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The inspirational true story of Moondog, the legendary musician and New York icon whose life was an unexpected, outrageous adventure. Read more

New York, NY Documentary
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on June 26, 2014.

The inspirational true story of Moondog, the legendary musician and New York icon whose life was an unexpected, outrageous adventure.

New York, NY Documentary
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About this project

Some updates from us since we started the Kickstarter campaign:

Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman hung out with him. Philip Glass lived with him, Janis Joplin covered his music, Allen Ginsberg stuck it on his fridge, Diane Arbus took his picture and Andy Warhol’s mother designed one of his album covers. Merv Griffin interviewed him, Lenny Bruce shared the bill, Phillippe Starck named a building after him, Elvis Costello brought him to London and fashion designers have created entire collections around his look.

For over 30 years, one of the most sought out, recognizable figures in New York City was Louis Hardin, Jr., a towering Midwesterner, who stood day and night on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 54th Street, dressed in the early years like a monk, later as a Viking, selling poetry and playing homemade instruments. Blind and handsome, he called himself MOONDOG. Thousands bought his records, he appeared on the big and small screen and his picture was taken by countless tourists and famous photographers alike. But few have known his extraordinary, wild and surprising life story - until now!

Moondog's World | © Dog Days Films
Moondog's World | © Dog Days Films

THE VIKING OF SIXTH AVENUE is a feature-length documentary about the colorful life, times and music of a true original whose life and art were one and the same. With a wealth of never before seen archival film, home movies and rare audio recordings, the film is told largely from Moondog’s perspective and will feature unique interviews with Moondog’s friends, family, collaborators and musicians who cite him as an influence including Jarvis CockerJohn ZornChris Stein and Debbie HarryDamon AlbarnPhilip Glass and many more

Born and raised in the American Midwest, Louis Hardin lost his eyesight at sixteen and studied music at the Iowa School for the Blind. Arriving alone in New York City in 1943, over the next three decades Hardin reinvented himself as Moondog and perfected the striking Viking persona and unique musical style that would make him famous. Moondog’s remarkable life spans much of the 20th century and takes him from Black Foot ceremonies in Idaho to living homeless on the streets of New York to being honored by European royalty. His unique musical career has Moondog appearing with Salvador Dali, recording a children’s album with Julie Andrews, conducting Johnny Carson’s orchestra and performing across Europe with Goldfrapp's Will Gregory.

Opening with Moondog’s arrival in New York, THE VIKING OF 6TH AVENUE unravels with the drama of a fiction film. Visually rich, it weaves back and forth in time, mixing cinematic contemporary footage with a wealth of never-seen-before archival materials. With audio recordings from more than 20 hours of rare interviews, Moondog’s voice is the personal narrative backbone of the film. His wide range of music provides the soundtrack, using both original and new versions of his works, from orchestral pieces to pop songs.

With Moondog’s spellbinding story at its core, THE VIKING OF SIXTH AVENUE looks at what drew so many to Moondog, during his lifetime and to this day. It goes beyond the spectacle of Moondog as the Viking to uncover the motivations of a man determined not only to create original music but to live a truly original life.

© Peter Martens
© Peter Martens

We've been working on our feature length documentary THE VIKING OF 6TH AVENUE about Moondog and his amazing life and music for over two years, but now we need your help!

Join us and let's tell Moondog's incredible story for the first time on film!

Moondog, the original crowd-funded artist, relied on the generosity of strangers, people who saw him on the street and recognized that he was something special. Now we hope to do the same – we’re asking you to help make this film happen. 

We’ve found support from international film funds and traditional backers and of course used our own money but we believe Moondog’s story deserves to be told in a way that does justice to his unique creativity and that means telling the story on a big scale. To do that we really need you! 

The funding of this campaign is essential to enable us to finance the filming of important interviews with Moondog’s friends, family and collaborators in the US, UK and Germany; to shoot in the locations where Moondog lived and worked, and to license the beautiful archival footage and photographs that we have unearthed. 

Our goal is the minimum we need to do this. If we surpass our target the extra funds will help us to complete the film to an even higher standard. Additional funding would allow us to go the extra-mile in post-production, with additional graphics and even more Moondog music, to make the finished film look and sound amazing. 

We have found unpublished Moondog scores, still in their original Braille form and we would love to bring some of these to life. Help us bring this new music into the world! 

Every little bit counts, so we really appreciate whatever you are able to pledge. 

Stockholm 1986 | © Harry Peronius
Stockholm 1986 | © Harry Peronius

Holly Elson Director/Producer Hark Pictures. Selected as one of 25 breakout filmmakers for the Emerging Visions program (Film Society of Lincoln Center, IFP, New York Film Festival), Holly Elson is a UK based documentary director and producer working in film and transmedia with her company Hark Pictures. As a filmmaker she combines archive and contemporary observational documentary to tell unique personal stories. She has been working on broadcast, independent and commercial content in a variety of roles for over 10 years. She has directed and produced documentaries for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Discovery and UKTV History. Credits include The Tie That Binds (BBC Scotland, Scottish Documentary Institute); Pauline, Sheila and Joan, nominated for a Royal Television Society Award for best documentary; Recycled History of Recycling, supported by Britdoc. In 2013 she won the Pixel Lab prize for The Viking of 6th Avenue accompanying digital project. 

Lori Cheatle Producer. Lori is the founder of Hard Working Movies, an independent production company in Brooklyn, NY, that makes films and creates media with a range of talented and award-winning directors.  Her films have screened at top international film festivals, in theaters and on TV in over 60 countries. They include the feature documentaries 51 Birch Street (NYT 10 Best Films of the Year), The Kids Grow Up, The Edge of Dreaming,This Land is Your Land (Whitney Biennial) and many others. She recently produced Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart (dir. Jeremiah Zagar), which premiered at Sundance 2014 and 112 Weddings (dir. Doug Block) - both to be broadcast this year on HBO.

John Battsek, Nicole Stott, Passion Pictures – Executive Producers.  Passion Pictures is one of the most prolific feature documentary production companies in the industry. From Academy Award-winning One Day in September in 1999, Passion has been involved in over thirty high profile documentaries, including: Searching for Sugar Man (Academy Award winner 2013); The Imposter (BAFTA winner 2013); Restrepo (Academy Award nominated 2011); Sergio (Academy Award shortlisted 2010) and The Tillman Story (Academy Award shortlisted 2011). In 2014, they had four films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

The VIKING crew preparing to shoot our Jarvis Cocker interview
The VIKING crew preparing to shoot our Jarvis Cocker interview

Quite simply, if we don't reach our goal, we don’t get any money at all. Your money is pledged but only taken if we reach our goal. That means all of the great rewards won’t be winging their way to you and we won’t be able to tell Moondog’s story to a global cinema audience. So please help us get there! 

Do you or someone you know have any Moondog archive material - footage, audio or photographs? We are trying to source as much material as we can for the film and the digital project that goes beyond the movie. Anything you have could contribute to building the Moondog archive and furthering his legacy. You will be properly credited for any material that you submit. Please get in touch with us via our website thevikingof6thavenue.com

Did you know Moondog? Did you meet him on the street in New York or in Germany? Did you see him perform? Do you remember the first time you heard his music? What are your memories or impressions of Moondog? We'd love to hear your Moondog stories! Over the last few years we've been gathering some brilliant Moondog stories. Share yours with us and other Moondog fans in comments here, on the My Moondog forum, Facebook & Twitter using #mymoondog or by contacting us

Everyone who helped Moondog got something in return and somehow their lives were changed by the encounter. We hope to bring that spirit to this campaign and in addition to bringing you the film, we have a host of great rewards for you to choose from, such as a "Moondog playlist" for just $10 or the ONLY copy of a print of Moondog at our highest back level. 

One of the best ways to help us is by posting a link to this Kickstarter page [link] on Facebook, Twitter and your favorite social networks and by emailing anyone you think might be interested in Moondog and this movie.

Please also share links to our

Facebook page facebook.com/thevikingof6thavenue

Twitter handle twitter.com/moondogmovie

Website thevikingof6thavenue.com

as far and wide as you can! If you’re a fan of Moondog’s music please share it with someone else – tell them about him and introduce them to a new world of music.

If you’d like to help us in other ways we’d love to hear from you. Without a big publicity machine behind him and in a largely pre-internet age, Moondog’s fan base grew through word of mouth. Now we need your help to spread the word about Moondog, his music, this film and our Kickstarter campaign. Thank you. 

Risks and challenges

We’re so grateful that you’ve taken an interest in helping us make this film and we’re excited to introduce those of you who don’t know him to the world of all things Moondog. People like Moondog don’t come along very often and we are determined to tell his story to the world in a way that does him justice.

When it comes to our remaining challenges, we are confident that this movie will be completed but there are a number of things that all documentary filmmakers face when finishing a project.

The most common challenge we might encounter is that additional funding is needed to complete the film. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as: high profile interviewees schedule’s change, unforseen events require additional filming, we discover new archival material that needs to be restored or editing takes longer than anticipated.There is still a good amount of filming still to be done. It's possible that could take longer than we expect, delaying the completion of the film.

However, there is an award-winning team behind this film with a long track record of delivering award-winning feature documentaries for international cinema and television and we won’t rest until it’s done ... and wins lots of awards. It’s going to be a great film and we can't wait for you to see it!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    87 backers

    THANK YOU. You’ll get updates on our progress + the joy of knowing you helped bring Moondog’s amazing story to the screen!

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    Pledge $10 or more

    142 backers

    MOONDOG PLAYLIST. Download an exclusive Kickstarter playlist curated by an A-list musician and Moondog fan.

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    Pledge $15 or more

    45 backers

    NEW! MOONDOG MAGNET! You’ll get a high quality Moondog magnet featuring the Moondog emblem handmade in Brooklyn by Gnome Enterprises + Moondog Postcard signed by the director.

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  • You selected
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    51 backers

    NEW! MOONDOG PIN & PLAYLIST. You’ll get a high quality Moondog metal pin badge featuring the Gnome Designs Moondog emblem + A Moondog postcard signed by the director + $10 MOONDOG PLAYLIST!

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  • You selected
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    340 backers

    MOONDOG MOVIE. You'll get an HD digital download of the movie when it’s commercially released + Your name on the Patron’s wall of thevikingof6thavenue.com to honor your involvement in the film + Production updates and Moondog news!

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    Pledge $35 or more

    100 backers All gone!

    BRACELLI & MOONDOG. A CD of Moondog’s beautiful music performed by Moondog’s friend, and Trimba expert Stefan Lakatos and Ensemble Bracelli, produced on Laska records in Bochum, Germany in 2004. You’ll get A CD signed by Stefan and the director + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE LEVEL!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    89 backers

    NEW! MOONDOG PLAYLIST, MOVIE & MORE. You’ll get the exclusive Kickstarter playlist + a high res digital photograph of Moondog taken by his friend and collaborator Stefan Lakatos + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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    Pledge $45 or more

    54 backers

    NEW! MOONDOG MUSIC & MOVIE. Choose a CD of "More Moondog" or "Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue" from our friends at Honest Jons Records. You’ll get A CD signed by the director + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE LEVEL!

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    Pledge $50 or more

    128 backers

    MOONDOG VINYL. You'll get choice of one of the brilliant Moondog rereleases (pictured) from our friends at Honest Jon records, signed by the director + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
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    156 backers

    MOONDOG SHIRT OR BAG. These awesome Moondog themed items are specially designed for us by Gnome Enterprises in Brooklyn, NYC. They are hand-drawn and hand-printed on high quality, sweat-shop free cotton bags & super-soft American Apparel shirts. You'll get a Viking of Sixth Avenue limited edition t-shirt or tote bag + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    64 backers

    OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY + NAME IN CREDITS. You'll get a copy of the latest edition of Robert Scotto’s authorized biography of Moondog, signed by the author + A download of the album made specially to accompany the book + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + A special Kickstarter edition postcard personally dedicated to you and signed by the director + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    27 backers

    NEW! MOONDOG MUSIC & SHIRT COMBO. You’ll get a Viking of 6th Avenue t-shirt specially designed for us by Gnome Enterprises + Everything from our $45 level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $85 or more

    18 backers

    MOONDOG SHIRT & BAG COMBO. You'll get a Viking of Sixth Avenue t-shirt + tote bag specially designed for us by Gnome Enterprises + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $85 or more

    12 backers

    NEW! MOONDOG MOVIE POSTER! You’ll get The Viking of Sixth Avenue official film poster! (this will be made for the film’s theatrical release and will be big and pretty damn cool) + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + Everything from OUR $35 MOONDOG PLAYLIST & MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    27 backers

    SEE IT FIRST. You'll get a private link to stream the film simultaneous to its world premiere and prior to its commercial release + A specially designed souvenir e-ticket + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    21 backers Limited (79 left of 100)

    NEW! MOONDOG YEARBOOK 1! You’ll get a limited edition reproduction of an original pamphlet produced by Moondog in 1967, (it contains photographs of Moondog, music scores, poems, and other material written by Moondog) + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + Moondog postcard + Everything from our our $35 MOONDOG level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    2 backers

    OWN A PIECE. You get a unique 8 x10 frame from the movie individually selected for you! It might be a beautiful still from Moondog’s home town or an interview scene with one of his famous collaborators and it will be made just for you with a dedication on the reverse from the director + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
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    5 backers All gone!

    MOONDOG & HIS FRIENDS! Moondog collaborated with some pretty cool folks
    along the way. One of our favorites is Will Gregory of the awesome UK band
    Goldfrapp. (Read Project Update #5!) You’ll get a signed copy of the rare Sax Pax for
    a Sax CD + Signed latest Goldfrapp album + Your name in the film’s
    Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) everything from our $25
    MOONDOG MOVIE level.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    15 backers Limited (85 left of 100)

    MOONDOG PORTRAIT. You get a numbered, limited edition Moondog portrait by artist Sebastiaan Verhees printed just for Kickstarter backers, signed by the artist and director + A Moondog vinyl album of your choice from Honest Jon’s records + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    5 backers All gone!

    NEW! MOONDOG ORIGINAL VINYL! You’ll get an original copy of Moondog’s 1969 Columbia album + Moondog postcard with a personal note from the director + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    NEW! MOONDOG RARE POSTER! LIMITED OFFER! ONLY 1 AVAILABLE! You’ll get a Moondog promotional poster for the Sax Pax Album from 1997 from the director’s own collection (to the best of our knowledge only a few survive) + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + Moondog postcard + Everything from our $35 MOONDOG level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    2 backers Limited (98 left of 100)

    NEW! MOONDOG PRINT. You’ll get a rare Moondog print by photographer Willa Percival (1 of 100 printed exclusively for Kickstarter backers) with a matte surround, numbered and signed on the reverse by the director + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    4 backers Limited (1 left of 5)

    MOONDOG'S PURSE. You get a limited edition leather purse constructed using Moondog’s famed squares principle and handmade by Moondog’s friend, Trimba player Stefan Lakatos + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers

    MOONDOG'S NEW YORK. You get a special video tour with unique content of Moondog’s New York - see the places he lived, hung out, played and recorded music + A digital transcript of the film + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + Everything from our $25 MOONDOG MOVIE level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $650 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    NEW! EXTREMELY RARE MOONDOG POSTER! LIMITED OFFER! ONLY 1 AVAILABLE! You’ll get a Moondog promotional poster made for Moondog’s very first concert in Sweden at the Museum of History, in August 1981. It is from Stefan Lakatos’ own collection, is in mint condition and is extremely rare + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + Moondog postcard + Everything from our $75 MOONDOG MUSIC & SHIRT level!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    2 backers Limited (48 left of 50)

    MOONDOG IN NEW YORK. See the film before release in the city where Moondog made his name and meet the team behind the film! You'll get Two tickets to a very special preview screening in NYC (travel and accommodation not included) with special guests + A Moondog album on vinyl from Honest Jons + A signed Moondog biography and accompanying album download + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Two digital downloads of the movie!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    0 backers Limited (50 left of 50)

    MOONDOG IN LONDON. See the film before release in the city where Moondog performed and recorded music and meet the team behind the film! You'll get Two tickets to a very special preview screening in London (travel and accommodation not included) with special guests + A Moondog album on vinyl from Honest Jons + A signed Moondog biography and accompanying album download + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Two digital downloads of the movie!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    4 backers

    MOONDOG'S US/UK/EUROPEAN PREMIERE. You'll get Two tickets to the film’s US, UK or European premiere (travel and accommodation not included) + Two tickets to the after party + Two "Viking" t-shirts + Two Moondog albums of your choice from Honest Jons + A signed Moondog biography and accompanying album download + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Two digital downloads of the movie!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,750 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    DINNER AND A MOONDOG MOVIE. You'll get Dinner for you and a friend with the director or producer of the film + Two tickets to the film’s US, UK or European premiere (travel and accommodation not included) + Two tickets to the after party + Two "Viking" t-shirts + Two Moondog albums of your choice from Honest Jons + A signed Moondog biography and accompanying album download + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Two digital downloads of the movie!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers

    MOONDOG'S NEW YORK... LIVE. You'll get a special guided walking tour of Moondog’s favourite haunts with the director of the film and the author of Moondog’s biography, Dr Robert Scotto + A special ‘Moondog’s New York’ graphic map detailing the locations you’ve visited + Two tickets to the film's NYC premiere (travel and accommodation not included) + Two tickets to the after party + Two "Viking" t-shirts + Two Moondog albums of your choice from Honest Jons + Two signed Moondog biographies and accompanying album downloads + Your name in the film’s Kickstarter credits (festival and home video versions) + A Viking of 6th Avenue postcard + Two digital downloads of the movie. Can’t make it to NYC? Join the tour via Skype and we’ll provide you with two tickets to your choice of UK or European premieres (travel and accommodation not included)!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $3,500 or more

    1 backer

    PRIVATE FILM SCREENING. You get a private screening in your own home/private venue (venue hire not included) for you and your friends/clients with an introduction and Q&A by the film’s director (if outside NYC or UK intro/Q&A via Skype) + A special thank you credit for you or your company (theatrical & home video version) in the film + A special Viking of 6th Avenue crew t-shirt + All of the Moondog vinyl from Honest Jon’s records + A specially dedicated copy of Moondog’s authorized biography by Robert Scotto and accompanying album download + You and all your screening attendees will get digital downloads of the movie, Moondog postcards and specially printed souvenir tickets!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    MOONDOG'S WORLD PREMIERE. You get 4 tickets to the film’s World premiere (location TBD, excludes travel and accommodation) + A special thank you credit (theatrical and home video version) + Personal updates on progress of the project including sneak previews during the edit + A signed biography and accompanying album download + All of the Moondog vinyl from Honest Jon’s records + A special Viking of 6th Avenue crew t-shirt + A digital download of the movie for you and each of your 3 guests + Viking of 6th Avenue postcards!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    MOONDOG TOP DOG. Thank you for believing in this film and becoming a key part of the team. You’ll get a special on-screen production credit of Contributing Associate Producer + 2 tickets to the film’s World Premiere (travel and accommodation not included) + A private dinner for you and a guest with the production team (travel and accommodation not included) + 2 tickets to the after party with the rest of the team + A one off print of Moondog, signed on the reverse by the director, which has never previously been reproduced - this will be the ONLY copy we'll print + Personal progress reports and sneak previews of material and scenes + A special set of four exclusive production stills, framed and signed by the director and dedicated to you + The official film poster signed by the director + The signed biography and accompanying album download + All of the Moondog vinyl from Honest Jon’s records + A special Viking of 6th Avenue crew t-shirt + Viking of 6th Avenue postcards + Our eternal thanks for making this movie happen!

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Funding period

- (29 days)