LAST DAY BACKERS: Good news! Things are looking very promising and I am over the moon right now, bowled over by all the generous pledges that have come in over the past three weeks. If we go over the funding goal, any extra donations will go towards...POST. Post includes all the time and money spent editing, sound mixing, music scoring, and color correcting a film. Post is actually the longest and most arduous phase of film production. So any dent we can make in that is money well spent and funds well used. Thank you so much for all your contributions towards THE WOODSRIDERS! We can't wait to make this film and to share it with you.
For the longest time, I have been wanting to make a film that takes place in the snow, and especially on a mountain. It’s a powerful landscape that demands a response of joy and at the same time deep interiority from those who dare to tread. I’ve been lucky enough to experience countless snowy days in my life — chasing winter in California, Vermont, New Zealand, Oregon, British Columbia, Colorado — and some of you have been right there alongside me. Yes it’s a documentary, but THE WOODSRIDERS is a personal project that occupies a special place in my heart. My guess is that for many potential backers, the film already feels like an old friend.
Thanks for spending some time with THE WOODSRIDERS. I’m so deeply grateful you’ve come!
WHAT’S THE FILM ABOUT?
Where the tiny joys and melancholy of Neil Young meet the wonder, magic and warning of Willy Wonka; where a wolf's gritty solitude meets a bulletproof flock of geese; where the open night sky's mysteries meet the adventure of the forest. This is what a day at the mountain feels like.
Shot on Oregon's singular Mt Hood, THE WOODSRIDERS is a naturalistic, meditative portrait of a mountain and it's surrounding communities, as seen through the eyes of a duo of female snowboarders. Sadie and Sarah are self-described hooligans, and for them the next adventure is always just around the corner. Punk rock bars, windy mountaintops, hidden woods, and drafty apartments are the spaces now inhabited here, in this place steeped in the history of mid-19th century travelers navigating the westward passes of the Oregon Trail. As these young women navigate the mountain's natural and social worlds, they are witness to the cultural divides on display, as tourists, townies, tweens, and toilers collide, on and off the snow-drenched mountain. Featuring gorgeous, foreboding environs, joyful revelry, early morning rituals and sobering realities, THE WOODSRIDERS is not your typical action-packed snowsports film. Rather, it reflects the quiet symphony of life lived in this place.
WHY MAKE THE WOODSRIDERS?
With this project I am looking to celebrate, explore, and share a world I've been passionate about for over 20 years. Snowboarding: careening on a short stick down a steep white mountainside, across open expanses with vistas for miles, down into tight valleys, and through thick forests of trees. For many, it’s pure bliss. And though it’s become a moden-day cliche as a representation of rebellion, it’s truth; it’s become rebellious to feel this free.
THE WOODSRIDERS adopts a uniquely female perspective as it works to explore these ideas. Sarah and Sadie are individuals we’ve never seen onscreen at this level of emotional detail, or in this context. And from their experiences, the film is capable of unraveling further, offering insight on issues of climate change, ethnic and class tensions particular to Mt. Hood, and gender.
WHAT’S THE STYLE?
An intimate, sensous style of camerawork will guide our immersion into this universe and the characters found there. The natural environment becomes a character in itself, whose presence profoundly impacts the way that humans relate to each other and understand themselves. A slowness of pace and a curiosity in surroundings will allow us to settle in and luxuriate in the atmosphere. A surprising juxtaposition of scenes, and bits of conversation, might make you laugh out loud, or cry. Sound will encourage the immersive experience — the silence of snowfall, hiphop on headphones, and nature-based compositions all form a cohesive musical universe. Witness the incredible music from the trailer by East Forest! (www.EastForest.org)
From our experience, Kickstarter is amazing for two reasons. The first is it’s ability to create a community around a film. It provides a space from which a filmmaker can engage potential audiences and ask them to be a part of this brand new idea coming into the world, this force emerging. It’s exciting and meaningful to be a part of something larger than yourself! Second, it encourages project COMPLETION by asking artists to work really, really hard to raise all the money they are asking for. If the funding goal isn’t reached, we get NOTHING. So sad. The flip side is that when those goals are reached, we are 100% ABLE to go out and MAKE THAT MOVIE. Ain’t no stopping us now! And, bonus, in the process of working really really hard to raise the money, we get to have more fun, throw more fundraising parties, and connect with more people who believe in the project.
WHAT IS THE MONEY BEING USED FOR?
We need $15,700 in order to complete the shooting phase of The Woodsriders. This will allow our crew of three (director, cinematographer, producer) to spend 3-4 weeks on Mt. Hood with our characters, where we’ll follow them day and night. We’ll be working for minimal pay, and keeping ourselves fed and sheltered while shooting. We need to get started by mid-Feburary, so that we’ve got time to film before the snow melts away for the season! This also covers camera and sound equipment that isn’t already being donated, permits, passes and insurance, production office overhead, and fundraising platform fees.
Without a successful Kickstarter, we won’t be able to shoot the movie, point blank.
Cambria Matlow, Director
Cambria Matlow is a filmmaker, snowboarder, wife and mother. In 2005, she cofounded Birdgirl Productions to codirect and coproduce the award-winning feature documentary Burning In the Sun, about a young man who starts a local solar energy business in Mali, West Africa. The film won funding from the Experimental Television Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, the Puffin Foundation and LEF Foundation, and was selected for IFP’s 2008 Documentary Rough Cut Lab as well as Independent Film Week’s ‘Spotlight on Docs’ section. After showing as an official selection in over 30 international film festivals, in 2012 the film premiered on PBS World’s AfroPop series and won the prestigious Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award in Berlin.
Among other career steps in film development, production, exhibition, distribution and outreach, Cambria’s been a member of the Narrative Features Jury at the 2010 Florida Film Festival and a ‘Women in Film’ panel participant there. She’s also served on juries for Portland’s HDFest and the Santa Cruz Int’l Film Festival. In 2013, after being initiated to the fine arts of motherhood, she worked as a mentor with Project Viewfinder, a project of Northwest Film Center, teaching basic filmmaking skills to a select group of youth transitioning out of homelessness.
In 2013 she founded Woodsrider Films to support The Woodsriders, her second feature-length film. Projects just around the bend include a documentary about her sister’s coming to terms with her identity as the daughter of a long-absent Ecuadorian father, and founding a Portland-based community film center. Her current interest lies in the particular stories that emerge from the intersection of nature, culture, and human being-ness. Cambria holds a Certificate in Film Production from Burlington College in Vermont and a B.A. in Hispanic Studies from Columbia University. She lives in SE Portland, Oregon with her husband Ben and her son Forrest.
Jerred North, Director of Photography
Jerred North went to New York to write and edit for BOMB Magazine in New York, expecting one thing, and finding something else entirely. After several audits of late night film courses at NYU, he enrolled full time at Maine Media Workshops where he completed his Residency in Cinematography.
Following the program, he began a freelance career in the camera department as an Operator and Director of Cinematography for a variety of productions, including network shows, independent films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries. Former clients include Vice, MTV, Travel, Esquire, NBC, and CMT. He has most recently wrapped production on a Hulu Original series, in which he was embedded in the camp for four months to document a group of young snowboarders for a semester in school, and a season on the mountain.
He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Janique Robillard, Producer
Janique L. Robillard is a freelance video producer and graduate of the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Communications. Hailing from Vermont and Wyoming, she moved to Portland in 2010. In Portland, Janique began producing for Actual Industries, Alicia J. Rose Photography, Downhill Productions, and other independent projects. Her experience includes multiple broadcast commercials, short-form documentary work, industrial videos, a feature film, and narrative shorts. The second she heard about The Woodsriders, Janique jumped at the opportunity to be involved. She's been snowboarding for 15 years, and couldn't imagine more of a dream project to work on.
Claire Weingarten, Associate Producer
A veteran of the film distribution and exhibition worlds, Claire Weingarten has worked with The Film Society of Lincoln Center, The American Film Institute, and on the inaugural two years of AFI’s documentary film festival, Silverdocs. Claire’s work at Silverdocs cemented her love for the documentary genre and paved the way for her role in non-fiction filmmaking. In 2005 Claire co-founded Birdgirl Productions with Cambria Matlow and Morgan Robinson. Their critically acclaimed first film BURNING IN THE SUN has played at film festivals worldwide and is presently available on TV, DVD and for streaming online.
Claire received a Masters degree in Cinema Studies from New York University and graduated cum laude from Columbia University with degrees in Film Studies, Ethnic Studies and Anthropology. In addition to her role as a documentary film producer, Claire currently manages all digital and cable distribution for the Chelsea-based foreign and independent film distribution company, Film Movement. Claire is originally from Washington DC and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Junior. She's been an avid snowboarder for 18 years and recalls her year long snowboarding voyage around the world with Cambria as one of the fondest memories of her life.
Risks and challenges
Shooting a film is only half the battle. The second half is editing, and all the post work. The second second half is getting a film seen by audiences. Luckily, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve: past successes in earning grants for post work which hopefully will translate into future succcesses with this film, a solid track record in bringing feature length documentaries down the long road to full completion, and a couple of screening wizards on our team. We have every confidence that we’ll finish this film in style, and that audiences around the world will have the opportunity to see it!
Another challenge is making a film that makes a difference. Our plan is to partner with some amazing non-profits doing work in the realms of climate change and connecting urban kids with their first taste of snowboarding, and to use the film to raise awareness around these issues and help raise funds for these organizations.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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