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A feature length documentary film exploring California's current water crisis and discussing solutions for a more sustainable future.
A feature length documentary film exploring California's current water crisis and discussing solutions for a more sustainable future.
A feature length documentary film exploring California's current water crisis and discussing solutions for a more sustainable future.
474 backers pledged $32,449 to help bring this project to life.

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Where There Once Was Water : A California Story

$32,449

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Stay up to date with the film at www.WhereThereOnceWasWater.com

WHO AM I?

Hey there!  I'm Brittany Anzel App. My sweet husband and I live with our rescue-dog Breaker on the Central Coast of California. I grew up here. I ran track and cross-country at Morro Bay High School, studied and danced at Cuesta College, and went on to pursue my dream of owning and operating my own photography business. 

That's us! On the day of Breaker's adoption. 2013
That's us! On the day of Breaker's adoption. 2013

After 15 years in the business, I am following my heart in the purest sense, and while I will continue to operate my photography business, I am also diving head first into the crazy beautiful world of documentary filmmaking. It is where my heart beats the loudest.

I sailed around the world twice as the shipboard photographer for Semester at Sea, and my initial journey inspired me to become a more active and compassionate global citizen. In 2010 I chose to pedal a bicycle across the United States of America to raise money for WaterAid, an international non-profit that provides access to clean water and sanitation in Africa & Asia. My traveling companion, Garrett Russell, produced a documentary series from the journey, available for free at CyclingForWater.com

Garret and I at the Atlantic Ocean at the end of our 3200 mile bike tour across the USA. 2010
Garret and I at the Atlantic Ocean at the end of our 3200 mile bike tour across the USA. 2010

In 2014 I created a short film titled "The Five Gallon Challenge" as a respectful alternative to the popular "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge". It quickly became a viral youtube success - challenging participants to live on only five gallons of water for a day. 

I am fortunate to be working with many talented creators on this project. Among them is Garrett Russell, experienced filmmaker, editor and drone operator - who will be providing many of the drone aerials you will see in the film. Another member of my Semester at Sea family, Michael Mariant, landscape photographer, and Director of Workshop Operations for High Sierra Workshops, will be adding his drone skills to the mix as well. And in the land of musical melodies is bike-touring banjo-goddess Erin Inglish, maker of beautiful music, and creator of the title track for this film. 

Owens Valley. Ground Zero. 2015
Owens Valley. Ground Zero. 2015

WHAT AM I PLANNING TO MAKE?

"Where There Once Was Water : A California Story" is my first feature-length documentary film. This film will be a solution-focused discussion about California's current and future water landscape. It will present a collection of innovative ideas and methods for interacting with water more sustainably, in hopes of inspiring behavioral change, on all levels, towards a more respectful and lasting relationship with water. 

Houseboats in Lake Oroville. 2015
Houseboats in Lake Oroville. 2015

I want to make a film that's real, a film that's poetic, honest, beautiful, and oozing with hope. I want to make a film that speaks to your soul, and the soul of the person next to you. I want to make a film that starts a revolution. A film that feeds your heart and encourages you to grow. I want to make a film that's brave, passionate, tangible, applicable, and timely.

Exploring the exposed ruins beneath the waters of Folsom Lake. 2015
Exploring the exposed ruins beneath the waters of Folsom Lake. 2015

I will interview experts about California’s current water landscape - what's working - what isn't. I will talk with progressive thinkers, with farmers, politicians, authors, activists and scientists. About big ideas. About hope. And most importantly, about solutions.

WHERE DID THIS PROJECT COME FROM?

This project actually began as a collection of stills. For almost two years I documented our state's shrinking reservoirs in hopes of inspiring conservation. But the stills, I realized, were not telling the whole story. So I started traveling the great state of California with the idea for this film on my mind, trying to connect some dots. 

Crackled earth at the bottom of the San Luis Reservoir. 2014
Crackled earth at the bottom of the San Luis Reservoir. 2014

I interviewed Dan Beard, former Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation, about his recent book "Deadbeat Dams". I talked with Stiv Wilson, Campaigns Director for The Story of Stuff, about their current lawsuit involving The Forest Service and a Southern California Nestle bottling operation. I traveled to Owens Valley, Ground Zero in the dirty history of water development in the West. I visited the Hyperion Treatment Plant in Playa Del Rey, one of the state's largest waste-water treatment facilities. I toured organic farms, and talked with biodynamic wine-makers. And now, as if birthed out of necessity, this film is very much alive, and I am loving every moment.

An illegal Nestle well site in the San Bernadino National Forest. 2015
An illegal Nestle well site in the San Bernadino National Forest. 2015

TIMELINE  

I expect that Research and Production will consume the majority of a year's time, from approximately March 2016 - March 2017.  The project will then enter the Post-Production stage, which will include editing, graphics, music & sound, as well as feedback screenings of the work in progress, slated for April 2017 - September 2017. I plan deliver the film to YOU, my Kickstarter backers, in October of 2017. I will spend the last few months of 2017 submitting my film to film festivals for inclusion in the 2018 film festival circuit. And viola! The revolution begins.

Thirsty forests burned hot due to the ongoing drought. The Rough Fire. 2015
Thirsty forests burned hot due to the ongoing drought. The Rough Fire. 2015

BUDGET

I have created a base-line fundraising goal that includes only my most elemental needs to bring this project to life. This budget is based on the donation of my time and the time of others, as well as the continuation of my work as a photographer to cover my monthly living expenses. 

Base-Line Goal

$1000     Gear & Research
$4500     Aerial & Drone Footage
$6500     Travel (gas, hotels, campsites, entry fees)
$1000     Website, Graphics, Design
$3000     Crew, Permits, Transcription
$6500     Editing, Post-production, Licensing
$2500     Kickstarter Fees
$25000   TOTAL Base-Line FUNDRAISING GOAL

Stretch-Goal 

I would LOVE to raise more than the base-line goal so that I can dedicate more time, hire/pay more crew, and have more resources available to put towards this project for research, audio, music, and professional graphic design. With additional funds, I will also have more capital for a professional editor, which will really make this film shine in the end. Simply put, the more money I have to work with, the better the film will be, and the larger the audience it will reach.

$45000 TOTAL Dream-Life Super-Stretch FUNDRAISING GOAL

*If we reach the Dream-Life Stretch-Goal, ALL BACKERS will receive a downloadable kickstarter-exclusive extended teaser-trailer before the release of the final film.*

Mono Lake at sunset. 2015
Mono Lake at sunset. 2015

WHY DO I CARE?

To be honest, I care because water is LIFE. We are an ever-growing population, sharing our lives on this finite planet, and we simply must learn new ways to interact with our resources.

My passion stems originally from my own experiences in Africa. I met women and young girls who spend their days walking back and forth to filthy and dangerous watering holes. In solidarity with these women, through this film, I hope to inspire changes here in California, and that these changes can have positive ripple-effects throughout the world.

My real and honest goal here is to follow my heart, to give a voice to water, and to make a big, brave, beautiful, and truly independent film that carries with it the potential to change our hearts and our world for the better.

Lake Isabella. 2015
Lake Isabella. 2015

Thus far this project has been entirely self-funded. I honestly cannot continue this work without you. Every dollar you donate will help me bring this film to life, and to share these important ideas and conversations with the world. So please, pre-order your copy of the film today, and become a part of this crazy fun solution revolution. 

And also... If I may ask just one more favor... Pretty please, share this project with your friends, your family, and anyone you feel might be inspired to help in any way. And if you're into hashtags, use #WhereThereOnceWasWater anytime you're chatting it up on social media. Thank you! I love you! I couldn't do this without you!  xo

The crackled bed of Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo, CA. 2014
The crackled bed of Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo, CA. 2014

Stay up to date with the film at www.WhereThereOnceWasWater.com

Risks and challenges

Film-making involves many risks. I have set up this budget so that I can, on at least a bare-bones level, have the resources necessary to get this film made. I will be donating all of my time to this project, as will many of my incredible team-mates. So inherently, one of the risks with this method of super-low-budget and super-indie film-making is that the whole process may take longer than expected. I plan to apply for grants and seek individual donations and sponsorships to cushion the budget a bit, and I also plan to launch a secondary crowd-funding campaign down the line, if necessary, to assist with post-production and distribution costs. The more money I raise now, the more time I will be able to devote to this project without distractions. But have no fear, my passion and determination and my superstar team of big hearts will get us through to the end.

A film has no power without an audience. I plan to have post-production wrapped up in the fall of 2017, and I plan to submit my completed film to the 2018 film-festival circuit in hopes of: 1) sharing this story of hope with audiences around the world, 2) winning some awards (hey, I'm into dreaming big), and 3) connecting with potential distributors. There is a risk that no distributors will pick up the film, in which case I am prepared to distribute the film independently through various online sources.

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Funding period

- (25 days)