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In 2007, a severed human foot was discovered in a grill bought at a North Carolina auction.  It only gets stranger from there.
In 2007, a severed human foot was discovered in a grill bought at a North Carolina auction. It only gets stranger from there.
451 backers pledged $81,132 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Finders Keepers - a stranger than fiction documentary project video thumbnail
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$81,132

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Home stretch prize! See right for details.
Home stretch prize! See right for details.

Finders Keepers is an oftentimes hilarious, at turns tragic narrative that delves into the very real lives that created - and were forever changed by - the fantastical headlines.

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A few years back I agreed to help my former boss Ed Cunningham organize some documentary footage he'd shot - from a passion project he'd poured years of his life into - so that he could bury it into storage.

While archiving his footage, first of some local North Carolina news reports, I learned about this guy, Shannon, who found a mummified human leg in a barbecue grill that he bought at an auction.

Then there was the national news footage of how Shannon wanted to turn the leg into a tourist attraction ($3 a peek, $1 for kids).  And then the international news of how Shannon subsequently sued the leg's amputee owner, a guy named John, for possession of it.  Crazy, right?

But then I got to the footage that Ed had filmed with real-life John and Shannon and their families, and saw what didn't make the news.  Like how John had lost his leg in a tragic plane crash.  That killed his father.  On the day they had finally made amends.  My interest was piqued.

Then I saw how Shannon had really just seen the leg as his ticket out of a life of hardship.  And how the insane media frenzy covering the leg custody battle had sent John into a spiral of addiction and very nearly killed him, until a whole mess of strangely improbable things happened that I don't have room to explain but are ridiculous and oddly spiritual and philosophical and inspiring...

It soon became obvious that this film that Ed had spent years and a small fortune pursuing was unlike anything I'd seen before.  And so it would be a long time before I would understand firsthand why he would ever desert it.

He paid me for the work and we parted ways, but for the next few years the story gnawed away at me.  I would laugh about it to myself in the car.  I would tell people about it at parties.  Finally, I ended up talking Ed into letting me take a crack at directing the project.

It was about that time I discovered why he'd set it aside in the first place: people don't like investing in documentaries - even those produced by Oscar-winning producers, he explained.  And not in a mean, philistine-y way, but it's just that statistically, most docs don't make money.  I smiled and nodded as I pried the footage from his hands.

I've taken meetings with production companies.  I've sat down with potential investors.  They all loved the story and told me they'd get back to me.  In the meantime I got a great producer (Adam Gibbs), went to North Carolina, found an awesome crew (Adam Hobbs, Tim Grant and Jeremy Ball), and we shot some amazing interviews and beautiful visuals! 

...but we've yet to hear back from any investors.  And now all our money has been spent on equipment, motels and Red Bull.  A few years ago, our story would have ended here.

Ed tried his best and came up short, then I tried my best and it still wasn't enough, and now we're humbly asking you to carry the torch and produce a film that would otherwise never exist.

If you laughed during The King of Kong, or cried during Undefeated (just be honest - I sure did), now you can help keep alive a rare tradition of documentaries that are as much fun as they are inspiring.

Be a part of our production, get play-by-play updates, give us tips, ask our subjects questions.  And accordingly have yourself thanked in our credits for making it all happen :)

Here's a chance to make the movie that you want to see, and to prove that the internet has moved us past the days where stories like this are often never told because of the realities of how and why movies get financed.

$80,000 is the absolute minimum number we need to make another trip to North Carolina, to start editing and to submit a watchable movie to film festivals. We'll still be roughing it in crack-den motels on our next shoot, but we'll do so gladly, knowing this time there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and that after six years these characters' amazing stories will finally get to be heard!

If you particularly agree that this is a story that deserves to be heard, please consider spreading the word by sharing this page or our video on Twitter, Facebook or your blog, and by Liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter -- this actually helps us out far more than you would imagine.

**Special thanks to our first contributors: Jeff Wilhelm, for the amazing photo in our banner graphic, and Max Frost (www.maxfrost.net), for the fantastic song in our trailer.

And a huge thanks to Billy Mitchell and Rickey's World Famous Hot Sauces (www.800hotsauce.com) for their very generous rewards.**

Risks and challenges

While very little is ever certain in documentary filmmaking, creating a film with a team this experienced gives us a great shot at bringing in a quality film on schedule and under budget, and of delivering your rewards in a timely manner.

We are fully aware that the success of this film is completely reliant on your generosity, and will accordingly take any and all steps to uphold our end of the deal.

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FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Have a listen to the actual recording of SHANNON'S CALL TO 911 after finding the leg! It's even better than you'd imagine.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Watch the 'Finders Keepers' live ONLINE BROADCAST, complete with Q&A! We'll also give you recognition on our website as a small token of our very immense appreciation.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    **HOME STRETCH PRIZE!** Receive an individually-numbered fictional VINTAGE POSTCARD from the town where our story was born. Each letter of 'Maiden, NC' represents a different chapter of the saga in chronological order. Created by the director solely for the last days of Kickstarter, these postcards will never be made again. **Not included in other prize packages**

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Receive a BILLY MITCHELL-crafted BOTTLE of his famous HOT SAUCE that he made exclusively for our Kickstarter! Each label is signed by Billy and individually numbered (1 - 22), with a UNIQUE quote from Billy printed on each! Includes every unique item listed above. *This prize not included in other packages.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    DOWNLOAD 'Finders Keepers' DIGITALLY and watch it whenever! Includes every item listed above.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Receive a BILLY MITCHELL-designed KING OF KONG POSTER (12" x 18") that he made exclusively for our Kickstarter! Signed by Billy and labeled individually (1 - 22), with a UNIQUE quote from Billy printed on each! Includes every unique item listed above. *This prize not included in other packages.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Receive a first-run, HARD-COPY DVD of 'Finders Keepers,' with original art and exclusive special features! Includes every item listed above.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Receive a BILLY MITCHELL-designed KING OF KONG large-sized POSTER (18" x 27") that he made exclusively for our Kickstarter! Signed by Billy and labeled individually (1 - 22), with a UNIQUE quote from Billy printed on each! Includes every unique item listed above. *This prize not included in other packages.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Receive an exclusive Kickstarter-only edition 'FINDERS KEEPERS' POSTER, plus a CREW-AUTOGRAPHED hard-copy DVD! Includes every item listed above (except the regular DVD; now that's just redundant).

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Receive one of SHANNON'S FAMOUS T-SHIRTS (as seen on 'The Judge Mathis Show'), featuring his original design (pictured below under 'Rewards'), plus have your name proudly THANKED in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS for all posterity! Includes every unique item listed above (only one DVD per contribution, please).

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Receive an out-of-print 'MAKE BELIEVE' theatrical poster signed by legendary magician LANCE BURTON and the filmmakers! Includes every unique item listed above (only one DVD per contribution, please).
    *This prize not included in other packages.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Receive a 'KING OF KONG' POSTER autographed by its star, STEVE WEIBE! Plus one of SHANNON'S FAMOUS T-SHIRTS autographed by SHANNON himself, plus a 'Finders Keepers' DVD signed by a CAST MEMBER! Plus every unique item above (only one DVD and one t-shirt per contribution, please).

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    *SILVER SCREENS package (L.A.)* Receive an official 'THANKS TO' CREDIT on IMDb as well as in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS, and receive an invitation to an exclusive, pre-release SCREENING in LOS ANGELES, complete with live Q&A! Includes every unique item listed above (only one DVD per contribution, please).

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    *SILVER SCREENS package (Chicago)* Receive an official 'THANKS TO' CREDIT on IMDb as well as in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS, and receive an invitation to an exclusive, pre-release SCREENING in CHICAGO, complete with live Q&A! Includes every unique item listed above (only one DVD per contribution, please).

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    *SILVER SCREENS package (N.Y.)* Receive an official 'THANKS TO' CREDIT on IMDb as well as in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS, and receive an invitation to an exclusive, pre-release SCREENING in NEW YORK, complete with live Q&A! Includes every unique item listed above (only one DVD per contribution, please).

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Receive a full-sized, first-edition POSTER of 'UNDEFEATED,' signed by Oscar-winning DIRECTORS DANIEL LINDSAY & T.J. MARTIN! Includes everything in the SILVER SCREENS package.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Receive a very rare, one-sided ORIGINAL-RUN 'KING OF KONG' POSTER signed by star STEVE WEIBE, director SETH GORDON and producer ED CUNNINGHAM! Includes everything in the SILVER SCREENS package.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Receive an extremely rare double-sided ORIGINAL-RUN 'KING OF KONG' POSTER signed by star STEVE WIEBE, director SETH GORDON and producer ED CUNNINGHAM! Includes everything in the SILVER SCREENS package.

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

    PREMIERE package: Receive an invitation to the very exclusive L.A. or N.Y. 'FINDERS KEEPERS' PREMIERE and after-party, where you can hang out with the filmmakers and their friends for a night. Includes everything in the PLATINUM package.

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

    CONSULTANT: Receive an official CONSULTANT CREDIT on IMDb and in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS. As a Consultant, you'll be invited to attend a private screening of the film during the editorial process, after which you'll be encouraged to share your notes with the filmmakers one-on-one. Includes everything in the PREMIERE package.

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

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Receive an official ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT on IMDb and in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS. As an Associate Producer, you will receive a ticket to the official WORLD PREMIERE and AFTER-PARTY. Includes everything in the CONSULTANT package.

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    Pledge $6,500 or more About $6,500

    CO-PRODUCER: Receive an official CO-PRODUCER CREDIT on IMDb and in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS. As a Co-producer, you will be invited to view a ROUGH CUT of the film during the editing process, after which we'd love your feedback on how to improve the film. You will also receive a ticket to the official WORLD PREMIERE and AFTER-PARTY. Includes everything in the ASSOCIATE PRODUCER package.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Receive an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT on IMDb and in our ON-SCREEN CREDITS. As an Executive Producer, you will be invited to view TWO ROUGH CUTS of the film during the editing process, after which we'd love your feedback on how to improve the film. Plus receive two tickets to the official WORLD PREMIERE and AFTER-PARTY. Includes everything in the ASSOCIATE PRODUCER package.

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Funding period

- (30 days)