We've reached our main goal of $25,000 - thanks so much for all of your help. I actually do need more than that to get this film out into the world, so any additional donations are greatly appreciated.
I’ve always loved The Guinness Book of Records. Like most kids, I was enthralled by Guinness - the photos of the woman with the smallest waist, the tallest man and his normal-sized family, the fattest twins on motorcycles are still seared into my imagination. I came across an old paperback copy of Guinness a while back and was intrigued by the book. I couldn’t put it down - it’s so full of wonder and human drama. It occurred to me that the book really can be read as kind of epic poem about humanity. It’s all about the mystery and wonder and tragedy of our lives. It’s about time and fate. About the things that befall us, and the weird things we are compelled to do.
These are themes that I love. So I set out to make a film more about all of that than about the book itself. (My high-powered lawyers have advised me to emphasize that The Measure of All Things is in no way endorsed, sponsored, or connected to The Guinness Book of Records or Guinness World Records Limited ). The Measure of All Things weaves together a series of portraits of record-holding people, places, and things - the tallest man (7 feet 9 inches), the oldest living thing (a 5,000 year old Bristlecone Pine in Southern California), the man struck by lightning the most times (seven!), the oldest living person (116), and the woman with the world’s longest name - to create a poignant meditation on fate, time, and the outer contours of the human experience.
In the past few years, I’ve been making what I call “live documentaries” - it’s all the elements of film but it only happens live: I narrate the piece in person and cue images and video from my laptop while a live band performs the soundtrack. My most recent “live documentary” is called The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller and was a collaboration with the legendary band Yo La Tengo.
I continue to be fascinated and charmed by this live documentary form and am excited to continue the experiment with The Measure of All Things. With this piece, I’m going to do some live shows with the fantastic chamber group yMusic and others with my longtime collaborators the Quavers (Todd Griffin, Catherine McRae, and Brendan Canty).
After two years of shooting all over the world and editing, I am thrilled that The Measure of All Things will have its world premier in January at the Sundance Film Festival. I’ve had eight other films screen at Sundance but I’m particularly excited about this one. We really need your help though to get to Park City and get this movie out into the world. I always work very frugally, but there are a bunch of costs that come up in this final stage of finishing a film. With your support, we’ll be able to pay for things like: design, color correction, sound mix, and of course making a great website. Thanks for considering supporting this project. I look forward to screening this film for you at some point.
COLLABORATORSLive Soundtrack - yMusic
yMusic is a sextet made up of Hideaki Aomori, CJ Camerieri, Clarice Jensen, Rob Moose, Nadia Sirota, and Alex Sopp. Equally comfortable in the overlapping worlds of classical and pop music, the ensemble was created in 2008 to bring a classical chamber-music aesthetic to venues outside the traditional concert hall. The ensemble includes a unique combination of instruments: string trio, flute, clarinet, and trumpet. Hailed by NPR’s Fred Child as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” its members have individually toured and recorded with artists such as Bon Iver, Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Antony and the Johnsons, Ryuichi Sakamoto, The National, Rufus Wainwright, Grizzly Bear, Meredith Monk, Yo-Yo Ma, The New York Philharmonic, David Byrne, and Sufjan Stevens. yMusic’s debut album, “Beautiful Mechanical,” was named Time Out New York’s #1 Classical Record of 2011.
Andrew Black is a Director of Photography whose work includes documentary and feature films. His work has been for theatrical and broadcast distribution and shown in festivals worldwide. Black worked with Michael Moore on Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko. He shot the Academy Award nominated The Weather Underground by Sam Green and Bill Siegel. His work airs widely, most recently on a national PBS broadcast of Mustang: Journey of Transformation, which was shot in a remote area of Nepal. He annually shoots the Emmy Award winning Global Focus, a PBS show featuring environmentalists from around the world. Based in San Francisco, California, Black travels extensively for work and has visited over 35 countries.
Peter Sillen is a New York-based filmmaker. Sillen creates portraits of an array of individuals who live and work outside stereotypical 9-to-5 situations. With sensitivity to his subjects and their environments, Sillen’s work gives an unobstructed view into the lives of a number of uniquely talented artists and workers. Career highlights include “I Am Secretly an Important Man” a feature length documentary on Seattle writer Steven Jesse Bernstein (premiered at MoMA as part as Creative Capital’s 10 year anniversary), “Benjamin Smoke,” a feature-length documentary collaboration with fellow filmmaker Jem Cohen (nominated for an IFP Independent Spirit Award as well as a Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association), and the feature-length “Speed Racer: Welcome to the World of Vic Chesnutt” (premiered at Sundance Film Festival 1994, screened in festivals throughout the world, including Berlin, Munich, Rotterdam, Edinburgh, Seattle, London, Melbourne and San Francisco and aired extensively on the Sundance Channel and PBS.) Sillen's other films include: “Branson: Musicland USA" (Sundance Film Festival, 2003), “Alice’s House” (The Black Maria Film Festival, 2004) “Grand Luncheonette” (The Museum of Modern Art, 2005).ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann - Producers
C41 MEDIA is a full service production company specializing in long form, branded content and documentary ﬁlms. Launched in 2011 by Pete Sillen and Brendan Doyle, C41 Media has worked with many innovative brands and clients: including Apple, Brizo, Heath Ceramics, Herman Miller, and J. Crew. Sillen has spent 15 years as both an award winning documentary ﬁlmmaker and commercial director. Doyle has served as Sillen’s producer and collaborator. The duo teamed up to create a boutique shop where great stories can be expanded beyond the 30 second spot.
Risks and challenges
The truth is there are any number of fluke things that could come up and complicate this project. There could be be complications with my collaborators or hurdles in getting the piece booked at venues in the US and abroad. As with any project, there could also be some unforeseen legal complications. I am a determined and tenacious person though. I have been making films for almost 20 years, and I've also made several other live documentaries before, so I am confident that I could overcome any reasonable challenges that might arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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