Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 14, 2013.

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AWE chronicles the development of Airborne Wind Energy as a potential solution for Climate Change & the global Energy Crisis.

In a world where the mountain top removal of coal and the fracking of natural gas leads to “cheap” electricity production, there is a growing momentum towards renewable and clean energy sources like solar and wind power. Wind speed and consistency increase dramatically the higher up you go. Therefore, high altitude wind power may be the largest, most powerful renewable energy resource on the planet...

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

AWE chronicles the developers and innovators of Airborne Wind Energy against the backdrop of Wind Energy Politics and the challenges faced by tapping this vast and powerful resource.

We are balancing technical & educational elements alongside the human story. 

We are compelled to tell the story of Airborne Wind Energy and how it can impact energy production on the planet. We want to get the word out, generate interest, and inspire innovators to tackle the technical and political challenges of airborne wind energy. Furthermore, kite flying is an infectious, uplifting, and healthy activity. By showcasing its beautiful artistry on the big screen in full HD, you can help us bring added visibility to the project. This exposure will attract angel and private investments to the sector, which will drive innovation.

Themes we will explore include the politics of big energy, the financial hurdles associated with implementing a new technology, social opposition to new technology, intellectual property discrepancies (open source vs. patents), and the diversity of utility-scale and rural applications.  Most importantly, is this technology a viable alternative energy source for the world to embrace?

We are actively seeking input from scientists, energy policy experts, historians, inventors, kite flyers, film makers, artists and YOU.

We want to make the BEST POSSIBLE film about this exciting frontier of renewable energy research. Our intended audience is broad. If you want to be involved in any way, we want to hear from you.

SOUNDTRACK: First of all, we are featuring award-winning Doomtree artist Dessa with her song, KITES. Listen for her towards the end of the extended preview above and at: Mothra1 Rises featuring Kites By Dessa - YouTube

We also employ the TAKE AWAY technique of filming and recording live music with local bands to use in the soundtrack. Our first Take Away session is scheduled for January with Colombian Musician Kiko Villamizar. Featuring giant flutes and big voices we will record the Cumbia style band at Zilker Park in Austin with our Mini Mothra Kite Arch flying in the background (pictured below).  Eventually we hope to produce a kite powered concert to showcase the power of wind energy.

MiniMothra kite arch on Mustang Island, TX
MiniMothra kite arch on Mustang Island, TX

Watch: M2 : Mini Mothra - YouTube

WHERE THE PROJECT STANDS NOW:

The film is already in production and several great interviews have been conducted including conventional wind expert Jennifer Dillon, American Wind Power Center Director Coy Harris, One Sky One World founder Jane Parker Ambrose, Xtreme Power Founder Michael Breen, and Kite Lab innovator Ed Sapir. 

Others have agreed to formal interviews like Doug Selsam, inventor of the super turbine; Joe Faust, kite energy historian/archivist/expert; Dave Santos, Kite Lab's founder; Craig Varrichio, co-founder of K-Power; and Rod Read, Kite Power Co-op creator and manager.

Others we hope to be able to request interviews from include Wubbo Ockels (Dutch astronaut and aerospace engineer at T.U. Delft) ; Fort Felker (director of the National Wind Technology Center) ; as well as Dave Lang (retired NASA), Dave Culp (Kiteship) , Wayne German (tethered aviation expert) and many more.

We have acquired the rights to a variety of music and archival footage from Airborne Wind Energy projects around the globe. We have made a number of shorts including the above videos.  Furthermore, we already had a successful 18 minute screening of the film during the East Austin Studio Tours 2012 and received a lot of great feedback.

WHAT YOUR FUNDING WILL HELP US ACCOMPLISH:

We will use the funding to make a 35-45 minute (TV length) documentary.  That will enable us to flesh out the individual themes (see above) while looking deeper at the technology.  We want to get a closer look inside the industry, much as a journalist would. That means going to where the action is!  The most expensive part of making a documentary is TRAVEL: rentals, accommodations, airfare, gasoline, etc..  We are planning a  cross country tour starting in Texas (which leads the nation in wind power), going through Colorado, home of the National Wind Technology Center and then proceeding to the West Coast.

FUNDS BROKEN DOWN:

This is a bare bones~stripped down~radically cheap-21st century documentary budget. . .More money will allow us to access a greater diversity of research teams around the country and world.

$3500 - Travel budget for small production team. 

$2500 - Editing/color correction/sound design - While Chase is an editor by trade, we need to bring in a few professionals to help 

$500 - Reusable mailing interview kit - For the places we are not able to travel, we are making multiple high quality production kits including a small HD camera and audio recorder/lav mic. Subjects will then be able to "interview themselves," and send back the footage...

$500 - Archival/music rights - Luckily we are based in the live music capital of the world: Austin, TX. We have already procured the rights to the songs in the video above and are in talks with several other bands who are willing to donate their music to the film (in exchange for their own TAKE AWAY video).

$1000 - Processing Fees for Kickstarter & Amazon. Merchandise Production and Discrepancy.

EXAMPLES OF REWARDS:

AWE Mothra1 T-Shirt Concept
AWE Mothra1 T-Shirt Concept
Historic Photo - print included in reward package
Historic Photo - print included in reward package
Washington State International Kite Festival KAP Print #1
Washington State International Kite Festival KAP Print #1
Washington State International Kite Festival KAP Print #2
Washington State International Kite Festival KAP Print #2
Mothra1 Poster with Calligraphy by Japanese Kite Master, Mikio Toki
Mothra1 Poster with Calligraphy by Japanese Kite Master, Mikio Toki
Mothra1 at Valley Way Farm, Texas - bumper sticker
Mothra1 at Valley Way Farm, Texas - bumper sticker

BIOS:

Writer/Director Chase Honaker is an independent writer, director, producer and editor based out of Austin, TX. After graduating with a BA in Media Theater Arts from Montana State University, Chase worked as a technical director for NBCMontana News Channel until he moved to Texas in 2010. In 2009, his short documentary Above Ground was awarded best documentary short at the MSU Tracy Awards. Since helping form the music production company Guerrilla Waltz (http://vimeo.com/guerrillawaltz) in 2011, they have gone on to produce videos played at concerts of performers such as Willie Nelson, Joe Satriani, Lyle Lovett and Asleep at the Wheel. In 2011, Chase directed the short documentary, How Did We Get Here? about the Bastrop Wildfires. The film helped raise funds and support for members of the art and music community who lost their homes and studios as a result of the fire.

Chase's Documentary Reel:

Producer Patrice Mallard is an award winning film maker with several films in distribution. Mute Love, completed in 1999 is a feature length 16 mm feature film that screened in Austin as part of South by Southwest to positive reviews. The film and its director were the subject of an article in Filmmaker magazine in the year of its release. Mother Tongue, an experimental short is included in collections at both the Museum of Modern Art and the Schaumberg as part of an archive of experimental work by African-American artists. Mute Love was purchased by Showtime in 2001 after its run on the festival circuit and has aired on the Independent Film Channel. Both Mute Love and Mother Tongue are distributed by Third World newsreel under a non-exclusive contract. Mallard has been the recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, The Funding Exchange and the AFSC. She sat on the funding selection panel for the Robeson Fund for two terms. Her most recent project, a feature length video documentary, The People Left Behind, focuses on race, class and climate change, begins its narrative journey in post Katrina Louisiana and ends on the East coast just after Hurricane Sandy. The People Left Behind will enter the festival circuit in 2013.

Writer/Producer Ed Sapir is a research and development manager at Util llc, a social design company focused on energy production and the conservation of natural resources. He is a product designer and test engineer. As technical adviser and writer for the film, Sapir continues to make contributions on both sides of the camera. Special thanks to Util for providing the initial seed money to fund the project to date.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest hurdle to overcome is scheduling a successful tour, coordinating the interviews, and maximizing our time as we burn fossil fuels moving about the country. While many people have expressed interest in being interviewed, organizing interviews in the short time slot we can allot will be a difficult task since many of the people have busy schedules. We have arranged enough interviews with such a diverse number of subjects that if we do miss out on an interview, we can replace it fairly easily since it is an assemble cast. We also are budgeting a mailing interview kit to send out to any interviews missed.

When working on a limited budget documentary, technical and financial issues can arise. Such hurdles include equipment failure of the camera or audio devices. Working in digital media, files can become corrupted. To combat this we have back up devices on standby and always use two cameras when recording. As well as backup hard drives, some of the funds will go towards cloud storage of the material as it is produced.

Considering the difficulty involved in scheduling and because we don't want to rush the production tour, delays are possible. AWE is aiming for an August release but that depends on when the production tour finishes and on the editing, color correction, sound design, and obtaining of music/archival rights. These factors could push back the release to later in the year.

We are confidant that we can make this film because more people are coming forward, interested in helping. We already have a lot of footage, as well as the rights to a lot of unused footage from a number of companies eager to help the effort.

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