Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 24, 2013.

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To create a documentary short film & book about the Sargasso Sea ecosystem with a focus on plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Gyre

IF EVERYONE READING THIS DONATED $2 - $5 OUR PROJECT WOULD BE FUNDED!

Take the PLASTIC CHALLENGE!


70 Degrees West Phase III: Sargasso Sea, will demonstrate how human actions on land impact our oceans. Using underwater photography, cinematography, time lapse and interviews with scientists and other key players, we will explore the complex story of plastic pollution related to fragile species that rely on the Sargasso Sea for survival. WE WILL CREATE A DOCUMENTARY SHORT  AND HARDCOVER PHOTO BOOK.

www.70DEGREESWEST.com

A big thank you to everyone who has donated to our project. WE ARE ALMOST HALF WAY THERE! We need your continued support to help us reach our goal. We have 9 days left, let's do this together!

WITHOUT YOUR DONATION, THIS DOCUMENTARY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE MADE. FOR EVERY DONATION OVER $30 - YOU WILL RECEIVE A DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE DOCUMENTARY SHORT.

Most importantly, we need to hire a vessel to navigate the North Atlantic Trash Gyre. We need an on-board crew, supplies, and specialized tools to collect trash samples. In order to create our documentary film short and a hard covered photo book, we need funds for the production. For $26,000 - we can hire a sail boat, crew, and pay for all the necessary costs to be at sea for one month. There will be fees for the boat, the crew, production, trawling nets, collecting trash samples and interviewing scientists. If we can raise $30,000 we will be able to extend the duration of our expedition by one week and take two scientists on board with us!

Did you know the plastics consumed by fish are making their way up the food chain. This means, they are ending up on your dinner plate. Help us create an artist documentation of global problem that not only effects the health of marine ecosystems, but also humans!

We MUST raise $26,000 for production of Phase III: Sargasso Sea and Plastic Pollution. We can't do it without the success of our Kickstarter! We are going to interview scientists and advocates, shoot underwater, shoot above water, collect plastic trash samples, and photographically capture the dynamic relationship between underwater species and the Sargasso Sea.*****This project will produce a short film, a hard covered book of photography and narratives, a collection of prints for a traveling photo exhibit, and a series of weekly blogs.***** Motivated by our passion, youth and dedication to our art, we hope that capturing the beauty and tragedy in the Sargasso Sea will invite small changes that can grow into bigger ones.

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Personally invite 10 friends in your networks do the same and pass this link on!

Your support will help us document what’s happening underwater and topside in a region unlike any other. The Sargasso Sea is the only sea without land borders, as well as a floating plastic gyre. It is also home to incredible species such as sargassum fish and sargassum shrimp, unique only to the Sargasso Sea. Other species include  sea turtles, flying fish, zooplankton jellyfish, sperm and humpback whales. The elusive European eels migrate to the Sargasso Sea to spawn, although scientists have not yet photographed an adult eel there. The window to capture the plastic gyre is in April, May and June. We must work with migratory species, weather patterns and changing ocean currents to successfully navigate our vessel to the trash gyre. The time is now!

Justin is committed to exploring Earth’s extremes, pushing the limits of himself and his camera equipment, having documented life above and below the ocean’s surface in more than 45 countries. He has specialized in commercial and underwater photography since his graduation from Brooks Institute of Photography and currently dedicates his career to conservation photography.  Michelle has been a writer since childhood; she majored in molecular biology and chemistry at San Francisco State. Her blog appears in Huffington Post Green and she’s the word-journalist for 70 Degree West.

Our 70 Degrees West documentary will raise awareness about how humans depend on the natural world, and how Earth is changing in response to human impacts. As lifelong ocean advocates, we hold the ocean as a place of wonder, a habitat for education, and a primordial connection to our biological history. As ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, we invite you to join us in this journey to document ways that we might heal and protect our fragile oceans.

We are seeking YOUR help to fund 70 Degrees West, Phase III: Plastic Pollution and the Sargasso Sea. 70 Degrees West is a pole-to-pole photo-documentary project exploring the impact our modern world has on eight unique bio-regions. We’ve completed Phase I: Thule Hunting Traditions in Northern Greenland. Phase II: The Penobscot River Dam Removal in Maine. Our project attempts something never been done before - illustrating environmental and humanitarian issues along a single line of longitude to demonstrate how our natural world is out of balance on a global level.

Our goal is to engage diverse audiences online, in print media, and traveling public exhibits to raise awareness about the need for responsible plastics use and disposal. In order to make this documentary short, we need your support and encouragement. Please visit our website to see our past projects - videos, photographs, and written narratives. You can also visit our blog to get involved!

www.70DegreesWest.com     AND    www.70degreeswest-explore.com

SPECIAL THANKS TO - Plastic Pollution Coalition, 5 Gyres, Bonnie Monteleone, Karen Lewis and Leslee Stauffer

Michelle and Justin on a photo trek in Qaanaaq, Greenland
Michelle and Justin on a photo trek in Qaanaaq, Greenland

Your support will make a difference, ignite a movement, and grow the conversation of change. We can do this together! We look forward to sharing our story with you as Phase III of our expedition unfolds, and the creation of our documentary film short.

WE WARMLY AND HUMBLY THANK YOU!
Michelle & Justin

Thanks for reading! Here are two images from our previous projects:               70 Degrees West

PHASE I - Greenland: Thule Hunter
PHASE I - Greenland: Thule Hunter
PHASE II - United States: The Penobscot Watershed
PHASE II - United States: The Penobscot Watershed

For more information on sargassum and the Sargasso Sea, check out this video below! - done by LookBermuda and LookFilms

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

This project lives by the motto, there are no problems, only challenges and situations. Since the inception of our photo-documentary project, we have faced many hurdles over the past year. From logistical issues in Greenland, to financial setbacks while out in the field, to learning a new skill on the spot. Each time, we dig deep and try to remind ourselves why we're out in the middle of nowhere, in the freezing cold or blazing heat, capturing a single story when there are many more that need to be told. Through it all, we prevailed. We always come back to our personal passion and conviction for art, conservation, nature, and desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

As artists, we strive to grow and change as life unfolds. Resisting the urge to ever give up, allowing our obstacles to come and go, we remain patient as we use our community, network of friends and followers, and out-of-the box thinking to get us through. We are sure that even if our project is successfully funded, there will be many issues that arise prior to our departure and while we are out at sea. These however, are what makes our work worth it. We will film it all, laugh at ourselves, write grants, fundraise again, sell prints, publish articles and photographs, and do everything in our power to complete our project. We won't stop until we have produced the best possible work!

As Kickstarter is an all or nothing venue, we truly appreciate your time and consideration to donate to our project. We thank you for watching our video and supporting our efforts to share stories that people usually don't get a chance to see. THANK YOU!!

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  • Pledge $2 or more
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    56 backers

    Truly appreciated! You are now part of our projects gyre and will receive newsletter updates and a high resolution download of an underwater image from the Sargasso Sea for a digital desktop.

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    80 backers

    Well done! You will receive a personalized postcard with an underwater photo taken by Justin and your own small piece of plastic pasted on the front, straight from the North Atlantic garbage patch, plus the $2 reward.

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    54 backers

    We thank you! Forget single use plastic utensils that end up in our oceans, and receive a set of sustainably grown bamboo cutlery for your on-the-go needs. You will also receive an MP3 message from the heart of the Sargasso Sea, plus the $2 reward.

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    66 backers

    We are grateful! You will receive a digital download of our documentary short! Once completed, you will have access to the finished short to watch and share with your friends and family, plus the $2 and $10 rewards.

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    18 backers

    We are grateful! You will receive a digital download of our documentary short! Once completed, you will have access to the finished short to watch and share with your friends and family. You will also receive an original signed 5x6 photo print taken by Justin in the Sargasso Sea, plus the $2 and $10 rewards.

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    28 backers

    We applaud you! Join them live for an hour-long Google Hangout on set in the Sargasso Sea! You will also receive a small corked glass jar full of tiny plastic pieces floating in ocean water scooped directly from the North Atlantic garbage patch, plus the $2 and $10 rewards.

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    4 backers

    We praise you! You will receive a glass swing top water bottle! You will also get a signed print of a behind the scenes shot from the production of the film, plus the $2 and $10 rewards.

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    38 backers

    You are generous! You will receive an original, signed, limited edition 8x10 fine art print of an amazing underwater creature that lives in the Sargasso Sea - taken by Justin, plus the $2 and $10 rewards, AND join us on location for a live Google Hangout session with the team!

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    10 backers

    You are fantastic! You will receive THE signed, hardcover fine art book of underwater images taken in the beautiful creatures in the Sargasso Sea, all photography by Justin, plus the $2, $10, and $50 rewards, AND join us on location for a live Google Hangout session with the team.

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    5 backers

    Welcome to our ocean team! Your name will appear in the credits of the documentary short with a special thank you. You will receive an original Justin Lewis 11x14 fine art print of your choice, the $2, $10, $50 and $250 rewards above, plus we will write your name on the beach with plastic pieces collected from the trash gyre and send you a thank you photo!

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers

    We want to personally thank you! You will receive a personal video thank you from Michelle and Justin that will be posted on our social media websites and sent to you. Your name will appear in the credits of the documentary short as a special thank you, plus all the $2, $10, $50 and $500 rewards above.

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  • Pledge $2,500 or more
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    0 backers

    You are making our documentary short possible! You will be an Associate Producer in the credits of our “Plastic Pollution and the Sargasso Sea” documentary short. You will also receive a 16x20 stretched canvas print of your choice, plus the $2, $10, $50 and $500 rewards above.

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers

    You are a member of the family - so come and join us! Two days of photography and cinematography immersion out in the field. Join photographer Justin Lewis and writer Michelle Stauffer for two days of photography on location with 70 Degrees West. Plus, receive the $2, $10, $50 and $500 rewards above. (Travel expenses not included, but camera equipment, instruction, and a fantastic time are!)

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Funding period

- (30 days)