ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY FILM
'By Hand’ is a feature length adventure documentary film about twin brothers that paddled 2,200 miles without support. In an attempt to escape comfort, reconnect to the natural world and set a new bar for ocean adventure, twin brothers Casey and Ryan Higginbotham made a decision that would reshape their lives. On March 18th, 2016 they embarked on a paddle from Alaska to Mexico with 18' paddle boards. The brothers carried nothing more than two dry bags of gear each and a camera. No support boats, no paddles, and nothing similar to gauge from. Nothing like this has ever been done.
“As far as expeditions go, its got to be up there as one of the most difficult trips of any kind” - Jimmy Chin
Raised with a never-quit mentality on stories of the men in their family that came before them, the expedition forces the arch rivals to set aside a past filled with intense clashes in an attempt to grow into a team.
“It's like summiting Mount Everest for the first time” - Kelly Slater
Motivated by a challenge of great proportion ‘By Hand’ is a coming of age story exhibiting the mentorship found in the natural world, a testament to human potential, and an unspoken promise to never quit on your brother.
“When there's a chance you may get eaten by a shark or bear, or fall off your board and get hypothermia, I think that says enough about what the commitment level of this trip meant” - Jamie Mitchell
About the Filmmaker: Kellen Keene
At 30 years old Kellen Keene has worked as a director and as a director of photography for some of the most compelling, dynamic, and authentic films that Patagonia and Yeti have put out into the world in the last 6 years. He understands and is drawn to human stories that are set in the wild and he has devoted himself wholeheartedly and very successfully to telling them. Keene lives on a farm and spends part of his year fishing salmon commercially in Alaska's Bristol Bay. He's stubborn about being true to a story and the folks he documents. So filmmaking for him has to be real in its endeavor to create honest and lasting stories. Kellen has been working on his forthcoming film BY HAND for over four years now. I have seen the rough cuts. I believe it's got the potential to become an instant classic in the outdoor world as well as transcend that genre in that it is based on a very human story that just happens to take place in the wild. -Chris Malloy
Ryan and Casey Higginbotham:
Born on the Central Coast of California and raised in Pismo Beach the youth’s of twins Casey and Ryan Higginbotham were unknowingly orienting them for an unprecedented expedition. (Paddling By Hand Down the coast of North America)
Casey spent his young adult life working as a lifeguard at Oceano Dunes State Park while also training in various martial arts, competing in a multitude of physical competitions including Iron Man World Championships while also focusing his Political Science studies on Counter Terrorism.
Ryan also lifeguards at Oceano Dunes State Park while spending his summers working Wild Sockeye Salmon Runs in Bristol Bay Alaska. His college studies were focused on landscape architecture, but he and Casey both knew their pursuits wouldn’t align with what’s considered a traditional path. Life after school has been focused on passion projects, Muy Thai kickboxing, ultra marathons, and various forms of self manufactured physical suffering.
Funny enough, paddling wasn’t a big part of their background, far from it actually, but throwing out ideas and not shying away from them is a tendency that built up over their life. This journey is a testament to seeking out our mind’s wildest ideas and running towards them. The sacrifice made by both brothers and the adversities overcome, is overwhelming even to the most accomplished in the outdoor world.
We want to make this film with people who appreciate independent film making.
The 'By Hand' team has poured the last several years - and several dollars - into this project. We've followed the twins idea from conception to completion, documenting hundreds of hours of content. We've travelled high and low to interview over a dozen people to help tell the story and we've spent more hours than we care to admit in front of a computer writing and editing our hearts out. The current state of that work is a 1 hour rough cut film. In order to complete this project we need to get through a few more steps, which is why we are fundraising.... to carry it across the finish line!
Our aim is to complete the film with our Kickstarter campaign. This will allow us to submit it to film festivals, and ultimately seek distribution after screening at film festivals. This opportunity for filmmakers is only possible thanks to backers like you, allowing independent films to still be produced. This process from start to finish of course is a long (and expensive) one, but we really want to do it right. It's important to us that each dollar spent on this film is intentional, purposeful, and absolutely necessary.
The main portion of the work is done, however the money raised through your generous support of this Kickstarter Campaign will help us complete the below prioritized tasks to bring this film to it's completion:
*Animation/Map Design: A professional animator will create a mapping sequence that will portray the route and length of the overall voyage. This map will be used throughout the film to remind the audience of their progression south.
*Sound Design: A professional sound mixer will creatively score, edit levels, master the audio files, and create ambient sound design.
*Music Sync Rights: Obtain the rights to music used in the finished film. This has larger financial weight as big fees are accrued to acquire master licensing as well as sync licensing.
If we surpass our goal, any additional funds raised will go to the remaining prioritized projects: additional aerial footage to help showcase the reality of this voyage, marketing, and additional sync rights.
Of course, the bigger the budget the more we can get done..not only in this production phase but post-production including screenings, distribution and more content. $64,000 is the bare minimum we need to get this through production and onto your screen!
None of this can get done without your help. We are currently a very small team, and are incredibly grateful for your help!
We realize this is a huge 'ask' to make a pledge and we want to make sure you get your money's worth for your patronage! We have a huge list of rewards including 'Limited Edition By Hand' merchandise, training and paddles with the brothers, private screening with your friends, and much more!! We hope you can find something that is right for you!
YOUR backing truly supports our mission. All who donate immediately become a member of the "By Hand' community, and we look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the film.
Thank you for your time, consideration, and support!
photos by Colin Nearman
Risks and challenges
Adventure documentary is a niche genre in film. This story is unique in that nothing similar has ever been done. This a very important story to the film maker with the goal of creating an accurate portrayal of what the brothers put themselves through to complete this feat.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)