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The River Nile and its people through the eyes, the lives, and the music of the best musicians that live along it. Read more

Brooklyn, NY Documentary
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The River Nile and its people through the eyes, the lives, and the music of the best musicians that live along it.

Brooklyn, NY Documentary
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About this project

Production of LIFEBLOOD was funded by a National Geographic All Roads Seed Grant and footage was featured at TED Global last year (both of which were huge!) but we now need to ask for your help to cover the post-production expenses necessary to finish this incredible film.

The Film

The Nile. Running through 11 countries for over 4,130 miles, it is our planet's longest river. Its endpoint in Egypt was once considered the center of the world, and throughout history, empires have continually divided the region in order to plunder its wealth. While the region is home to over 200 million people who could understand, share, and admire each other's cultures along the mighty Nile, the fact is, they don’t. Cultural curiosity depends upon culture being shared, yet between Nile countries, next to no culture is being shared -- at least that the Nile people realize.

Music is one of the most inspirational forces of cultural exchange. The inspiration for LIFEBLOOD came from The Nile Project, which aims to curate cross-cultural collaborations among musicians from the Nile region, fostering cultural connections among the people living along the river to help tackle their water-based environmental challenges. The Nile Project gathered these musicians together, performing in the biggest and most influential cities along the river, and plans to tour the United States and Europe to share their stories with the world.

Shot in cinema verité style, LIFEBLOOD is a 26-minute film chronicling the stories of these great East African musicians from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda who yearn to create cultural dialogue with their Nile brethren. The short blends interviews of musicians, scenes of family and friends, and live performances while introducing viewers to the beautiful, poetic and historic spectacle that is the Nile. By uniquely reflecting the people and sharing their cultures, our hope is that LIFEBLOOD will allow the people of the Nile to realize the power of the cultural connections they share rather than the borders that divide them.

Mama C belting it out at Watenga Studios in Arusha, Tanzania.
Mama C belting it out at Watenga Studios in Arusha, Tanzania.

It was an ambitious plan and we nailed it.

Over five weeks we collected footage of fabulously talented undiscovered musicians, spectacular landscapes and wisdom about a part of the world that's as old as time.


Yet another mind-blowing performance at Makan in Cairo, Egypt.
Yet another mind-blowing performance at Makan in Cairo, Egypt.

How These Funds Will Be Used

We're so close to being able to finish this film. We have AMAZING footage. We just need the funds to finish it. Thanks to the National Geographic All Roads Seed Grant, we were able to travel to Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to shoot the film. That's a big deal and we thank National Geographic profusely for their support. However, their funds were just barely enough to cover production leaving us with nothing for post-production. 

Post-production expenses include paying for:

  • an editor
  • a sound mixer
  • a colorist
  • a motion designer

Pretty people getting down at Blankets & Wine outside of Nairobi, Kenya.
Pretty people getting down at Blankets & Wine outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

Why Kickstarter?

I believe in platforms that allow me to directly communicate and share films with the fans of my work and I want to use them all every chance I get. Kickstarter is often the first of these platforms but there are others including Vimeo and VHX and TUGG. Then there's the opportunity to personally host screenings of films so that I can meet all of you face to face. To me, all of this is the future of independent filmmaking and it's a very good future. I want to use every opportunity to connect with more of you every step of the way and Kickstarter is step one.

Fun on a feluka in Luxor, Egypt.
Fun on a feluka in Luxor, Egypt.

So Who Are We?

Director/Producer
Nick Fitzhugh (photo)

I began my career as a student at Brown University (BFA ‘02) by starting Glimpse (glimpse.org), a nonprofit multimedia platform for young people living and studying abroad to share stories about personal cultural experiences abroad. Seven years later the company was acquired by the National Geographic Society. I continued to run what became National Geographic Glimpse with Glimpse co-founder Kerala Taylor for three years. In 2010, I started redfitz (redfitz.com) “human stories for a small world”, and turned my full-time attention to directing, producing, writing and shooting short films, music videos, series and features. My first film, SOCCER CITY (soccer-city.tv), the documentary series and featurette about life and soccer in the largest and most notorious township in South Africa during the first ever World Cup to be held in Africa, was picked up by the National Geographic Channel International, ESPN Classic, and SuperSport and is also available on iTunes and Amazon. In addition to two short films currently in post-production and numerous additional projects in development, my first feature film, STARBOARD LIGHT (thestarboardlight.com)––a film funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign about a year ago––is due out in mid 2013.

Editor
Micho Manasterly (photo)

Mohamed el Manasterly was born in Egypt 1984 and began his editing career in 2005 as an assistant editor on two Egyptian feature films (LEGITIMATE BETRAYAL, directed by Khaled Yousif, and NEAMA BAY, directed by Magdy El Hawary). He then began editing music videos , TV shows, movie trailers, documentaries and short fiction. H e was an editor for four years for Al Haya TV, one of the leading networks in Egypt. In 2012, Mohamed worked as an additional editor on RAFIA: SOLAR MAMA, a documentary directed by Jehan Nouaim. SOLAR MAMA won two awards at DOCNYC! and received the SundanceNOW Audience Award and the Special Jury Prize in the Viewfinders Competition. In 2013 , he edited THE SQUARE, a feature documentary directed by Jehan Noujaim that won the Sundance Audience Award.

Sound Mixer
Mohamed Sakr (photo)

Holding international certificates in Sound engineering, Mr. Sakr occupies the position of Chief Sound Engineer at Studio Leila, and boasts an impressive portfolio of remarkable contributions to many of the hits on today's charts in Egypt.

Sound Recordist / Associate Producer
Steve Souryal (photo)

Sound recordist and musician Steve Souryal (B.A.,The College of William and Mary) has a vested interest in this story because he was born to Egyptian parents, and what happens to the Nile directly affects his family. He currently lives in Washington, DC and works regularly with the creative production collective The Lookout.

Nile Project Co-Founder
Meklit Hadero (photo)

Meklit Hadero (B.A. Political Science, Yale University, 2002) is a critically acclaimed Ethiopian-American singer, musician and cultural activist based in San Francisco, CA. She has been an artist-in-residence at NYU, has completed musical commissions for the Fund for Artists, the Brava Theater, and the De Young Museum, and was recently awarded the 2012 TED Senior Fellowship with the Nile Project as her main focus. She is the co-founder of the Nile Project and the Arba Minch Collective.

Nile Project Co-Founder
Mina Girgis
(photo)

Mina Girgis (B.Sc. Florida State University, 2002; M.A. Ethnomusicology,University of California, Santa Barbara, 2004) is an Egyptian ethnomusicologist and arts entrepreneur based in San Francisco, CA. He has participated in organizing many cross-cultural events such as the Smithsonian Silk Road Festival in Washington DC and Farah El Bahr Euro-Mediterranean Festival in Alexandria, Egypt. He is the co-founder of the Nile Project and the founder and Executive Director of Zambaleta, a nonprofit community world music school located in San Francisco.

Makadem shares his wisdom (and his smile).
Makadem shares his wisdom (and his smile).

Stay Informed

The best way to keep up with updates and the status of LIFEBLOOD is to make a pledge above. But there are a few other good ways too:

Risks and challenges

Fortunately at this point there are very few risks with this project. The crew is in place. And we have plenty of time to complete the film in time to submit it to Sundance in September.

That said, it's a good thing we have time because the biggest challenge will simply be finishing post-production in a timely manner on account of the fact that the crew is working partially in support of the project themselves which, while wonderfully generous, means that they must prioritize other higher paying work when it comes in.

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FAQ

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Rewards

  • You selected
    $5 reward

    11 backers

    Exclusive pre-release HD download of the finished film

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $10 reward

    9 backers

    Exclusive Meklit Hadero / JCB / Mama C / Grandmaster Masese Single recorded at Watenga Studios in Arusha, Tanzania during production of the film + Lil’ Barack Journey Home photo album by Steve Souryal + All previous rewards

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $25 reward

    16 backers

    Free HD download of LIFEBLOOD director Nick Fitzhugh’s National Geographic and ESPN distributed series, SOCCER CITY, about life and soccer in township South Africa during the first ever FIFA World Cup to be held in Africa + All previous rewards

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    3 backers

    Refresh your computer wallpaper by downloading all of the gorgeous LIFEBLOOD high-res still photographs by Nick Fitzhugh + All previous rewards

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $100 reward

    11 backers

    Album comprised of all live recordings during production of LIFEBLOOD + A thank you screen credit in the film + All previous rewards

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $250 reward

    0 backers

    Personal Q&A phone call from LIFEBLOOD director, Nick Fitzhugh + Free download of LIFEBLOOD and THE CONSTANT GARDENER musician Ayub Ogada’s award-winning album En Mana Kouyo + All previous rewards

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $500 reward

    4 backers

    Associate Producer screen and IMDb credit in the film + Online test screening where you get to provide comments that will be taken into consideration for the final cut + All previous rewards

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (13 days)