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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By Andrew Sherburne
$29,747 pledged of $35,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About

Your only chance to snag an advance DVD with special commentary by Mike Zahs. Get it on Kickstarter before its available publicly. 

SAVING BRINTON is a “cinephile’s delight” (Hollywood Reporter) about retired Iowa Teacher of the Year Michael Zahs, who makes a remarkable discovery—the century-old films that introduced middle America to the movies. These treasures from Georges Méliés, Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers have somehow survived the ravages of time, and Mike quickly realizes their value, not just to cinephiles, but to his rural community, who rally to put on a show celebrating the legacy of America’s greatest barnstorming movieman, Frank Brinton.

Saving Brinton World Premiere at AFI Docs
Saving Brinton World Premiere at AFI Docs

Festival audiences love the historic early films, but it is Mike’s gentle heart and community spirit that we’ve been told make this a “must-see film” (DCist) with a “heartwarming” (Cineaste) message at a time we all need more positive stories on the big screen. We need you to help us spread this joy.

Saving Brinton has been given an Academy Award-qualifying theatrical run in both New York City and Los Angeles, but your support is needed to bring this ”enchanting” (Smithsonian) film to a wide audience.

EMBRACING BRINTON

An audience favorite at over two dozen film festivals (AFI Docs, DOC NYC, Rotterdam and many more), Saving Brinton is an ode to community potlucks, family farms, and an era where moviegoing was pure magic. In our modern time, where life moves at breakneck speed and tweets pass for human connection, it’s a warm-hearted embrace of that simple life in a community that still lives it.

What are audiences saying?

"This is special...preserving and recreating history and the magic of motion pictures." —Kevin Brownlow, film preservationist, Academy Award honoree

“Pure Awesomeness! It is one of the most powerful and inspiring documentaries I’ve ever watched.” —Randy, Omaha

“Michael is a hero...see this movie, you will be happy you did.” —Jean, Des Moines

It’s a big dream, of course, but our NYC and LA release will make us eligible for an Academy Award. To make the most of this opportunity, and to continue into the future, we have some big goals that require you.

Here's how you will help make our dreams come true:

  • Theatrical Release - we have partnered with Avatar Films and veteran booker Jaon Leaf on our national theatrical release, and we need your support to cover the costs of bringing the film to theaters on both coasts, and throughout the country! Mike and the filmmakers will continue to travel with the film when possible.
  • Academy Awards Campaign - the filmmakers must provide numerous "deliverables" and meet stringent requirements in order to be eligible including: week-long theatrical runs in NYC and LA, reviews in major publications, promotion and advertising to support the release.
  • Headline News - In addition to our Academy Award requirements, we want to be sure the word is out about our film and our beloved protagonist. Luckily, we have Jason Segal at 2050 Group, one of the documentary world’s best publicists, to help us get the film proper attention.

PRAISING BRINTON

“A cinephile’s delight. Anyone who loves movies is bound to love Mike Zahs, the genial Iowan at the center of this documentary. And anyone who loves movies is bound to love Saving Brinton. A delightful film.” —The Hollywood Reporter

“In Mr. Zahs, [the filmmakers] have found one of the most unlikely, yet most likeable, heroes of contemporary nonfiction cinema. With a Midwestern shrug and the absence of even the hint of irony, he sets about the task of rescuing as much of the nitrate stock as possible with the help of film preservationists, academics and artists.” —The Washington Times 

“Stunning. ‘Just let yourself be wowed,’ Zahs said, serving as a kind of spiritual tour guide: ‘It’s OK to be wowed.’ And we were.” —Smithsonian Magazine 

“In the superlative documentary, this jovial pack rat finds a similar way to link modernity and tradition, introducing contemporary viewers to a treasure trove of cinema history. His story fascinated the filmmakers and should charm countless others as well.” —Star Tribune

MAKING BRINTON

The Brinton crew in New York City
The Brinton crew in New York City

Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne (directors) are documentary filmmakers based in Iowa (yes, Iowa) and the founders of Northland Films. Their debut nonfiction feature, Pond Hockey, an ode to outdoor ice hockey, has been called “the best hockey movie ever” by ESPN, and broadcast across North America on PBS. Gold Fever, an examination of an exploitative gold mining operation on a remote village in the Guatemalan highlands won the 2013 International Federation for Human Rights Film Award and has screened in 35 countries worldwide. Sherburne is the co-founder of FilmScene, a nonprofit cinema in Iowa City, Iowa where Haines serves on the Board of Directors. 

John Richard (director of cinematography) is an independent documentary filmmaker, video producer and photographer living in Iowa City, Iowa. He works on a variety of projects for clients including The Guardian, LA Times, New York Times, BBC around the world and has a background in photojournalism. Richard’s work combines a strong visual sense with intimacy and humor. His short films have won top prizes at festivals across the country.

Other team members include:
JT Haines | Producer
Scott Duncan | Cinematographer
Gary Irwin | Graphic Artist
Michael Kramer | Composer
Brandon Proctor | Sound Mix
Michael Sandness | Color 

PRODUCERS + FUNDERS
Trish McDonald | Executive Producer
John and Kay Hegarty | Producer
Washington County Riverboat Foundation
Gilchrist Foundation
Frank and Indiana Brinton Charitable Trust
Iowa Arts Council
Produce Iowa
Humanities Iowa
National Endowment of the Arts / Art Works
National Endowment for the Humanities 

FINISHING SERVICES PROVIDED BY
Skywalker Sound (Audio + Sound Design)
Splice (Color + Mastering)

REWARDING BRINTON

All rewards listed to the right are available online through Kickstarter. Fully tax deductible contributions, for amounts over $500, are possible through our fiscal sponsor, FilmScene, Iowa City’s cinematic arts nonprofit—please contact the filmmakers to arrange.

Risks and challenges

Our feature film is complete and has already played at dozens of festivals. But, theatrical distribution is a challenge, and while our New York and Los Angeles dates are set, there are other factors, including press coverage, that dictate Academy Award eligibility. It is possible, if unlikely, that the film will not receive enough qualifying coverage to secure eligibility.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Pickling Brinton

    A social media shout out + a digital copy of Elaine Zahs’ pickled peaches recipe.

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    • Pickled peaches recipe
    • Social media shout-out
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    Posting Brinton

    A Saving Brinton postcard mailed from the post office in Ainsworth, Iowa + the social shoutout + the pickled peached recipe.

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    • Brinton postcard
    • Social media shout-out
    • Pickled peaches recipe
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    Premiering Brinton

    A ticket to an NY or LA opening weekend show + a tweet + a handshake when we see you at the movie!

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    Downloading Brinton

    A digital download of the film, delivered one week before it is available to the public, + the pickled peach recipe.

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    • Digital download
    • Pickled peaches recipe
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    Playing Brinton

    A DVD of the film, yours to keep and pass through the generations, plus a hand-written postcard thank you tucked inside + the pickled peach recipe.

    Includes:
    • DVD
    • Brinton postcard
    • Pickled peaches recipe
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    Wearing Brinton

    A Saving Brinton T-shirt designed by native Iowan Ben Mackey plus your choice of a digital download or DVD

    Includes:
    • T-shirt
    • DVD
    • Brinton postcard
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    Posterizing Brinton

    A full-size movie poster hand-signed by the filmmakers and Mike + a DVD or digital download, your choice.

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    • Movie poster
    • DVD
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    Celluloid Brinton

    A strip of 35mm film from the Brinton collection. Cut and packaged in a clear tube for you to display or use as you want.

    Includes:
    • 35mm film strip
    • DVD
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    Extravagant Brinton

    A limited edition hand-printed poster from the Brinton Extravaganza (seen in the film!) + the hand-signed poster + the DVD + a T-shirt

    Includes:
    • Extravaganza poster
    • DVD
    • Movie poster
    • T-shirt
    • Brinton postcard
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    Dangling Brinton

    We’ve taken real 35mm film from the Brinton Collection (duplicate safety film, not the original nitrate, don’t worry) and Iowa artisans will fashion it into a limited edition pendant necklace that Indiana would've proudly worn.

    Includes:
    • Handmade pendant necklace
    • DVD
    • Brinton postcard
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    Bowtie Brinton

    That’s right, real 35mm film from the Brinton Collection (safety film, not the original nitrate, don’t worry) rolled and tied into a wearable bow tie perfect for your next film premiere, Frank Brinton dress-up or steampunk gala plus the DVD of the film.

    Includes:
    • Bowtie
    • DVD
    • Brinton postcard
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    Showtime Brinton

    A Bluray copy of the film + the rights to screening it publicly for up to 100 at your local art house theater or community gathering space. Charge admission, screen it as a fundraiser, or make it a free celebration for your community—it’s your show!

    Includes:
    • Bluray
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    Talking Brinton

    The public screening rights listed in Showtime Brinton + a Skype conversation with members of the film team and/or Michael Zahs (depending on availability)

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    Barnstorming Brinton

    Mike and a member of the film team will come to your community for a screening of the film, post-screening Q&A and live silent film performance. Scheduling and travel details must be mutually agreed upon.

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    Bigtime Brinton

    Your name as an Associate Producer in the gorgeous closing credits sequence by cinematographer Scott Duncan + four tickets to a screening of the film in your area + DVD and digital copies of the film + your choice of the limited edition hand-crafted 35mm pendant or bowtie.

    Includes:
    • DVD
    • Digital download
    • Film credit
    • Movie ticket
    • Handmade wearable 35mm item
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    Ultimate Brinton

    Your name as a Co-Producer in the gorgeous closing credits sequence by cinematographer Scott Duncan + a meal with the filmmakers + four tickets to a screening of the film in your area + DVD and digital copies of the film + your choice of the limited edition hand-crafted 35mm pendant or bowtie.

    Includes:
    • Film credit
    • DVD
    • Digital download
    • Movie ticket
    • Handmade wearable 35mm item
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    Thanking Brinton

    A DVD of the film + your name in the credits of the film in the final DVD and on the big screen in NY & LA! (limited time reward) International backers receive a digital download.

    Includes:
    • DVD
    • Film credit
    • Brinton postcard
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    Special Brinton

    Special acknowledgment in the film’s end-crawl credits + DVD & digital copies of the film + a hand-signed poster from the film team.

    Includes:
    • Film credit
    • DVD
    • Digital download
    • Movie poster
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