Hringvegur is an experimental film, the record of an exploration, and the possibility of a gallery video installation.
April is World Landscape Architecture Month, to celebrate I am launching this Kickstarter project to fund my second feature film about experiencing the landscape via time-lapse photography.
Iceland – the Nordic island country in the North Atlantic – is one of the most volcanically and geologically active places on Earth.
This small European country has been described as if "someone put the American West in a blender: California's poetic central coast, the Nevada desert's barren expanses, Alaska's glaciers and Yellowstone's geysers". The 828 mile (1,333 kilometer) long Ring Road (Route 1) – aka the "Hringvegur" – that encircles the island and traverses these dynamic landscapes, has been characterized as the ultimate road trip.
Who Am I?
My name is Evan Mather, and I am a landscape architect with AHBE in Los Angeles. I'm also an award-winning filmmaker working on films that communicate the landscape in unique ways. These can be viewed at my website, Hand Crafted Films.
In 2013 I used Kickstarter to successfully fund From Sea To Shining Sea – a feature length cross-country time-lapse video and audio portrait of the American landscape via the Interstate Highway System.
In 107 minutes the film takes you 3,200 miles, from Chesapeake Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, to the Golden Gate Bridge on the Pacific Ocean. In April 2014, the film premiered at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. A spirited q/a after the screening raised additional possibilities about using video to communicate landscape.
My second feature film, Hringvegur (the Icelandic name for the Ring Road), is a time-lapse video and audio collage of a circumnavigation of Iceland.
I have dubbed this genre of experimental film the land-lapse. It is about using video to immerse the viewer in a landscape to achieve an experiential quality. The use of time-lapse video compresses the journey into both a manageable length and allows the viewer to observe the dynamics of shifting landscapes. Finally an audio collage (wild sound, music, interviews, commentary) is added to provide a layer of cultural landscape interpretation.
The land-lapse films I have created include 12 Minutes To Vegas (Los Angeles to Las Vegas), Westbank To Westbank (Baton Rouge to New Orleans), From Sea To Shining Sea (Atlantic to Pacific), and S,M,L,XLA – a circumnavigation of L.A. created for a group installation at the Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles.
Hringvegur will be filmed with an iPhone mounted from the rearview mirror – the same process used for my previous land-lapse films. I plan to be shooting in 4K video, a significant jump in quality from my previous works.
I plan to shoot the film over three days in early-August 2015, when the days are long and the weather is relatively mild. Starting in Reykjavík, we travel east across the lava fields along the North Atlantic and views of Vatnajökull glacier to Höfn; then heading north by northwest along fjords and blind curves, ascending a bit into the gravel fields of Iceland's interior to Akureyi; then west through lava fields and fjords along the Norwegian Sea, and then through Hvalfjörður Tunnel back to Reykjavík.
My total project budget is $8,000 USD; my Kickstarter goal of $5,000 is for the initial production costs only (about 2/3 of the budget); I plan to cover the rest with personal savings.
The largest chunk is for the airfare from Los Angeles to Keflavik International Airport near Reykjavik. The project requires (at least) two alternating drivers; one manning the controls of the car, the other manning the controls of the camera and monitoring for errors. During the production of From Sea To Shining Sea, the second driver was also responsible for recording the audio (wild sounds and interviews).
The remaining production costs assume an overall stay in Iceland about about 5 nights – one night before and one night after the trip itself to account for setup – and include the car rental (round trip from Keflavik); three nights accommodations in Reykjavik, one night of Höfn, and one night in Akureyri; gas (at $8 USD/gallon); and meals (five days for two people). Post-production costs (music, film festival submissions) are not covered in this campaign. Note the allowances for contingencies (the unknown known) and the 10%-ish Kickstarter fees.
I want to make it affordable for you to help make Hringvegur a successful project. Although technically, you can give whatever you want, consider that for the minimum pledge of $1 USD, I am going to make watching the film online exclusive to my Kickstarter supporters through 2016.
- $1 USD = online code to watch Hringvegur through 2016.
- $8 USD (the cost of a gallon of gas in Iceland) = your name in the credits.
- $25 USD = an Icelandic themed postcard to put on your fridge.
- $50 USD = a beautifully packaged DVD of one of my most popular short films, A Necessary Ruin: The Story of Buckminster Fuller and the Union Tank Car Dome.
- $100 USD = hand-pressed copy of Hringvegur on DVD.
- $200 USD = an opportunity to participate in the audio collage (commentary) that accompanies the film.
- $250 USD = I make a short film about you!
- $500 USD = you will be listed as one of the film's "producers" in all promotional media.
- $1,333 USD (the length of the Ring Road in kilometers) = you will be listed as the "executive producer" of Hringvegur in all promotional media.
In the end, what I am trying to achieve with Hringvegur, is to give the viewer a transformative experience of engaging with the Icelandic landscape with this land-lapse genre. I want to viewer to walk away with the impression that they have actually been to Iceland.
Thank you for your consideration – and happy World Landscape Architecture Month 2015!
Risks and challenges
I've learned a lot of lessons from previous land-lapse projects: the proper camera and software settings; picking a car without windshield cracks and working power plugs; keeping the windshield clean so the camera doesn't focus on a bug; driving into the sun tends to lead to blurry footage; and divert the air conditioning to the camera to keep it cool. But there are always risks and challenges.
One risk is the Ring Road itself – according to Wikipedia:
"Although paved, some portions of the road are still the original 1940s country roads, and contain hazards such as blind curves and blind summits, single lane bridges, and narrow passes. In winter, icy roads and sheer winds, 15 m/s for cars with trailers, 25m/s for cars without trailers, can make travel hazardous, as elsewhere in Iceland. Currently, 32 km out of the 1,332 km are unpaved."
The second is meteorological – we plan to shoot in Summer 2015 when days are long, roads are clear, and weather is generally cooperative. However, as we learned in "From Sea To Shining Sea", inclement weather happens – and is part of the journey.
Lastly, what we cannot account for is the unforeseen, the unknown knowns – i.e. the bolts that flew from a passing truck and miraculously bounced off the windshield during the filming of "12 Minutes To Vegas".
However, the route and planned stops have enough leeway in them, that if it is necessary to backtrack a bit to recapture certain shots, we have that opportunity.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)