About this project
THE PROJECT Synthetic Biology is a new approach to genetic engineering. It can make E. Coli bacteria smell like fresh rain, turn sunlight into gasoline, make concrete buildings heal themselves, or goats produce spider silk in their milk. These are strange technologies certainly, but these examples help demonstrate what is possible and already happening with the tools of synthetic biology.
The goal of this project is to provide an even-handed and engaging survey of current genetic engineering, and in particular, this emerging field of synthetic biology. While there is still some ambiguity about the precise definition, synthetic biology seems to always point at a new perspective in the field of genetic science. This new perspective comes from engineers turning their attention from other fields towards biological sciences and the structures of DNA. They see DNA as programmable code, cells as systems built of genetic circuits, and biology as a platform from which manufacturing systems can be created.
The film will follow the ten year history of this new idea and will explore the basic science of molecular biology, which allows for an understanding of how the technology works. This creates a framework for a look into how industrial technologies develop and mature, how scientific investigation is adapted by engineering, and what exactly the difference between science and engineering is. It also raises questions about how life is defined, where ethical boundaries ought to be established, and how controllable or wild nature really is.
Learn more at: www.fieldtest.us
ON KICKSTARTER We need your help so that we can work full time editing, animating, and finishing the film in order to have it ready to submit to the Sundance Film Festival by the end of August. By the end of this 45 day campaign we will have collected all the interviews and material we need for the project. We will have nearly 200 hours of footage to edit into a feature length documentary. Which is a lot of work, and we are eager to get started.
We are grateful for any support you can provide and will make sure to keep everyone who supports the project up to date and in the loop as it comes together over the summer.
There are rewards for your support listed in the column to the right, and detailed below:
REWARDS DETAILS $10 LEVEL Our sincere thanks + Special credit on our website + A curated guide to our favorite videos about synthetic biology on the internet, these are selected from the research we have been doing, and provide us a chance to share with you what originally sparked our interest in the topic. This will include more than 8 hours of material, some of it at times is a little dry, but all of it is incredibly interesting, and some is really entertaining. The guide will link you to these videos and set them up for you by explaining of how each one fits into the larger Synthetic Biology community and how they relate to this film. The guide will also include a booklist in case you end up really really excited and want to learn more. This is essentially the Greatest Hits album of the research we did for the film.
$25 LEVEL All of the above + A digital download of the finished film
$30 LEVEL All of the above + A copy of the original soundtrack created by Seth Norman. Examples of his music can be heard in the Transgenic Spidergoat short that plays at the end of the video above. We don't yet know exactly what the soundtrack will be like but we're pretty sure that it's going to be awesome.
$50 LEVEL All of the above + membership to a special section of our site where each month we will post, in its entirety, an interview taken from the films archives. The site will also have a forum for discussion and response to the interviews, and will provide an opportunity for you to tell us what you think, as we will be active on the forum as well. This is a rare chance to see footage that won't make it into the final film. The interviews will likely include people such as: George Church, Drew Endy, Carl Zimmer, Pam Silver, Mac Cowell, Randy Lewis, & others.
$100 LEVEL* All of the above + A special kickstarter edition DVD + A limited edition letterpress poster for the film of high quality and certain beauty. Printed by Stumptown Printers in Portland, OR.
$150 LEVEL* All of the above + T-shirt for the film. Shirts will be made exclusively for the Kickstarter supporters and printed on the best quality shirts in the best possible way. It'll look fantastic on your boyfriend.
$300 LEVEL* All of the above + Highest quality hooded sweatshirt form Alternative Apparel with the new Field Test logo on the front. Your girlfriend will love it.
$500 LEVEL Everything from the $300 Level + HD stream of the final film so you can arrange a screening with friends. Following the screening, we will host an online video Q&A with you and your assembled audience. Limited to 10 backers.
$1,000 LEVEL Everything from the $300 Level + You will receive a rough cut of the film, and get to provide feedback which will influence the final version of the film. An opportunity to help shape and improve the documentary. You will receive credit at the end of the film for your help and contribution. Limited to 10 backers.
$3,000 LEVEL Everything from the $300 Level + A three day weekend on the Oregon Coast for you and up to five friends. One of the evenings we will come cook dinner for you and your guests and show the film projected on a big screen. Afterwards we'll hang out, answer questions, and discuss the film. Champagne for all! Limited to 2 backers.
$10,000 LEVEL Everything from the $300 Level + We will collaborate to make a documentary short about a subject of your choice. Details to be discussed upon donation. We will contribute our equipment, time and experience to help you capture and edit the subject of your choice. The timeframe for this is negotiable but would most likely happen within the next two years. Limited to 2 backers.
-- * For the DVDs, Posters, T-Shirts, and Hoodies: if you live outside the US and wouldn't mind chipping in a little extra to help defray the cost of shipping we would really appreciate it, but certainly it's not necessary. Thanks again for your support! Cheers.
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- (45 days)