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The incredible story of Jadav Payeng, an Indian man who single handedly planted nearly 1400 acres of forest to save his island, Majuli.
The incredible story of Jadav Payeng, an Indian man who single handedly planted nearly 1400 acres of forest to save his island, Majuli.
148 backers pledged $8,327 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$8,327

148

WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP! 

Thanks to our incredible backers, we have exceeded our goal! However, the $6000 goal was a bare minimum to get the film finished. We would love to reach $10000, and at that level we can tour the film internationally to film festivals to further broaden the audience, do our sound mixing in 5.1 surround in a pro studio, create a poster and promotional materials, and further promote the film online.  *Please follow us on Twitter @ForestManFilm to keep up to date

In the far reaching north east of India, lies the island of Majuli, situated in the middle of the Bramaputra River. Majuli is the worlds largest river island, and is home to the Assamese neo-Vaisnvite indigenous culture. Over the last 100 years, Majuli island has experienced severe soil erosion due to flooding caused by global warming, and has lost over 70% of its landmass. Thousands of homes and farms have had to be abandoned. Today, much of the riverbank is nothing but barren sandbars, and the island is at risk of disappearing.

Majuli is rapidly disappearing.
Majuli is rapidly disappearing.

In the 1970's a local man named Jadav Payeng decided to start planting things to combat the erosion of his island. Over the past 34 years, he has planted an astonishing 1400 acres of forest. This is an area larger than Central Park in New York City. This new forest, dubbed Molai's Woods is now home to many animals including rhinos, tigers, and elephants.

Payeng lives in a small house he built himself, and has a small subsistence farm. He lives simply. He works not for money or fame, but to protect his environment. His achievement has not come easily. He's had to fight against poachers and was seen as an outcast by local villagers.

Jadav Payeng - the Forest Man
Jadav Payeng - the Forest Man
Payeng plants in his forest.
Payeng plants in his forest.

Despite Payeng's achievements, he has received little attention in India and even less abroad. We hope to change that.

This project will be a documentary short, approximately 30 minutes in length, shot on DSLR. 

Filming took place from October 23 – November 20, 2012  on location in India.

Filming in India
Filming in India

Peyang was incredibly hospitable and helpful during the shoot, allowing us to visit with him and his family, explore his forest, and interview him. We shared tea with him in his bamboo home and learned about how he earns a living selling milk, in between planting trees for his forest. We found that he was a sharply intelligent man who was humble and generous, and had many insights into how humans are impacting the environment. 

The film will show Payeng's way of life, his struggle to create the forest, and the glorious end result. It will highlight the difficulties faced by the people of Majuli, the impact of climate change on humanity, and what one man has done to confront this.

Your donation will go towards: original music, sound mixing, colour grading, and film festival fees. With your help, we can make this film look and sound incredible. We also think that this film will play very well at festivals, and we need your help to make that happen. This project will help Payeng get the recognition he deserves, but more importantly, it will help to raise awareness of this fragile, beautiful, and quickly disappearing region. 

This is an incredible and inspiring story that can really make a positive impact. With your help, we can show it to as wide an audience as possible. 

Sunset on Majuli Island
Sunset on Majuli Island

Thanks for reading!

Risks and challenges

We hope to complete the film by early spring 2013. The film is currently in the editing/post-production stage where many unaccounted for costs can arise. We hope to be able to pay for all of the necessary stages in post production to ensure that our film looks and sounds as professional as possible. This will make it more competitive at bigger festivals such as Cannes and Sundance.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name will appear in the credits under Special Thanks, and you will be invited to the Forest Man Facebook group.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Above, plus a digital download of the completed film. See it before anyone else does!

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    Special Thanks, Digital Download, PLUS we'll mail you a handwritten postcard of thanks!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Above, plus a seed will be planted in Peyang's forest in your honour.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above, plus a sapling will be planted in Peyang's forest in your honour. A photo of the sapling will be emailed to you personally.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above (download, post card, sapling, phone call, PLUS a 2 minute short film of exclusive footage edited together just for you, PLUS you'll get an Associate Producer credit!

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

    Top level! You'll get: download, sapling, phone call, your own short film, PLUS a full Producer credit.

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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)