What is the story? Fifteen years ago, I came across some letters that a Civil War soldier from Tennessee named John Robison wrote home to his wife Josephine. His grammar and spelling were terrible, but the words he wrote to her were poetic and beautiful. Not long after, I turned those letters into a song called “Josephine” that my wife Joey and I recorded and made a music video for. (https://vimeo.com/53610046)
In 2013, I received an email from a man in Virginia who had seen our music video and he said he knew of letters that Josephine had also written to John. When I found and read those letters, I was even more moved by the words she wrote and the love she clearly had for the husband that the war had separated her from. Over the next year and a half, my best friend Aaron Carnahan and I wrote Josephine's story into a full-length screenplay for a movie... actually we let her tell us the story that she wanted to tell. Page by page, we watched her wait for John until she could wait no more. Then, after burying their only child - in desperation - we saw her cut off her long hair, put on John's old clothes and join the confederate army to find him. We watched a lost and scared girl, dressed like a male soldier, not only learn to become a woman again, but also teach the men around her how to be better men. We followed Josephine and her ragtag unit across three states - over six months, against all odds, with nothing to go on, but the belief in the one thing in the world she had left... love.
Josephine’s story is an honest one. With that honesty, comes real-world struggles and the gritty reality of war-time and all it entails. This is not a Christian film. It’s a film made by Christian men who want to tell a real story of redemption and light in a world filled with darkness. This is not a movie about the civil war, or the south – and it has no political agendas. It’s a love-story that happens to unfold in a war that’s hard to understand and even harder to live through.
Is the story true? We used excerpts from Josephine and John’s actual letters in the screenplay. After Aaron and I had written about half of the screenplay, we learned that in reality hundreds of women like Josephine actually served and fought in the Civil War as union and confederate soldiers.
Who are we? I’m a songwriter, actually a storyteller. A few of the songs I’ve written have been hits on the radio (“Some Beach” by Blake Shelton, “Chain of Love” by Clay Walker, “Little More Country Than That” by Easton Corbin) and many more of them are still undiscovered. My wife Joey and I are also singers. We’ve made a few albums and music videos and now have our own television show that airs all across the country on RFD-TV on most cable providers. (http://www.joeyandrory.com) We also have a big barn at the farm we live on, where we film our show and perform concerts. I have to admit, it’s pretty darn neat. I have a wonderful life, and am married to the sweetest, kindest wife and have 3 beautiful daughters. I write a blog where I share scenes from my extraordinary, ordinary life. (http://thislifeilive.com/scenes/)
Besides me, there are many people who’ve traveled a long way and are devoting months of their time to help bring Josephine’s story to life. Here are just a few: Aaron Carnahan – co-writer & producer, Russell Brisby – location and transportation coordinator, Bryan Allen – director of photogrphy, Heidi Feek – director’s asst, Daniel Grace – digital transfer and editor, and Casey Pierce – storyboard artist.
Working together, our team has made several projects - including: • The Joey+Rory Show • Josephine music video • When I’m Gone music video • Inspired television special • A Farmhouse Christmas television special.
What are we doing? As I write this, it’s April 17th, 2015 - and as you have probably figured out by now… we're about to make this movie. We're all here in Halifax County, Virginia getting everything ready to begin production of the movie. We start shooting in 10 days. Our actors are cast, locations are set and more crew is arriving daily.
Why do we need your help? Pretty much everything I’ve ever done or been part of has been on a shoe-string budget. Not because we want it to be, but it’s usually all that we have. Most national television shows that you see on TV cost in the ballpark of hundreds-of-thousands of dollars per episode and are shot on soundstages with a crew of dozens of professionals. We made 52 episodes of our show (4 seasons) for just over $700,000 with a crew of 5 guys at our farm. We write, film, edit, and deliver what we make with what we have. Our goal is always to be authentic and true to ourselves, and the story that we’re trying to tell. Unfortunately, making a movie is a whole different playing field. Most epic Civil War films are made for 30 to 100 million dollars, and have almost unlimited talent and resources available to them. We don’t. So far, we’ve raised $1,000,000 to make our film, and are stretching it as far as it can go. But at some point, there’s just not enough. We need some help. We need your help. Besides making sure we have all we need to complete the production of the movie, we need to raise enough money for post-production - special effects, editing, coloring, soundtrack and a hundred other things that we'll need to bring Josephine's story to life that way it deserves to be. We're asking people to take a few minutes and watch our video and then help in any way they can. If you’d like to see this movie come to life, then please give anything you feel like you can give. And if you would, please share our video link and story with others.
What is a “Kickstarter”? Kickstarter has an online crowd-funding platform that makes it possible for individuals to help creators’ visions come true. In simple terms, it’s a program of rewards for different donation amounts. Individuals can give to projects that they believe in… in increments from $10 to $10,000… in return for ‘rewards’ - things like: a signed DVD when the movie is finished, or an emailed copy of the full Josephine script, or a private showing of the movie with us in our concert hall at our farm. Or even a chance to be one of the ‘producers’ of the movie with your name in the final credits. You can read all about it on our Kickstarter page or on our Facebook page. The Kickstarter website has lots of information that explains what they do and how it all works.
What is the bottom line? Our basic need right now is $100,000 to make sure we have everything to complete the filming of the movie. But honestly, we would love to raise $250,000, $500,000, or even a million dollars or more to put towards this story (that would be beyond our wildest dreams). No matter what you give, every little bit will help.
The only thing is... the way Kickstarter works is that if we don't make our original goal of $100,000, then we don't get anything (and whatever amount you’ve chosen to donate, won’t be charged to you). But if we do make it, or go way above the goal... all the money will go straight to the creation and ultimately the distribution of this movie (bringing it to your TV or movie theater in your hometown).
It’s hard for me to ask people to help. I mostly like to give and hope that good things come back. But with a dream this big and this many people counting on me… I have to have some help. I’m trying to do something incredible with some incredibly talented people that I love, and we would love to have help from you and anyone else that believes in the power of love, and wants to be part of a community that makes a movie together.
Risks and challenges
If we don't make our goal of $100,000 in 30 days... then we don't get anything (and whatever amount you’ve chosen to donate, won’t be charged to you). But if we do make that goal, or go way above it... all the money will go straight to the creation and ultimately the distribution of this movie.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)