The inception of the Golden Record was at the crossroads of science and culture, and so is our series. The story of the Navajo Night Chant is just one of 27 musical portraits that we want to share with the world. Our documentary series will be guided by contemporary musicians to tell a story not only of world music with the Golden Record as our map, but also a story of cultural preservation on a planet facing recent global changes that only seem to be getting worse. Find our more about our project below, and if you love music, science, and care about preserving our culture here on Earth, donate a dollar today. Just one dollar from a lot of you – 175,000 of you – will go a long way!
Video credits: cinematography by Cameron Wheeless, stock footage includes public domain material and licensed material, original music includes tracks by Tony Redhouse, Chris Zabriskie, and the Navajo Night Chant of Voyager's Golden Record, by Ambrose Roan Horse, Chester Roan, and Tom Roan.
This documentary series will follow each of the 27 tracks of music that were selected for the Golden Record, launched aboard NASA’s Voyager Spacecraft 1 and 2 in 1977. 40 years later, back here on Earth, we want to uncover and explore the musical cultures belonging to these 27 songs. In the same way that Carl Sagan and his team may have wished to socialize musically with extraterrestrial beings through this Record – a musical gesture of greeting from one cosmic neighbor to another – the series’ mission will be to demonstrate how crucial it is to invest in and preserve our most fundamental forms of expression that unify us as a global human race. We hope this series will serve as a cinematic gesture for us all to become better neighbors on this Earth, and to identify and become critical of current global issues that are affecting the places of origin of the music selected for this Record.
The 27 songs were selected as “musical representatives” of our civilization, but what can we say we know about them? To explore this question, we will seek out artists who can perform these songs, and we will capture the musical traditions of each song as they exist today. We will re-record original renditions, film the musical process, and allow the musicians to guide us through their customs, cultures and homes. Ultimately an homage to the Golden Record, GOLDEN TRACKS: MUSIC ABOARD THE VOYAGER will document the life and struggles of the people behind the music at the place of origin on what will surely be an incredible world tour.
With episodic content at the epicenter of how we consume stories today, it was intuitive to break down our story into an 8-episode season. As online streaming platforms and film festivals start to dedicate more space to episodic content, we believe that it’s simply a matter of time until we secure a home for our series.
The episodic structure is as follows: Episode 1 - The Old New World (Native American music, Blues, Jazz and Rock n’ Roll), Episode 2 - America Latina (Peru and Mexico), Episode 3 - The World of Oceania (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia), Episode 4 - Africa (Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Episode 5 - East and Southeast Asia (China, Japan, India and Java), Episode 6 - Pioneers of Western Classical Music (U.K. and Germany), Episode 7 - Classical Music Pt. II (Germany, Austria and Russia), Episode 8 - Eurasia and Eastern Europe (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Bulgaria).
Although we are launching our campaign in time for Voyager’s 40th anniversary, we have been developing this project for the past two years and have already started working on the storylines for 5 of our 27 tracks! Take a look:
We are Biliana and Marina Grozdanova, sister filmmakers who founded El Jinete Films in 2012. El Jinete Films is an independent production company that focuses on music documentaries, music videos, and diverse commercial content. After producing two feature documentaries, multiple shorts and over a dozen music videos, we are embarking on Golden Tracks, our most ambitious project yet. Originally from Bulgaria, as young children, we had always heard about the Bulgarian music drifting through outer-space. This is one of the main (out of many) reasons we have become so deeply inspired to tell this story.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
Our campaign goal reflects a bare-bones budget which will cover the production process of our series. Here is why we need your help:
- First of all, this documentary series will require a lot of TRAVEL! We are essentially tracking down the tracks in their places of origin – and that is what makes this series unique and special! We will need to travel to remote locations in Oceania as well as distant European concert halls (and everywhere in between!) in order to record and film original renditions of these songs with local musicians.
- Secondly, we will need to rent/purchase some equipment (primarily lenses, additional sound gear, and lots of drives for storage). Currently we operate with two 4K A7s Sony’s and have a full sound setup for interviews, but we have to take into consideration, for example, the expense of the different and complex situations of live music recording we will be presented with. Among other miscellaneous production expenses, there will be visas we have to pay for, locations to rent, and of course the acquiring and mailing of your rewards along our route. An important fact not to be overlooked is that any project raising over $20,000 will receive a 1099 and will have taxes to pay.
- Finally, a portion of the funds raised will be for compensating our crew and our performers. We as directors will not receive personal compensation, but we do believe in paying our crew and anyone who lends their services to the production.
- Although we have set an ambitious goal of $175,000, we believe that if our campaign reaches enough people who love science, music and care about preserving our culture here on Earth, just one from 175,000 of you will get us there! So help us spread the word!
Risks and challenges
We understand that this project is as ambitious as it gets, but after two years in development, and in conjunction with Kickstarter’s Projects of Earth initiative, we have decided it is our time to launch.
As we will be in production for approximately 15 months starting at the beginning of 2018, some of your rewards will take a longer time to be delivered. Hopefully when you are pledging, you will choose a reward you have the patience for! However, it will be our mission to keep you updated on our progress every step of our journey.
We will do our best to plan our itinerary in advance, over the course of the 15 months, in the most efficient and time effective way, but we will have to be ready for unpredictable changes of plans. Ideally we will have established some official shooting schedules and locations with our local contacts and musicians, but anything is possible when working at a distance. On occasion, we will also have to overlap production at a location with simultaneous planning for the next. Essentially, we are setting sail on a meticulously mapped out race but have to be prepared to troubleshoot and solve the unpredictable.
There are intrinsic risks and challenges with filming in any foreign land, but when entering a community other than your own, it is important to remember that respect for each other’s customs and traditions is the base for solving any possible discrepancies. Logistics just as visas, vaccines, etc. (wherever required) will also require research and effort to coordinate.
We also have to take into consideration risks and challenges in locations that are currently politically unstable or places in which film crews might be viewed as a threat or invasion of local privacy. We will try our best to get in contact with as many cultural ambassadors, academics and local grassroots institutions that may act as liaisons and facilitators in these circumstances.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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