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A climber living in the US seeks to bring greater awareness and access for the sport of rock climbing, to his home country of India.

Near the city of Pune in India, a diverse landscape that includes many rocky and mountainous areas goes largely unused when it comes to recreational activities. Sujay Kawale was born with these mountains in his backyard, but didn't discover his love of the outdoors, specifically rock climbing, until he moved to the United States. After being exposed to the western climbing culture, Sujay now seeks to petition the government in his home country to develop, and make available, rock climbing for the youth of India.

The goal of this film is to document Sujay Kawale’s journey from the US to India, and capture what happens as he helps to develop India's first government-supported climbing area. We plan to show climbing areas in the US, and then the potential for new developments in India. We will follow Sujay as he makes strides to shift India’s culture to recognize this growing sport, as Sujay meets with local climbers, business owners, and state officials, all while this new climbing area is being established.

Below is the teaser trailer, with footage from our first weekend of shooting!

How hard will this be to make?

Extremely! Video production is very time consuming and the equipment is not cheap. Lucky for us, we have 90% of the equipment already, and have done this kind of work before, and we love it!

The main priority of a successful documentary is the story. We think that we have a great one lined up (Sujay discovering climbing in the US and wanting to "bring it home" and his struggles and achievements with getting government funding for a climbing area) and want to capture Sujay telling his story to the camera while following him in the US and then India. His personal revelations, discoveries, and passion are the fuel that he hopes will ignite an interest back in India. We will work to capture important discussions and compelling visuals to complement this journey.

Getting vaccinations for travel, arranging contacts in India, hauling gear through the wilderness, staying up late and waking up early for timelapses, shooting video while suspended from a rope, downloading and sifting through hours of footage... is all part of what we will be doing.

Where does the money go?

The funds raised are paying for as much of the following as possible:
• Flights to/from India
• International equipment insurance
• Pre-trip medical costs (immunizations)
• Technical climbing gear rental in India
• Video and camera gear rental in India
• Cool things like helicopter rides for aerial shots
• Hard drives for all the media we will capture!
• Music and stock media licensing

Flights and baggage alone will cost about $6,000. Insurance will be another $1,000. Running this fundraiser means about 10% comes off the top for Amazon and Kickstarter as well, so our fundraising goal of $10,000 just barely covers our most basic expenses.

Even though producing a film like this would normally cost a company somewhere in the ballpark of $80,000, we wanted to be realistic with our fundraiser. To that end, we are donating our own time, equipment we already own, and other resources to make it happen. We are passionate about the story and subject matter, and want to see it get made.

What happens if we exceed our goal or get corporate sponsors?

If we exceed our goal by several thousand dollars, the excess funds will go to produce more rewards for our backers! This could mean a new run of T-shirts, blu-ray discs, outtakes featurettes, and more. We will set up stretch goals as needed, and the extra funds will go a long way in making this a fantastic film.

If a business steps up and say, reimburses us for our flights (outside of Kickstarter) that's awesome! We will still try to meet our goal to offset all of the other production expenses that we are otherwise paying out of our own pockets.

Business Sponsorship Opportunities?

We plan to solicit businesses for sponsorships outside of Kickstarter, which could mean they give us a monetary donation, gear for brand placement in the documentary, or other things. This might mean you see climbers wearing hats or t-shirts of a certain brand, or their logo in the beginning and end, but please be assured that in no way will a sponsorship affect how we present our story. We take transparency and integrity very seriously. If you represent a business that would like to sponsor us, message us right away! We'll make you famous.

What kind of experience do we have?

Mike and Jakob actually met on a group photography tour of Morocco about 4 years ago, and have continued to help each other on video and photo projects ever since.

Mike has produced several documentaries in the last few years, including shoots in Canada, Texas, South Carolina, Michigan, and even Turkey. Last year in fact, Mike produced an interesting documentary in West Virginia about a rock climber who used to be obese; so he has direct experience when it comes to dangling from ropes high in the air.

 There is an in-depth write up about the production that Mike did for Fstoppers.com which can be read here.

Jakob Skogheim has been working recently on photography for the Pure Michigan ad campaign, put on by the state tourism department of Michigan. Previously, he shot and edited a mini-doc about paper artist Matthew Shlian, which became a Vimeo Staff Pick, then went on to garner over 100,000 views.

What about rewards?

As a supporter, you will get rewards as described on the right. Below is our current logo design that will appear on T-shirts, posters, and other printed items. (logo may be all white on orange for t-shirts and black on white for printed documents) We have a designer working with us, and we plan to post updates and new design concepts for shirts and other giveaways.

If your reward includes photo or video access, we will set you up with a link to multimedia that will share interesting views of what's going on behind the scenes, give you insight into the production process, and give you the first look at the areas of climbing that might be developed in India.

When the film is completed, a link to the film will be provided so you can be the first to watch it. It might not be available to the public for some time, especially if we try to enter it into film fests!

This sounds really sweet, but I don't have much money to donate. How can I still help?

We understand that making a donation might not be something most people can afford these days, what with the government breaking down and zombies threatening to outbreak at any time. Please consider the $20 option for getting the pre-release of the film, as if you were buying a DVD for a movie you wanted to see. Every little helps, and your money is going directly to help the filmmakers– not some studio or other third party.

If that's too much still, no sweat. Share the link to our project on facebook, twitter, reddit, maybe paste it to your mom's fridge, or put up a flier at your local climbing gym... Whatever you can do will help. (if you do either of the last two, you should totally send us a photo of it!)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Our biggest obstacle is getting to India. Without funding, we simply won't be able to produce this documentary at a level that it needs to make an impact. We need as much help and as many sponsors as possible to produce a documentary that will do the story justice, and be of the highest quality possible. While there are logistics hurdles involved with getting our small crew and equipment to India, once there our lodging and transportation needs will be taken care of through the connections we have already made.

Speaking of production, we will be working with local guides and the friends and family of Sujay in order to find our way to the best locations and get the coolest shots. The crew shooting has extensive experience shooting videos and photos in remote areas, and is packing gear that will excel in these environments. Go Pros? Yeah, we got those. High-speed camera? We broke the bank to get one of those too.

Rock climbing is inherently dangerous, but we've roped up to shoot footage before. Safety is certainly a major concern, and we are continually practicing proper techniques to prepare ourselves for working on the ropes. In addition to this, local climbers in India will be offering support.

Post production is not a large concern at this point. Wilkinson Visual will be doing basic post work, and has all of the gear needed to do so. Many hours of editing lie ahead, but it is a labor of love. Websites, time, editing equipment, and expenses for all of those are being funded by Wilkinson Visual up front. The estimated completion date of this film is April of 2014.

FAQ

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    Belay Partner - Thanks for supporting rock climbing and filmmaking! We'll give super high-fives for the dudes and mega big hugs for the ladies!

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    7 backers

    Climbing? Climb on! - Before it goes to film fests, before it is publicly available, be among the first to be able to watch this amazing film online. Thanks for supporting us!

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    2 backers

    Rack up! - We'll hook you up with a pre-release viewing of the film, but we'll also give you private access to behind the scenes videos and photos while we are in India, which you can totally use as a desktop background to imagine you're at the crag instead of at work! Just get us your email and we'll blast you with sweet content during production.

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    Lead Climber - Not only will you get the pre-release of the film, you can get your own "Ascending India" T-shirt. Limited supply, M-XL available, free shipping in the US!

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    6 backers

    THE MOST AWESOME REWARD EVER. We will send you a personal thank you video on YouTube, drunk or sober. Your choice. Don't judge us. We'll also hook you up with a link to the pre-release of the film.

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    Route Setter - Get 2 passes to the premiere party for the film, showing at Planet Rock in Ann Arbor, Michigan!

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    Lead VIP - Pre-release access to watch the film, the T-shirt, access to behind the scenes content while we are in India, your name in the credits, AND a personal thank you message delivered in video form, in a hilarious yet tasteful style.

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    Alpine Level - Receive a signed, LIMITED EDITION matted print of your choice from a private gallery of images taken by Jakob Skogheim while in India. This would go well in your man cave, office, or treehouse. We'll get you the link to the pre-release too!

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    First Ascensionist - You'll get the pre-release, a shirt, behind-the-scenes access, a signed, matted photo of your choice, 2 passes to the film premiere party, plus a credit in the film as EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (or whatever title you'd like) and we'll make you a personal thank you video, IN THE STYLE OF A FILM OF YOUR CHOOSING.

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    Be Like Sharma - We will meet you in Kentucky and produce a multi-camera shoot of you climbing your favorite sport route, and then edit it to the music track of your choice! Sick brah! You'll also get a credit as Executive Producer!

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    Live Forever - One of our producers is a route developer in the Red River Gorge, and he will let YOU NAME A NEW SPORT ROUTE being developed in the Miller Fork Area. (nothing too obscene, please) You will also get the pre-release, behind the scenes access, listed in the credits, and a video thank you note.

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    Free Soloist - Sujay and members from the crew will take you on a 2 day camping and climbing trip in Kentucky's Red River Gorge, all expenses paid and gear provided– all you need are shoes and a harness! An athlete from the film (who happens to be an AMGA guide) will teach you all about movement and technique, or just give you a belay depending on your experience. Transport from the Lexington or Michigan area will be provided, airfare or other travel is not included. Because you're a rock star, we'll take a bunch of pictures of you during the trip to impress your friends on facebook, and we'll throw in the shirt, the pass to the premiere party, and anything else we can think of. You complete us.

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Funding period

- (30 days)