A new film by the director of PARIS IS BURNING, EARTH CAMP ONE is about grief, a hippie summer camp in the 1970s, and the afterlife.
I began Earth Camp One because I had an experience – losing four family members in five years. I became aware -- viscerally -- that, in our culture, we don’t know how to deal with loss, much less how to talk to one another about it. It’s as if death itself has become "shameful and forbidden,” writes Joan Didion. At heart, Earth Camp One is about the very American problem of discomfort with discomfort.
Earth Camp One is a first-person family story, also an essay, spanning thirty years. There is great work that negotiates this territory (books: Persepolis, Fun Home, The Year of Magical Thinking, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; films: The Gleaners and I, That’s My Face, Sherman’s March, Connected. (And many more.) Like these works, Earth Camp One is neither therapy nor diary; it’s an expansive and deeply humorous trip around the outer edges of what it means to be alive and human. My intention in making Earth Camp One is to encourage a conversation about loss and impermanence, the way my film Paris is Burning encouraged a conversation about class, gender, race, sex, and the construction of identity that’s still going on in theaters, on television and in university courses 20 years after that film’s release.
“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” –Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
In the 1970s, I went to a hippie summer camp, Earth Camp One. There were geodesic domes and yoga and organic gardens, but, fueled by a health crisis at home, I was a neurotic mess. When we backpacked in Lassen Volcanic Park, I was certain the dormant volcanoes were about to erupt. Years later, the volcanoes have ERUPTED. In 1996, my mom and grandmother -- Myra Cohn Livingston and Gertrude Cohn -- died within months of each other; in 1998 my uncle, and film mentor -- Alan J. Pakula -- died in a freak accident on the Long Island Expressway; and in 2000 my brother Jonas -- my first best friend -- died in a drug accident. We spend years leaving our families to become who we are. Who do we become when they leave us?
Through narration; archival film and audio; interviews; and animation (about different conceptions of the afterlife) the film takes the viewer on a journey that, like it or not, is the journey we’re all on. The film asks surprising questions, like whether or not dead peoples’ stuff matters; and whether anxiety and fear actually create ill luck. From my own experience, from the successes of some of the works named above, and from our Earth Camp One work-in-progress screenings, it’s clear that people need to talk about this subject; from personal questions (like, how do we live with loss?) to the political (if we are all vulnerable, what do we owe other people and nations?)
It’s hard to believe, but just as certain kinds of dramatic films (broad comedy, action-adventure, films about Harry Potter) are easily “green-lit” by Hollywood studios, it’s also true that funders favor particular kinds of documentaries. Currently there’s an emphasis on historical or biographical films, and on social issues or environmental documentaries focused on achieving “measurable impact.”
As the director and producer of Paris is Burning, a documentary that’s motivated more than one generation of queer activists and thinkers, I’m all for films that encourage people to act. But it’s surprising that just as social media and the blogosphere are revitalizing first-person storytelling (in ways that run from irritating to brilliant), first-person stories, in film, are a tremendous challenge to make. Companies, foundations, and investors fear that a work that’s “personal” is, by definition, not relevant to audiences or to broader social goals. In this way, film is trailing behind both conventional and Internet publishing; as when, thirty years ago, a memoir not written by a movie star or president was unlikely to find a publisher. Back then, the literary and commercial successes of best-selling memoirs by authors like Dave Eggers and Marjane Satrapi were unimaginable.
So far, Earth Camp One has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Netflix, Chicken & Egg, the French American Charitable Trust, and many generous individuals. Having successfully raised a significant portion of the budget, we're determined to push the project to the next level. Your support will allow us to move from having shot lots of footage, edited several sample assemblies, and made several animation tests, to get to a ROUGH CUT, the stage of the edit where the story becomes a story. I'm immensely grateful to friends, companies, organizations, and to all kinds of individuals and support networks who've made the film possible so far. Without people who say, “Please, make something I haven’t seen before!” films like this one won’t come to life. That’s the beauty of crowd-sourcing and Kickstarter.
WHAT IS CROWD-SOURCING AND WHAT IS KICKSTARTER?
Crowd-sourcing is about knowing and trusting that by making creative projects possible, people get the pleasure of making the world a better and smarter place; we (I say "we" because the Earth Camp One team and I have supported several campaigns on Kickstarter!) get the joy of knowing we are an essential part of that process; and, by pressing “send” (I didn’t make this up, I read it in the Times) we get the same rush of endorphins that accompanies exercise, chocolate, and sex.
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. The website is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully funded or no money changes hands. In other words, if Earth Camp One doesn’t raise its goal of $40,000, we get nothing. The reason for this is to be certain our goal is achievable, and to encourage you to do everything in your power to get us there! Once we have reached the goal we will contact you to get you the incentives (visible to your right) you will have earned by pledging.
CAN I INCREASE MY PLEDGE ONCE IT'S BEEN MADE?
Yes. Once you donate to the campaign, you may want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount. To do so, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our campaign page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a new incentive.
CAN WE EXCEED THE GOAL?
Yes! Exceeding the goal would help us immensely.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE MONEY? AND IF YOU DO REACH YOUR GOAL, WHY SHOULD WE EXCEED IT?
The Earth Camp One Kickstarter campaign will allow my creative partners and I to move from having sample assemblies, a huge amount of footage, and animation tests, to ROUGH CUT STAGE. It will give us the time and resources to focus on storytelling, editing, and animation; it will allow us to hire an editor, to shoot our last interviews, and to find animation partners. Every penny will be used to actually make the film.
But to complete a film, there’s more. Creating all the drawings and frames for animation, arriving at a fine cut, purchasing music and music rights, a sound mix, etc., all cost money, and although we don’t expect to raise the full amount here on Kickstarter, we have seen films with relatively modest goals, whose crowd-sourcing campaigns wildly exceeded the producers’ expectations. So, if we reach our goal, PLEASE DO NOT STOP, and if you are the kind of funder, donor, or executive producer who’d like to discuss participation at a more significant level, please contact us directly through Kickstarter or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IS MY PLEDGE AMOUNT PUBLICLY DISPLAYED?
No. Only you and the project owner will be able to see your pledge amount.
I'M NOT IN THE US, CAN I STILL PLEDGE?
Yes, you can pledge from anywhere.
CAN I GIFT AN INCENTIVE?
Yes. To "gift" your reward to someone else, please follow the normal process with the pledge and payment in your name. Once we've reached the deadline, we'll send you an email requesting the information we need to fulfill the reward. At that time, please reply with the contact info for the person you want to receive the reward.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MONEY ISN'T RAISED IN TIME?
If our goal isn’t met before the deadline, we don't receive any of the pledges. Your credit or debit card will not be charged.
HOW CAN I CONTACT YOU?
You can send us a message through the Kickstarter website by clicking on "send message" at the top of the page just under the Earth Camp One heading, or on "send message" above the bio on the lower right hand side of the page. Or, you can email us directly at email@example.com
-Jennie Livingston and the Earth Camp One team
PRAISE FOR PARIS IS BURNING
"A politically astute, historically important document of our precarious times." -Michelle Parkerson, The Black Film Review
"a beautiful piece of work - lively, intelligent exploratory...Everything about 'Paris is Burning' signifies so blatantly and so promiscuously that our formulations - our neatly paired theses and antitheses - multiply faster than we can keep track of them, and the movie induces a semiotic daze. What's wonderful about the picture is that Livingston is smart enough not to reduce her subjects to the sum of their possible meanings..." -Terrence Rafferty, The New Yorker
"Zeroing in on an obscure and outré corner of a subculture, Livingston's film ends up shedding an extraordinary light on American culture as a whole." -David Ansen, Newsweek
PRAISE FOR WHO'S THE TOP?
"witty and accomplished" -Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times
"Livingston delivers a sharp...tale about the meaning of power, the nature of reality, and the elusiveness of love by posing questions seldom heard at cinemas." -RJ Grubb, Bay Windows
"production numbers are more exuberant than anything in Rent." -Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"the best Marie Antoinette fantasy we've ever seen" -Sarah Harrison, Nerve
I missed the deadline but still want to donate to support Earth Camp One's post-production and animation work. Can I still get involved?
The Kickstarter campaign for Earth Camp One ended on 11/11/11. But you can donate if you click on the link below, then click on Earth Camp One. You'll get a tax deduction, to the full extent of the law, for doing it.http://www.sffs.org/Filmmaker-Services/Project-Development/current-projects.aspx…
If you don't want to donate online and would rather send a check, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you the info. Thank you!
If I donate through your fiscal sponsor's link below, can I get any of the incentives you offered in the Kickstarter campaign?
With 540 backers who pledged during the five-week campaign, we have a lot of incentives to distribute so, in general, we need to limit those incentives to people who pledged on Kickstarter. If you donate now, though our 501 3 (c) fiscal sponsor, you not only get the good feeling of having helped an independent film that needs your support, (see info above about the sex and chocolate hormones that get released when yo donate) you get something the Kickstarter backers did not get: A TAX DEDUCTION to the full extent of the law. On the other hand, if there is something in the upper registers of incentives you're interested in (like associate producer credit, or a screening) please feel free to contact us. Thank you.
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(GET A THANK YOU AND A SHORT) You get the filmmakers’ sincere gratitude and a thank you on our website, once it’s up. And a digital download of THROUGH THE ICE, Jennie Livingston's other meditation on impermanence, shot in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, shown on WNET, and screened at Sundance in 2006.Estimated delivery:
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(GET THE POSTER AND TWO SHORTS + A THANK YOU) You get a copy of the poster when the film launches plus a thank you on the website. Plus digital downloads of THROUGH THE ICE and HOTHEADS, Livingston's digital short about fighting violence with humor, shot in New York and featuring cartoonist Diane Dimassa and comedian Reno, shown on MTV and at Lincoln Center.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
(GET THE DVD + MORE) Get a DVD of EARTH CAMP ONE when it's completed, plus digital downloads of THROUGH THE ICE and HOTHEADS, plus the EARTH CAMP ONE poster, plus a thank you on the website.Estimated delivery:
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10 backers Limited (10 left of 20)
(DVD + DOWNLOADS + THANK YOU NOTE WITH SMALL DRAWING) Everything in the $50 category plus a hand-written thank you note with a small drawing on it of an image from the film's animation storyboards -- you choose the afterlife!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
(BE PART OF THE FILM CREDITS + MORE) You get a copy of the EARTH CAMP ONE DVD upon its completion, the downloads of THROUGH THE ICE and HOTHEADS, the poster, and a personal thank you phone call from Jennie, plus a thank you on the website. AND you get a “thank you” SCREEN CREDIT. That means, when the film plays at theaters, or on television, your family, friends, exes, and rivals (or anyone else you'd like to impress) will be able to see your name on the credit “crawl” along with the film’s other supporters, creatives, and crew.Estimated delivery:
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(GET A SIGNED PARIS DVD + A BIGGER SCREEN CREDIT + MORE) You get everything in the category above, plus a signed DVD of PARIS IS BURNING. Plus your name on the credits "crawl" will occur under “special thanks.”Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
(GET THE COMPLETE WORKS + SCREEN CREDIT) You get everything above, plus the complete set of DVDs of Jennie’s festival hit shorts, including the sex comedy WHO'S THE TOP? featuring Marin Hinkle, Shelly Mars, Brigitte Bako, Steve Buscemi, and 24 dancers; THROUGH THE ICE, and HOTHEADS.Estimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)
(FOR FILMMAKERS AND PRODUCERS:CREATIVE CONSULT) 1 hour consultation + up to 2 hours of material review with an award-winning documentary and fiction filmmaker. Want your proposal read? Your rough cut reviewed? Want to talk about structure, meaning, funding for your nonfiction or fiction project? An opportunity to help both EARTH CAMP ONE and your own current project. Limited to discussing a project at the idea stage, to scripts 120 pages and under, and to rough cuts or sample footage 1.5 hours and under. Includes "special thanks" screen credit.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
(GET THE COMPLETE WORKS AND A VERY BIG SCREEN CREDIT -- SIZE DOES MATTER!) You get everything in the $500 package, plus a “very special thanks” credit on the big screen during the credits "crawl."Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,100 or moreYou selected
(BE A PART OF IT!) Be an extra in a shoot we’re planning where a group of protesters petitions Death to make everyone immortal. (Yes it’s goofy, very goofy. You will have to carry a fake protest sign and chant.) Also includes EARTH CAMP ONE and signed PARIS IS BURNING DVDs and "very special thanks" screen and website credit. Plus a special thank you and acknowledgment on set.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,200 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
(MEET THE FILMMAKER ONE-ON-ONE IN HER HABITAT) Jennie will have lunch or coffee with you in Brooklyn or Manhattan, or take you on a walking tour of her favorite corners of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, with her assistant, Noodles the Labradoodle. Conversation topics can include film and filmmaking, the nature of impermanence, and curious canine habits.; lunch or dog treats not included. Also includes EARTH CAMP ONE and PARIS DVDs, and "very special thanks" web and screen credit.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,500 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)
(AN ORIGINAL PARIS IS BURNING RELEASE POSTER, SIGNED + LOTS OF OTHER STUFF + SCREEN CREDIT) You get everything in the 1000 category plus a signed poster of PARIS IS BURNING. That’s right, an original poster from the film’s 1991 release! A collector’s item available only HERE.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (33 left of 33)
(OWN AN ORIGINAL DRAWING FROM EARTH CAMP ONE'S ANIMATED SEQUENCES) Choose from one of hundreds of cool original drawings - all about different conceptions of the afterlife. Different styles, different afterlives: from hell to paradise to rebirth to cellular regeneration. Sure to be a collector's item. Also includes EARTH CAMP ONE DVD and "very special thanks" web and screen credit, plus a personal thank you call from Jennie.Estimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
(A PRIVATE SCREENING IN AND AROUND NYC) Jennie will come to your home, or a venue of your choosing, and screen PARIS IS BURNING and her 22 minute long musical sex comedy WHO'S THE TOP? for you and your friends. She will answer questions about the making of those films and about filmmaking in general! This offer is good within 1.5 hours of New York City. Also includes EARTH CAMP ONE DVD and "very special thanks" web and screen credit.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $4,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)
(A PRIVATE SCREENING IN YOUR TOWN, IF YOUR TOWN IS NOT NEW YORK) The same as the 3000 category but for other parts of the USA. You provide the air or train travel and one night of hotel. Also includes EARTH CAMP ONE DVD and "very special thanks" web and screen credit.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $6,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (7 left of 7)
(A HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH) Pick from several original Jennie Livingston photographs and get a striking print for your collection or wall. Some are photographs taken in the 80s at drag balls as Jennie was researching PARIS IS BURNING. Some are arresting portraits and street scenes from New York and Los Angeles. A wonderful holiday or birthday gift for yourself or for the photography or art collector in your life. Also includes EARTH CAMP ONE DVD, "very special thanks" credit on the web and on screen, and a personal thank you call from Jennie.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $6,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
(A HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE MUSEUM-QUALITY MODERNIST LAMP) A striking and stylish Modernist lamp from the filmmaker’s brother’s collection, designed by Walter Dorwin Teague. Teague's 1939 “114” desk lamp was manufactured by the Polaroid Corporation and is included in the collections of several museums' design departments. Why would someone want to part with something beautiful that belonged to someone they loved? To make a FILM about someone they loved. Be a part of that process and get a mid-century Modern treasure that's been authenticated by Southeby's. Also includes the EARTH CAMP ONE DVD and "very special thanks" web and screen credit.Estimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
(A HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE FIRST EDITION BY JAMES JOYCE) A first edition of Finnegan’s Wake in great condition, in a hand-made box, from the filmmaker’s mother's library. The film is, in part, about how our families influence us. The filmmaker's parents collected images of family life, in 16mm, that are part of EARTH CAMP ONE. And they also collected (and sometimes read!) books that inspire the filmmaker to want to find new ways of telling the stories those images touch on. Enjoy a family heirloom that's also a killer book -- and help a film come to life. Also includes EARTH CAMP ONE DVD and "very special thanks" web and screen credit.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
(COMPLETE WORKS + ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT + TICKETS TO FESTIVAL PREMIERE) You get everything in the 500 category (remember the 500 category?) AND your screen credit is ASSOCIATE PRODUCER. Use that notoriety to go forth and conquer Hollywood, or at least to shepherd another worthy independent feature or documentary. And, of course you’ll get 2 tickets to the film’s festival premiere (travel not included.)Estimated delivery:
- (38 days)