This documentary film depicts the life of William Shelton who
was born in 1868, at a time when Coast Salish culture and traditions were being
destroyed by European contact and disease. He had an essential role in saving the traditions and language of the Tulalip
people by writing down the stories and legends of the tribes of
the Puget Sound as well as creating story poles depicting the animals, legends and
spirit quests from these stories. William
Shelton's first story pole was 60 feet high and erected
in 1913 on the Tulalip reservation. He went on to make poles for other
communities as far away as Pennsylvania. He
was completing the story pole that stood on the Capitol Campus in Olympia, WA
at the time of his death in 1938.
He spent the last half of his life promoting the American Indian culture throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. While embracing European ideas he made it his mission to preserve and promote local native traditions and culture.
This was well documented in newspaper articles, ethnographic papers, photographs, and even film. Our goal is to bring these elements together in a documentary that includes interviews with historians, elders who knew him including his grandson, and others in the community that he influenced.
Why we need the funds.
Our goal is to have a broadcast quality film that can be aired on TV stations and small independent theaters, ultimately PBS or the History Channel. We need funding to conduct more interviews, provide additional footage of the poles as they exist today, and to cover costs of editing, post production, and securing distribution rights.
We want to talk to the surviving members of William Shelton's family and to others who remember him while they are still with us. We want to raise awareness of the importance of preserving what is left of these poles for generations to come.
David Dilgard, Historian: During his career as a regional history specialist, David has
made more than fifty presentations a year for local schools, service clubs and other organizations, as well as
numerous radio and television appearances. He often conducts historical tours
and his tour of Evergreen Cemetery was recently posted
as a podcast on the Everett Public Library's website (epls.org).
He received an
Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Washington State Historic
Preservation Office, and in 2009 David and co-worker Margaret Riddle
were recipients of the Robert Gray Medal awarded by the Washington State
Lita Sheldon, Executive Producer: has been researching and
collecting information on Tulalip Indians since the 1970s. While working for
the Tulalip Tribes, she oversaw the production of videos focusing on Tulalip history
and culture. Now, with the establishment of her own company, Quil Ceda Media,
Lita’s goal is to produce an hour-long documentary on the life and art of
Tulalip leader William Shelton (1868-1938). Lita’s video credits include the
production of the Tulalip History Series, Tulalip oral biographical interviews,
the Lushootseed Language series, and Northwest Indian News (2004-2009). With
Margaret Riddle, she is currently videotaping interviews of Snohomish County
Jeff Boice www.boicetv.com, Producer, Director, Camera, Editor: Credits include "The Healing Pole" producer/videographer/editor for NorthWest Indian News - syndicated worldwide; "Louder Than Words" final post editor - Jamaican Music Documentary; Good Morning America "Best Places to Live" videographer; "Dave Chalk Computer Show" Director of Photography - syndicated worldwide; Discovery Channel - Storm Warning "Mayhem & Miracles" videographer; and many more. After
20 years as a producer, videographer and editor at KVOS TV, he is now
an award winning independent film maker who is committed to producing
meaningful projects that evoke thought and emotion.
Lyn Boice,Co-producer, writer: has collaborated with Jeff on many video projects over the years. Though her background is more in technical writing and marketing, in recent years she has enjoyed researching and writing for biographies. She has found the William Shelton story captivating.
JD Mowrer, Interviewer: Video credits include an internship at KVOS-TV in Bellingham, WA; a reporter/announcer on NorthWest Indian News (KSTW-TV); and the producer of memorial videos for Tulalip Tribes. JD’s stint as an NWIN reporter took him to the Colville Reservation and the Lummi Reservation.
Progress! We have already completed an 11 minute segment about the very first
story pole he carved, titled "William Shelton and the Sklaletut Pole".
This short just received Best Documentary Short & Best Overall Film at the Hibulb Cultural Center 2013 Film Festival.
Risks and challenges
Our immediate need is to raise enough funds to take care of the remainder of the shooting and editing. We feel that can be accomplished with $30,000.
We will need further funds to pay for license fees, for use of archive photographs and footage for distribution. The more funds we get the better chance we have to reach our goal of PBS and / or the History Channel.
Those who knew or met William Shelton when they were children would be in their 80's or 90's now. So a big challenge will be to get them to talk on camera while this is possible. We have already overcome the large task of scanning, converting, and digesting the vast amount of information we have so far; photographs, newspaper articles, clippings, books, and even film into usable video. Most of that is done and awaiting the editing process.
The goal of this film is for William Shelton to capture your heart too!
We appreciate ALL the contributions of our backers and you will have our heartfelt thanks. You will receive an official Thank You on our Facebook Page, plus we will add you to our email list so you will get updates on the film's progress.
As well as the Facebook thank you and mailing list inclusion, you will receive a digital download of the documentary short "William Shelton and the Sklaletut Pole" which premiered at the Hibulb Cultural Film Festival April 13, 2013.
As well as the above, you will also receive a a Named Credit in the "Special Thanks To" on the DVD version in the end credit roll of "The Life of William Shelton, a Tulalip Indian" for yourself, friend, or family member.
A Sneak Preview. See a secret special screening of "The Life of William Shelton, a Tulalip Indian" in our studio space in Bellingham, WA. Discuss the film with the filmmakers. Includes drinks & snacks! PLUS all of the previous awards. (Travel and lodging not included)
Receive a special edition Blue Ray DVD copy of "The Life of William Shelton, a Tulalip Indian" which will include the short documentary "William Shelton and the Sklaletut Pole." after its premiere. PLUS all of the above awards (with the exception of the "limited award").
A special screening of the film for your organization with Executive Producer Lita Sheldon, Director & Writer team Jeff & Lyn Boice; as well as a reproduction from a rare, original printing of William Shelton's book "Indian Totem Legends" from 1914. Plus all of the above rewards with the exception of the "limited reward". (PLEASE NOTE: Costs of transportation and lodging if necessary will be required to be covered by your organization.)
Credit at the front of the film: "This film is made possible in part by YOUR NAME or ORGANIZATION" before the title "The Life of William Shelton, a Tulalip Indian" plus a personal tour of Historic Tulalip by the film's Executive Producer Lita Sheldon and Director Jeff Boice; (includes lunch) as well as a reproduction from a rare, original printing of William Shelton's book "Indian Totem Legends" from 1914. PLUS all of the above rewards with the exception of the "limited rewards".