About this project
PLEASE PRESS PLAY TO WATCH OUR TRAILER (ABOVE). WE SHOW UP AT THE END OF THE VIDEO!
I’m Nick Bentgen, and that's Lisa Kjerulff next to me in that picture just below, and we're making NORTHERN LIGHT, a feature film that's almost finished!
I'm so excited to see this film near completion after so much hard work from a phenomenally talented group of artists and friends. We've got brilliant editing by Yoonha Park, incredible design by Carl Williamson and Ian Crowther, lush sound design by Mark Phillips, truly astute production supervision from Sierra Pettengill, and a bold orchestral score from Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi. We love this film! Take a look and see why this project is so special to us.
WE TRULY NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
Is a film about three families that reside in the north woods of Michigan, where winters are unforgiving, jobs are hard to come by, and the line between living life and merely surviving is razor-thin.
This is a cinematic, observational documentary that explores the American working class experience through character-based storytelling. Set against the backdrop of a town’s annual snowmobile race, Northern Light interweaves three captivating stories of recession-era America. As racers and their families pin their hopes to a 500 mile-long test of endurance, small triumphs and giant sacrifices are made along the way.
A FILM BY NICK BENTGEN & LISA KJERULFF
Two and a half years ago, we began filming with three families who were about to compete in the Sault Ste. Marie I-500, an annual snowmobile race in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
This race was unlike anything we'd ever seen--a rich and dramatic community gathering and a cinematic spectacle unto itself. Snowmobiles hurtle at breakneck speeds around a mile-long oval track of pure ice for 500 miles. A crowd of thousands stands on giant hills of snow, transfixed from morning into the freezing night. We quickly discovered that beyond the loud, explosive action of this race was a community marked by genuine devotion and hard work--breakfasts before dawn, prayers before dinner, and naps after the night shift.
We continued to film after the race, capturing intimate portraits of these families as they were making it through the day. As we kept filming, the effects of the financial crisis took hold of the country, and the lives of Walt, Marie, Emily & Isaac and their families began to change profoundly.
We decided to craft an observational film that tracks the intertwining lives of these three families--no interviews, no explanations, just the drama of life unfolding in the present tense.
Emily, Walt, Marie and their families invited us to document their lives with a level of trust and honesty that still amazes us every time we watch through our footage. Their generosity allowed us to create an emotional film that immerses the viewer in the changing lives of working class Americans.
Help us finish!
We spent a total of 11 months over the last two years living in a cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We captured 326 hours (and 26 minutes) of original footage. AND NOW we’ve finally crafted an absorbing, feature-length cut of our film, that's under 2 hrs!
MORE GOOD NEWS:
In 2011, Northern Light was selected to both theIFP FEATURE DOCUMENTARY LAB and the FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER EMERGING VISIONS CONFERENCE, giving the film great momentum for an exciting run in 2012.
We plan to have our festival premiere as soon as possible, but we’re short our final funding. We’re raising $20,000 to help bridge this gap.
All of the money we raise through this Kickstarter campaign will provide the final push to complete our film. These are the steps involved:
- Final Sound Mix: expensive, but a necessary finishing touch for both US and International premieres. We’re working with our multi-talented sound designer Mark Phillips to bring this incredible landscape to life.
- Color Correct, HD Masters & Dubs: We're making a pristine HD Master for festival screenings and distribution.
- Festival Travel & Logistics: airfare and lodging and FOOD!
- Marketing, PR & Artwork: Once we get to the festival, we have to ensure that the film gets its fair share of interest.
- Original Score: Saunder Juriaans and Danny Bensi are composing a bold orchestral score that fits perfectly with our film. We'll record and master this and that means studio time.
- PLUS exciting (and necessary) things like insurance and legal fees.
Your support, collaboration and interaction with this film doesn't just help -- it's everything. I can't express how much it means to me that you're even looking at this Kickstarter page right now. We’re honored to share this experience with you. Thanks so much for taking the time and thanks in advance for your support. Check out the REWARDS, which are pretty awesome. And, really, please get in touch anytime. Contact info below. Thank you.
CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR REWARDS:
LIMITED EDITION STILLS BY ANNA FARRELL & NICK BENTGEN
HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?
Make a Donation to the film, and you get a reward from the list to the right.
Choose the amount you’d like to donate, and the gift you’d like to receive. Once funding is completed, we will be in touch for your address and deliver your rewards by mail.
Even if we’re just a few dollars short of our goal amount, we won’t get the funding. But if we go over our target amount, we can keep the whole thing. Every penny we raise will go directly to our finishing costs.
Are there other ways to help?
Please spread the word about this fundraiser!! A personal e-mail to a friend can work wonders. It’s also helpful to post this Kickstarter page on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr -- wherever you can. Tell your friends that you donated and that you’re a part of this film. Ask your friends (and your favorite blogger / twitter-user) to watch our video and re-tweet our campaign. The more people that see this page, the more likely we are to reach our goal. We will not receive any of this funding unless we receive 100% or more of our goal, so please tell your friends!
Are there any other ways to donate? My credit card is in my other pants...
Absolutely. Contact us at email@example.com to make a tax-deductible donation!
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