About this project
Our Kickstarter campaign ended on Friday, November 21st. Please visit our website for further updates on the documentary. Thank you so much to everyone who supported!
Special thanks: Christopher Niquet, Stephanie LaCava, Joana Avillez, Allison Adato, Maud Newton, Man Repeller, Gia Coppola, The Pacific Tote Company, Avery Nejam, Laura Brown, Hamish Smyth, Zac Posen, Vogue.com and the Kickstarter family.
We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live is the first and only documentary being made about Joan Didion. While her writing is fierce and exposed, Joan herself is an incredibly private person. We have the privilege to know Joan as a subject and also as a member of our family. Our director, Griffin Dunne, has known Joan his entire life. Joining Griffin as co-director is award-winning filmmaker, Susanne Rostock.
Incredibly, this story has never been told. Now that we have the access, we must tell it. This is our chance to be Joan's witness.
Our journey began a couple of years ago, when we shot Joan as part of a short video to accompany her book tour for Blue Nights.
After hours of watching her read and reflect it became clear that we could not stop there–we had to do something much larger and deeper. Storytelling was a way of enduring the potent rawness Joan experienced through life, and through loss. Now we must be the ones to preserve this. To preserve her legacy.
"I have felt compelled to write things since I was five years old... I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." –Joan Didion
We have come to Kickstarter to reach as many people as possible. We believe in the Kickstarter community.
No gift is too small. When you donate, you are proving that there is a huge, hungry audience for a documentary about Joan.
And by supporting this campaign, you are actually making this film with us.
Alongside Joan's presence throughout the film, notable artists, writers, and actors will be interviewed.
Patti Smith. Vanessa Redgrave. Michelle Williams. Cameron Crowe. Annie Leibovitz. Michiko Kakutani. Anna Wintour. Bret Easton Ellis. Scott Rudin. Jann Wenner. Graydon Carter. Allison Janney. Robert Silvers. Liam Neeson.
And many more.
"[Joan Didion] cut loose any fixed idea that I ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."
–Michiko Kakutani, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for The New York Times
So far we have shot 60 hours of footage, primarily of Joan. Now we need to shoot key interviews as described in "The players" section above.
Joan was a chronicler of her times, and that world is quickly disappearing.
Who we are
Director Griffin Dunne is an accomplished actor, producer, and director. Griffin made his foray into directing with the short film Duke of Groove, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. His feature film directorial debut was Addicted to Love; followed by Practical Magic, Fierce People, and The Accidental Husband. He is also a frequent director for The Good Wife. As an actor he is best known for After Hours, directed by Martin Scorsese, which Griffin also produced, An American Werewolf in London, directed by John Landis, and Johnny Dangerously with Michael Keaton.
Director Susanne Rostock is a veteran documentary editor and director whose most recent film, Sing Your Song, opened in the U.S. Documentary Competition section at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Susanne’s 20-year multi–award winning collaboration as editor with director Michael Apted has produced such richly provocative films as: The Long Way Home, Me & Isaac Newton, and Moving The Mountain. She has achieved recognition for her editing on a myriad of films, garnering Emmys, IDA awards, Cable Ace awards, a Gold Hugo and acknowledgement from multiple national and international festivals.
Producer Annabelle Dunne produces films with Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter. Their newest project, a documentary about Nora Ephron, will be released by HBO in 2015. The niece of Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Annabelle has grown up in a family of writers.
Producer Mary Recine has earned an Emmy Award and three Peabody Awards for her documentary work. Her current film projects include documentaries directed by Rebecca Cammisa and Liz Garbus. Collaborating with filmmaker Ric Burns for many years, Mary produced the critically acclaimed Eugene O’Neill: A Documentary Film; Andy Warhol: A Documentary; and Into the Deep among others. Her earlier credits as producer include the PBS series EGG, the Arts Show and City Life.
Campaign consultant Vann Alexandra is a creative services agency that gets projects financed through crowdfunding with a 100% success rate. The company’s founder Alex Daly has been dubbed the Crowdsourceress. They have worked on campaigns with Neil Young, Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmakers, top designers, and citizen investigative journalist Brown Moses.
Campaign video RAVA Films
© Julian Wasser
© Mary Ellen Mark
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge will be timing. We want to make this film and tell this story as soon as we possibly can, but there may be production delays along the way because of interview scheduling and rights issues.
This will in turn delay the expected delivery for rewards associated with the film itself. If this does happen, we will be sure to update our backers and be completely transparent.
That all said, based on years of experience with film, television, and documentary production, we are confident we will overcome any obstacles we face.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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