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Furever is a study of post-death pet preservation. This curious practice offers a unique perspective on mortality, grief and mourning.
Furever is a study of post-death pet preservation. This curious practice offers a unique perspective on mortality, grief and mourning.
189 backers pledged $10,044 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$10,044

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MY FUREVER STORY:

Initially I learned of pet preservation in 2007, after reading an article one morning about outrageous pet expenditures. It mentioned Mac, of Mac’s Taxidermy fame, and told the story of a woman who chose to freeze-dry her pet as an alternative to burial or cremation. I was fascinated by the concept of freeze-drying animals, as I’d only ever thought of the technology in relation to Cup O’ Noodles™ or Astronaut Ice Cream™, but I was especially drawn to the story of the pet owner and her level of attachment and inability to let go of her pet. While it struck me as unconventional and not necessarily healthy, it was an experience with which I was familiar. I’d had many pets as a child, from anoles and budgies, to dogs and rats, and I became equally attached to every one of them. My animal companions and I shared a close physical bond, and with each of their deaths, I was utterly inconsolable. Age has helped me to become slightly better equipped to process death, but still it’s always grueling to let go. I knew what I had to do. I called Mac, told him I was working on a documentary about pet preservation, my first feature-length film (I’d made two shorts before), and asked if he’d mind if I came to Fort Loudon, PA, to spend a few days with him. He happily obliged and one month later I packed up my camera, hopped on a greyhound, and set off to explore.

THE FUREVER STORY:

Over half of the US population considers pets as family members, while 70 percent of childless couples have pets. Human birth rates are plummeting to the lowest levels seen in years and 54% of people aged 21-30 are choosing to have pets instead of children. With the popularity of doggie daycare, organic pet food, and even religious rites for pets (such as the “bark mitzvah”), not to mention expensive pet medical procedures, spending on pets is expected to reach a record-breaking $47.7 billion this year. As people find themselves devastated by their pet’s death, they increasingly turn to pet preservation to ease their grief. Rather than pathetic or morbid, people who choose pet preservation embody America’s muddled attitudes toward death and dying, touching on our collective fear of aging, and how that fear is shaped by the shifting influences of religion, family, and money. How “real” is grief for a dead pet? Who decides what kind of grief is acceptable, or appropriate? Have we lost a sense of ritual, and does that leave us unmoored in the wake of death? In a country where anything can be bought, where youth is prized while age is loathed, why surrender to death at all? 

Furever is a documentary exploration of pet preservation, or, the processes by which a deceased pet is professionally conserved. I have shot forty hours of footage of one technique, freeze-drying, which produces disarmingly lifelike results. This seemingly bizarre practice offers a unique perspective on mortality, grief, and mourning. The concepts investigated in Furever will disarm anyone who might want to dismiss the subjects as mere oddball caricatures. Furever contributes to the dialogue on death and grief, bewildering aspects of the human condition, begun by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, dovetailing with the growing trend toward pet anthropomorphism, and the anguish that befalls the owners of deceased pets. Many dismiss or judge pet preservationists for being “unbalanced,” yet the assorted rituals in place for deceased human loved ones, while precious to those who practice them, often seem odd or unusual to outsiders.

In addition to Kickstarter, I’m also seeking support from both fiscal sponsorship organizations and grant sources. My goal is to shoot additional footage to interview psychologists, veterinarians and animal behaviorists to discuss the nature of grief and attachment, and to showcase additional methods of pet preservation, as well as the stories of those who choose to practice them. The expected project completion date is February 2013, as the film will take approximately eighteen months to finish, once funding is secured. The total footage will make up a feature-length version (80-90 minutes), suitable for broadcast on TV and theatrical screenings. 

YOUR DONATION: 

You will only be charged if and when I reach my Kickstarter funding goal of $5000 or higher on June 20, 2011. You will not get charged for your donation until that date. At the end of the fundraising campaign, contributors will be contacted by Director Amy Finkel to get any additional information that may be needed (shipping address, incentive choice, etc...).

CREDITS:

- All music in the above short composed by Lee Sargent, except for "Stuffed Animal," done by Annette Funicello for the 1962 film "Pajama Party".

- Title Paintings by Shawn Creeden.

- Shooting / editing / directing: Amy Finkel

HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

Please share FUREVER with your friends!! Visit the website, find FUREVER on Facebook or join the Mailing List.

If you have any questions about the film or how I'll be spending your generous Kickstarter donations, please feel free to contact me at info@fureverfilm.com.

Thanks so much for supporting FUREVER!

- Amy Finkel, Director

For more information about FUREVER's incentives, please click here.

And again, thanks so much for your support!!

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A heartfelt thank you for your support! Every dollar helps make FUREVER a reality! Plus you can walk around feeling fantastic all day long (and maybe even tomorrow too), knowing that you've helped me and my film out! You’ll also receive a personalized "thank you" postcard and exclusive project updates!

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    A digital download of FUREVER when it's complete, a personalized "thank you" postcard and exclusive project updates!

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    A digital download of FUREVER when it's complete, a FUREVER bumper sticker, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates, and a glorious 8x10 color print, of your choice, from the film!: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    A signed DVD of FUREVER when it's complete, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates and a glorious 8x10 color print, of your choice, from the film!: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    A signed DVD of FUREVER when it's complete, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates, a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and a glorious 8x10 color print of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    A signed DVD of FUREVER when it's complete, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates, a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), a FUREVER bumper sticker, a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and one glorious 8x10 color print, of your choice, from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    Do you LOVE the band CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH? Are you super excited to know they're still together making beautiful music? Would you love to have one of their CDs signed by all five members of the band? How awesome would it be, totally hypothetically, if you thought you were getting their first record signed but then were surprised to find out it's actually a much anticipated, incredibly fancy, beautiful new recording? I mean I'm not saying that's going to happen, and it's totally speculative of course, but you know...I’m just saying there's some potential for surprise here. Or not. Is the anticipation killing you? Anyway, you'd receive a CD by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH, signed by all five members of the band, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates, a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and one glorious 8x10 color print of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    A FUREVER T-Shirt, a signed DVD of FUREVER when it's complete, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates, a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), a FUREVER bumper sticker, a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and one glorious 8x10 color print, of your choice, from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    A signed DVD of FUREVER when it's complete, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates, a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and one THESE CREATURES WALL HOOK of your choice: http://www.fureverfilm.com/furever_these_creatures_incentives.html

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    Two signed DVDs of the completed film, a personalized "thank you" postcard, exclusive project updates, a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, one FUREVER T-Shirt, and two glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    A beautiful ink & watercolor painting of a SPOTTED OWL by FUREVER title artist SHAWN CREEDEN: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_shawn_art_incentives.html You'll also receive a signed DVD of the completed film, a personalized "thank you" postcard, a FUREVER bumper sticker, a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and exclusive project updates!

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    A beautiful ink & watercolor painting of an AYE-AYE by FUREVER title artist SHAWN CREEDEN: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_shawn_art_incentives.html You'll also receive a signed DVD of the completed film, a personalized "thank you" postcard, a FUREVER bumper sticker, a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and exclusive project updates!

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    A copy of HARVEY PEKAR'S "THE QUITTER," signed (and personalized to you) by artist extraordinaire DEAN HASPIEL, who illustrated the book! http://fureverfilm.com/furever_dean_haspiel_art_incentives.html Harvey Pekar, who sadly passed away recently, was the creator of AMERICAN SPLENDOR. You'll also receive a: signed DVD of the completed film, “thank you” postcard, bumper sticker, FUREVER T-Shirt, digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE AND TYLER SARGENT, exclusive project updates, and a THANK YOU CREDIT in the film (for you or your company)! For more about Dean, visit: http://deanhaspiel.com/ For more about Harvey Pekar, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Pekar

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    Are you a BORED TO DEATH fan? Get a copy of THE BIRTH OF SUPER RAY comic from BORED TO DEATH, written by BORED TO DEATH creator JONATHAN AMES and signed (and personalized to you) by comic artist extraordinaire DEAN HASPIEL!: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_dean_haspiel_art_incentives_birth_of_super_ray.html You'll also receive a: signed DVD of the completed film, “thank you” postcard, bumper sticker, FUREVER T-Shirt, digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, exclusive project updates, and a THANK YOU CREDIT in the film (for you or your company)! For more about DEAN HASPIEL, visit: http://deanhaspiel.com/ For more about Jonathan Ames, visit: http://www.jonathanames.com/

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    A FUREVER T-Shirt, a signed DVD of the completed film, a personalized "thank you" postcard, a FUREVER bumper sticker, exclusive project updates, a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), a digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE and TYLER SARGENT, and two glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    NEW INCENTIVE! Original FUREVER-inspired artwork by artist George O'Connor (freeze-dried mice in a box...eek)!! Visit this link to see this amazing artwork: http://www.fureverfilm.com/furever_incentives_drawbridge_george.html Here's a little something about George: George O’Connor’s first graphic novel, Journey Into Mohawk Country, used as its sole text the actual historical journal of the seventeenth-century Dutch trader Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, and told the true story of how New York almost wasn’t. He followed that up with Ball Peen Hammer, the first graphic novel written by playwright Adam Rapp, a dark dystopian view of a society’s collapse as intimately viewed by four lost souls. Now he has brought his attention to Olympians, an ongoing series retelling the classic Greek myths in comics form. In addition to his graphic novel career, Mr. O’Connor has published several children’s picture books, including the New York Times best-selling Kapow, Sally and the Some-Thing, and Uncle Bigfoot.

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    NEW INCENTIVE! Original FUREVER-inspired artwork by artist Simon Fraser (a gorgeous rendering of his beloved departed dog Murdo)! Visit this link to see this amazing artwork: http://www.fureverfilm.com/furever_incentives_drawbridge_simon.html Here's a little something about Simon: Simon Fraser is a widely traveled Scots comic artist. Best known for his work in the british sci-fi weekly 2000AD where he has drawn Judge Dredd and co-created Nikolai Dante. He helps run the celebrated New York based Webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE and the DRAWBRIDGE sketchblog. His creator-owned hard sci-fi webcomic 'Lilly Mackenzie & the Mines of Charybdis' debuted on ACT-I-VATE and has since been published in the Judge Dredd Megazine. Simon is currently working on the sequel' Lilly Mackenzie & The Treasure of Paros'. He currently lives in Brooklyn NY with his wife and daughter.

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    NEW INCENTIVE! Original FUREVER-inspired artwork by artist Joe Infurnari (a hilariously disgusting and brilliant advertisement for the Furever Brand Kitty Caddy™)! Visit this link to see this amazing artwork: http://www.fureverfilm.com/furever_incentives_drawbridge_joe.html Here's a little something about Joe: Brooklyn based cartoonist, Joe Infurnari, was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. After completing an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts program at McMaster University, he studied painting and printmaking at Yale University’s Graduate School of Fine Art in New Haven, Connecticut. His artwork has been featured in print and television including ABC News, 4Kids Entertainment, Image Comics, Marvel Entertainment and many more. Joe is no stranger to drawing pets! His first graphic novel with First Second, MUSH! Sled Dogs with Issues, tells the harrowing and hilarious tale of office politics, epic romance and existential crisis for a team of disaffected sled dogs! The book is written by Colbert Report writer and Daria creator Glenn Eichler and debuts this winter!

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    NEW INCENTIVE! Original FUREVER-inspired artwork by artist Tim Hamilton (a silly, adorable take about how Skippy will be immortalized in the freeze-dryer)! Visit this link to see this amazing artwork: http://www.fureverfilm.com/furever_incentives_drawbridge_tim.html Here's a little something about Tim: Tim Hamilton lives in Brooklyn, NY and has produced work for The New York Times, Cicada Magazine, King Features, Marvel, IDW, BOOM, DC comics, Mad Magazine, Nickelodeon Magazine, Dow Jones, Lifetime, ABC Television and Activatecomix.com. He adapted “Treasure Island” into a Graphic Novel for Puffin Graphics, and in 2010 he adapted Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 into a graphic novel for Hill & Wang with Mr. Bradbury’s blessing. The resulting book was nominated for an Eisner. He is a founding member of the online cartoonist collective know as ACT-I-VATE where his original graphic novel “Adventures of the Floating Elephant” is updated monthly. Tim does a warm up sketch EVERY morning along with his
    studio mates. See them at Drawbridge. Tim was once a “Clue” on the game show Jeopardy.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    A FUREVER T-Shirt, a signed DVD of the completed film, personalized "thank you" postcard, FUREVER bumper sticker, exclusive project updates, signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), digital download of the film's completed soundtrack featuring all original music composed by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, and a THESE CREATURES BIRD FEEDER!: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_these_creatures_incentives_BF.html

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Two FUREVER T-Shirts, two signed DVDs of the completed film, personalized "thank you" postcards, FUREVER bumper stickers, exclusive project updates, a THANK YOU CREDIT in the film (for you or your company), a digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, three glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html and one These Creatures wall hook of your choice: http://www.fureverfilm.com/furever_these_creatures_incentives.html

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Four FUREVER T-Shirts, four signed DVDs of the completed film, personalized "thank you" postcards, FUREVER bumper stickers, exclusive project updates, a thank you credit in the film (for you or your company), a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), a digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, three glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html and one deluxe standing pet feeder, of your choice, by These Creatures!: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_these_creatures_incentives_SF.html

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    1 set of limited edition (series of 4) circus animals created and signed by artist Frank Mansfield, 4-color vinyl on powder-coated steel!: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_these_creatures_incentives_circus.html You'll also receive: your name listed in the credits of the film (for you or your company), two FUREVER T-Shirts, two signed DVDs of the completed film, personalized "thank you" postcards, a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), two FUREVER bumper stickers, a digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, exclusive project updates, a thank you credit in the film and three glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    You'll receive two VIP tickets to a regional FUREVER premiere screening of your choice (your travel and accommodations not included), plus dinner that evening for you and a guest with director Amy Finkel, 5 signed DVDs of the completed film, 2 FUREVER T-Shirts, several FUREVER bumper stickers, a digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, two signed DVDs of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), exclusive project updates, a thank you credit in the film (for you or your company), and six glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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

    One FREEZE-DRIED ANIMAL, of your choice, PRESERVED BY MAC AT MAC’S TAXIDERMY! You have a choice between a cat or a squirrel ("Bib Fortuna" or "Avigdor"). Please view their photos/stories here: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_these_creatures_incentives_mac.shtml You'll also receive two FUREVER T-Shirts, three signed DVDs of the completed film, a personalized "thank you" postcard, several FUREVER bumper stickers, a signed DVD of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), a digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, exclusive project updates, a thank you credit in the film (for you or your company) and three glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html

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    Pledge $4,500 or more About $4,500

    "Associate Producer" credit, which means you'll be listed on IMDB! Perhaps you've been dying to be part of an independent film, but just haven't had the time to make one? Or maybe you don't have a creative bone in your body, but you sure love to watch documentaries and would enjoy having something new to talk about at your next soirée? Well here's your chance to become involved! Plus you'll receive two VIP tickets to a regional FUREVER premiere screening of your choice (your travel and accommodations not included), plus dinner for you and a guest that evening with director Amy Finkel, 5 signed DVDs of the completed film, 2 FUREVER T-Shirts, several FUREVER bumper stickers, a digital download of the soundtrack by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH’s very own LEE & TYLER SARGENT, two signed DVDs of director Amy Finkel's last film, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (about 4-string jazz banjo culture), exclusive project updates, a thank you credit in the film (for you or your company), and six glorious 8x10 color prints of your choice from the film: http://fureverfilm.com/furever_stills_incentives.html
    *Only valid for those in the continental United States.

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Live director commentary!! I will fly out to your hometown with Mac, of Mac's Taxidermy fame, and I will host a private screening of FUREVER at your preferred location, for you and your favorite townies. I'll even provide a champagne toast, Furever DVDs, T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers and many, many stories! Oh and you'll also receive a THANK YOU CREDIT in the film itself (for you or your company)! *Only valid for those in the continental United States.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    "Executive Producer" credit, which means you'll be listed on IMDB and in all FUREVER materials! Perhaps you've been dying to be part of an independent film, but just haven't had the time to make one? Or maybe you don't have a creative bone in your body, but you sure love to watch documentaries and would enjoy having something new to talk about at your next soirée? Well here's your chance to become involved! Plus you'll get live director commentary!! I will fly out to your hometown with Mac, of Mac's Taxidermy fame, and we will host a private screening of FUREVER at your preferred location, for you and your favorite townies. I'll even provide a champagne toast, Furever DVDs, T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers and many, many stories! Oh and you'll also receive a THANK YOU CREDIT in the film itself (for you or your company), FOUR tickets to the FUREVER premiere, and I'll probably even sleep with you, honestly, unless you're related to me. But let's keep this professional.

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Funding period

- (70 days)