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Set against the backdrop of a snowmobile race, Northern Light follows three working families as their lives change profoundly.
Set against the backdrop of a snowmobile race, Northern Light follows three working families as their lives change profoundly.
179 backers pledged $29,096 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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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!


NORTHERN LIGHT...

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.

THANK YOU

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.

Best,

Nick Bentgen

nick@playtetherball.com

northernlightfilm.com

www.facebook.com/northernlightfilm

http://twitter.com/nlightfilm

CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR REWARDS:

LIMITED EDITION STILLS BY ANNA FARRELL & NICK BENTGEN



FAQ

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.

But if we don’t meet our goal, we won’t receive any of the donations.

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 info@northernlightfilm.com to make a tax-deductible donation!

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Thanks for signing up! Look for your name on the film's website and GET UPDATES beginning with A DIGITAL STILL FROM THE FILM!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Thanks and delicious treats!!!! All of the above, PLUS we'll mail you a set of THREE LIMITED EDITION POSTCARDS featuring favorite recipes from our Northern Light Families.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    MUSICAL THANKS - You'll get all of the above
    +
    AN INSPIRATIONAL MIXTAPE from Northern Light Editor / Pitchfork Alum Yoonha David Park (Read: A Brooklyn dude who has amazing taste. You'll get a feel for what our cutting room sounded like this year.)

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    WATCH THE MOVIE ANYWHERE - You'll get a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the ENTIRE FILM (after its festival run & release)
    +
    The LIMITED EDITION POSTCARDS and THANKS on our site.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    THANKS WITH EXTRAS - You'll get a DVD of the film with all kinds of INSIDER BONUS MATERIAL (sent to you after the film's festival run & release) + you'll also get DAVE'S INSPIRATIONAL MIXTAPE

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You get A LIMITED EDITION SILK-SCREENED POSTER / Designed by Carl Williamson and Ian Crowther of Familiar / SIGNED BY THE FILMMAKERS
    +
    A DVD of the FILM (Including BONUS MATERIAL)

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    NORTHERN LIGHT ON BLU-RAY: The Highest Quality Presentation of the Film
    +
    A hand-written NOTE FROM THE FILMMAKERS
    +
    An Unframed 5x7 STILL PHOTOGRAPH from the Production (Choose 1 of 2 Medium Format Stills by Anna Farrell and Nick Bentgen)

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    FIVE FEET OFF THE GROUND: FESTIVAL DIARY FROM AN INDIE FILMMAKER - Exclusive Video Updates that take you inside the experience of our first festival (The LAUGHS, the TEARS, the POOR CHOICES in Nick & Dave's fashion) / Directed by LISA KJERULFF
    +
    The LIMITED EDITION SILK-SCREENED POSTER + A DVD or BLU-RAY of the FILM (your choice)

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    VARIETY PACK - Choose any combination of up to three reward items in the $10 - $250 Levels

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS OF NORTHERN LIGHT + A list of 10 favorite films (PERSONALIZED FOR YOU) sent to you by Director Nick Bentgen after completion of a short questionnaire.
    +
    THE VARIETY PACK - Choose any combination of up to three rewards in the $10 - $250 Levels

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    Pledge $700 or more About $700

    A FRAMED 11x14 STILL PHOTOGRAPH (A Vibrant Digital C Print) from the Production of Northern Light (Choose 1 of 2 Medium Format Stills by Anna Farrell and Nick Bentgen) + A SIGNED COPY OF THE FILM (after its release) / Your Choice of DVD or BLU-RAY + YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS OF THE FILM

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    YUPYUPYUP - 2 VIP tickets to the NYC PREMIERE/PARTY of NORTHERN LIGHT (travel/accommodations not included) + A SIGNED COPY OF THE FILM (after its release) / Your Choice of DVD or BLU-RAY + YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    DINNER (made by the director – believe me, it will be good) and a PRIVATE SCREENING of NORTHERN LIGHT with up to 6 guests at the location of your choice (Tri-state area or within driving distance) + VARIETY PACK + YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS

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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    THE FANCY PACK - INCLUDES ALL REWARDS LISTED ABOVE

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    All of the merch, dinner, and credits above, plus 2 tickets to NORTHERN LIGHT'S WORLD PREMIERE at a FESTIVAL TBD (travel/lodging not included)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    CO-PRODUCER CREDIT + Everything else listed. We will never be able to appropriately thank you.

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Funding period

- (21 days)