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A non-traditional documentary project about a woman’s search for her Tlingit Indian foster siblings.
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167 backers pledged $22,186 to help bring this project to life.

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$22,186

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Inside Passage: The only way out is through your own family

Hello and Welcome to the Kickstarter for our non-traditional documentary. Inside Passage tells the story of a woman’s search for her Tlingit Indian foster siblings in Alaska. The project blurs the line between narrative and fact in both form and content. Staged pre-enactments, archive footage, stylized interviews and live performance events challenge the notion of “truth” within the documentary form. 

WHAT can you DO?

Your support will enable us to travel to Alaska with a 2-person film crew. While there we will travel to Gustavus, Juneau and Wasilla where we will interview family, and search for my foster siblings. We will also film experts on fostering and adoption within the Native Alaskan community. This trip is ESSENTIAL for the development of the film. It is both a scouting and filming mission.

This Kickstarter is a small portion of the overall budget of the film. 

Here's our estimated budget required to travel to Alaska:

Here's what we have raised already and what we need to raise through Kickstarter:

We are grateful for the support of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Creative Development Grant (awarded by the Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation) who have enabled us to create the pre-enactment elements of the documentary. The pre-enactment videos will be woven throughout the final film. They are scripted segments that imagine what might happen during the Alaska trip. 

Our total budget for the competition of the film is over 240K. Therefore, a successful Kickstarter would raise funds beyond our 21K goal. The 21K goal will cover the initial Alaska filming and scouting expedition ONLY.

Here's our total estimated budget for the entire project:

WHAT are we DOING?

In combining documentary, live performance and narrative dramatic elements, we're inspired by inventive experimentation in the documentary form in films like Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, Middleton and Spinney’s “Notes on Blindness” and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing. These films effectively blur distinctions between “real” and “designed” within the documentary framework. Inside Passage is also an extension of Sam Green’s use of live music and performance in documentary presentation. 

Original, vérité-style footage of the Alaskan journey forms the narrative backbone of the film. We will also use staged and informal interviews, found footage, found photographic evidence, archival and historical footage. These traditional documentary sources are supported by cinematic reenactments and staging. These utilize actors, live and recorded sound design, and interview “sets” on which dramatic real-life events and expected events are reenacted and “pre-enacted.”

View "pre-enactments" here:

https://vimeo.com/132868179

https://vimeo.com/132736531

https://vimeo.com/129425581

WHO are We?

The Inside Passage artistic and production team includes co-directors Gab Cody and Sam Turich, cinematographer and co-producer Rob Long, production consultant Laura Boyd (who has worked extensively for National Geographic, and in Alaska) and Dr. Judith Schachter (Professor of Anthropology and History at Carnegie Mellon University). 

Gab Cody, Sam Turich and Rob Long have a successful history of collaboration. They, with Bricolage Production Company and a team of artists, created the immersive urban adventure STRATA (which appeared on the cover of American Theatre Magazine). Gab and Sam also collaborated with Bricolage Production Company on OjO an immersive adventure scheduled to premiere on the West Coast at the La Jolla Playhouse as part of their Without Walls Festival 2015.

Their award-winning independent micro-budget feature film Progression premiered at Anthology Film Archives in NYC, has toured the festival circuit and screened to sold-out theaters in Pittsburgh. 

Learn more about their first feature here: http://progressionmovie.com

Recently, Gab and Sam produced and directed live-action interstitials for the PBS Kids program Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Their production company Greater Good Productions wrote, produced and directed “Just Talk About It,” a series of 12 PSAs for the Pennsylvania State Department of Aging. They collaborated on the short documentary "Accordion Pool Party," donating their services as writer, producer, director and editor.  Their narrative short "Mombies" won entry to the Cleveland International Film Festival, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, NYC Horror Festival, the 11/22 Festival in Vienna, Austria and has aired repeatedly on WQED-TV in Pittsburgh.

WHY are we doing THIS?

Gab Cody was born in Juneau. She was born into a family with three other children: an older brother and sister from her mother's first marriage and an older brother from her father's first marriage. When Cody was five, her mother divorced her father and moved east with only Gab, her youngest child.

But when Cody was about six months old, her mother began fostering two Tlingit Indian children, ages two and three. They were delivered to the Alaska farm from a squalid basement, where they’d survived with neglectful, alcoholic parents. Cody’s recollection of their lives together is patchy, although family lore fills in the gaps. Her mother planned to adopt the foster kids, but that changed when she decided to dissolve her marriage.

Fortunately, the State of Alaska offered financial incentives to Native families to reclaim children from the foster care system. Cody’s mother really had no choice: she understood that Native families had the first claim on their children, and with support could manage their upbringing. Her own family in upheaval, she delivered the foster children to their aunt and uncle. Cody hasn’t heard from them since. 

Starting in 2015, filmmakers Cody and Turich are recording the excavation of this family history. Although they’re not certain they’ll find her foster siblings, the documentary nonetheless uncovers the history of childrearing, family systems and indigenous systems of fostering within the communities of First People in Alaska and Canada (with a special focus on the Tlingit). 

The film grapples with the emotional freight of one family’s experience of forming and disbanding. Cody unravels her personal history in the vein of Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell by interviewing family members about their experience of Alaska and their Tlingit foster brother and sister. Her mother, now 77 and living on a small ranch in rural North Carolina, presents her own point of view with her own words. The filmmakers also engage the participation of other members of Cody’s family. Cody is also consulting with Native Alaskans with expertise in the areas of fostering and adoption.

The film is a highly personal exploration of identity and the meaning and import of family.

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Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

As they have in the past, the filmmakers are partnering with Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts through their fiscal conduiting sponsorship. This makes your pledge to Inside Passage a tax-deductible contribution through our 501(c)(3) sponsor. 

PF/PCA is Pittsburgh Filmmakers & Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, a contemporary visual arts organization. Here you can see and experience visual arts in a wealth of glorious forms. You can learn it, make it, and view it. If you're an artist looking for support, you've found the right place! PF/PCA is located in several of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods including Shadyside, Oakland and in downtown's Cultural District.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers offers fiscal sponsorship to meet the needs of individual artists because many corporate funders and foundations restrict grant making to fully tax-exempt organizations. Filmmakers' Conduiting Program provides artist projects with the ability to apply for funding and other resources available only to organizations with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. PF/PCA takes a 5% admin fee from funds received, and to participate in the program, artists must be access members in good standing.

Risks and challenges

This will be the second feature film we have written/directed and produced. It will be our first full-length documentary. Not only is our end goal a non-traditional documentary, but our approach is also non-traditional. We are developing aspects of the film through live events that ask for the participation of the audience. We are also assuming an exploratory position in regards to our subject. This means that although we have plans, a clear budget, a clear schedule and strong ideas about the concept for the film, we are also creating opportunities for discovery and serendipity. This means that the project may develop in ways that are unforeseeable from this beginning vantage point. The project is adventurous and because of that, we require your help and your patience. Thank you so much for your support. This wouldn't be possible without you.

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    Thanks for your support. You've earned a special thanks on our website and an invitation to an invitation-only screening of the film. You've also earned (2) tickets to the Pittsburgh premiere. And congratulations! Once the film is released we'll send you an ONLINE LINK so that you can watch it again and again.

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    Thanks for your support. You've earned a special thanks on our website and an invitation to an invitation-only screening of the film. You've also earned (2) tickets to the Pittsburgh premiere. And congratulations! Once the film is released we'll send you an ONLINE LINK so that you can watch it again and again. At this level you will also receive a signed LIMITED EDITION PRODUCTION STILL from Director of Photography Rob Long.

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    Thanks for your support. You've earned a special thanks on our website and an invitation to an invitation-only screening of the film. You've also earned (2) tickets to the Pittsburgh premiere. And congratulations! Once the film is released we'll send you an ONLINE LINK so that you can watch it again and again. At this level you will also receive a signed LIMITED EDITION PRODUCTION STILL from Director of Photography Rob Long. Even filmmakers have to eat. As thanks for your contribution we'll invite you to a small filmmaker's DINNER PARTY.

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    Thanks for your support. You've earned a special thanks on our website and an invitation to an invitation-only screening of the film. You've also earned (4) tickets to the Pittsburgh premiere. And congratulations! Once the film is released we'll send you an ONLINE LINK so that you can watch it again and again. We'll also send you a production still, up to (3) POSTCARDS from Alaska and you'll be invited to the filmmaker's DINNER. At this level, you will also earn an ALASKAN souvenir GRAB BAG. What's inside? Who knows?!

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    Thanks for your support. You've earned a special thanks on our website and an invitation to an invitation-only screening of the film. You've also earned (6) tickets to the Pittsburgh premiere. Once the film is released we'll send you an ONLINE LINK so that you can watch it again and again. Congratulations you've entered the PRODUCER'S CIRCLE. Your name will be listed in the credits of the film. Join us for the filmmaker's dinner party, receive postcards and a grab bag, and you've also earned an opportunity to have a one-on-one CREATIVE CONSULTATION with costume designer Rachel Vallozzi. She'll fix your wardrobe for any weather!

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Funding period

- (24 days)