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Help us introduce students across America to the world they live in and ensure they learn from and value other cultures.

This is a project to introduce students across America to the world they live in. The best way to do this is through the creation of this documentary to offset the costs of the video lesson component of the curriculum. By backing this project, you ensure students across America will have the opportunity to explore the world regardless of location or economic status.

World Unknown begins in classrooms across America to highlight not only the need for more multicultural material but also teachers' and students' desire for such curriculum. We then travel to exotic places in South America to introduce the students to everything from the Spanish language and interesting new foods to the pace and culture of Latin life. The story ends where it began: the classroom. Here we’ll see firsthand the impact of this experience on students.

From learning world history to understanding the way others live their lives and the importance of their culture and heritage, World Unknown represents the idea that American students need more exposure to the world they live in. 

In this documentary we focus on cultivating classrooms where creativity and inspiration thrive for students who may have never considered what life outside their hometown is like.

In a time when globalization is at an all time high, we believe government-imposed standardization puts our students years behind their international counterparts.

How Does World Unknown Integrate with the Classroom?

World Unknown itself tells a story about classrooms, but is not meant to be used in the classroom. Filming World Unknown in South America, however, provides an opportunity for us to create video lessons for students to watch as a part of a travel-based curriculum (a separate project) to teach the students about South American culture, food, history, and geography. The funding for the documentary covers not only the production costs of the film but also of the curriculum, allowing for wider distribution to schools.

Have questions about the curriculum? Emaily Toby at toby@forwardfoundry.com.

What kind of impact does this experience have on students? See what Midway ISD has to say about it: 

Why a Documentary?

We believe this is the best way to capture the exciting transformation that happens in a child’s life when questions are answered, paradigms are shifted, and textbooks come to life. 

It’s been an amazing and inspiring journey to see how our travels have captured the imaginations of students around the globe and we want to share that with you. 

By supporting this documentary, not only are you supporting the telling of this story, but you’re helping us spread an idea: that our students deserve more exposure to the world. 

World Unknown is intended for wide release. But we will also use the footage from South America for the classroom, albeit not in documentary form. The documentary helps cover the cost of the filming which will drive the cost of the curriculum down and make it cheaper and easier for schools to get on board.

Our Story

In 2012 we did something uncommon. As two best friends, we quit our jobs, packed up our homes, and set off on a journey around the world.

This was not your typical trip, however. We wanted to give people a window into our travels around the world to share our highs and lows, brighten and enlighten a moment of someone's day, and ultimately invite our followers to explore alongside us. Proudly, we called our journey Global Encounter.

Global Encounter started as a website (http://global-encounter.com) hosting videos of us sharing the incredible adventures we had as we traveled. We launched a Facebook page where people received real-time updates of where we were and what we were doing, along with our photos from around the world. 

We hesitated at the potential for the journey to become very self-indulgent while planning the trip, and so we brainstormed ways that we could see the world and make a difference at the same time.

This struggle grew into the creation of an interactive, dynamic curriculum, where more than 1,500 elementary school students would come with us to encounter new cultures, peoples, and places without ever leaving the classroom. We developed an informative, yet fun “Travel Companion” activity book that followed our itinerary through more than 20 countries in Oceania, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Along the way we complemented the curriculum with live broadcasts on location, interacting with students and teachers to answer questions, tell stories, and share facts about the fascinating places we were visiting. 

We made films on location at famous sites world-wide and discussed everything from crazy foods to bizarre local customs. Teachers cheered the creativity of how we tied travel to education, and we received incredible feedback on how well our lessons fit into weekly plans. 

We had a blast producing the project, which was almost entirely paid for out of pocket, and happily we considered this a contribution to education. 

We have a continuing desire to positively impact education in America while emphasizing the need to develop a generation of "global citizens."

About the Filmmakers 

Toby Tull is the kind of guy who can engage you in captivating conversation for hours and will leave you wondering where the time went. He’s also an idea machine; creative and big-picture-minded, he loves a good challenge. He left the corporate world in late 2011 after working at a media firm in Dallas, TX to travel the world with his college friend David. 

David Aycock balances the equation with passion for random facts and thrilling experiences. Also from Dallas, he keeps things lighthearted and interesting (at least he thinks so) and is always up for meeting a new friend. He left the non-profit world after more than 4 years as Assistant Director of Camp John Marc, a respected Texas summer camp that serves children with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities. 

We really believe in our production team. These guys have real talent! 

We Are Films is a Brooklyn-based production company run by the Craig brothers, Aaron and Alex (www.wearefilmsny.com). Together they’ve worked on documentaries and music videos. They’ve caught the vision of World Unknown and are really excited by the potential of this project. 

A documentary they filmed on location in Ireland: 

What are the numbers?  

We realize that at first glance these numbers seem pretty high, but we think we've planned our budget realistically to ensure that a high-quality documentary is produced and delivered on time.

We've cut costs as much as we can, Toby and David are doing it for free! We are staying in dorms, living on bread and butter, and traveling by bus rather than planes. 

We're experienced travelers, and the hard truth is that it's expensive to film on two continents and in seven countries! Here's a basic breakdown of our budget:

  • Production Costs: $34,665--This includes the We Are Films production crew, graphics creation, editing costs, Kickstarter costs, and music.
  • Travel Costs: $31,835--This includes travel for the production team to locations in the US and South America, plus annoying things like visas, accommodations, meals, and ground transport. 
  • Post-Production Costs: $12,366--This includes fulfillment and promotion costs.

Transparency is important to us, and as a backer, you have a right to know exactly how your money is being used. If you have any questions about any of our numbers, please email David at david@forwardfoundry.com. 

What happens if we are overfunded? All extra funds will go into making the film that much more amazing as well as improving the classroom experience for the students. 

Basic Production Schedule

Spring 2013 - Begin classroom and student/teacher interviews

Summer 2013 - Film on location South America

Fall 2013 - Film in classrooms and final student/teacher interviews

Winter 2013 - Final production and release of the documentary

Stay in Touch! 

We’re strong believers in the power of Kickstarter, and that means we want YOU and the rest of our backers to truly feel a part of this project. There are a lot of ways you can keep the pulse of this documentary’s progress: 

Twitter: @forwardfoundry
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/forwardfoundry and http://www.facebook.com/gencounter
Website: http://www.forwardfoundry.com
Email: toby@forwardfoundry.com, david@forwardfoundry.com

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The most significant challenge will be capturing the experience of an interactive adventure through South America and its impact on elementary students. We welcome the challenge of engaging the students in a way that is both meaningful and transformational.

The good news is, we've done it before. Now we just have to capture it on film. Over the past year, we've traveled through more than 20 countries educating more than 1500 elementary school students with no budget and have seen an incredible response from students, parents, and teachers.

Equipped with this experience, our educator network, and the support of the Kickstarter community, we believe we can reinvent the way American elementary students view their world.

FAQ

  • Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

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  • We most certainly can and would love to have World Unknown be such a successful idea! If we exceed our goals, it means we can actually feed our film staff as well as put more into the production of the film.

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  • Here's how the process works: A person who supports a project is called a "backer." The process of giving money to the documentary is called a "pledge." In return for your pledge, we (the creators of the campaign) are able to offer "rewards," depending on the amount you pledge.

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  • We get nothing! You aren't charged and we don't receive any of the funding. Don't worry, this won't happen! It's going to be amazing!

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  • Of course! Just click on the Amazon Payment Button and you will see that you can pay with a credit card from any country! But you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. If you have any problems just contact us.

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  • Absolutely! If you have already contributed, and are signed in to your account, then instead of a green “Back This Project” button on our page, there should be a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click "Manage Your Donation" to upgrade your donation level.

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  • We love the idea of GIVING! After the campaign, when we message you for details on your rewards, you can then give us the information for the person you wish to gift your pledge to.

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  • Once the campaign is successful, your pledge will be processed by Amazon. It's safe and secure - Amazon is one of the world's premiere online payment processors.

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    A heartfelt thank you note emailed from David and Toby for helping us accomplish a dream with a special thank you photo attached!

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    Above reward PLUS a special video of David and Toby attempting to say "thank you" in 10 different languages, your name on the "BRONZE LEVEL SUPPORTERS" list on the website, and a shout-out on Twitter and Facebook.

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    ENSURES 1 STUDENT HAS THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME PLUS Above rewards and awesome, handwritten postcard from South America. Additionally, you'll receive privileged access to the "Behind the Scenes Website" to watch all the hilarious moments, not captured in the documentary.

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    Above rewards PLUS copyrighted set of the "Best of South America" original photography (Standard Definition, 20 photos, no watermarks) for your enjoyment and personal use (To view examples of our photography from around the world, go to https://www.facebook.com/gencounter/photos). Additionally, the option to upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray.

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    Above rewards PLUS your name under "GOLD LEVEL SUPPORTERS" on our website, copyright-free set of the "Best of South America" original photography (High Definition, 40 photos, no watermarks) for your personal use. (To view examples of our photography from around the world, go to https://www.facebook.com/gencounter/photos).

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    ENSURES 3 STUDENTS HAS THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME PLUS Above rewards PLUS your name mentioned in the credits of the film in the "Brought to you with help from" section.

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    Above rewards PLUS a phone call with David and Toby where anything under the sun can be discussed: lessons learned, filming abroad, travel advice, you name it!

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    ENSURES 10 STUDENTS HAS THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME PLUS Above rewards and a locally, handcrafted gift from our filming in South America. International addresses please add $15.

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    Above rewards PLUS we will come to any event or school and speak about our experiences around the world. We’ll share some funny stories, as well as the insight gained from this innovative journey within 500 miles of Dallas, TX.

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    Above rewards PLUS we will travel to any location in the contiguous U.S. (Please add $300 for Alaska or Hawaii)

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    Above rewards PLUS you'll be included in the making of the documentary and your name under "DIAMOND LEVEL SUPPORTERS" on our website. You'll also be given Associate Producer credit in the film!

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    You've caught the vision! You'll get ALL of the rewards above PLUS be given Executive Producer credit in the film. With the Executive Producer title, you'll get all the trappings. You'll be given the opportunity to participate in ALL events related to this documentary (i.e. speaking engagements, film festivals, etc). Travel expenses not included.

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Funding period

- (31 days)