Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 12, 2011.

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A feature-length film based on the life of an elephant named Dao. Like"'Black Beauty," Dao’s fifty-year journey is unforgettable.

Hooray for Dao!!  Check out this great article:   http://www.ecorazzi.com/2011/05/06/elephants-in-captivity-awareness-film-hits-its-goal-on-kickstarter/

A HUGE TRUMPET!!!!    May 5th  

Dear, dear, DEAR people, we hit our goal at 7:02 this morning!!!  I am so moved and excited, I'm in tears.  I've never tried anything like this before and had no idea whether it would work.  And now we are on our way!! 

We still have more days to go, and we are not shutting down!   If we get more donations, the funds will go directly into helping the projects and elephants we meet in Asia -- and also towards editing our promo and getting the film off the ground.  So... if you'd intended to donate and just hadn't quite gotten to it -- or if you've just learned about the project and are moved by Dao's story -- no worries!  IT IS NOT TOO LATE!  Your support will still be invaluable. 

So... step right up and join the herd if you haven't already!!

With all my love and deepest thanks, xxxxxAllison

For those of you new to this page, please read on to learn about this important film and our dear Dao...

DAO

Twelve years ago I met an elephant named Pang Dao while filming in Bangkok. She was living in an abandoned lot under a highway. Each night she would beg for food on the streets with her mahouts. Pang Dao still had open wounds from decades of logging; she had a distant look in her eyes, as if long ago she had retreated to some place deep inside. Her past was blurry and her future tenuous…

The Story of Dao” is a theatrical film based on the life of Pang Dao and hundreds of elephants like her. Captured from the wild as an infant, Dao is taken from her family. She is broken and pressed into human service, forced to leave behind all that she loves. The film spans Dao’s lifetime – over fifty years – from pristine jungle, through ancient temples, logging camps and a black market underworld. As her journey unfolds, the world around her shifts: the forests shrink, illegal logging and drug trafficking flourish, elephants beg on city streets and tradition erodes…until at last, a kinder attitude towards elephants begins to emerge. In the final chapter of her life, Dao finds safety in a forest sanctuary.

Like the beloved tale of Black Beauty, The Story of Dao will open hearts and minds to the plight of some of earth's most intelligent, sensitive and endangered creatures. While African elephants are listed as “Threatened” Asian elephants are listed as “Endangered.”  Behind the dwindling numbers are hundreds of stories, and behind every statistic there is an individual…a breathing, sentient being who has witnessed the dizzying change. This is the story of one such elephant and her unforgettable journey.

From director Allison Argo

My films have won six Emmys and been broadcast throughout the world.  Through 20+ years of making documentaries, I have witnessed the power of film to transform. I met Pang Dao, the inspiration for this story, while making my 1997 film The Urban Elephant w/ Nat Geo & PBS. The film went on to win two national Emmys (one for directing and one for producing)—but more importantly, it helped to shift the way we perceive elephants and improve the care they receive in captivity. With your help, we can raise awareness about elephants in Asia. 

Please HELP!

Please join us in the infancy of this project. The film proposal is complete, as are five chapters of a companion book -- but now I desperately need to scout. We are raising funds for a four-week scout in SE Asia. While there, I will research locations, story details, permits, budget, etc. Award-winning cameraman, Joe Pontecorvo, and sound recordist Nim will join me for part of the scout to shoot footage for a promo. Our travel budget is bare-bones, and we’re hoping to have enough funds to shoot for three weeks..

I hope you'll consider joining me on this labor of love. I know the film will be a significant one. In return for your support, I’ve tried to come up with worthwhile premiums—but if you can think of something you’d rather have--or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at info@ArgoFilms.com. If you're not interested in receiving a premium but want to contribute, that's great, too!  If we exceed our Kickstarter goal, never fear: every penny will be used to breathe life into The Story of Dao!  

UPDATE!

We are almost there…but we still need your help!!!  The funds that we raise will be used for travel in SE Asia, room & board while there, paying the crew and renting the camera gear.  We are using frequent flier miles for our tickets, and I will not be taking a penny for myself.  

While I’ve been busy raising funds and planning the shoot, Joe has been pulling together the gear.  We’re super-excited that we’ll be able to shoot with the new SONY F3!!  It’s a beautiful camera that will provide a wonderfully cinematic look.  We feel that the F3 will do justice to the magnificent elephants we will be filming -- and if we’re lucky enough to find Pang Dao, she will be immortalized in a way that she deserves...!

Please join us and be part of this exciting project.  A million thanks for your support!  xAllison and the Dao team

Get the inside scoop...

** Join us on Facebook!  http://www.facebook.com/StoryofDao                               ** Follow us on Twitter  https://twitter.com/#!/

If you'd like to see more of my work, please visit www.ArgoFilms.com                           You can also check out these clips on Vimeo: 

FAQ

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    10 backers

    Our everlasting gratitude!!

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    17 backers

    You’ll get special posts from the road (updates & photographs), a PDF of the Dao film proposal, and, of course, our everlasting gratitude!

  • Pledge $25 or more
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    32 backers

    You’ll get a DVD of my PBS film THE URBAN ELEPHANT -- PLUS a PDF of the Dao film proposal and posts from the road.

  • Pledge $30 or more
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    9 backers

    Your $30 pledge will provide a meal for a needy elephant at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.

  • Pledge $45 or more
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    33 backers

    You’ll get a DVD of my PBS film The URBAN ELEPHANT, posts from the road, your name on our website, the film proposal for the Story of Dao -- AND an upload of the Dao film promo.

  • Pledge $75 or more
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    16 backers

    You’ll get a DVD of THE URBAN ELEPHANT, a download of the Dao film promo, a PDF of the film proposal, your name on our website, posts from the road -- PLUS… a needy elephant will be fed a meal in your name at a sanctuary in Thailand. (http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/howyoucanhelp.htm)

  • Pledge $100 or more
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    44 backers

    You’ll get a DVD of The URBAN ELEPHANT, a download of the Dao film promo, a PDF of the film proposal, posts from the road, your name on our website – AND a special medical kit will be bought in your name to help care for needy elephants in Thailand. (http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/howyoucanhelp.htm)

  • Pledge $250 or more
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    9 backers

    You’ll get a DVD of The URBAN ELEPHANT, a DVD of the film demo, posts from the road, your name on our website, the film proposal – AND we will sponsor a needy elephant for a year in your name.

  • Pledge $500 or more
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    3 backers

    You’ll get a DVD of The URBAN ELEPHANT, a DVD of the film demo, posts from the road, your name on our website, the film proposal, we will sponsor a needy elephant for a year in your name (http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/howyoucanhelp.htm) – PLUS you are invited to visit the set during filming (sorry, you’ll have to purchase your own ticket, but it will be well worth it :-) – or, if Thailand is too far to travel, how about spending a few days during the edit? You could probably get a bunch of other things, too, since I’ll be soooooo grateful!! A home-cooked meal? A copy of my prior films? A kayak ride on Cape Cod?

  • Pledge $650 or more
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    0 backers

    You are an Elephant Angel. As such you will get all of the above PLUS a private screening of the finished promo (location dependent). Of course you are invited to visit the set during filming – or if Thailand is too far to travel, join us for a few days during the edit. You will also receive a copy of the finished film and an autographed chapter from the book-in-progress -- PLUS you will be invited to the premiere of the film. AND you will definitely go to elephant heaven.

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    0 backers

    You will get everything that our precious Elephant Angels get for their $650 pledge, but you will also receive four nights at a beautiful house in Costa Rica – right on the beach in the Osa Peninsula (travel not included). www.PelicanHouseCostaRica.com ...WOW!!!!

  • Pledge $1,200 or more
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    6 backers

    You will get everything that our precious Elephant Angels get for their $650 pledge, but you will also receive a free week at a beautiful house in Costa Rica – right on the beach in the Osa Peninsula (travel not included). www.PelicanHouseCostaRica.com ...WOW!!!!

Funding period

- (41 days)