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An unprecedented feature-length documentary film about Maine's tribal, oft-misunderstood ice fishing sub-culture.
An unprecedented feature-length documentary film about Maine's tribal, oft-misunderstood ice fishing sub-culture.
202 backers pledged $14,750 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$14,750

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Funding Update:

On December 7th, we reached (and then exceeded!) our $13,000 goal - but why stop there? With over a week remaining in our campaign, we want to keep the Hardwater train a-movin!' What will the extra funds be used for, you might ask? Great question: they will be used for film festival entry fees, to arrange private screenings (in Maine and beyond!), final editing costs, promotional materials and artwork, and possibly an official Hardwater soundtrack, with original music composed for the film! Help us share this story with the largest possible audience! THANK YOU all for the tremendous support - the Hardwater Team continues to grow! We've come this far riding the generosity and enthusiasm of our backers - let's make a final push toward 20K!

- Ryan and Dan

What's the story?

Hardwater introduces 77-year-old Mainer Bob Foster, an avid ice fisherman who had, the year before filming, missed his first ice fishing season since he was a boy after being diagnosed with cancer. After successful surgery and receiving a clean bill of health, our cameras follow Bob hundreds of miles north to Long Lake, near the very top of Maine, where he targets big landlocked salmon - fish that he used to catch decades ago just minutes from his central Maine home.

In his excitement to return to the sport he loves, Bob paints a picture of Maine's ice fishing history. His stories and reflections act as introductions to key players in Maine's ice fishing community today. We travel across ten counties with an assortment of unique characters. From Sebago to East Grand Lake to Belgrade to Chain of Ponds, Hardwater exposes the challenges to our ecosystem brought forth by environmental shifts and illegally introduced invasive fish species. The characters in Hardwater must adapt to a rapidly changing Maine fishery. Ultimately, Hardwater is a film about Maine tradition, a shared passion for storytelling and fishing, and the ways in which ice fishing brings people together during the harshest of seasons.

Who are the characters?

Bob Foster - Yessuh! Foster is the last of a dying breed of ice fishermen. He's seen it all in his seven decades on the ice, and he's quick to point out that the way things are now sure aren't the way they used to be! Dedicated, colorful, and tremendously likeable, Foster (equipped with sharp humor and a thick Maine accent) travels to the tip of Maine to catch big salmon, the official state fish, the fish he loves and wants to protect.

Tim Jackson - He might well be Mr. Maine Ice Fishing. Known as "Jack" to his friends, he's built a well-respected business and raised a family by making top of the line ice fishing traps. Thirty years ago, tired of working in the mills, Jack decided to follow his passion and start selling hand-made traps from the basement of his home. In a tough economy, Jack must adapt to changes in the business climate and have enough time to sneak off and do what he really loves - ice fish for giant togue on East Grand Lake!

Jeff Howatt - The Naturalist. No snowmobiles, no fancy fish-finders, no motors of any kind. This guy hand-augers through three feet of ice. Nothing fancy, just down-home frugal Mainer who hikes ten miles to fish his favorite ponds, then winter-summits mountains when he gets bored. Howatt hates noise pollution, avoids alcohol and reserves Sundays for family and church. He hasn't changed his line in ten years, but his friend convinces him to try something new and target a big, toothy, invasive species that he, admittedly, has never even seen! 

Steve & Jeff - No last names needed. These guys are the consummate fishing buddies. Nearly three decades of shared adventures sure does lend itself to good storytelling! But their shared passion for fishing is probably the only thing they have in common! They bicker about the best fish to catch, debate fishing strategies, reminisce about days gone by and banter about the one that got away!

The Derbies - Nothing brings out a crowd like Derby Day! Hardwater highlights the wild, chaotic derby scene complete with polar dips, hot air balloons, hard drinking, $100,000 cash prizes, and rowdy participants of all kinds. 

FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A big "Thank You!" and your name on all Hardwater social media outlets AND a 4X6" handbill poster.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All of the above AND a DVD of the film when available.

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    88 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Limited edition 8X11" HARDWATER film poster signed by the producers (see project image for reference), and DVD of the film.

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    34 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    11X17" HARDWATER poster and DVD signed by the producers with a personalized note and your name listed under "Special Thanks" in the end credits.

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    35 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Your name as SUPPORTING PRODUCER in the end credits, and an 11X17" HARDWATER poster and DVD signed by the producers and main characters with a personalized note.

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    5 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Tickets (2) to the premiere AND pre-screening party, your name as SUPPORTING PRODUCER in the end credits, AND a monster 20X30" HARDWATER poster, with DVD, signed by producers and main characters with personalized note.

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    4 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Your name as ASSOCIATE PRODUCER in lead credits, VIP seats at the premiere and tickets to pre-screening party, DVD, and a signed, personalized 20X30" ARTiPLAQ mounted HARDWATER poster.

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    2 backers
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Your name as CO-PRODUCER in lead credits AND a guided Maine ice fishing trip with producers and film characters, VIP seats at the premiere and tickets to pre-screening party, DVD, signed and personalized 20X30" ARTiPLAQ mounted HARDWATER poster.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Your name as EXECUTIVE PRODUCER in lead credits,VIP seats at the premiere and pre-screening party, DVD, signed and personalized 20X30 ARTiPLAQ mounted HARDWATER poster AND set of personalized ice fishing traps designed by the Hardwater crew to bring home with you after your guided Maine ice fishing adventure. Producers will shoot video of your day's highlights, including use of underwater cameras! (Executive Producer title does not grant editing or ownership rights)

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Funding period

- (35 days)