Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 31, 2011.

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A portrait of the Nez Perce Tribe and a charismatic Navajo horseman, whose fates intersect to re-invent a legendary horse culture.

HORSE TRIBE is the story of a First Peoples' love for horses, which is a feeling I understand and share.  It is what drew me to the subject and, I am quite sure, why the Nez Perce are allowing me to tell it.  I've been riding horses since I was 5 yeas old.

Poised upon the fulcrum of heritage and destiny, the 21st century Nez Perce of Lapwai, Idaho, concluded that timeworn notions of Native American nobility and loss are unproductive.  Recognized for centuries as one of America's greatest horse tribes, they chose to implement a cultural  renaissance by bringing horses back to their land and lives.  HORSE TRIBE documents their struggle to do so with the help of a charismatic Navajo horseman.  His exceptional gifts bring legendary Nez Perce equine expertise to modern renown, and his mentorship of at-risk teenagers guides them toward the 'strong medicine' of horses.  But his personal demons imperil both accomplishments.

It is an epic story about the connection of human to animal, history to life, individuals to community, despair to resolve, and values to action. Aristotle defines happiness as "the exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope."  The Nez Perce Tribe and a Navajo horseman engaged in such a quest. Our goal is a work of art worthy of its subject.

Major funding of $99,952 from Native American Public Telecommunications, grants from the Idaho and Oregon Humanities, private donors and kind friends in the NY film industry who have provided in-kind services and technology worth well in excess of $40,000 made our work to date possible.  We are nearing editorial completion, and must finish the picture by the end of the year.

Our anticipated completion costs increased when we decided that it was absolutely necessary to use our original 16mm footage from the negative, rather than from the tape transfers done when we shot that material in 1998-2001.  The images are just so beautiful that we have to do them justice. We'll only be able to finish this film once, and the end product is forever. Creative editing of this complex and nuanced story also required additional time.  We were, ironically, lucky that delays in raising money for completion 
allowed time to continue shooting (heading West with a camera didn't cost a whole lot), and we were therefore present when events on the rez took an unexpected dramatic turn that radically altered the trajectory of the story.

Although we need to raise about $30,000 for everything we need to do (the narration in the trailer says $50G, but we've raised some money since then), I set a goal of $12,500 for our Kickstarter threshold to minimize the scary possibility of falling short, but it sure would be great if we can raise more than that. Donations to HORSE TRIBE are TAX DEDUCTIBLE through the 501.c.3 non-profit Gunk Foundation, which Kickstarter approves for this project.

On a personal note, the inexplicably generous instincts of a people who have experienced unfathomable loss are a lesson, a mystery, and a gift to me. Although I have received no financial compensation for fourteen years of work on HORSE TRIBE, my life has been enriched beyond measure in the company of the Nez Perce.  On a hardscrabble reservation where daily life is a fugue of grief and gumption and grace, foals are being born.



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    A way good feeling when you see the film you helped make! Plus exclusive email updates on the progress of Horse Tribe and the director's personal experiences making the film.

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    Signed DVD and poster, plus a bracelet beaded by Navajo artist Denise Nelson, plus exclusive email updates on the progress of Horse Tribe and the director's personal experiences making the film.

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    Signed DVD and poster, screen credit, exclusive email updates on the progress of Horse Tribe and the director's personal experiences making the film, plus 2 tickets to the nearest screening (transport/accomodations not included) OR instead of screening, a guided hike in the Shawangunk Mountains, NY in spring 2012 (transport/accomodations not included).

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    Above reward, plus dinner with director and attendance at closest Powwow accompanied by director (transport/accomodations not included). (5 available when powwow season resumes May, 2012)

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    DVD, screen credit as Associate Producer, 2 tickets to nearest screening, and a Grant proposal consultation with the director, Janet Kern (numerous successful grant applications) for your own grant proposal - any kind of project, plus exclusive email updates on the progress of Horse Tribe and the director's personal experiences making the film.

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    DVD, screen credit as Associate Producer, 2 tickets to nearest screening, plus dinner & Powwow with a Nez Perce family (transport/accomodations not included), and exclusive email updates on the progress of Horse Tribe and the director's personal experiences making the film.                 

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    DVD, screen credit as Producer, 2 tickets to nearest screening, exclusive email updates on the progress of Horse Tribe and the director's personal experiences making the film, and evening with the Janet Kern and Navajo horseman, Rudy Shebala, in Idaho. (transport/accomodations not included) Value: priceless.

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Funding period

- (33 days)