About this project
Hurray! We reached our minimum goal! Thank you. This project will happen! And that means there is still time for more folks to join this adventure!
YES people can still pledge and RECEIVE NIFTY REWARDS, like the DVD, the fine art prints, and the coveted river flask!
YES every dollar HELPS!
--Just $50 more dollars means we can enter the film in a festival to share with people. (Let's bring this story to your town!)
--$100 more dollars means we can keep one of our talented and dedicated Associate Producers working for one more day! (And every day counts!)
--$250 dollars means a musician can record one more original song! (And trust us, it's a lovely sound track!)
--$500 more dollars means we could have one more day in audio studio with Eric Stolberg of Digital One! (And as we all know: the better the sound, the better the film.)
So PLEASE, continue the love toward this amazing adventure, and help us go even further.
Do you know those stories where a kid finds a hidden treasure map in an attic or a lost letter in an old book? Growing up, I always dreamed someday I'd find a mysterious clue that set me on an adventure.
In a small park, in a small town, in the remote southwest corner of Wyoming, I came across a curious historic marker. On the sign was a faded photograph: two handsome men, and a fetching blonde. They didn't look like the rugged mountain men or explorers of the American West that I'd seen before on historic signs. Instead, they were young, dashing, and seemed like people I could have known—or wanted to know. The sign hinted at an incredible voyage.
In 1938, these three Parisians became the first to kayak the wild white water rivers of the American West, the mighty Green and Colorado. They took modern adventure gear and beer—the vanguard of a new recreation generation. And they captured their 900-mile journey on color film—before Hollywood's first color movie!
What led an explorer, his new bride, and his best friend halfway around the world on the eve of World War II? Whatever happened to them? And what did these "Voyageurs Without Trace" leave to be found?
My curiosity led me to Roy Webb, an archivist at the University of Utah. "I put that sign there," he said when I called. Roy had been waiting 25 years for someone to come along and tell the story of the French Trio.
Roy led me to a book publisher, who led me to the French Riviera, which led me to a professional kayaker and ultimately to learn to kayak so I could assemble my own trio of adventurers.
Our team travelled for 31 days on the river, and across the countryside of France. Along the way, we met a Melon Queen and a French commando in a 16th Century fortress. We uncovered hundreds of previously unseen photos, a diary, and yes, even the original 16mm film!
From my discoveries emerged a story more remarkable than I could have imagined, revealing the possibilities that free-spirited risk-taking offers to all.
But we need your help to reach the final destination. Our goal is to complete this film and finally share the story of these three remarkable adventurers. This journey has inspired us, and we hope it will inspire you.
Risks and challenges
I've been a documentary filmmaker for 15 years, and finally feel I have the experience to tell this significant story. I knew, however, that this story would take a special team of collaborators.
I assembled a passionate and talented team including award-winning adventure film cinematographers John Waller and Ben Canales of Uncage the Soul Productions, professional kayaker Paul Kuthe, an outstanding editor, and several musicians, including Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists and Johnny Clay of The Dimes.
The Voyageurs team has spent countless hours getting the film to where it is now. We've completed all the research, travel, and shooting. We took thousands of dollars of loaned video gear down the Colorado, and survived. We transcribed, translated, and logged dozens of hours of interviews. We had the original 1938 film transferred to HD. We have now gathered all the pieces needed to complete this story!
We are all working professionals, dedicating our time pro bono or at deeply pro-rated levels, so that we can put every single dollar into the ultimate quality of this film.
For the past two years, we have diligently written grants and secured support from individuals, companies, and organizations. The artistic, cultural and historic significance of this story has been recognized by support from our Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Humanities Councils of Utah and Wyoming, Utah Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. This support has allowed us to get this far in the journey. We now turn to our families, friends, colleagues, and the kindness of strangers to reach this final, crucial stage.
Our goal is to raise the remaining hard costs of completing the film. By reaching this goal, we will be able to tackle all the steps needed in finishing the film and making it available to you.
Here's the bare bones of what we need, and how much talented professionals are already willing to commit:
$6,000 to work with a professional editor at a 50% pro-rate to help take the story to the end.
$5,000 to work with musicians (that's a mere $200 per song honorarium) to give the film a lovely original soundtrack.
$1,500 to work with a talented colorist at 90% pro-rate to make the film look the best it can be.
$2,500 to work with professional audio engineers to make the film sound the best it can (also 90% pro-rated).
$2,000 to support the dedicated work of the Associate Producers for one month (part-time, barely over minimum wage). These folks earn it and we can't put all the pieces of the story together without them!
$1,000 to cover the impossible-to-avoid hard costs, like HDCAM tapes, and the DVDs we've promised through this Kickstarter. (Please note that other incentives are being donated by sponsors, so that every dollar goes straight into the story!)
We estimate $18,000 is the bare bones that we need to raise to get us to the final completed film. All funds raised will be administered by NW Documentary, a 501c3 non-profit. Since 2003, NW Documentary has managed several documentary productions, and become one of Oregon's most respected arts organizations.
We have the skills and the commitment to face the artistic and technical challenges in this final push toward the finish line. We just need your support to make that possible.
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