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€343
pledged of €1,000pledged of €1,000 goal
11
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, August 7 2016 8:56 AM UTC +00:00
€343
pledged of €1,000pledged of €1,000 goal
11
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, August 7 2016 8:56 AM UTC +00:00

About

Recker in America is about three things: the history of European migration to the US, the power of looking ahead and the thin line between sanity and insanity. This is a story about Paul Recker, a high ranking lawyer from Saxony, Germany whose mind will not be broken by a mental illness.

Instead of taking his doctor's advice and commiting himself to a clinic, he leaves Europe to go to America. To travel along the former Oregon Trail for him entails the promise, as it did for thousands of travelers before, to start anew. Thus begins a trek history has not yet carved out.

This happened at the end of the 19th century. With the aid of his recently discoverd writings, we want to track and cinematically reconstruct his voyage during which he passed away under unknown circumstances - of course, there never was any real life Paul Recker.

Recker's Biography

Being a typical „Bildungsbürger“, he finishes his law studies with excellent grades. He lives with his mother in Leipzig until he is 35. His father died of a disease, his brother commited suicide. Late in his life he marries a woman of poor circumstances, against the wishes of his mother. No children are born, despite the best efforts. Recker focuses on his work and gets promoted to „Senatspräsident“ at the unusual age of 45. The job overstrains him. When his mother contracts leukemia, he suffers a nervous breakdown and passes six months under medical supervision at the „Universitätsklinik Leipzig“. After that, he is supposed to be transferred to a „Nervenheilanstalt“, prognosis: hypochondria. Even though he is weakened by his sickness, he realizes that behind this is a romantic plot between his wife and his doctor, Emil Reisig. They want to get rid of him. In a sudden decision he leaves the hospital, buys a ticket to Boston and embarks on the ship that shall free him from the European misery that threatens to annihilate him.

The Odyssee

Arriving at the east coast of the United States, he wanders about with no aim at first. His English is bad which is why he has trouble making contacts. When his funds are waning, he starts doubting his decision. These turbulent first months can scarcely be recreated from a few entries in his diary. Finally he decides, as many emigrants before him, to travel along the Oregon Trail from Independce, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon, to give his existence a new direction. „Am anderen Ende der Welt muss auch meine eigene Welt zu Ende gehen.“ („At the other end of the world, my own world must perish also.“) [Diary entry, 4th of April 1901]. In the ensuing odyssey, Recker finds new love, discovers the autonomous life style of the hermits in the American wilderness, questions his faith, becomes the victim of imposters and con-men, gets lost in the prairies of Nebraska and Wyoming, barely escapes a religious sect and dies, finally, maybe without ever having seen the Pacific Ocean.

His Writings

On his way he plans to write a book in which he settles the scores with the medicine that could not help him and the people who betrayed him. The book also serves to present his views on the soul, mental well being and even God. This work is inspired by popular theories and discussion from the end the the 19th century, of which someone like Recker would have learned considering his social background: the evolutionary biology of Ernst Haeckel, the theosopohy of Rudolf Steiner, Schopenhauer's pessimism and the theories of brain anatomy.

What kind of film will this be?

This film will be a free-form documentary that employs different modes of storytelling:

I. Mockumentary: Mockumentaries are films that pretend to document something that is actually fictional. With the appearance of the facutal, they demand the shown to be seen as real. Even though viewers know in most cases that the events portrayed are fictional, the question: „What if?“ remains interesting. Just as any documentary, the mockumentary requires a factual setting in order to manipulate it. We want to use this freedom to tell a story that connects the Old World and the New.

II. Road Movie: We will be travelling along the former Oregon Trail (which is now flanked by modern infrastructure) to retrace Reckers route. Even though we create the stories related to the locations beforehand, there is always room to get inspired by the place present and spontaneously integrate interesting features of a city, its local history or famous persons etc. In this way, the micro histories of turn-of-the-century America will come into focus.

III. Meta: Our intension is not to force the credibility of the protagonist or the events that occur to him. Rather, we will reflect our own reconstruction by not hiding the fact that this is a film and we are the ones making it. For example, there might be scenes where we deliberate how to present cinematically something Recker relates in his diary and what he experienced during the times for which we have no written accounts of his journeys.

Thus the film will exist before the shooting phase as a rough cut of routes, diary entries and book fragments. The coordinates will be realized at the actual location: We capture the setting and the mood of our protagonist a hundred years ago, use artefacts like photographies that portray the differences between the area 100 years ago and now, as well as interview people who have, in some way or another, heard of Recker or others that played a role in his travels.

What needs to be funded?

We've already took care of the basics like equipment and transportation, the funding is there to provide motel accommodation as well as an overhead for miscellaneous expenses.

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge comes with the experimental character of the project. Even though the story and events are planned out beforehand, a big part of the film will be to visit the actual places, find people to record a couple of short interviews with and delve into the locale.
Since this film will also be about the differences in the American landscape now and at the beginning of the 20th century, we want to incorporate the changes into our film. We have to be spontaneous and a little adventurous to get the most out of the places we travel to. Since we already made a trip through the South of the USA in which we found and portrayed interesting people and stories, we are confident to explore and discover the sights and sounds that make our protagonist come to life.

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    Recker's notes

    Receive an electronic copy of Reckers writings.

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Funding period

- (30 days)