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--
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...
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!
Just in case you're wondering about the fate of your $$$....
THIS IS YOUR DIRECTOR SPEAKING:
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!
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--
GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY
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!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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