FINAL UPDATE • AUGUST 8TH
It's true! We reached our goal of $20K a few days ago because of your unbelievable generosity! We can now support the rollout of our film and further our core mission, which is to help Peter share his story with as many people as possible. THANK YOU!
Speaking of sharing, and with ONLY ONE DAY LEFT in our campaign, we're excited to announce we're honing in on our $25K stretch goal, which means we'll be able to share Peter’s art online by having enough money to curate a digital archive of his scrapbooks and autobiographical writings. This will allow people from all over the world to compare Peter's textured and unedited presentation of himself and his story with our more technically savvy, but equally obsessive, approach. We're so close to making this possible - please help us if you can!
And if we reach $30K or beyond, we plan to put those additional funds towards creating a personalized interactive storytelling experience where users will be able to navigate their way through rooms inside of Peter Anton's house and contextualize his art by seeing the environment in which it was created. The prototype we made with Chicago-based designers 11hundred is really cool, and we've been developing this transmedia aspect of our project - including at an amazing Tribeca <Data/Docs> Hackathon last summer - for almost as long as we've been making the film. The more money we can raise by August 8th, the more we'll be able to put towards making Peter's condemned home come back to virtual life. Your support as always means everything.
Thanks again everybody, and please read on for more about the project and our special rewards - including one brand new one!
82-year-old Peter Anton has spent decades obsessively chronicling his life in a massive, illustrated autobiography titled "Almost There," and nothing - not poverty, isolation or crippling disabilities - will keep him from sharing his story with the world.
Peter’s work, which can be best described as "outsider" art (art created outside the cultural mainstream) was made in – and, at times, physically on - his current/childhood home in Northwest Indiana. But with his immediate family now dead, his house has fallen into squalor and his health is failing. What happens when Peter befriends us and we try to help him tell his story and get his work shown publicly for the first time forms the dramatic center of the film.
Almost There delves into Peter’s controversial art exhibit and documents the tumultuous transition he must make out of his childhood home. Along the way, the directors meet people in Peter's community who like them are compelled to help this charismatic yet curmudgeonly character survive, while asking: Why do they do it? What responsibilities do we have to those in need, and where should boundaries be drawn?
We've been working with Peter for eight years now, and our film is the result of this in-depth and life-altering experience. As Peter says in the video above, we are 90% done with the process, but now we need you to help us fund that last, crucial 10% to cover the distribution and impact producing-related costs that will ensure our feature is able to be seen.
Almost There - our directorial debut - is an innovative subject-maker collaboration appealing to various art and film communities, including those like us who embrace DIY aesthetics and are fascinated by people purely and passionately motivated to create work outside of the cultural and commercial mainstream.
Our character-driven narrative will interest anyone confronting issues involving poverty, senior living, the disabled or those with mental illness. Peter's seemingly "small" story inspires larger questions, such as: How does society measure the quality of art? What makes a person an outsider, and how is this classification impacted by that person's economic position and living conditions?
Although our project deals with illness and end-of-life issues, it is filled with humor – both the goofy humor of our subject and the humor that arises during times of unimaginable struggle.
Because Almost There originated as a photo documentary, it utilizes a unique archive of 15,000 still images, as well as a treasure trove of Peter's art: paintings, photographs, scrapbooks, hand-drawn VHS covers and other ephemera - several of which were featured in the acclaimed exhibit at Chicago's Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. Based on the strong and complex reactions people have had to the exhibit and early cuts of the film, we realize Peter's way of living and working is rarely seen by the public this closely - and even less so in an artistic context.
While Peter's story may be extreme, it's ultimately universal: most everyone has a "soft spot" for an eccentric friend, relative or neighbor. Sooner or later, everyone copes with having to make difficult decisions about a parent or grandparent. And we all know how hard it is to let go and face the fear that comes with making any long-term change, even when that change may be for the better.
Because of its rich mix of tones, provocations and POVs, Almost There can catalyze a deeper exploration – artistic, academic and otherwise – into the way stories are told, as well as motivate a closer consideration of the ethical complexities and potential conflicts inherent in every subject-filmmaker, artist-curator relationship. Our project can become a touchstone in the field of outsider art scholarship, but only with your help will we be able to reach and fully engage our intended audiences.
We really, truly are "almost there," but we still need money to cover all of the costs associated with launching our film into the world, including:
- Post-production assistance for our final festival and theatrical cuts (color correction, sound mix, additional graphics, etc.)
- Duplication and shipping costs for prints, masters and screeners
- Hiring a trailer-making wizard to make a top-notch trailer
- Hiring a designer and printer to make a movie poster that brings us all joy
- Hiring an assistant to help coordinate and publicize all of the screenings we plan to do: at film festivals, art galleries, museums, senior centers, colleges and universities - maybe even in your living room if we're lucky!
We chose our target goal because if we don't reach that minimum amount, we won't be able to do any of this. If we raise more (and we hope to), we also want to hire someone to curate a digital archive of Peter’s scrapbooks and autobiography online as well, so viewers can compare the artist’s textured and unedited presentation of himself and his story with our more technically savvy but equally obsessive approach.
We've already been incredibly lucky to receive financial and creative support along the way from many exceptional organizations, including the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the Wexner Center for the Arts Film/Video Studio Program, IFP's Spotlight on Documentaries, the IDFA Forum, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Illinois Arts Council, and Columbia College Chicago. But now we need you - our friends, families and future audiences, as well as those who love and support independent art and cinema - to fill in that last, beautiful piece of this epic, eight-year puzzle. Your donation at any level means the world to us. We've got some really sweet and substantial rewards to the right, so please check them out and please help Peter and us finally bring our labor of love into the world. We can't do it without you!
Our production company Kartemquin Films has been making documentaries for the past 48 years that examine and critique society, and Almost There continues Kartemquin’s tradition of using film as a vehicle to deepen our understanding of society through everyday human drama. The organization is best known for 1995's seminal masterpiece Hoop Dreams, but it has also produced award-winning work on the visual arts, including A Good Man, a profile of choreographer Bill T. Jones for PBS’ 2011 American Masters series, and Golub, a profile of the late painter Leon Golub. In reviewing the latter film, critic Jonathan Rosenbaum writes: “Golub conveys the exhilarating sense that art is inseparable from both the world that engenders it and the world that receives it." It is in this spirit that we bring you Almost There.
Dan Rybicky (Co-Director/Producer) is an artist and teacher whose photographs, installations, and plays have been seen in venues in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. After receiving his MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Dan began working with and consulting in various production capacities for filmmakers Martin Scorsese, John Sayles, and John Leguizamo. Dan is currently an Associate Professor in Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago where he designs and teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses.
Aaron Wickenden (Co-Director/Producer) is a filmmaker with extensive experience as an editor and cinematographer. His recent accomplishments include: Editing and Additional Cinematography for the 2014 hit Finding Vivian Maier, which premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Fest, won Best Doc at Miami International and is currently selling out movie theaters throughout the US. In 2013, Aaron received an Emmy Award nomination for co-editing The Interrupters. Aaron’s editing credits include: The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Scrappers, and At The Death House Door.
More information about other members of our team can be found on Kartemquin's website.
You'll be thanked in quiet, gentle ways you'll probably never know about, and you'll be thanked in big, public ways - like on our website - that you might.
Also, because our production company Kartemquin Films is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your donation is considered tax-free to the extent of the law (as your accountant will determine on your personal tax return).
And if you prefer to keep your contribution completely anonymous and off of all social media - or if you have any questions whatsoever - please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com directly.
Below is a sampling of some of the rewards we're offering to the right. Please check them out, and once again THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!
Risks and challenges
Completion - The good news is that our film is so close to being finished that, as a backer, you don't have to worry we'll never really make it. But as Peter says in the video above, we're only 90% there - and that's why we need you.
Exhibition – Our film is all but done, and we're thrilled we've made it to this point. But now we need that last 10% to get what we spent eight years making seen so it can engage and impact as many audiences as possible. And that's where you come in. Although exhibition of "Almost There" is still in the works, based on the support we've received from a variety of organizations and institutions, we're confident it will play across the country and have a national television broadcast - especially with your support. THANKS AGAIN!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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