A dazzling animated short film fable about a well-grounded vision of the ending of malnutrition and starvation in our time.
What is Thunder Head Clearing?
Thunder Head Clearing is a stunning animated short film fable envisioning the world freed of its most pervasive form of suffering—hunger. We aim to share this vision with a six-minute animated film dazzling enough to go wildly viral on the internet.
In 2009, John Teton, director of the award-winning animated film B’raesheet, set about writing and designing Thunder Head Clearing, and, in spite of a severe shortage of funding, has brought the project to the brink of full production with an elaborate storyboard created by a team of artists from many parts of the world.
Through first-class 2D and 3D animation, Thunder Head Clearing will take viewers through a myth-like fantasy voyage laced with themes reckoning with the extent of world hunger and the potential of a global commitment in the form of an international treaty on food security to eradicate it.
In Thunder Head Clearing, a large gathering of strangers from all walks of life unknown to each other find themselves drawn to a mysterious clearing in the woods where they are swept up in extraordinary series of events. (You can get more hints about the movie’s story from our Kickstarter video, but the most spectacular plot and imagery elements must remain hidden from the public until the film’s release, in order to preserve the element of surprise.)
The first stage of the film’s production has been completed with the work of fine artists from far and wide working together over the internet. Many of them, like the film’s director John Teton, have volunteered their talents, motivated by the excitement of what Thunder Head Clearing will achieve as a work of entertainment and inspiration once it goes viral on YouTube.
All that’s needed now to pull the trigger on its completion is production financing from the international Kickstarter community.
Making it Happen Through Kickstarter
Kickstarter.com enables people anywhere in the world to support creative projects with financial contributions—not for the purpose of accruing stock, dividends or tax deductions, but simply to help visions they find appealing come to fruition. There are, however, plenty of non-cash rewards associated with this project, items and/or experiences to enhance your connection with Thunder Head Clearing. Check out the Rewards sidebar of our Kickstarter webpage.
A Note On Acknowledgments
The filmmakers hope that all contributors will know we value and appreciate every single contribution to the making of Thunder Head Clearing, large or small, and that, for some, a relatively small donation requires digging deeper into their pockets than larger contributions might require from others. We also hope everyone will understand that the large number of contributors to Kickstarter campaigns may make it too difficult to include all of their names in the film’s credits and that it may prove necessary to adopt the common practice of crediting only those making the largest contributions.
The filmmaking team greatly appreciates the efforts of those of you who, while not in a position to pledge much or anything to the project yourselves, make an invaluable contribution to our film by sending the Thunder Head Clearing Kickstarter link to all those you know who might conceivably either become a contributor or send the link on to others they know. Success with Kickstarter campaigns is dependent on just this kind of networking.
How are contributions gathered? Kickstarter has updated a centuries-old tradition of sponsor-backed creative work by using the internet to reach out to potential sponsors everywhere. Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has successfully raised more than $700,000,000 for more than 48,000 projects from more than 4,000,000 contributors.
Contributions are arranged initially by pledges people make through Amazon via a link on this Kickstarter website. (Kickstarter has an alternate provision for pledging for contributors outside the US.) Charge cards are not charged and funds are not given over to project creators unless and until the tally of pledges reaches the level of the producer’s target budget within a pre-determined time frame. If the target is not met by the deadline, all pledges are nullfied. If the target is met or exceeded, all pledged funds are transmitted to the producer from Amazon via Kickstarter.
How will the funds be spent?
The greatest single cost in animation production is typically the motion itself. In this first attempt to finance the film via Kickstarter, Thunder Head Clearing has been budgeted to allow for a first-class production of the film’s fully scripted and storyboarded blueprint with the aim of completing the film and releasing it on the internet during 2014. Almost all of the funds will go to the artists working at a non-commercial rate. Some of the funds will cover expenses of the Kickstarter/Amazon system, contributors’ rewards, and the film’s distribution. Less than one-tenth will go to cover funds advanced for labor required during the four-year pre-production period.
Should the pledges acquired in this initial round not match the target, pledges will be cancelled and the production design will be reformulated to correspond with the pledge total raised in the first round for a second round on Kickstarter to follow promptly after the initial deadline. (Please see Update #2 for more details.)
John Teton has structured the film’s budget in the expectation that essential spending on artists will likely preclude his receiving a fee for his work as producer, director, and editor unless pledges exceed the target budget. However, pledges do sometimes exceed Kickstarter target budgets, and that would have a major impact on Thunder Head Clearing, allowing for even more stellar animation and artistic effects and a faster production time—no small matters when inspiring a world beset by a plague that kills tens of thousands and harms hundreds of millions every day.
How You and We Can Join Forces
The Thunder Head Clearing team is very excited about producing an electrifying work of film. We look forward to having you on our team through your contributions, large and small—indeed, most Kickstarter projects that succeed do so by the accumulation of many small contributions. Further, your help can be multiplied many times over by spreading the word about this project through conversation, tweets, or text and email links to everyone you know who might conceivably contribute and/or spread the word to their networks.
We hope that you will celebrate the holiday season of 2013 by ensuring that Thunder Head Clearing gets funded so it can be completed and released over the Web for free during the new year to come. You can enable our artists to animate a real-world thanksgiving, in which hundreds of millions of people are spared the threat or curse of hunger.
Please act soon—the funding deadline nears closer every day. Thank you in advance for making this most unusual animation come to life.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Producer and IFST Campaign Director John Teton notes, “While there may be no activity on Earth that’s totally risk-free, and while not every project I’ve tried to finance has gone forward, I have never failed to complete a project which has been fully funded, either for a client or myself. I consider the 1970s movie line “I eat determination for breakfast” applicable to me; for evidence of that, visit www.treaty.org to see how the IFST, a concept that was considered wildly pie-in-the-sky at the time I started it, has been corralled into the realm of serious international policy consideration. The success of establishing the Treaty's credibility through twenty years of unpaid, “free-time,” while earning a living mainly as a filmmaking teacher and video producer, has persuaded me more than ever that persistence can make up for a shortage of financial sponsorship when advancing an idea whose time has come.
“I have produced videos for major corporations such as Olympus, Chevron, and Safeway, as well as an international award-winning animated short film ('B’raesheet') and have an excellent record for accuracy in pre-production budgeting. I’m confident that the budget target for ‘Thunder Head Clearing’ is realistic and adequate to produce a short film worthy of exhibition in some of the world’s premiere animation festivals. Further, my commitment to the project's completion will remain unshakeable even if the production and target budget must be sharply reduced in a second try at Kickstarter crowdfunding.
“As for distribution, unless YouTube and the Internet disappear in the next year, worldwide distribution of the film is guaranteed. We want ‘Thunder Head Clearing’ to be made available to everyone without charge from the moment it is released. The prospects for a film with a hopeful message getting widely seen may be gauged by the results of a 2012 YouTube video promoting a campaign to capture warlord Joseph Kony, which picked up 80,000,000 hits on YouTube in its first four days. Even if the audience for ‘Thunder Head Clearing,’ with all the classy animation my crew of artists is capable of, turned out to be only 0.1% of that size, it would still lead to a great explosion of hope—and indications are that ‘Thunder Head Clearing’ will be able to hold its own in comparison to any animation or YouTube clip associated with hope for the real world social justice in terms of entertainment value, artistic craft, or potential for positive newsmaking.”
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As we head into the holiday season of 2013, we hope that you will value knowing that, for less than the price of a movie ticket, you have supported an inspiring animated film about a thanksgiving for sufficient food for all the world’s people. (Please see “A Note On Acknowledgments” in Project Description.)Estimated delivery:
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A high-quality download and a DVD of the finished film, an official poster or T-shirt for the movie, and inclusion in Thanks in the film’s credits.Estimated delivery:Add $12 USD to ship outside the US
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A high-quality download and a DVD of the finished film, an official poster or T-shirt for the movie, inclusion in Thanks in the film’s credits, a photographic print of one of the central images from the film autographed by the director, and a phone or Skype video conversation with the director or one of the principal artists.Estimated delivery:
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A high-quality download and a DVD of the finished film, inclusion in Thanks in the film’s credits, a photographic print of one of the central images from the film autographed by the director, and inclusion as a guest in a working production videoconference with the director and one or more of the artists working on the filmEstimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
A high-quality download and a DVD of the finished film. an official poster or T-shirt for the movie. inclusion in Thanks in the film’s credits, a photographic print of one of the central images from the film autographed by the director, inclusion as a guest in a working production videoconference with the director and one or more of the artists working on the film, and subject to the approval of the director, the opportunity to “cast” someone of your choosing whose drawn likeness will be made visible in a crowd scene in the movie.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
A high-quality download and a DVD of the finished film; an official poster or T-shirt for the movie; a photographic print of one of the central images from the film autographed by the director; inclusion as a guest in a working production videoconference with the director and one or more of the artists working on the film; either a 16x14 oil portrait of someone of your choosing by one of our lead artists or, subject to the approval of the director, the opportunity to “cast” someone of your choosing whose drawn likeness will be made visible in a supporting role in the movie; a Co-Executive Producer credit on the film and the knowledge that you have been one of the leading backers of a film that sets out a positive vision in the face of a serious global problem; and an invitation to join John Teton for a producers’ dinner in Portland, Oregon (contributors' travel expenses, if any, not included).Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)