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The biggest health problem in the nation is obesity and none of the current solutions (from diet plans to surgery) seem to be doing much to solve it.
I felt like I tried everything but wasn't making any progress on my own weight loss journey. I had spent more than a decade above the 300-pound mark. If anything, my weight was holding me back from life.
I used to be the kind of person who would look at adventure travel catalogs and say, "I'll do that when I lose weight." It all changed one New Year's Eve, when I wrote down what I wanted to do, as opposed to what I wanted to lose.
I decided to go ahead and start hiking. Flat trails led to molehills; molehills led to mountains - eventually the highest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro.
I took on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, in 2007 and never looked back. I wrote Fat Woman on the Mountain, a memoir about my experience and shared my story in person with many others around the country. I've now hiked Mount Kilimanjaro three times, but most people would have to see it to believe it. I decided to document my third journey up the mountain with the hope of encouraging others to lead active and healthy lifestyles.
Big Fat Mountain is that story.
10-MINUTE ROUGH CUT OF FOOTAGE:
(If you're wondering what "Mama Kubwa" means, it's "Big Woman" in Swahili.)
DIRECTION OF DREAMSWhen I started hiking, I could barely climb a staircase. My three Kilimanjaro hikes have raised thousands of dollars for Global Alliance for Africa's programs to help AIDS orphans.
Big Fat Mountain is really about how anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. The intention is to inspire people to overcome obstacles - whether it is weight or something else - and move in the direction of their dreams.
CAST & CREW
This project has not been without challenges. I had been working with Emmy-award winning Executive Producer Denise Cramsey (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, True Beauty, School Pride). Then, just before Thanksgiving 2010, she died from a brain aneurysm. She was 41. I vowed to complete the project and dedicate it to her memory; after all, she loved mountains as much as I do. I am grateful to her wonderful fiancé Scott Farquharson (Fear Factor, Wipeout, Expedition Impossible) and colleagues such as executive producer Derek Wan and production coordinator Jessica Devra Ferstand who have coached me along this uphill path of making a documentary.
The format and timeline changed, but I stayed with the project, knowing it would find a home. Joining me on my journey were my husband's cousin Stacey Pratt of Boston, who also struggles with her weight, and friends Sally Kidd and Tracey Ford of Washington, DC (who were training for an Iron Man). Sharon Dennis of Reel World Productions is the project's rockstar Director of Photography. Sydney Clover is the producer, assistant camera person, and one of the bravest people I know.
PROJECT STATUSSo far, I have funded this project with my own savings. I have more than 20 hours of incredible, professional HD footage that will make an awesome, inspiring hour-long documentary television special. I’ve documented my challenges and triumphs, and now I am asking for your support to complete the project and share it with the world.
I need at least $25,000 to edit the footage into a rough cut, which will bring it to the next level of presenting it to mountain film festivals and television networks that have already expressed an interest in it. That's the bare minimum to cover editing, music licensing, marketing and expenses such as graphics, film entries, legal fees and insurance.
HOW YOU CAN BE PART OF THE PROCESS
The only hitch of Kickstarter is that if I don’t make my goal, I don’t get a dime. If I reach it or exceed it, my project will be funded with your support and will become a reality.
In my years as a “not-your-average” adventurer, I’ve learned that you can cover great distances one step at a time. That's what this Kickstarter campaign is all about: reaching out to people who want to make this project happen, one dollar (or more!) at a time.
Of course, your support of any amount will be recognized. As little as a $25 contribution will gain recognition as a supporter on BigFatMountain.com (after the successful campaign). There are also opportunities for DVDs, film credits, premiere invitations and even executive producer credits.
Any funds in addition to the goal will be put to work on the project's finishing touches (color correction and soundtrack) and marketing budget. If there is enough, I'll start plotting more documentary adventures (Big Fat Mountain Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, Grand Canyon and more) on my path to wellness and inspiring others.
The best part is when this all comes together, you will know you've played a part in something that makes a difference in others’ lives.
Thank you for your support!
Kara Richardson Whitely
I thought you would like to see some clips of me in the news. My story has been featured in Self, Redbook and American Hiker magazines and numerous television, radio and online outlets....
Video - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-
Self Magazine, "Cheating on My Husband With Food"