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Support the completion of a feature-length film about the Appalachian Trail.

The Long Start to the Journey is a documentary film about the Appalachian Trail. The story follows filmmaker Chris Gallaway on his personal attempt to thru-hike the AT in 2013 and to learn what the trail means to individuals he meets along the way. Chris (or "Frost" as he comes to be known on the trail) meets hikers young and old with wildly disparate backgrounds, "trail angels" who provide food and support, and an assortment of wildlife that make the journey much more exciting. This is a personal story of struggle and perseverance and of how the natural world can teach us and enrich our lives. The film captures the importance of the trail by looking back to its history and also at its current influence on culture in America. "The Long Start to the Journey" is a film for those who love the outdoors and who find insight, meaning, and enjoyment in the time they spend in wild places.

During his thru-hike in 2013, Chris created a series of short online videos documenting the first 1,000 miles of his hike.  These videos give a sense of the production quality and story-telling style that will be used in completing the feature film, though the full-length film will be more thorough and polished than the online shorts. Here are two videos from the online series: "Mile 198.9" is a video-journal entry and reflects the narrative style that the feature film will take. "Winter" is a lyrical short film featuring the poetry of Robert Frost (Chris's trail-namesake)--it gives a bit more insight into the frigid conditions that Chris and other hikers faced early on the trail this year. The complete series can be viewed at www.theATmovie.com.

What will the Kickstarter funds go to?

The goal of this campaign is to raise $33,500 to complete post-production on The Long Start to the Journey. These funds will cover expenses including:

- Music licensing: one of the largest pieces of the film's budget, and a very important one at that. The music budget will go towards licensing existing songs by artists like Bowerbirds and Bon Iver, and a portion of it will be used to contract original compositions for the film's score.

- Animation: We're going to contract the services of professional animators to create graphic sequences for the film. Aspects of this story such as the progress of the trail through states and over mountain ranges are best illustrated through maps and animations that we're not able to create. This will be an important asset to telling the story of the Appalachian Trail.

- Artwork & Design: We're going to hire skilled graphic designers and artists to create the artwork that will become the face of the film, both on DVD packaging and on posters.

- Color Correction & Sound Mastering: Once the final edit of the film is complete, we'll hire a professional studio to color-correct the picture and master the soundtrack. This will greatly improve the quality of the finished picture.

- DVD replication and production

The stretch funding goal = $40,000:

The funding goal for this campaign was designed to cover the essentials of finishing the film and making DVDs. If we are able to exceed this goal, we will be able to go further and do more in post-production, including:

- Getting the film subtitled in English and other languages to prepare it for television broadcast and theatrical release

- Organizing a regional film tour to share the film with schools and communities up and down the East Coast in 2014.

- Submitting the film to more festivals like Sundance and Banff

Why Kickstarter?

Through a combination of sweat-equity and favors from friends, I've been able to produce past films on a shoe-string budget. I believe this story has terrific potential, and I hope to raise the funding needed to complete the film at the highest quality and without compromises. Kickstarter is a proven way to achieve such a goal and to build a community of invested collaborators while doing it. I value the sense of ownership and collaboration that Kickstarter participants gain in a project, and I have contributed to Kickstarter campaigns to support projects and artists I believe in. I hope there are folks out there who will believe in this story and will contribute to make it as good as it can be.

Spread the word!

For this campaign to be successful, it needs to reach a large audience of like-minded people. You will be doing as much to support this film by contributing financially as by sharing the campaign through your networks (facebook, tumblr, e-mailing friends who might be interested, etc.). Please help us spread the word!

Rewards:

We've been working hard to create a long and varied list of rewards that will increase your enjoyment through supporting this campaign. See the side bar for detailed descriptions of the rewards available at various levels of backing. Here are a few of the rewards that we're offering:

Whitewater DVD's:

Hiking Boots & Town Shoes:


Osprey Packs (more styles available in the sidebar!):

Studio time at Z Sound Recording in Austin, TX: (click image to learn more about the studio)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

With principle filming completed, this movie is already on its feet and ready to be edited and finished. There are challenges that will arise during post-production such as finding and licensing music at rates that are within budget and locating the right people to work with on a contract basis for jobs such as animation and color correction. The budget and funding goal of the Kickstarter campaign have been designed to enable us to confidently navigate such challenges and to finish the film at a high quality and in a timely manner.

As an independent filmmaker, I have completed several previous projects on minimal budgets through a combination of ingenuity, favors from friends, and by doing various jobs that I'm not professionally qualified for (from graphic design to color correction). For this project, I'm seeking to raise sufficient funding to complete the film without compromises in production quality and with the funds needed to pay contributing artists for their time and talent. If the fundraising campaign is successful, I'm confident we will be able to meet all of these goals.

FAQ

  • An important message of this film is the history of volunteer support and inter-agency cooperation that made the Appalachian Trail possible and that has stewarded it to this day. The film will explore the impact of that heritage and the continuing importance of volunteer efforts to protect and maintain the AT.

    Kickstarter expressly prohibits projects that are funded through its platform from benefiting an outside cause or organization; so while we would not be allowed to direct proceeds from the film to such causes, you can be sure that it is the goal of the filmmakers to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and other like organizations through the message of the film and through our personal efforts and financial support.

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  • The goal of this campaign is to raise the funding needed to produce the film at a high level by contracting the services of other professionals. Compared to similar projects (feature-length documentaries finished at a professional level) the budget for this film is fairly modest. As an example, services for the animation aspect of this film have so far been quoted anywhere from 5,000 dollars to 33,000 euros for making the maps and sequences that will illustrate the geographical progress of the trail.

    The film can be completed at anywhere in a wide range of price points, and the goal of this campaign is to empower the filmmakers in post-production to contract with a team of other professionals (musicians, graphic artists, animators, etc.) to complete the story at a very high level. We are not able to fund this work on our own, and we believe in the power of a wide community of supporters to realize independent film-making like this. We are very grateful to everyone who believes in the film enough to support it, and we will work faithfully to honor your support and deliver a rich and informative film about the Appalachian Trail (not to mention the rewards that are offered in the sidebar).

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    17 backers

    We're grateful for your support, and we'll put you on our e-mail update list so that you can keep up with the film's progress.

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    Get a download of 15 wallpapers for your computer desktop or screensaver, all photographs taken during Chris's 2013 thru-hike. These images will take you out of the office and into daydreams of a walk in the wilderness. To see one image from the set, follow this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/horizonlinepictures/11803406766/

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    The Long Start to the Journey patch -- Get a custom stitched patch from the film to attach to your backpack or wherever you like! Also receive the 14 digital desktops from the $15 reward level and a thank you note from Frost and Sunshine.

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    Get a password to screen "Chapinlara," a 6-minute short film based on an interview I conducted with a fellow hiker in the White Mountains. "Chapin" was one of the most interesting people I shared time with on the trail, and he was almost certainly the oldest person to complete a thru-hike in 2013 (70 years old!). Supporters at this level will receive a unique password to privately view the video online, and they will also get the digital image download from the $15 reward level.

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    ATTEND A PREVIEW SCREENING OF THE FILM IN ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- In the summer of 2014 we will show a near-final edit of the film-in-progress at Asheville's beloved Brew'n'View Theater. Come see the film in progress and contribute your feedback in a Q&A session following the screening. This reward includes the Long Start Patch, the video "Chapinlara," and all other rewards from the $15 level. (You must be available to travel to the Asheville area to attend the screening in the summer of 2014. The specific date of the screening will be announced in May--it will most likely be held in June or July).

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    We'll send you a copy of "Coming Home," the whitewater kayaking DVD produced by Chris Gallaway & Spencer Cooke (trailer at http://horizonlinepictures.com/2012/coming-home). This reward includes everything from the $23 reward level.

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    GET A DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE FILM WHEN IT IS RELEASED: When the film is finished we'll send you a code for a free digital copy that you can download online. Plus, you get everything from the $23 level.

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    We'll ship you a set of 5 note cards designed with images from Chris's thru-hike: a tiny red eft, a narrow path through the Maine woods, Lonesome Lake at night, and more. This reward also includes everything from the $23 reward level (digitial images and the short film "Chapinlara").

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    GET THE FINISHED FILM ON DVD BEFORE IT'S RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC: We'll ship you a copy of "The Long Start" DVD as soon as it's ready and before it can be seen in theaters or purchased online. This reward includes everything from the $23 tier.

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    Get "The Long Start to the Journey" calendar, designed with images from Chris's thru-hike and including dated notations from when he passed landmarks along the trail. This reward includes everything from the $23 tier.

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    GET A SIGNED COPY OF THE LONG START DVD before it available online or in theaters. Frost (Chris) & Sunshine (Larissa) will sign the cover of the DVD with a short thank you for your support in making the film a reality, and we'll send it to you before it can be purchased anywhere.

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    Get a signed DVD of "The Green Race Movie" (one of the last remaining copies of the film), Chris's first documentary film about a class 5 whitewater race in North Carolina. You'll also receive a set of 5 Appalachian Trail notecards. This reward includes everything in the $23 tier AND a thank you in the film's credits.

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    14 backers Limited (6 left of 20)

    Get copies of BOTH "Coming Home" and "The Green Race Movie," whitewater adventure films that are sure to whet your whistle for more stories from the Appalachian Trail. Also receive everything in the $23 tier as well as a thank you in the film's credits and a set of 5 Appalachian Trail notecards.

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    OSPREY NANO PORT SHOULDER BAG WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH -- This over-the-shoulder satchel is designed to carry your gadgets safely. The Nano features a clear-windowed sleeve for operating a tablet without removing it from the pack. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/group/tech/portal_series_-_nano_new

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    ASTRAL BREWERS TOWN & RIVER SHOE -- The Brewer is a shoe designed for river sports that has become a great choice for light, backup footwear on the trail (wear them in camp, around town, and on slick river-crossings). These are all-around great shoes with maximum utility designed by Astral Buoyancy in North Carolina. Click the image on the left for more info, colors, and pictures. (This one-of-a-kind set of shoes made for the Long Start to the Journey film will be hand-printed with the film's motto, "see what you see," to commemorate your part in making the film possible. (Note: we will need your shoe size, gender choice, and color preference before fulfilling this reward.)

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    TALON 18 MEN'S DAYPACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH (2014 Model): A fast-and-light carryall for everyone from the bike messenger to the business-guru. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible.

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    TEMPEST 16 WOMEN'S DAYPACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH (2014 Model): It's like a super-sporty purse . . . with an ice-ax loop. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible.

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    OSPREY REVERB 18 LIFT-ACCESSED RIDING PACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH-- A tight, efficient pack designed for snowsports and backcountry adventures. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/vertical_endeavors__snowplay/reverb_18

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    OSPREY PIXEL PORT TECH PACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH-- This is a cleverly-designed pack with dedicated sleeves for your devices. It has pockets for laptop and accessories as well as a clear sleeve that allows you to store and use a tablet without ever removing it from the pack. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/tech_1/pixel_port

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    OSPREY PORTER DELUXE DUFFEL WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH-- A clean and simple large duffel for your world travels. Features the zipaway harness and hipbelt for converting the pack from a duffel bag to a backpack. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/gear_hauling/porter_65

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    OSPREY VOLT 60 BACKPACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH -- This is the actual pack that my friend Spencer Cooke used when he came out and helped me film in the frozen Smoky Mountains. The pack comes with a hand-written note from Spencer apologizing for the pocket that got chewed by a mouse when he left a granola bar in it. Besides the chewed pocket (which we've repaired), the pack is in excellent condition. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible.

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    SIRRUS 24 WOMEN'S DAYPACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH (2014 Model) -- The women's-specific version of this good-lookin' efficient daypack. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible.

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    STRATOS 24 MEN'S DAYPACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH (2014 Model) -- A light & fast technical pack for snow sports, day hikes, and looking cool at school. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible.

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    OSPREY KODE 32 BACKCOUNTRY SKI PACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH -- This is a great-looking, compact pack for your ski adventures or school day. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: ttp://www.ospreypacks.com/en/group/vertical_endeavors__snowplay/kode_series_updated

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    OSPREY RADIAL 26 VENTILATED BIKE COMMUTE PACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH -- A spacious yet light pack that's designed with your mobility in mind. Perfect for bike commuting; includes a 15" laptop sleeve. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/group/commute_1/radial_series_new

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    WOMEN'S VASQUE BREEZE 2.0 GTX HIKING BOOT -- Get a one-of-a-kind pair of Vasque's popular hiking boot. The Breeze is a waterproof, lightweight hiking shoe with plenty of support to carry you through long days and many miles. This one-of-a-kind set of shoes made for the Long Start to the Journey film will be hand-printed with the film's motto ("see what you see") and with Frost & Sunshine's signatures to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Learn more about this Vasque footwear here: http://www.vasque.com/vasque-shoe/7479-vasque/7479-vasque-womens-breeze-2.0-gtx-gargoyle-africanviolet (Note: when choosing this reward, please give your shoe size and color preference--colors available on Vasque's website at the link above.)

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    MEN'S VASQUE BREEZE 2.0 GTX HIKING BOOT -- Get a one-of-a-kind pair of Vasque's popular hiking boot. The Breeze is a waterproof, lightweight hiking shoe with plenty of support to carry you through long days and many miles. This one-of-a-kind set of shoes made for the Long Start to the Journey film will be hand-printed with the film's motto ("see what you see") and with Frost & Sunshine's signatures to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Learn more about this Vasque footwear here: http://www.vasque.com/vasque-shoe/7482-vasque/7482-vasque-mens-breeze-2.0-gtx-slatebrown-russetorange (Note: when choosing this reward, please give your shoe size and color preference--colors available on Vasque's website at the link above.)

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    2 backers Limited (23 left of 25)

    GALLERY WRAP CANVAS PRINT FROM THE TRAIL -- "The Green Tunnel" is an 11x16 inch gallery wrap canvas print. This lush image of the AT's famous green tunnel will fit into a nook on your wall space and refresh your spirit by recalling you to days spent in the woods. This reward includes everything in the $23 tier AND a thank you in the film's credits.

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    STUDIO TIME AT Z SOUND RECORDING IN AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Get a day of professional sound recording service for your band at Z Sound Recording in Austin, TX. Book multiple days at $200 a day to extend the value of your session (it generally takes about 2 days to fully track and mix one song). More info about the studio is available here: http://zsoundrecording.com (This reward available only to those who can travel to the Austin, Texas area to claim reward).

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    OSPREY EXOS 48 SUPERLIGHT BACKPACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH (2014 model) -- Get Osprey's newest ultra-light technical backpack: a masterful combination of ounce-shaving, durable materials and a feather-weight internal frame to keep you fast and comfortable on your next journey. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Note: We'll need to get your unique sizing before fulfilling this reward.

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    OSPREY EXOS 58 SUPERLIGHT BACKPACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH (2014 model) -- Get Osprey's newest ultra-light technical backpack: a masterful combination of ounce-shaving durable materials and a feather-weight internal frame to keep you fast and comfortable on your next journey. This is the higher-volume version of the Exos (58 liters). Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Note: We'll need to get your unique sizing before fulfilling this reward.

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    6 backers Limited (19 left of 25)

    A FINE ART PRINT FROM THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL -- Get "Sunrise on Blood Mountain," a 10 x 20 inch giclee print on water color paper, professionally framed with conservation glass by Black Bird Frame & Art in Asheville, North Carolina (total dimensions with frame 12" x 22"). Only 25 pieces made in this run. This reward includes everything in the $23 tier AND a thank you in the film's credits.

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    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    A half-day photo shoot with Chris Gallaway in the Asheville, NC area: Choose your subject (your family, your car, the new line of clothing you designed), and Chris will dedicate a 4-hour shoot to helping you capture great images of it. You will get the complete set of hi-res digital images as well as a select group of touched-up & edited files after the shoot.

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    OZONE 22 ULTRALIGHT WHEELED TRAVEL PACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH -- A great, small rolling suitcase that meets carry-on size requirements and yet gives you lots of options for loading and storing your travel essentials. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/ultra-light_bags/ozone_2246l

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    SHUTTLE 22 WHEELED GEAR HAULER WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH -- Snazzy luggage for the 21st century. The Shuttle meets most carry-on size requirements and features wheels for easy travel through airport terminals. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/wheeled_bags/shuttle_2240l_1

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    SOJOURN 25 CONVERTIBLE WHEELED PACK WITH THE LONG START TO THE JOURNEY PATCH -- A mid-sized wheeled suitcase that handily converts to a backpack with the addition of a zipaway hip belt and harness. Your pack will have a "The Long Start to the Journey" patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making the film possible. Product page: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/convertible_wheeled_packs/sojourn_2560l

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    FRAMED CANVAS PRINT -- Receive the 16 x 24 inch print of "White Pines, Vermont," printed on canvas and professionally framed by Black Bird Frame & Art in Asheville, North Carolina (total dimensions 17.5" x 25.5"). Only 15 pieces made in this run. Please specify if you would rather have hardware added to hang the artwork vertically or horizontally, OR add $5 to your pledge to have both hangers applied. This reward includes everything in the $23 tier AND a thank you in the film's credits.

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    PRIVATE SCREENING + DINNER + MORE: Come to Chris and Sunshine's house in Asheville, NC to watch a near-final edit of the film and then join us for dinner. We'll ask for your feedback on the film-in-progress, and we'll share more with you about what went into making the film. You will be thanked in the end titles of the film, and you'll receive the DVD of the film before it's available anywhere as well as a signed copy of the movie's poster. (You are welcome to bring a plus-1 for the evening. The dinner is only available to those who can travel to the Asheville, North Carolina area). This reward includes everything in the $23 tier.

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    BOOK A GUIDED HIKE WITH US -- For this reward, Chris and Sunshine will plan a three-night, four day backpacking trip with you in the Appalachian Mountains. We'll work together to plan an itinerary, choosing a location for the hike somewhere in the Souteastern US (between Georgia and Virginia). You will be responsible for transporting yourself (and a friend/spouse if you want) to the trail head, and we will provide the meals. We have some gear that you can use on loan, but it's very helpful if you already own the essentials for backpacking. Contact us with an e-mail through Kickstarter if you have any questions! This reward includes everything in the $23 tier AND a thank you in the film's credits.

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    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT + DINNER AT OUR HOUSE: Come to the private screening at our house in Asheville, North Carolina, and give your feedback on the film in progress. You will be credited as an "Associate Producer" in the end titles of the film, you will receive the DVD before it is available anywhere, and you will receive the gallery wrap print "The Green Tunnel" and a signed copy of the movie poster. (You are welcome to bring a plus-1 for the dinner evening. Reward only available for those who can travel to the Asheville, North Carolina area). This reward includes everything from the $23 level.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    THE COMPLETE PACKAGE -- This reward includes almost everything: 1) receive an "Associate Producer" credit in the end titles of the film, and join us at our house in Asheville, NC to screen the unfinished film and give your feedback, 2) get the Long Start calendar and postcards AS WELL AS a signed copy of the DVD before it is available anywhere, 3) get "The White Pines, Vermont" framed 16-by-24-inch canvas print, 4) get a signed copy of the movie poster, and 5) receive our heartfelt thanks. (You are welcome to bring a plus-1 for the dinner and screening. The dinner is only available to those who can travel to the Asheville, North Carolina area). This reward also includes everything in the $23 tier.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    HIRE CHRIS TO TELL YOUR STORY: For this pledge, Chris will produce a short video (3-7 minutes) on the subject of your choosing. The reward includes up to 3 days of filming along with basic post-production costs such as music licensing for up to 3 songs (using Chris's established music resources). At the end of editing, Chris will deliver to you an HD quicktime movie file of your short film as well as a DVD. Expenses are included in the reward for flights/travel within the continental US. For more information & details on this reward as well as limitations, please send Chris a message through Kickstarter. THIS REWARD INCLUDES EVERYTHING FROM THE $45 LEVEL, THE FRAMED PRINT "WHITE PINES, VERMONT," AND AN ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT IN THE END TITLES OF THE FILM.

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Funding period

- (34 days)