About this project
It is truly incredible that so many people have come together to make this documentary possible. Thank you! Continue to support our Kickstarter campaign. All money raised over our $150,000 goal will go towards additional days of professional filming which will make our project even better. Pledge your support and spread the word!
Unbranded aims to show the importance of conserving the vast open spaces in the American West, promote equine exploration, and demonstrate the incredible endurance of the American Mustang. A portion of the proceeds from the film will go to habitat based conservation groups and the Mustang Heritage Foundation.
About the Film:
Unbranded follows the story of Ben Masters, Thomas Glover, Jonny Fitzsimons and Ben Thamer as they ride 3,000 miles through the deepest backcountry of the American West, Mexico to Canada. The journey will take us more than six months through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, in famously rugged country such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park. Mustangs, born and raised in the wild, will be taking us on our journey. This is a story of the partnership between horse and rider, a testament to the hardiness of mustangs, and a tribute to the early explorers whose spirit remains today.
The documentary is already underway. We are currently filming the training of the mustangs and will shoot throughout the entire ride, from March 15th to September 20th. The final film will be 90-120 minutes of the best footage from the training and the trail. Unbranded will be a very beautiful, powerful and inspirational film.
Our route is the most backcountry route possible for horseback travel from Mexico to Canada. The route is custom but uses much of the Arizona Trail, the Great Western Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. We will travel through deserts, plains, foothills, canyons, mountains and alpine tundra. The trail will be as scenic as it is rugged.
Mustangs, born and raised in the wild, are the horses of choice for a trip of this magnitude. For more than 300 years, the ancestors of our mustangs have endured and thrived in the harsh landscapes we will be riding through. Their bloodlines trace back to early Spanish explorations and have been mingled with Indian ponies, cow ponies and early cavalry stock. Nature has bred them into tough footed, resilient and intelligent horses ideal for our trip. The mustangs we are using were rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management for population control. They were then sorted and shipped around the United States to different holding facilities. There are currently approximately 37,000 mustangs living in the wild. There are more than 43,000 living in holding facilities. They are waiting for an adopter. We will show that these horses are perfect trail horses and hope to inspire others to adopt a mustang. We are using 11 completely untouched mustangs that we adopted and trained with the help of professional trainers Jerry Jones and Lanny Leach. Jerry and Lanny are certified trainers through the Mustang Heritage Foundation's Trainer Incentive Program, an organization and program that helps find homes for mustangs. The remaining seven mustangs have been packing in the mountains for years and are proven, reliable stock.
The $150,000 Breakdown:
Commercial Filming Permits: 30k, Insurance: 20k, Production Equipment: 20k, Kickstarter's share and Incentives: 20k, Professional Cinematographers: 20k, Editing: 20k, Music: 5k, Advertising and Design: 5k, Transportation Costs: 5k.
Below are sample photos from a similar 2,000-mile trip Ben Masters completed in 2010 (the inspiration for this film).
Risks and challenges
Grizzlies, hypothermia, rocky trails, bucking horses, kicks, bites, fatigue, injury, electrical storms, raging rivers, heat exhaustion, hunger, snow storms, forest fires, frostbite, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, insects, hail, getting lost, drought, and losing our horses.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an online funding platform where benefactors donate money to projects they want to see come to life. Projects have a target goal and a timeline, ours is $150,000 by February 1st. On February 1st, after we reach our target goal, credit cards are charged and we have the budget for Unbranded. Benefactors receive incentives for their donations that can range from Thank You's to a week long pack trip.
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