About this project
Update: Thanks to the support of some very generous and enthusiastic folks, we've reached our goal with time to spare! So what happens with the money raised beyond our goal? It goes into making the film that much better, of course! The goal amount was the minimum needed to finish the film, so any funds raised beyond that amount will help cover some other costs to make this film amazing. If we raise enough extra funding, then I'll be able to get some help in expanding the website to continue the story online and make it more interactive. So if you're still interested in supporting the project, you can still make a difference!
The Hippo Collective is a half-hour documentary that showcases a variety of people and places with an unusual shared interest: the hippopotamus. From cookie jars to cars with winking eyes, countless renderings of the animal exist. This film explores the many fantastical versions of the hippo found in media, art, American culture, and personal collections.
What began as a small side project in Birmingham, AL has morphed into something I never could have imagined. By the time it's completed, this film will have taken me to every corner of the US, interviewing incredible people with incredible stories about hippos. And when I say hippos, I mean just about every conceivable form.
1. The Hippolotofus, an online hippo-centric group that meets in-person at a different city each year
2. A wealthy porcelain collector whose idea for an exquisite hippo dinner service sent a young woman around the world to photograph hippos
3. The hippo capital of Texas, a city with the only US sports team whose official mascot is the hippo
4. A zoo that used a young girl's popular song (I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas) to buy its first hippo in the 1950s.
This film has been in production over the past year, funded thus far by personal resources, friends and family, and generous contributors involved with the production in a variety of ways. (Many thanks to those who have supported the project already!)
I have driven 4400 miles, flown 2000 miles round-trip, interviewed over 20 people, filmed hours of B-roll, seen thousands of hippos in all shapes and sizes, and researched many, many hippo references in American culture.
I still have one more big, expensive trip to make clear across the country to interview people and to film hippos in the San Diego area. I will need to cover travel, lodging, and food for me and a crew, as well as some needed equipment.
I also need to raise funds to help with some of the post-production expenses. This support would allow me to hire others to work on the soundtrack and color grading, both important aspects to make the film look and sound as good as possible.
The more money I raise, the better the film will be. The better the film is, the more likely it will be developed into a feature length documentary down the road.
Original Hippo Song
Part of the funds raised will be used to commission a special hippo song by Sisbro Studios. If successful, every backer will receive a digital download of the completed song!
Sisbro Studios, LLC was founded twelve years ago by the sister/brother creative team of Laura Sams and Robert Sams, to create high-quality films, books, educational media and curriculum that help people discover the natural world. Their work has been honored with over 50 international awards, including a Wildscreen Panda Award (which is often called the "Green Oscars"), among many more. Laura and Robert love writing music that gets stuck in people's heads. Such as this song. Learn more at www.sisbro.com
Most of the rewards include prints of the unique artwork specially commissioned for the film. Prints of various sizes are available, on either paper or canvas, depending on your pledge amount. Pledge the top amount, and you'll receive the original artwork! Obviously, only one of these rewards is available, so once it's taken, it's gone!
You can also get some sweet Hippo Collective stickers in various colors to keep for yourself or to share with your friends. Because, really, who doesn't want a hippo sticker?
If you can't support the film financially, there are other ways to help! Spread the word about the film through any of your social media sites.
About the Director
This is me. (No, not the one in the hippo costume). I'm a filmmaker who loves nature and goofy things. This film has been my pet project for the past year (not to mention my thesis project), and I've had a lot of fun working on it.
If you'd like to know more about me beyond that, here's my bio. Thanks for your interest!
Risks and challenges
Filmmaking is inherently a risky business, but I have a track record of ten years' worth of films behind me. I am confident that this project will be completed this year, and I believe it's going to be a good one.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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