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DAVE BAZAN rose to fame in the late 90s with his band, PEDRO THE LION. They were popular on the indie rock circuit and paved the way for artists like Sufjan Stevens and Mumford & Sons, making well-respected music that didn't shy away from themes of faith. The band’s sales and notoriety increased steadily throughout the early 2000s. But in 2006 Dave entered a time of deep personal introspection and began peeling back the layers of his beliefs. Initially he thought the process would lead him closer to the Christian God he believed in. Instead, HIS FAITH BEGAN TO COMPLETELY UNRAVEL, leading to the breakup of his band, a massive bout of writer’s block, and a drinking problem. The onset of this dark season was publicly punctuated with a Washington Post article titled “Hallelujah Palooza” where Dave was described as having “already blown through a gallon jug of water mixed with Vodka” at the strictly dry Cornerstone Christian Music Festival.
The mixture of NEWFOUND MEANINGLESSNESS AND ALCOHOL was a dangerous combination as he torched relationships, alienated his audience, and found himself unable to write new music. In losing his band. Dave lost his sole means of providing for his family of four. To maintain their bottom line, he was forced to strip down his touring method. Without a stage or even amplification, he began playing secondary and tertiary markets, performing literally in people’s living rooms. He toured the country, driving alone for weeks at a time. In that solitude he WRESTLED WITH ALL HIS IDEAS ABOUT GOD, and finally left the Christian faith.
In the years since, Dave has been reconstructing his worldview from the ground up. Trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? And what does it mean for his work, his family, and society as a whole. And since we believe these are some of the most important questions one can ask, WE DECIDED TO MAKE A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT IT.
We’ve been following Dave for two years. Riding in the van across the country, shooting in living rooms and rock clubs and having deep talks with Dave and the people who cross his path. And it has been a beautiful and fascinating journey. From the release of his 2016 album BLANCO through the creation and release of CARE (launching simultaneously with the Kickstarter.) we've been there for the ups and downs of Dave's life on the road as a working class musician. What we have is a stunning film about ART, FAITH, AND THE COURAGE TO BREAK RANKS IN SEARCH OF TRUTH. The footage we've captured, along with Dave’s 20 year body of work give the audience a front row seat to the heartbreakingly intimate process of a man losing his faith, his worldview, and slogging eyes open through the stages of grief.
THIS IS A FILM FOR OUR TIMES. While the subject is a musician, this is not a tour documentary, a fan film, or a music doc in the traditional sense. It is instead an exploration of modern American spirituality viewed through the lens of an EXTRAORDINARY ARTIST GRAPPLING WITH HIS PERSONAL FAITH. And now is the perfect time for a film dealing with these questions. When we as a nation are struggling with our very identity, defining what is real, and what matters to us going forward. CHRISTIANITY IS AT THE CRUX OF THE DIVIDE IN AMERICA and Dave is one of the rare voices who is able to speak to both sides. His critically acclaimed record “Curse Your Branches”, was called his “break up record with God” by the biggest music journalists, but also somehow found its way onto the list of the Top Ten albums of the year by the massively influential, Christianity Today. Dave's living room shows, featuring no holds barred Q&A sessions, give us an incredibly rare look into the earnest discussions about faith and politics happening in small cities across the country.
We are making this film without an agenda beyond exploring the fascinating story of one man's wrestling with his beliefs. IT'S NOT A TAKEDOWN PIECE meant to insult people of faith, NOR A FLUFF PIECE meant to prop up easy orthodoxies. The tone will match Dave's humble, thoughtful, yet challenging style as it explores the journey from faithfulness to unbelief. We'll dig into all the doubt in-between without an axe to grind. We're interested in the COMPLICATED BEAUTY OF ALL THE GRAYS OF LIFE at a time when black and white answers feel fleeting.
Thus far we've worked on a shoestring, with the generous support of Fork Films, Barsuk Records and few key individuals who know this film is something really special. But now it’s time for us to lock ourselves in a room and turn all this incredible footage into a film.
WE ARE LOOKING TO RAISE 75K (at least!). This is the bare minimum amount necessary to get us to a festival cut of the film with editing, composing, mixing, color correcting, and any additional photography we discover we need in the process. If we exceed our goal we will have more freedom and time to achieve the best version of this film. We will also be able to invest in the crucial marketing and PR necessary to get the word out.
We've partnered with Palaceworks, & Scraplabs to create some amazing exclusive perks for you. We're incredibly grateful for their involvement. We think you'll be excited about what they've come up with. Thanks also to Ryan Russell for the use of some of his images.
Lastly, YOU are essential to this process. As fans of Dave Bazan you know all the ways he and his music have impacted your life. We’re looking to amplify his message exponentially, and we can’t do that without your support. Please SPREAD THE WORD far and wide and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also sign up for our official mailing list at bazanfilm.com
Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We are very excited to be on this journey with you!
BRANDON VEDDER: DIRECTOR
Brandon Vedder is an award winning documentary filmmaker. His career began touring with and making films about musicians. His first release was the concert film PEARL JAM: LIVE AT THE GARDEN. In 2013 Brandon produced, edited and shot the acclaimed documentary LA SOURCE, narrated by Academy Award nominated actor, Don Cheadle. The award winning film had its world premiere at AFI Docs and went on to play theatrically in NYC & LA. In 2015 Brandon directed, shot & edited A CERTAIN KIND OF LIGHT, a documentary short that received six best short documentary awards and airs on PBS in early 2017. Brandon’s most recent release IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE, premiered at SXSW in 2016, and also played at CPH:DOX, Full Frame, Sheffield Doc Fest, Rooftop Films & Ashland Film Festivals. The film had an international theatrical release in late 2016 through The Cinema Guild and RO*CO films. Brandon is currently a fellow with the San Francisco Film Society where he has a year long filmmakers residency for STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS.
PRODUCER: ALISON MO MASSEY
Alison Mo Massey is a Creative Executive at Exhibit A Film, the minds behind KING OF KONG, UNDEFEATED and GLEASON. She co-produced FINDERS KEEPERS which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and sold to The Orchard, who released it in select theaters and on VOD. She is currently developing a range of projects in TV and features and documentary.
Joan LeMay Bazan Portrait Painting & Prints:
For backers who have pledged at the $25 level or higher the following items are available as add ons:
Director mixtape: $15
Live Living room EP CD : $20
Jordan Lee Exclusive Kickstarter Poster: $30
Official Film Poster $45
INSTRUCTIONS: To add-on an item to your pledge please follow the below steps:
1- Press the MANAGE PLEDGE button above - If you have not pledged yet it will say "Back this Project"
2 - Increase your pledge - Adjust the total in the "pledge amount" box by the amount that corresponds with your add-ons
3 - Send us a message via Kickstarter indicating which add on items you would like.
4 - When the campaign is over you will receive a survey - At that time you will be able to indicate again which add-on items you would like, just to be sure we've noted it correctly.
Risks and challenges
Documentary Film is an art and not an exact science, and we may encounter setbacks along the way. It may take us longer to complete than anticipated, but given our experience making docs and our team of support including Fork Films, The San Francisco Film Society and The Film Collaborative we're confident that we will complete an amazing film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)