"Welcome to Unity" Booster Club (Canceled)
In a sleepy mountain town nestled in rural America, seven exchange students set out to tackle the “American Dream”.
This story has been four years in the making. It's been developed with the support of my friends and the dedication of the community of Unity, OR. We have a final edit of the film but we need your help to get over the goal line.
A documentary starts with the collective goodwill of the subjects which are the focus of the film but there is so much more. We have made it this far through the kindness of friends and family. But the film is not complete. We ask for your help, your feedback, and most of all your generous support.
So far we have funded production through in-kind donations of time, exchange of services and for some expertise we've had to pay cash upfront. We have collectively invested hundreds of hours and we can say that we are almost there. Our ability to complete this film the way it is meant to be shown requires your engagement.
What do we need to complete production?
1) Sound Design and Color Correction
2) Securing Music Synchronization Licensing Rights
3) Finishing Touches on the Graphics
4) Film Festival fees and travel expenses
Have you ever had a moment when you heard a story so unbelievable you had to know more? On September 25, 2009 I was driving to work when a story came on NPR about a football team in Unity, OR. Note - I had never been a fan of football - until this moment. The team was made up of two American kids and seven exchange students.
I wanted to know the rest of the story. Without thinking of the repercussions I called the school in Unity to ask if I could speak with the students regarding a potential film about their story. I was granted permission to travel to Burnt River High School and a week later I was off to rural Oregon with my friend Anu, the cinematographer and field producer on the film, for what we envisioned to be a week long shoot to make a ten minute film. When we arrived it was clear that the story was far deeper than a short but Anu and I couldn't afford to quit our teaching jobs to invest an entire year into the filming. That's when things got creative.
I used my credit cards to buy Flip video cameras to give to the kids for the duration of the school year. The kids were asked to document anything about their experience that they found memorable, whether it be exciting, humorous, or embarrassing. We wanted to see the ups and downs, along with the everyday minutia of high school life. We made arrangements to come back in the spring to shoot graduation and exit interviews. When all was said and done we had over 400 hours of video. After returning from Unity the second time, the long journey of crafting the story of a year in the lives of this community began.
With the help and dedication of past students, I was able to go through and categorize all of the video. I brought on Matt, Sam, and Lilly, all of whom were past students of mine, as the first round of editors to help me flesh out different scenes in the film. As a team we got the footage in shape so my co-editor Adam and I could take the next step in hacking away arbitrary footage to reveal the rough story that we wanted to showcase. After endless revisions, and with the help of two other editors, Laura and Mike, and our creative advisor, Jakub, the film was down to 3 hours.
It took three of my friends over 50+ hours to set and sync the subtitles and the graphics on the film alone took an entire year to build. (Thanks Duro and André!) Matt and Persephanie - my sound and color team - you're amazing! Long story short - we just kept bringing on people to help us get things done - I even had people working on the film in exchanged for a place to stay (my couch). As you can see, this film never would have been made without this gigantic team effort.
After another year, and sacrificing many beloved scenes and characters in the movie to the cutting room floor, we submitted to a few festivals as a “Work in Progress.” After a few of those painful rejections filtered through, we spent another year going back through the story, screening for friends and incorporating their feedback. We tweaked a bit here, added a montage there and generally addressed their comments except the part about the branding (sorry Joe, that's what it takes to be carnivore).
Pete screened with over 50 people to get feedback outside of my immediate circle. It works for NPR fans, rings true for those who grew up in rural communities, and was emotionally strong with urbanites.
We are thrilled with how close we are to the goal and we hope to earn your generous support to enable us to realize our full vision.
Thanks to all of you for your support in finishing this film!
Katie & Pete
Risks and challenges
We've set up a website: welcometounity.us
This is the place to go to engage with us, get insider access to the process of creating a documentary and learn more about the people of Unity which made this story possible for us to share with you. Please visit and let us know you stopped by. We are on Facebook & Twitter too.
A big challenge has been connecting with musicians and songwriters. We are so close to having a complete soundtrack but we still have a few more songs to clear. We have confirmed the generous support of several groups including Lorain Toth & Pet Peeve, Eleni Mandell, Oscar Salinas, Janitor Bob & the Armchair Cowboys, Brandon Newton and Mclaws Drive, Scott West, Nate Maingard, Blasted Heath, Andy Alton, and Rylan Foxx. We appreciate their permission to enable us to showcase their music in our story. We still have a few key tracks left to go.
We are asking our fans to support Welcome to Unity by requesting us to come to their local theater via TUGG. Do you know how TUGG works? Check out this page: http://www.tugg.com/howtuggworks
We have never attempted a release in this way and we will have to coordinate timing for those who commit to Promoter level. Online distribution will require registration with our providers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (48 days)