Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 15, 2013.

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With a passion for music and engineering, Don Buchla created electronic musical instruments the world had never dreamed of before.

When we've told people that we're preparing a documentary about Don Buchla, we get one of two reactions:

a) Wow!  It's about time  The man's a genius!  Why hasn't this happened already?

or

b) Don who?

We want to make a movie that can live up to the expectations and desires and hopes for the people who answered a), and that can introduce Don in the best way possible to those who answered b).

Don Buchla is a legendary instrument maker whose inventions were part of the greatest musical transformation of the 20th century.  His pioneering work laid the basis for what electronic music was to become by creating a unique analog synthesizer which completely changed the way people think about, compose, and perform music.  The list of musicians and composers who have used the Buchla range from avant-garde composer Morton Subotnick to Nine Inch Nails, with plenty more along the way.  Don hasn't stopped inventing since the arrival of the Buchla, and his other instruments combine an idiosyncratic sound with a sense of wonder and theatrical magic.

"Music is a mirror that we hold up to see how cultural structures are formed.  Race, social hierarchy, class, national origin the twentieth century saw a questioning of these issues on a global level, and in a sense, electronic music was the soundtrack to that intense investigation into the human situation.  Almost all traditional notions of space, time, and physicality have been reconfigured in ways that we are just beginning to understand.  I think that electronic music has helped us understand the process we've lived through.  Think about everything from the tones you hear coming out of your telephone to the frequencies underlying cellular communication to the algorithms used to route the information holding it all together -- most of this stuff has been explored one way or the other by the avant-garde."
                                                                                --Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky)

Don was definitely part of the avant-garde.  He has been called a mad scientist, a genius, an innovator, a recluse, an iconoclast, and has gathered a horde of fiercely loyal admirers by following his own visionary path, and dancing to his own muse.  His name and instruments are known from Indonesia to France.

We have begun to film because there have been performances and interviews to capture that we simply couldn't pass up, such as Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender from the San Francisco Tape Music Center, who commissioned Don to build the first Buchla; French composers Jean-Baptiste Barrière and Marc Battier; and performances by Subotnick and Marimba Lumina player and co-collaborator Joel Davel, who has assisted in Buchla's workshop for two decades.  

But now we need to raise production funding to complete the rest of our filming.  Among the other people we will be including in the film are early Buchla composer/performer Suzanne Ciani, analog synth performer/music journalist Gino Robair, Lightning virtuoso Forrest Tobey, synth maestro Alessandro Cortini (of Nine Inch Nails and Sonoio), Marimba Lumina co-designer Mark Goldstein, and, of course, Don himself.  Ideally, we're hoping you can support us beyond what we're asking for here so we can also edit and do post-production for the film. 

With your help, we will be able to do the legacy of Don Buchla justice.

HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?

MAKE A DONATION AND GET A REWARD
We set a goal and a deadline.  You choose an amount you'd like to donate, and the gift you want to receive.  After our funding goal is reached we will send out rewards.  Those rewards that require the completion of the film will be sent out after it is finished.


IF OUR GOAL IS NOT MET BY THE DEADLINE THEN WE DON'T GET ANYTHING
If we fall short of our goal by any amount then we won't get any of the money.  Even if it's only by $5.  That's why your help spreading the word about the film and Kickstarter campaign is so important.


IF WE MEET OR SURPASS OUR GOAL BEFORE THE DEADLINE THEN WE GET TO KEEP THE WHOLE AMOUNT
All the donations will go to our production company Clarity Films, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to help towards finishing the film.  Many folks raise much more than their goal, so the more you help us do that the sooner the film will be finished!


*****TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS******
A portion of every donation over $100 is tax deductible.  You will receive a letter confirming your donation as well as the amount that you can deduct (the donation amount minus the value of the reward).


I AM INTERESTED IN YOUR PROJECT, CAN I HELP?
YES! You can help by getting the word out and encouraging others to donate.  Tell your friends and family about the film.  Link to our Kickstarter campaign on your Facebook profile or Twitter feed.  Embed our video or widget on your web page or blog.  It's a word of mouth campaign and its success relies on people being aware of the Kickstarter campaign.  The more you can help us find new folks the closer we are to making our campaign a success.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Filmmaking, especially documentary filmmaking, can encounter unforseen challenges, both in terms of shooting and in the post-production.  The funds for this campaign are for the production phase of the film; the post-production funding will need to be raised elsewhere.  (Of course, any funds we raise above our goal can be funneled into post-production, which makes the likelihood of smooth sailing that much more probable!) 

We've made a lot of films, some of them well-funded, others not at all. And we've always managed to finish them. We plan to keep all of you appraised of our progress, both the successes and the setbacks, so you'll know where things stand.  You're helping make this happen; you deserve to be kept in the loop!

FAQ

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    Donate and you'll be kept appraised of our progress through our Kickstarter updates. Plus we'll say nice things about you behind your back.

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    Your name will be enshrined in pixels on our website for all the world to see. Many thanks!

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    We'll thank you by name on our website, and we will send you a Hi-Def digital download of the finished film.

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    13 backers

    The first possible package for the $40 range! A thank-you on our website, a Hi-Def digital download of the finished film, and a copy of "Blips and Ifs", Gino Robair's collaborative cd with Birgit Ulher, signed by Gino. Gino, one of our interviewees, is a percussionist and analog synth player with an incredibly impressive career, who has performed with, among many others, Tom Waits and Don Buchla. (Although not, alas, simultaneously.)

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    The second possible package for the $40 range! A thank-you on our website, a Hi-Def digital download of the finished film, and a signed copy of Buchla composer Suzanne Ciani's early synthesizer album, "Seven Waves".

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    7 backers

    And (inevitably) the last possible package for the $40 range! A thank-you on our website, a Hi-Def digital download of the finished film, and a signed copy of Thomas Carnacki's latest full-length cd, "Oar of Panmuphle". Thomas Carnack is the ill-disguised pseudonym under which "Buchla" editor Gregory Scharpen concocts experimental music, variously described as the "spontaneous madness of illogical sounds and colliding electro-acoustics" and "hauntological semi-musicality, always slanted toward the odd and the surreal."

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    98 backers

    We like you so much, we're going to include your name in the shining lights of the film's end-credits special thanks. Plus we'll send you a copy of the finished DVD.

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    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and a copy of the Mills College compilation CD "Oasis: Music from Mills 2001" (not available in stores!), featuring Pauline Oliveros (noted composer from the San Francisco Tape Music Center), Fred Frith, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Maggi Payne, and Alvin Curran.

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    9 backers Limited (1 left of 10)

    More copies discovered under a desk in Mills College, behind a pile of papers waiting to be graded -- we've got ten more copies of the popular compilation cd "Oasis" that we can offer to you, courtesy the generosity of Maggi Payne. (See description above for details.) All specifics on this reward are the same as the original $75 bracket.

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    NEW REWARD! Ezra Buchla, Don's son, founding member of Gowns (among many other musical projects), will make an individually hand-packaged cd-r of hand-selected rarities from his extensive catalogue of music. Synth-work, viola, solo or in groups, likely unreleased material (or, if previously released, then in very limited quantities). KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE! Plus you get your name in the credits and a DVD of the film.

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    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and a DVD copy of Eric Christensen's documentary, "The Trips Festival", about the 1966 music extravaganza co-produced by Ramon Sender (who appears in both Christensen's film and ours) and was among the first public instances where a Buchla Box was used.

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    13 backers

    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film,, and all three volumes of Gino Robair's Rastascan Records' (Y)earbook cd compilation series, including contributions from avant-garde luminaries such as Henry Kaiser, John Zorn, Bob Ostertag, Hans Reichel, LaDonna Smith, John Bischoff

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    9 backers

    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and three signed Thomas Carnacki cds: the two full-length releases "Oar of Panmuphle" and "Far Voyage from a Placid Island" and the ep, "The Disappearance of this Terrible Spool". We'll also send you a digital download of György Kurtág Jr.'s "Kurtágonals" release done in collaboration with László Hortobágyi and Miklós Lengyelfi.

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    10 backers All gone!

    Your name in the end credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and a signed copy of "Etudes for the 200e", a compilation cd put out by Buchla and Associates, featuring Alessandro Cortini, the late great Richard Lainhart, Bob Ostertag, and many others. SIGNED BY DON!

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    1 backer

    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and Thomas Carnacki (editor Gregory Scharpen) will compose a dedicated, individual piece of music for you, incorporating (among other things) the sounds of various Buchla instruments.

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    0 backers

    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and a special, only-available-here DVD of the Paul Dresher ElectroAcoustic Ensemble's performance that we shot at Z-Space in San Francisco, including compositions by Fred Frith, Dresher, Ryan Brown, Jack Perla, and others. Dresher's ensemble includes Joel Davel, a partner with Buchla and Associates for many years, performing on the Buchla-designed Marimba Lumina. Catch a glimpse of Don in the audience!

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    5 backers

    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and a special, only-available-here DVD of Morton Subotnick's performance (featuring the Buchla 200e) that we shot at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in October, 2012.

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    NEW REWARD! Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, and a special, Kickstarter EXCLUSIVE DVD of Don Buchla's 75th Birthday Celebrations at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies in Berkeley. Featuring performances by Suzanne Ciani, Ezra Buchla, Joel Davel, Michael Lewis, and Kathrina Krimsky. Plus a special presentation by Don himself (they make him work on his birthday!)

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    3 backers

    Your name in the end-credits crawl, a DVD of the finished film, VIP tickets to our premiere (travel expenses not included), and a dinner that evening with the filmmakers.

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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    NEW REWARD! KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE! Art stock copy of the original schematic for the Buchla and Associates Sequential Voltage Source Model 123/146, date: 7-28-76. Each copy SIGNED BY DON! Donated by The Audities Foundation. Suitable for framing in a proud place in your home. Plus your name in the credits and a DVD of the finished film.

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    0 backers

    NEW REWARD! Get yourself a module that's no longer available -- the Buchla 260e Duophonic Pitch Class Generator. Use it to climb the endless staircase of Shepard tones (or descend it, your choice) with richness and musicality. A KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE! Donated by The Audities Foundation.

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    You'll get an Associate Producer credit, a DVD of the finished film, and VIP tickets to our premiere (travel expenses not included).

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    Come along on one of our interview shoots! (travel expenses not included.) Have the chance to meet one of the musicians who've used Don's instruments. You can be present while we capture a piece of the story of the Buchla.

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    Be listed as an Executive Producer for our film! Includes VIP tickets to the premier (travel expenses not included) and a sumptuous dinner with us.

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Funding period

- (45 days)