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A film that tells the true story of Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Tom Little and asks big questions about the future of Afghanistan.
A film that tells the true story of Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Tom Little and asks big questions about the future of Afghanistan.
260 backers pledged $34,593 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$34,593

260

$35,000 Goal and a New Gift to say Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who has pushed us over our initial goal. There are just a few days left in the campaign! Lets use the time we have to increase our number as much as possible. Why? Because there are many other needs when it comes to putting together a film. Our shoots in Afghanistan are covered, but we still need to edit, hire a composer, and digitize hundreds of photos and hours of video. Even on a shoestring budget there is only so much that we can do to cut costs. As a new way of saying thank you we have a new gift - a signed copy of our movie poster. If you have already given and would like to increase your gift by just $10 dollars we will include this when we mail your gifts. Thanks again!

New poster you get when you back this project or increase your pledge by just $10 dollars!
New poster you get when you back this project or increase your pledge by just $10 dollars!

What is this Project About?

Afghanistan is on the verge of momentous change as U.S. and NATO troops prepare to withdraw in 2014. Will this be the dawn of lasting stability or will the country slip back into war? What kind of commitment will be required to address the huge problems facing the country? “The Hard Places” is a new feature-length documentary that will examine these questions about the future by first looking back and chronicling the extraordinary journey of Dr. Tom Little, a man who chose to forsake a life of comfort and security in order to make a lasting difference.

Dr. Tom Little giving eye treatment
Dr. Tom Little giving eye treatment

Who was Dr. Tom Little?

American optometrist Dr. Tom Little arrived in Afghanistan just before the country entered a relentless series of conflicts that has lasted to the present day – from Soviet occupation, to civil war, to Taliban rule and the U.S. invasion following 9/11. Despite almost constant danger he, his wife and children decided to stay and live among the people they served. Little’s dream was to create a sustainable eye program that would train native Afghans to become eye doctors and to establish eye clinics throughout the country to treat the thousands of people suffering from vision problems in that unforgiving environment. Little believed it was his calling to help those who had no options, who were caught up in violent circumstances, but yet whom he also saw as fellow human beings in need of a healing touch. Today, in large part because of his perseverance and dedication, his organization, IAM, provides nearly 90% of all eye-care in the war torn nation.

Tom Little
Tom Little

In July of 2010, Tom and a team of fellow aid workers backpacked 120 miles into the remote province of Nuristan at the invitation of village elders to serve a population of nearly 50,000 people with no access to medical care. On August 5th, 2010, as he and his team were only a day trip away from solid roads returning to Kabul, they were ambushed and murdered in the wilderness. In 2011, in recognition of his life’s work and sacrifice, President Obama posthumously awarded Tom Little the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed upon any U.S. citizen.

Libby Little receiving the Medal of Freedom by Michelle and Barack Obama
Libby Little receiving the Medal of Freedom by Michelle and Barack Obama

Why Support this Film?

We need a film that examines the real cost of lasting change and shines a light on those who take on the challenge. In recent days we have seen an increased incidence of aid workers being targeted by militants whose goal is to make bridge building between East and West impossible. The goal of “The Hard Places” is to reveal the lasting impact of Dr. Little’s work and use his story as a lens to investigate the challenges,  dangers and successes of international aid work and highlight the continuing need for medical training, sustainable development and medical access for the Afghan people.

The funds that we raise for this project are going to be used help the filmmakers travel back to Afghanistan with Tom's widow Libby. We will retrace Tom's steps, interview those who knew him and profile ordinary Afghans as they seek eye treatment.

Award-winning producers Lukas & Salome Augustin (Afghanistan - Touch Down in Flight) and Mountain Lake PBS are teaming up to produce and distribute this project. So fortunately the film already has distribution through a PBS station. Millions of people will see this production if we have your help!

How does Kickstarter work?

Kickstarter is a crowd sourcing platform and follows the idea of all or nothing. If we can reach the goal by February 5th we can use the money and start the project if not we get nothing. So what you do is just choose your donation level and the reward you would like to receive and donate by entering your payment information. It’s that easy! If you choose a reward that requires shipping, be sure to leave your address. If you haven't done that yet we’ll be in touch.

What You Can Do

By contributing and pledging for this project, you will help us produce and distribute this project. Please also help us get out the word with your social networks. The more people hear about this the more likely it is that we get funded by February 5th.

We greatly need appreciate your support!

Stay Tuned

To keep up to date with this and other upcoming Augustin Pictures projects follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo and visit the official website for the film.

Risks and challenges

Afghanistan offers numerous geographic and security issues. The good news is that Lukas and Salome already have years of experience working in difficult situations - from Afghanistan to Congo and beyond. The difficulty isn't the story - its the finances. If we can't reach the goal of 20.000 by February 5th we get nothing and the project won't happen.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Your name listed on our webpage. Everyone sees that you appreciate us and we appreciate you!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Get the poster! A signed 11"x17" (approximately 30cm x 50cm) signed by the filmmakers!

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    6 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Invitation to view an online "rough cut" of the film before anyone else. Post your feedback and help us complete the project.

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    54 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    This is where things get real. You will see the first rough cut and get the DVD.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    (for international shipping)

    This is where things get real. You will see the first rough cut and get the DVD.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    This will be premium. You will get an official hand-signed DVD with a personalized thank you letter. Access to behind the scenes material and a set of limited-edition Afghanistan postcards by Lukas Augustin.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Signed DVD with extra footage and making of, a set of Afghanistan postcards (limited prints by Lukas Augustin) + exclusive access to choose a large signed premium photo print by Lukas Augustin. (A3 photo size)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Signed DVD w/ postcards and large signed print from gallery + your name in the credit roll

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    4 backers
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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Everything the others got but who cares because now you're in the film business! "Associate producer" status in the credit roll and on the DVD + we will call you from anywhere in the world to show you our highest gratitude.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Everything the others got but who cares because now you're in the film business! You got honorary Producer status in the credit roll and on the DVD + we will call you from anywhere in the world to show you our highest gratitude but more than that we will send you an exclusive invitation to a VIP event to meet the producers of the film.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Well done! Everything the others got, honorary Executive Producer credit, meet the producers at the exclusive VIP event and all other premiums AND you will be the owner of a unique hand knitted carpet made in Afghanistan with a signed photograph of the creator AND you're saying you want to guarantee that this film happens.

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Funding period

- (33 days)