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The untold story of the first action-adventure heroine who left Hollywood with 70 abused animal actors to make her films in Idaho Read more

Boise, ID Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on April 20, 2014.

The untold story of the first action-adventure heroine who left Hollywood with 70 abused animal actors to make her films in Idaho

Boise, ID Documentary
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About this project

HELLO KICKSTARTERS! MIRACLE OR MIRACLES--WE ARE OVER 19K BUT WEHAVE less THAN 24  HOURS TO MAKE OUR GOAL OR LOOSE EVERYTHING PLEDGED TO DATE!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!! PLEASE PLEDGE WHAT YOU CAN!!

NELL'S STORY HAS BEEN LOST FOR NEARLY 100 YEARS--HELP US GIVE THIS INCREDIBLE FILM PIONEER AND ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST THE RECOGNITION SHE DESERVES!

MORE THAN  700! PEOPLE HAVE WATCHED OUR VIDEO -IF EVERYONE DONATED 10$ WE WOULD BE 7000$ CLOSER TO OUR GOAL! EVERY DOLLAR MATTERS--PASS IT ON POST IT ON FACEBOOK. WE CAN OUR GOAL WITH YOUR HELP--PLEASE!!

DOES ANGELINA JOLIE KNOW NELL SHIPMAN WAS THE FIRST ACTION-ADVENTURE HEROINE IN FILM...?

Probably not--but neither do most people!  Silent film writer, director, and star, Nell Shipman came to Idaho’s Priest Lake from Hollywood in 1921 with her 10-year-old son, her ill-fated lover-producer, a future Academy Award-winning cinematographer (Joseph Walker) and a personal zoo of 70 animal actors that included bobcats, bears, elk, eagles, deer and sled dogs. She was the first of her kind, a female independent filmmaker who did her own stunts, refuted Hollywood’s mistreatment of animals and refused the assured trappings of a studio contract with Samuel Goldfish (soon to be Goldwyn) to produce her action-adventure films on-location in the wilderness. During her career, Nell wrote, produced and starred in over 100 silent films -- and then--

She Vanished....

Nell Shipman Productions 1922  Priest Lake, Idaho
Nell Shipman Productions 1922 Priest Lake, Idaho

The question of what happened to Nell and why led us all over the country and into the dusty film archives of the silent era. After a year of research, the answers to this mystery have proven to be as fascinating and complicated as this forgotten pioneering woman and her lost films.

Watch this extended trailer to learn more about Nell's life and her disappearance...

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There is much more to this story than what you see here... and that's why we need your help to finish this film!

Professor Tom Trusky at Boise State University stumbled upon Nell Shipman’s existence in 1984 and began a transatlantic search to restore her forgotten and brilliant body of work. His scholarship included a re-digitization of Nell’s 8 “obtainable” films from 1912 forward and the publishing of her dusty auto-biography, THE SILENT SCREEN AND MY TALKING HEART.  Dr. Trusky, however, suffered a sudden heart-attack in 2009 and died before he could bring Nell her deserved accolades. Once again, “The Girl From God’s Country” fell into obscurity in the US.

That's where our film begins...

Nell's storylines of self-reliant women overcoming physical challenges in the wilderness and often, rescuing the male lead, shattered the predictable cinematic formulas of large studio productions. Her life, films and 4 books books defrauded the typical "helpless women-in-peril" plots by putting herself in the driver's seat, literally and figuratively, back when only 20% of the women in the U.S had driven a car!

Nell re-writing on the set of SOMETHING NEW
Nell re-writing on the set of SOMETHING NEW

Throughout her prolific but doomed career, Nell wrote what she knew and every story was a reflection of who she was; an unrelenting, unrepentant artistic talent and a self-reliant film pioneer who loved animals and believed they deserved to be treated with the utmost respect and kindness in life and film. 

Nell with rescued bobcat at Lionshead Lodge
Nell with rescued bobcat at Lionshead Lodge

This early film pioneer went to the Idaho wilderness and built her own unique cinematic world called Lionshead Lodge for THREE REASONS: She insisted on artistic and physical freedoms, on-location authenticity and humane treatment of her 70 animal actors.

Nell paid for these freedoms by losing everything.

Was Nell Shipman blackballed by Hollywood for her stubborn insistence on independence? Undoubtedly and yet, that doesn’t entirely explain the mystery of why her films and an early genius vanished from public knowledge. More importantly, Nell’s career trajectory reflected the end of the silent film industry as it faced inevitable extinction, battling talkies and major studio conglomerates. More surprising, our research also revealed Nell's disappearance mirrored that of hundreds of talented females writing, producing and directing silent films beginning as early as 1896.

How did an entire generation of Nell's female film contemporaries disappear?

We went to film historians, cinema and media experts, authors and professors, libraries and archives across the world to answer that question. The stories continued to unfurl in wondrous detail amidst the flickering black and white footage recovered from private collectors, archives and luck.

Marion Wong Productions1917
Marion Wong Productions1917

The Women Film Pioneers Project at Columbia University introduced us to many successful and unknown women film artists of the silent era. Consequently, Nell's story has expanded to include the lost history of these early writers, directors, producers, editors and "cranks" (camerawomen)  like Alice Guy Blache, Lois Webber, Tesse Sounders ( the first African America female silent film director/ 1922) and Marion Wong,  a young Chinese-American woman who started the Mandarin Film Company in Oakland, California in 1917.

The role of independent filmmakers in Hollywood will undoubtedly continue to expand, but few today realize the price Nell Shipman and her generation of female film pioneers paid forging their path.

GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY
GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY

Finally, in our film, GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY, Nell Shipman will deservedly be seen as a star among great stars –a role she has played silently for too long.

BE A FRIEND OF NELL! HELP US BRING NELL'S STORY TO THE BIG SCREEN! THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!  

And Don't Forget Your REWARDS!!

REWARD T-SHIRT #1
REWARD T-SHIRT #1
REWARD T-SHIRT #2
REWARD T-SHIRT #2

         Just in case you're wondering about the fate of your $$$....        

     THIS IS YOUR DIRECTOR SPEAKING:

                                      www.karenday.net

Check me out and please believe I will deliver a film worthy of NELL and your contribution! Take a look at the trailer of my latest documentary, FROM THE GROUND UP,  which premiered at the SUN VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL on March 16th!

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 If you have ANY questions any questions about this film or my past work, please email me through my website or KICKSTARTER!  I really look forward to partnering with you on--

                   NELL SHIPMAN:

        GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY 

                               www.girlfromgodscounty.com

NELL IS OUR GIRL!
NELL IS OUR GIRL!
NUDE IS NOT RUDE NELL!
NUDE IS NOT RUDE NELL!

Risks and challenges

The Director In the Nude...in other words, why should you open your wallet and heart to Nell and our film?

As a writer and filmmaker, I adhere to the stinky cheese theory when it comes to story lines. To me, nothing satisfies more than a plot driven by human longing with a hint of danger or wry humor running like a vein of bold, Blue Stilton from beginning to end. Dialogue, to my taste, should be treated like the mold it is: less is best when powerful. And so it's with great confusion and embarrassing transparency that I must admit I have never loved watching silent films.

In truth, it's because Valentino’s lusty-sheiks and Mary Pickford’s over-batting eyelashes have always demanded the same feigned appreciation that I offer Limburger--albeit with two glasses of Cabernet and not without wincing. They are the definition of over-stated. But something mysterious and amazing appeared between the sputtering images of Charlie Chaplin and Clara Bow when I discovered the untold story of a lifetime, Nell Shipman’s incredible lifetime, and her story became mine.

I've spent the last twenty years as a humanitarian journalist and filmmaker. I've risked my life in more than one war zone to give voice to those who can't speak for themselves. Nell's story is no different and far more ironic, since she who made silent films was truly "silenced."

The PROBLEM with this production, however, is communicating to today's blockbuster audiences the value of the contributions made by female film pioneers like Nell Shipman a century ago. Why watch a film without IMAX-worthy special effects? Better to show than tell and that's why I did the production on this film backward-- I MADE THE TRAILER FIRST! So far, the audience response to this amazing story has been nothing but AMAZING--and I hope you feel the same!

We've raised half our budget with enthusiastic, independent Executive Producers. We're in the home stretch of production and will finish post-production by September IF YOU ARE MOVED TO HELP US BRING NELL TO THE BIG SCREEN BY OCTOBER 2014!!

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    13 backers

    You're a true FRIEND OF NELL! Thanks for making her story FINALLY come to life! For parting with a ten, your name goes on our website as an invaluable KICKSTARTER, amassing good karma , PLUS you'll receive a frame-worthy photo post card of NELL signed by the director with her personal THANK YOU!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    14 backers

    You're in the movie business now and we're glad to have you on our crew! Thank YOU for helping us bring NELL the recognition she deserves. You'll get the auto- good karma, the Director-signed postcard AND YOUR NAME will appear in FILM CREDITS ON OUR WEBSITE as a FRIEND OF NELL --even if you have never been to Hollywood or Idaho!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    23 backers

    You'll receive every cool reward listed above AND a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the film before December 2014!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    26 backers

    DEAR FRIEND OF NELL- you are stepping up in a BIG way so we intend to THANK YOU in a BIG way. You'll receive ALL the above listed rewards AND a cool t-shirt that says "I DO MY OWN STUNTS" and a cool photo of NELL on the back!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    10 backers

    THANK YOU for participating at this level! We couldn't finish this film without you --which makes you an integral part of the crew! You get the good karma with YOUR NAME IN FILM CREDITS, DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, " I DO MY OWN STUNTS' t-shirt - AND--2 VIP tickets to the RED CARPET PREMIERE in the city nearest to you!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    7 backers

    THANK YOU for OWNING THIS FILM! You're an invaluable member of the crew at this level of participation. You will receive the "I DO MY OWN STUNTS" and A COLLECTOR"S EDITION DVD with extended interviews and behind-the-scenes footage--and don't forget your 2 VIP tickets to the nearest RED CARPET PREMIERE!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    6 backers Limited (19 left of 25)

    A film can't get made without a line- producers - and that's you, vicariously! THANK YOU for joining NELL's journey! You'll receive the
    "I DO MY OWN STUNTS" t-shirt, the Collectors Edition DVD, 2 VIP RED CARPET PREMIERE TICKETS, and entrance into the EXCLUSIVE post-premiere party, PLUS your name will be one of ONLY 25 listed in this category in the big screen film credits!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    0 backers

    YOU'LL BE FAMOUS by putting your money into our post-production process. We can't finish this film without editing and YOUR NAME will be listed on the BIG SCREEN as a post-production KICKSTARTER assistant. You'll get ALL the production swag listed above, including 2 VIP tickets to THE CLOSEST RED CARPET premiere and post party--But you'll also receive a SKYPE THANK YOU call from the crew while on location. Just like being in the movies-almost! And don't forget, you will get TWO t-shirt choices!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer Limited (49 left of 50)

    Maybe you don't think of yourself as Steven Speilberg just yet, but we do and your name will be displayed as prominantly on our BIG SCREEN film credits as an ASSOCIATE KICKSTARTER PRODUCER. You'll receive all the SWAG listed, (yep-ALL) PLUS a limited edition hard- bound THANK YOU for putting NELL back in action! For your partnership in this production you'll receive everything above PLUS a limited edition hardback book "NELL SHIPMAN:REEL TO REAL" with rare press clippings and Nell-typed manuscript pages, plus magazine articles and photos of NELL. Text is personally written by the Director and signed as a limited edition!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers

    Being a full-fledged KICKSTARTER PRODUCER makes you one of the game changers in our movie making process. The message of the movie is clear -
    A THOUGHTFUL, GENEROUS GROUP OF KICKSTARTERS CAN GIVE A VOICE TO A FORGOTTEN FEMALE PIONEER. A thousands "Thank Yous" for putting your money and faith into NELL'S story. Your participation helps initiate positive change for women voices in media and film. You 'll get ALL goodies: 2 t-shirts, REEL TO REAL book, Collector's DVD, SKYPE call --PLUS YOUR NAME in the big screen KICKSTARTER PRODUCER'S SHORTLIST. PLUS- 4 tickets to the nearest RED CARPET PREMIERE and post-party!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    WILL MERYL STREEP ATTEND? -We doubt it, but we'll invite her anyway to this private "THANK YOU" premiere of NELL with only 50 people at the historic Third Street Theater in Los Angeles where Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire once practiced their tap. Today, Nell's great-granddaughter, Lani Shipman, operates this theater and she'll be there to share her first-hand stories of NELL's life WITH YOU and 4 friends! You'll also garner all the above rewards--but this private audience is a once-in-a- lifetime LIMITED opportunity! (Sorry-travel expenses are NOT included but there will be plenty of photo opps!) And YES-you do receive ALL production swag above!!

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  • You selected
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! You're in the movies, literally, with this reward! We'll arrange to use you or your choice of a significant other as an extra in the filming of a reenactment scene of NELL's life in the wilderness near beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho. THAT'S RIGHT --you're going to be a movie star, (albeit as silent as Nell) 2 nights lodging at the five-star Sun Valley resort included! You'll also receive screen credit for your acting skills, KICKSTARTER PRODUCER FILM CREDITS, and ALL the NELL merchandise-including 4 tickets for you and your friends to watch your screen debut at the RED CARPET PREMIERE of your choice! We hope you will wear your NUDE IS NOT RUDE t-shirt!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    THERE IS ONLY ONE OF YOU in the world, as there are only two chances left in the world for you to be one of our EXECUTIVE KICKSTARTER PRODUCERS for this amazing documentary! An Executive Producer is the hub of the movie making universe. Without you, the cast and crew and post-production specialists can't do their job. With this level of participation, you'll receive SINGULAR credit in the film and the confidence of knowing your contribution is insuring the world will see how YOUR film gives voice to " the silenced" in media and film. Your rewards are ALL of the above Nell goods, AND an invitation for TWO to attend ANY film festival with the filmmakers. Sorry, we can't pay your travel expenses to Sundance or Sun Valley, but we can assure you entrance and panache to all the private parties! THANK YOU for being a very special one of two EXECUTIVE KICKSTARTER PRODUCERS!

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Funding period

- (30 days)