For 35 years, 91-year old Al Larson has monitored 300 bluebird boxes in southwestern Idaho: Can we help inspire the next generation to continue his legacy of environmental stewardship?
A Message from the Director
Bluebird Man is a new half-hour documentary from Wild Lens:
Since late April 2013, we have been in the production-phase of our newest film project, Bluebird Man. Bluebird Man is a film about Al Larson, who's name has become synonymous with bluebird monitoring and conservation in Idaho.
Al, who is now 91 years old, has been monitoring over 300 bluebird boxes in southwestern Idaho for the past 35 years. Through the telling of Al's unique life story, we aim to inspire the next generation to carry on his legacy of environmental stewardship.
Al Larson grew up in the remote Owyhee Mountains of southwest Idaho in the 1930s, and developed a love for birds and wildlife while working as a ranch hand. Many years later, Al was inspired to return to the remote mountains of his childhood by a National Geographic story about bluebird conservation.
Al set up his first bluebird boxes in the Owyhees in 1978, and 35 years later at age 91, he continues to monitor every stage of the breeding process at over 300 nest boxes. Every bluebird chick that fledges from one of Al's boxes receives a uniquely numbered federal aluminum leg band; Al has banded 27,000 bluebirds over the past 35 years.
During the 1960s bluebird populations across North America were on the decline. Luckily, a large-scale citizen science project, spearheaded by the North American Bluebird Society, was initiated with the goal of increasing nesting habitat by establishing "Bluebird Trails." These trails consist of a series of nest boxes specifically designed for bluebirds.
Through the efforts of Al Larson and countless other citizen scientists, nesting habitat for bluebirds has increased dramatically and bluebird populations have rebounded. We hope to inspire the next generation of conservationists to carry on what has become one of North America's longest standing citizen science projects.
$15,000 Funding Goal!
$17,500 This will allow us the funds to get Bluebird Man professionally color corrected and have the audio mastered AND Kickstarter Exclusive! we will share a deleted scene from the film only to those who have backed us through this Kickstarter campaign.
$20,000 We will produce and share a digital behind-the-scenes making of Bluebird Man.
You Vote for the Movie Poster
We've had several artists design original movie posters for Bluebird Man. These are available as a limited edition backer reward level, but every backer gets a hand in deciding which poster ends up as the final movie poster! Backers have already decided on the top two posters that are now faciong-off in a final showdown until July 31st. All backers receive a vote in this final showdown, and you can cast your vote for the official movie poster here. Only one vote per person, and only vote if you've backed this campaign please!
ORIGINAL ARTWORK level 1: Receive an original 8.5x11" sketch from Hilda Larson. These sketches are from Hilda's personal sketch pad and feature various bluebird, wildlife, and pastoral landscape scenes. Three examples are shown below:
EASTERN BLUEBIRD level: We have received 5 of David Kinneer's favorite Eastern Bluebird pictures. Mr. Kinneer is a well known Eastern Bluebird photographer and we are privileged to offer these prints to our backers. Below is one example of David's work. More of his bluebird photographs can be found at his website:
ORIGINAL ARTWORK level 2: Receive an original 11x15" sketch from Hilda Larson. These sketches were made on thicker sketch paper exclusively for Kickstarter backers. Three unfinished examples are shown below:
ORIGINAL ARTWORK level 3: Receive an original carved woodblock print of a Mountain Bluebird from Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory biologist Erin Strasser. This woodblock print was made exclusively for Kickstarter backers. Here is the finished woodblock print:
LIMITED EDITION ARTWORK level: Renowned wildlife watercolor artist Karyn deKramer has graciously donated ONE of her Giclee Mountain Bluebird prints for this campaign. You can view more of Ms. deKramer's work on her website.
LIMITED EDITION ARTWORK level 2: Receive an original carved woodblock print of a California Condor from Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory biologist Erin Strasser. Limited edition of ONE. Here is the finished woodblock print:
What We Have Accomplished So Far
Since we began production in late April 2013, we have met with and received a letter of support to broadcast Bluebird Man on Idaho Public Television. We have also formed strong partnerships with the North American Bluebird Society and Golden Eagle Audubon Society. Both of these reputable organizations have already contributed numerous in-kind donations to Bluebird Man that have greatly aided us in the production process. Production on Bluebird Man is in full-swing and you can read many of our production updates over at the Wild Lens blog.
The Future/Our Goals:
Bluebird Man began production in late April 2013, and the funds raised from this Kickstarter campaign will help fund our production and distribution costs. We are also vigorously pursuing funding options from grants and corporate sponsorships to fund the total amount needed to complete the film.
Our estimated completion date for this film is December 31, 2013. In early 2014 Wild Lens will host a screening of the film in Boise, Idaho. In addition to screening the film, we will have live music and lots of fun activities for ALL AGES!
Getting Bluebird Man broadcast on Public Television has been a top priority, and we are extremely happy that the folks at Idaho Public Television share our enthusiasm over this story.We believe that this film will be a good fit for Public Television stations across the country, and we will be pursuing a national broadcast.
Funding from this Kickstarter campaign and other funding sources will go directly towards production and distribution of Bluebird Man. Any donation amount you pledge will make a huge difference in the production of Bluebird Man, and since Wild Lens is a non-profit organization, all pledges are tax-deductible!
About the Filmmakers:
Neil Paprocki (Director, Producer)
Neil is completing a master’s degree in raptor biology at Boise State University and spent years working as a field biologist with a wide variety of wildlife species. He spent three years working with the California condor, and was a co-producer on Wild Lens’ first feature length film, Scavenger Hunt, about the recovery of this critically endangered bird.
Neil cut his teeth as a producer and director working on a number of short web release documentaries for Wild Lens. These include a documentary about a fellow non-profit, the Idaho Bird Observatory, Ptarmigan conservation in Alaska, and songbird conservation in the shade-grown coffee plantations of Honduras.
Matthew Podolsky (Producer, Director of Photography)
Matthew attended Ithaca College, where he received degrees in both Cinema/Photography and Environmental Science. While a student he produced a 30 minute educational documentary about a large-scale watershed restoration project as well as a 10 minute radio documentary about political upheaval on the Caribbean island of Antigua.
After graduation Matthew spent his years working as a field biologist, eventually ending up in Arizona and Utah canyon country where he worked with California condors. After spending two years working on the condor crew as a biologist, Matthew began production on his first feature length film, Scavenger Hunt. Matthew produced and directed this documentary, which has screened at film festivals across the country and was released by Cinema Libre Studio in early March 2013.
Emily Bender (Editor, Story Consultant)
Emily has been involved in video production since 2002 when she began working as a Production coordinator for Tall Pony Productions in California. Since then she has interned at PSG Films, where she assisted with pre and post production for a National Geographic series, before landing a job as a researcher for PBS Frontline in 2011. She got involved with Wild Lens in 2012 when she edited a short special features segment for Scavenger Hunt.
Emily has long been interested in the art of documentary storytelling. She attended the prestigious Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in 2007, and in 2010 she began studying documentary filmmaking at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She produced, directed and edited a half hour documentary, Half Full, about prader willi syndrome as a part of this graduate program. Half Full won best short film at this year’s Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival and has been used to raise awareness about this rare genetic disorder.
Wild Lens is a non-profit video production company focused on producing insightful documentaries that have a measurable impact on wildlife conservation issues. Our first feature length documentary Scavenger Hunt, which completed an award-winning festival run in 2012 and was recently released on DVD and Video on Demand platforms by Cinema Libre Studio was produced with one simple goal in mind: to convince hunters to switch to non-lead ammunition.
To achieve this goal we developed a film that treats hunters with respect and presents the issue of lead poisoning in wildlife from a balanced perspective. The result was a film that has reached audiences across the United States and is currently playing an essential role in education and outreach efforts designed to address the lead poisoning issue.
In early 2012 Wild Lens initiated an innovative project designed to connect field biologists around to globe with experienced filmmakers in an effort to document critically important conservation issues. The first short documentary in this series was released in February of 2012 and chronicles the work being done by the Boise-based non-profit Idaho Bird Observatory.
Since then, we have released short films documenting vulture declines in East Africa, Ptarmigan conservation in Alaska, songbird conservation on shade-grown coffee plantation in Honduras, and giraffe conservation in Tanzania.
Risks and challenges
Since Wild Lens is a non-profit organization, we have accountability to each of our Kickstarter backers to make sure they get their rewards. Any rewards with copies of the film or other items (Thank you and other credits that appear in the film) will be contingent on the release date of the film, which is slated for late December 2013. Other than that, we have specifically created rewards that we can get to backers with little delay as we understand the importance of the support from our followers! Our first feature length documentary Scavenger Hunt, which was just released on DVD via Cinema Libre Studio, was funded entirely through private donations, so we have experience raising money to fund a finished film project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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