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8 Candidates. 99 Counties. 1 Winner. How David ended up beating Goliath (and 6 others) to win the GOP contest for Iowa.

In the final days of the campaign to win the Iowa Caucus, it was "the Gritty Underdog versus the Death Star."  That was how columnist Byron York described the surprise ending to months of campaigning in Iowa - a close contest between "David" - former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and "Goliath" - presumed frontrunner Mitt Romney.

For months, Santorum had waged an old-fashioned, "retail politics" Iowa campaign.  Traveling to every county in the state with less money than anyone else in the GOP field, Santorum faced political pundits that presumed his candidacy dead-in-the-water polls that, even a week before the vote, showed him in the back of the pack.

But Iowans, who take their "first-in-the-nation" role pretty seriously, upended the political narrative when Santorum began his amazing surge with just days to go before Caucus Night.  Activist Bob Vander Plaats would observe, "We've never had a caucus like this one."

Now, we need your help finishing post-production on Caucus, our intimate look at the 2012 campaign and the "Iowa Miracle" staged by the former Senator from Pennsylvania.  We spent months on the ground in Iowa filming with all of the GOP candidates and we need you to join our team so that we can complete the film that captures the greatest Iowa Caucus season yet.

From April 2011 until January 3, 2012 (Caucus Night), we traveled all over the great state of Iowa filming the seven men and one woman who would seek to win Iowa's "first in the nation" Caucus.  During that time, our cameras captured moments that you've never seen, no matter how much you watch the news, of the Republican hopefuls.

When we started shooting last spring, we had no idea that the story of the Iowa Caucus would be one of the greatest David vs. Goliath, "underdog triumphs in the end" tales in recent political history.  Never before had a candidate won the Iowa Caucus without ever leading in a single poll.  As liberal columnist Steve Benen wrote, "I consider the Santorum campaign one of the most impressive things I've seen in presidential politics in quite a while."

Having followed the Santorum campaign for months when many in the media were ignoring him, our film has a unique look at one of the most unlikely political stories in decades.  In an era where money dominates our politics, Caucus tells the story of a candidate who had to run on a shoestring, with his heart on his sleeve, and a state that couldn't be bought.

Here's an article in the Des Moines Register writing about the film.

And here's the awesome shirt that Iowa-based Raygun made up for one of our rewards!

Inspired by PRIMARY, one of the great works of documentary (and one created by many of our heroes), we went to Iowa to capture an intimate, observational portrait of the current political campaign.  We were fortunate to have the help of a lot of Iowans who welcomed us and cleared a path for us as well as the campaigns that let us get close and film the candidates.  .

Right now, we're finishing up our editing and we're about to head into post-production, where we will need money for our online, our sound mix, music rights and more.  So like the candidates, we're coming to you, with hat in hand, asking you to join our CAUCUS team.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

There are a lot of expenses in post-production: sound mix, online, color correction and music rights.  We've been able to stay independent throughout the filming and editing of CAUCUS and, with your help, we know we can get across the finish line.

Every pledge of support from $1 and up is a huge help to us and a boost to this project and our goal of getting it completed soon.  Your money will go straight to our post-production expenses and enable us to help get the film completed for next year.

Note/Update: Many of our rewards say that we'll be delivering a digital copy of the film sometime this fall.  Our plan is now to get the film out in 2013, so we'll be sending you all of the other rewards this fall and we'll get a copy of the film to you sometime after we've premiered.  Thanks for understanding!

WHO ARE WE?

CAUCUS is the latest film by filmmaker AJ Schnack.  He's previously made a couple movies about musicians [KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award; and GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS), about the ground-breaking NYC band, They Might Be Giants] as well as a film about the 2008 Democratic National Convention called CONVENTION.

After CONVENTION, a number of Republicans asked AJ if he'd thought about making a film about the GOP.  In fact, CAUCUS was a film that he'd wanted to make for a number of years, and 2011 proved to be a great opportunity to go to Iowa.  Who knew it would be one of the most exciting political seasons with some of the most remarkable candidates in anyone's memory?

AJ's team includes his co-producer and co-cinematographer Nathan Truesdell, as well as his longtime collaborator, Shirley Moyers.  We were thrilled to get a last minute assist from Bill and Turner Ross, amazing filmmaker friends of ours, who came to Iowa to help us film during the final days of the campaign.

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    THE FIRST TIME VOTER PACKAGE - A heartfelt thank you and a glass of Peace Tree Brewery's Hop Wrangler raised in your honor (and we'll send along a photo as proof).

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    THE REGISTERED VOTER PACKAGE - We'll toast you with a shot of Templeton Rye and send you a photo to prove it. In addition, we'll send you a hi res digital version of our nifty Iowa Caucus graphic designed by Ben Chlapek. Plus we'll thank you on Twitter for your support.

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    THE LIKELY VOTER PACKAGE - Our sincere thanks along with a digital download of Caucus plus a hi res digital version of our nifty Iowa Caucus graphic designed by Ben Chlapek. And we will publicly say thanks to you via Twitter for your support.

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    ROCK OUT PACKAGE - The amazing Iowa-based Raygun has designed a new version of their "Rock Out With Your Caucus Out" T-shirt for 2012. You'll get one of these special shirts, along with a hi res digital version of our nifty Iowa Caucus graphic designed by Ben Chlapek.

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    THE PARTY LINE PACKAGE - We knew we could count on you. We'll send you digital downloads of three deleted scenes featuring this year's GOP candidates for President in addition to a digital download of the film and of our graphic poster. And we will shout out our thanks to you on Twitter.

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    THE GIGANTIC CAUCUS PACKAGE - In honor of the 10th anniversary of our debut film, you'll get a digital download of Caucus and of our graphic poster. Plus, we'll dive into our personal archives and send you a signed memento from Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) as well as some random stuff we find lying around (Surprise Box style).

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    THE 99 COUNTIES PACKAGE - Adopt one of Iowa's 99 counties. We will publicly name you as your county's representative and we'll send you a little something from Iowa, along with a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster and a digital download of the film. And to show you that your support is worth more than a wooden nickel, we'll send you a pack of our limited edition Caucus wooden nickels and campaign buttons. Plus we'll thank you in the credits of the film as one of our "99 Counties Supporters".

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    THE ON-A-STICK PACKAGE - We will overnight to you something that is both "deep fried" and "on-a-stick" from this year's Iowa State Fair (warning: we make no guarantees that this will be edible when it arrives) in addition to a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster and a digital download of the film later this fall, along with a pack of our limited edition Caucus wooden nickels and campaign buttons. And we'll thank you in the end credits of the film.

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    DIRECTORS PACKAGE - Signed copies of AJ Schnack's previous feature docs - KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON, GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) and CONVENTION along with a DVD of CAUCUS and a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster, along with our thanks in the final credits.

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    THE IOWA NATIVE PACKAGE - We loved our time in Iowa and discovered a lot of great stuff that's made in the Hawkeye State. We'll put together a box filled with some of our favorites and send it your way. Plus we'll send you a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster, a digital download of the and a pack of our limited edition Caucus wooden nickels and campaign buttons. Plus we'll thank you in the end credits of the film.

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    SINGLE ISSUE VOTER PACKAGE - Care about a specific issue in the presidential election? Health care? Immigration? Abortion? Gay Marriage? Foreign Policy? We will edit together a mini-doc of the GOP candidates in Iowa talking about your issue of choice. Plus a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster, digital download of the film along with a pack of our limited edition Caucus wooden nickels and campaign buttons. Finally, we'll thank you in the end credits of the film.

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    THE CAUCUS CAPTAIN PACKAGE - We'll put together a box of souvenirs from the 2012 Iowa Caucus, including never-before-seen footage not available elsewhere, a DVD of the film, a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster and a DVD of a brand new, short documentary about the 2012 candidates. Plus, we'll include our limited edition Caucus wooden nickels and campaign buttons and we'll thank you in the end credits of the film.

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    THE STAUNCH SUPPORTER PACKAGE - For those who had a favorite GOP candidate and a desire to relive their days as a contender - you can "adopt" one of the 8 candidates. We'll send you a DVD with a full hour of outtakes of your favorite candidate as they give speeches and greet Iowans. Plus, you'll get a DVD of the film and a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster plus our thanks in the final credits of the film.

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    BUNDLER PACKAGE - We couldn't do it without you. You get 4 tickets to the world premiere screening of the film (or a screening of your choice) and an Associate Producer credit in the end credits of the film. Plus we'll send you a DVD, a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster and digital links to additional footage and a brand new short documentary about the 2012 candidates.

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    SUPER PAC PACKAGE - You're a top supporter and we want to treat you that way. You get an Executive Producer credit in the main credits of the film, coach airfare and lodging for 2 people in the city of our world premiere and 6 tickets to the world premiere screening of the film. Plus, you'll get a DVD of the film, a signed, numbered, hand-screened version of our Iowa Caucus poster and digital links to additional footage and a brand new short documentary about the 2012 candidates.

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