Why is MONDO BANANA on Kickstarter?To date, MONDO
BANANA has been an
entirely independent production – completely funded from the pockets
those involved in making the film and through the generosity of
believe in the project. Currently about 80% of the film has been shot,
urgently need your help to realize the final shoots necessary to
complete the documentary and bring the "world of bananas" to audiences
around the globe!
The MONDO BANANA back-story
Once, MONDO BANANA was the story of just one man - a Finnish sea captain who has turned the world of banana botany upside down. When forced into early retirement from the sea-faring life, Markku Häkkinen turned to another passion: the amateur study of bananas. After self-funding wild banana expeditions to Asia, converting his Finnish apartment into a nursery for rare banana species, and publishing his exciting discoveries, Markku is now one of the world’s leading experts on wild bananas.
Inspired by Markku’s story, I began my own research to discover what other human-banana connections might exist in Asia – the origin of all banana species. I quickly found that I had opened Pandora’s box of ethno-botany! So far, in China, Thailand, Finland, India and Malaysia, I’ve stumbled across an endless array of culinary, historical, cultural, religious, environmental, agricultural, medicinal, artistic, and personal relationships between people and bananas. It’s been both thrilling and absolutely overwhelming to discover that this is no longer a documentary about one man, but rather a symphony of stories about a fruit that shaped Asia, and consequently, the world…
Learn more about the film
MONDO BANANA began production in the Spring of 2009 and since then we have investigated human-banana relationships in China, Thailand, Finland, India and Malaysia. Along the way, we've delved into banana-folklore, banana-religions, banana-foods, banana-ghosts, banana-art, banana-botany, banana-diseases, banana-history, banana-medicine, banana-businesses, competitive banana-eating... Just about everything-banana that you could imagine!!
With only a few more banana-stories to check out, production will wrap in October 2011 after the crew follows world-renowned banana researcher Markku Häkkinen on an expedition into the jungles of Sumatra to look for an undiscovered species of wild banana...
How does Kickstarter work?
1. We've set a goal of raising $5000 by August 10
2. You can help us reach our goal by making a pledge to donate and when you chip in you get a reward
3. For now, you just make a pledge of support, and if we don't reach our goal by the deadline, then you won't get charged. (But, we're going to make our goal!!) And, everything helps - even $5 or $10 pushes us closer to success
4. We need to raise the TOTAL amount by the deadline, or else we don't get any of the money (even if we're just $2 short)
5. If we raise more than the target before the deadline, we receive the whole amount and that extra cash will go to the film's post-production
What will this money be used for?
There are three shoots necessary to complete production of MONDO BANANA. Luckily everything we still need to film is in Southeast Asia and with the production team based in Bangkok we can complete everything for a relatively low cost! Here's what we're going to do:
1. In late August, we'll be working with local artisans and performers in Southern Thailand to "animate" age-old banana-folktales using traditional shadow-puppets
2. In early September, we'll work with professors and researchers at Guangxi University in China to explore bananas in ancient Chinese folklore, literature, and art. And, alongside Chinese anthropologists, we will journey to remote tribal villages in Guangxi Province to investigate beliefs, societal taboos, and funeral rituals which utilize bananas.
Your donation will make these final shoots happen! Honestly, EVERYTHING helps. Don't forget, Asia is quite affordable... $5 is a quick lunch in the field. $10 buys dinner. $15 is dinner and an after-work beer (for two)! $25 is a cab ride from the airport. $30 is a train ticket to Southern Thailand. $40 pays for a hand-made shadow puppet. $50 is a night's accommodation. $80 covers a day working with a local translator. $100 is one leg of a flight to China. $300 is a flight to Indonesia.
What if I'm broke and can't make a donation?That's
totally understandable! Please help us spread the word!!! Send this
link to your family, friends, colleagues, classmates, teachers,
acquaintances... Post it on your Facebook. Tweet about it. Encourage
others to do the same.
Think of it this way: If 1000 people pitch in $5, or if 500 people give $10, or if 100 people donate $50 we'll reach our goal.
Word of mouth is free and it's the only way we're going to succeed! So, even if you can't help out financially you can still play an integral role in all of this...
MONDO BANANA Synopsis
Deep in the forests of Sumatra, a Finnish sea captain seeks an elusive banana. In a Kolkata kitchen, Bengali chefs prepare scrumptious banana stem curries. As the sun blazes in Kuala Lumpur, a Chinese exorcist calls forth an evil banana spirit…
MONDO BANANA is a documentary adventure about bananas – and people. Embarking on an ethno-botanic expedition from Helsinki to New Delhi to Guangzhou, the film leads the viewer on a cinematic odyssey into the heart of banana-cultures, and along the way, introduces an eclectic cast of characters who reveal the extraordinary ways that human lives intersect with a most remarkable plant. Re-imagining the mondo films of yesterday, MONDO BANANA celebrates the personal, cultural, and environmental importance of one of the world’s favorite fruits and explains why bananas are more important than you could ever imagine.
In English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Bahasa, Hindi, Tamil, and Mah Meri with English subtitles, the film will run 75 minutes.
What do you know about bananas?Native to Asia, bananas are one of the world’s most important food crops. Always in season, bananas provide a continuous source of food in developing nations, and more than 400 million people depend on them as a staple food source. Around the world, this versatile plant has shaped religions, superstitions, cuisines, economies, histories, regional identities, personalities…
Hmmm, a movie about bananas... What's the big idea?
Part adventure movie, part ethnography, and part inspirational wake-up call, MONDO BANANA focuses on distinct characters and idiosyncratic storytelling to paint an expansive, unifying vision of our world and chronicle a most unusual love story. Diving deep into a subject rarely explored in cinema, the film offers a round-trip ticket to a parallel universe (one that actually exists!) where tradition, culture, and the environment provide infinite answers to the questions posed by human existence. Viewing cinematic celebration as a tool for broadening perspectives and creating positive change, the film uses a fun and whimsical style to re-approach "educational" filmmaking.
- (46 days)