featured in the documentary. Note: Meals provided; cost of travel to be paid for by the guest.

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Funding period

- (30 days)