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A documentary film from the front lines of the war over fresh water, in America's deep south.
A documentary film from the front lines of the war over fresh water, in America's deep south.
97 backers pledged $10,205 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Atlanta, Georgia has been one of the country's fastest growing cities in the last three decades. Today, the city can't exist without its upstream reservoir Lake Lanier, but the downstream users in Alabama, south Georgia and Florida need it too. The problem is, no matter how you cut it, there simply may not be enough fresh water for everyone.

Now the three states are locked in a political and legal battle over this water, a fight that's gone to the Supreme Court, with no real resolution. Exactly how much Atlanta is allowed to hold onto is the basis of this conflict. So the fundamental question in this high-level water war is one of control: Who owns water?

The battle over fresh water is not just a story of the arid West anymore. Nearly every major city in the US will eventually face a water supply crisis. We're very near the completion of a year-long project to make a full-length documentary film and tell the story of this water crisis that will set the stage for what's to come in America.

Paddling canoes for a month through these three states, my brother Michael and I, along with co-director Andrew Kornylak, met the people who live and make their living on the water. Is ownership really the essential question here? In Who Owns Water, we propose a different narrative, from the river level.

We need one last push of fund-raising to complete the project and make a film that will reach a broad audience. Kickstarter funds will go toward licensing music rights from artists such as Blitzen Trapper, Denver, Valerie June, Connor Moore, Heartscape Landbreak, and The Law. We also need to hire a graphic illustrator to convey the geographic story of these watersheds via a few short motion graphic clips.

Any remaining funds we raise will go toward outreach costs as we travel though the watershed and share the film in communities within the ACF Basin. We hope that our film will illustrate these beautiful rivers, while also encouraging collaborative action for a solution to the ACF Water War and future battles over our essential element.

Risks and challenges

The hard part, physically, is behind us. We've paddled the length of the ACF rivers and we've recorded dozens of hours of footage from the river and from the people we met.

From this point on, we simply need to tweak the story and fit the best music and illustrations into it. Music and illustration are the finishing touches to the film's structure and if we have to skimp on either of the two, we run the risk of diminishing our project's message. Unfortunately, money is clearly the only barrier to getting good music and illustration. We have some friendly relationships with talented musicians who are willing to work with us on fair licensing fees, so I'm confident we can get the music we need and pay the artists a fair rate.

Another major challenge we anticipate is finding the best, most pervasive route of distribution for the film. We want Who Owns Water to have a broad audience and a wide impact across the ACF watershed and around the country because this is a national, even global story. Again, money plays a key role in distribution. We'll use some of the Kickstarter funds to pay for distribution costs and we'll shop our film around diligently, seeking the most reputable, far-reaching media outlets while also sharing the film with smaller, community organizations with direct ties to the watershed.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Big THANKS! from us and an everlasting place in our hearts and minds. Seriously, we're are extremely touched by any offering of support.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DVD of the full-length film.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Two tickets to the Lookout Wild Film Festival in Chattanooga, TN March 21-23. Spend a spring weekend in one of the South's best outdoor playgrounds while watching inspiring independent films from around the globe.
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    One fine-art archival print (8x10) from a gallery of images shot throughout the expedition or from any of our personal work (see our websites for examples).

    Plus Reward #1 and #2

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    A professional, expedition-ready camera bag from LowePro, a company we've worked with for years.
    LowePro has graciously offered five new bags as rewards.
    ~
    Photo Sport Sling 100

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A professional, expedition-ready camera bag from LowePro, a company we've worked with for years.
    LowePro has graciously offered five new bags as rewards.
    ~
    Photo Sport Pro 30L pack

    Plus Rewards #1 #2

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Collection of ten 5x7 notecards made with images from the river expedition or from any of our personal work (see our websites for examples). Perfect for Thank-You notes, greeting cards, wall art, etc.

    Plus Rewards #1 #2

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    A professional, expedition-ready camera bag from LowePro, a company we've worked with for years.
    LowePro has graciously offered five new bags as rewards.
    ~
    LowePro Dry Zone BP pack

    Plus Rewards #1 #2

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Series of four fine-art archival print (sized in 8"x10" range) from the river expedition or from any of our personal work (see our websites for examples).

    Plus Rewards #1 #2

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Two-day photo/video workshop in Seattle or Atlanta. A workshop with Michael or David could go a number of directions, from beginner to advanced. Learn to shoot better images, approach subjects, negotiate the business side of visual media, etc. Both Michael and David have instructed photography workshops for years.

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

    Float the river with us! Pick your stretch of the ACF Basin (Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, Flint Rivers) for a one-, two-, or three-day river trip. We'll provide canoes, camping gear, food, bourbon, and guidance. You just show up and experience the river first-hand. Limit two guests. Dates must be between February - May 2014.

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Funding period

- (30 days)