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SAVING BRINTON is a “cinephile’s delight”—a festival fave feature doc about the remarkable discovery of a century-old film collection.
SAVING BRINTON is a “cinephile’s delight”—a festival fave feature doc about the remarkable discovery of a century-old film collection. Read more
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
Your only chance to snag an advance DVD with special commentary by Mike Zahs. Get it on Kickstarter before its available publicly.
Upgrades & ADD-ONS
If you’d like to double up on any of your rewards, please private message us through your Kickstarter account with following: capitalized heading of the extra reward(s) you’d like to receive and add the according amounts to your pledge.
DOUBLE UP T-SHIRT: add $25/per extra t-shirt (to any pledge over $35)
DOUBLE UP DVD: add $25/per extra DVD (to any pledge over $25)
MAKE IT A BLU-RAY: add $10 (to any level with a DVD)
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.
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.
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.
“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
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
Frank and Indiana Brinton Charitable Trust
Iowa Arts Council
National Endowment of the Arts / Art Works
National Endowment for the Humanities
FINISHING SERVICES PROVIDED BY
Skywalker Sound (Audio + Sound Design)
Splice (Color + Mastering)
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter