I'm looking for your help to complete a 15-20 minute documentary called Meet the Beetle. It tells the story of the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle; one of the rarest insects in the world. They only live within the city limits of Lincoln, Nebraska and at last count there were about 200 of them left. I first heard about the beetle when I was passing through Lincoln last year and I couldn't get the story out of my head. This past summer I went back to Lincoln during the few weeks a year that the beetles spend above ground to see them for myself and talk with entomologists, journalists, Fish and Wildlife employees, and even developers who've been building on the beetle's habitat.
It's a fascinating story that became more and more complicated with each new person I talked to. What will happen if the tiny beetle goes extinct? Does the beetle serve a purpose? What does it really mean when an animal gets on the endangered species list? How do you find the balance between development and conservation? These are some of the questions I try to answer in the film. Or at least in half the film. There's still a portion of the movie I want to shoot and this is where it gets a little wacky. While the beetle is pretty cool to watch it's not quite as compelling as say, a lion chasing a zebra on the African savanna, so I've come up with additional way to illustrate the beetle. I'm going to stage an elementary school pageant - sort of how they might do a Christmas or US history pageant - this pageant would be about the life cycle, trials, and tribulations of the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle complete with kids, homemade beetle costumes, and even musical numbers. I think the pageant will make an engaging companion to the more traditional interviews in the film. I also think it might make the paperclip-sized beetle a little more relatable and memorable.
I don't have any of the pageant to show you yet, but I have worked with kids and musical numbers before. For the past few years I've been running the film-making area at Willowbrook - a summer arts camp outside of Portland - and for the past two years we've written and produced epic musicals chronicling a day at camp. You can check out the latest installment here: http://vimeo.com/16608629
All the funds I raise will go towards the production of the pageant which would include building sets and costumes, paying musicians, rental fees, and buying snacks and treats to keep all those kids occupied. Additionally, the money will go towards entry fees for film festivals. I'll film the pageant portion of the film in April, finish editing in May/June, and have the film ready to send out to festivals in early summer.
Thanks for visiting this page and I hope you'll get in touch if you have any questions. I appreciate your support!
Some additional links:
Read more about the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle: http://drshigley.com/lgh/sctb/
Read a recent article about some of my projects, including this documentary: http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/index.ssf/2010/08/boaz_frankel_un-roadtrips_his.html
Visit the Fish and Wildlife Service's page about the beetle: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/invertebrates/saltcreektiger/
- (35 days)