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$1,924
pledged of $24,500pledged of $24,500 goal
57
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, May 13 2013 1:18 PM UTC +00:00

The Merry Cemetery - Our legacy

They didn’t have access to education, but they had the courage to overcome the burdens and to fight.

The Merry Cemetery - Our legacy

They didn’t have access to education, but they had the courage to overcome the burdens and to fight.

$1,924
pledged of $24,500pledged of $24,500 goal
57
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, May 13 2013 1:18 PM UTC +00:00

About

Hi Kickstarter friends, my name is John and I am a filmmaker.

  • As you have seen, this film is focused on the history of two special people to whom I own everything. These people are my father and my grandfather. I grew up in a family of simple people, in a family of artists that brought their legacy and put their mark on a unique form of art, known worldwide.
  • They didn’t have access to education, they didn’t even have a normal childhood, but they had the courage to overcome the burdens and to fight, to achieve more than they could ever imagine: the works of art that nowadays is renowned and appreciated throughout the corners of the Earth. Despite these things, until today they remained two simple men, two modest people who keep creating art for every tourist who visit the Merry Cemetery.
  • Help me to create this film! What you have seen and heard is just a small part of my grandfather’s and father’s life story. It is more of a life lesson and an example for all of us.
    I want to extend this movie. I want to shoot in every location that you heard of:
    • in the workshop of the creator of the Merry Cemetery, Stan Ioan Patras,
    • in his memorial house, 
    • as well as in the workshops in which this art, unique in the world, was born.

With your help, this project can become reality and I want to thank you in advance. We thought of paying you back for your gesture. Besides the final movie (in Blu-Ray format) you can receive miniature replicas of the crosses in the Merry Cemetery, customized with your text and even your portrait, or a cross in real proportions (identical to the ones in the Merry Cemetery) as well as a special tour of the Cemetery, along with the master artisans Turda Toader and Stan Vasile Coltun.

Thank you very much!

My father, Turda Toader, was born on the 20th of July in the village of Sapanta, Maramures County. He had an unhappy childhood, because his parents split when he was 1 year and a half. Left in the care of his father, he grew up mostly alone or with his neighbors, as his father was always gone for work to provide the support needed for the daily existence.

Stan Vasile Coltun, my grandfather, was born on the 20th of February 1936, in a family of peasants from the village of Sapanta, Maramures County. He spent his childhood with his paternal grandfather, at an animal farm that his grandfather established on a 24-hectar land. The land was bought in 1919, after his grandfather returned from the city of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, after an eleven years staying. My grandfather had a troubled childhood. He completely lacked a scholar education. He learned to write and read from the ones around him – his grandfather, the foresters on the hills, the shepherds, as much as possible from everyone.

One evening, three years after marriage, my grandfather left to search for a lost cow. He found it at the edge of the cemetery. Looking through the fence he saw some newly placed crosses on the graves. He was drawn by their beautiful colors and shapes so he jumped over the fence and studied them closely. He read the lyrics written on them and was fascinated by the craftsmanship of the folk artisan Stan Ioan Patras, the creator of the Merry Cemetery. The next day, when he paid him a visit at his house, the master artisan told him that he stumbled upon a work of art from my grandfather’s childhood, carved with the penknife in a piece of cherry wood, and he admired his talent.

It wasn’t easy for my grandfather to support his family and in the same time do his apprenticeship, but because he loved what he did the two years of apprenticeship passed just like a dream. Once he became apprentice to the craftsman he met a little 9 year-old child who had a talent for drawing and was selected from several students from the primary school to become the apprentice of the famous artisan, in order to carry on the tradition of the Merry Cemetery.

This child, who was in the workshop almost all the time, was quickly cherished by my grandfather and the artisan. He was extremely skilled and he had an inquiring mind, being very clever and always paying attention to everything. The child was interested in the art of carpentry, wishing to work and to learn this art. The artisan and my grandfather, together with the child, formed a trio and a friendship that lasted for ever. The child was my father.

At the age of 13, after only four years of apprenticeship, my father manufactured the first cross, without any help. Two years after he received the graduation diploma, the artisan Stan Ioan Patras became seriously ill.

Together, my father and my grandfather had the toughest and most painful task, making for their friend and master artisan the cross for the tomb where he would rest. They worked day and night to finish it while the artisan was still alive. Until the last moment he was fully conscious. He was pleased with their work and he dictated himself the lyrics that were to be written on his cross: “When my cross was being carved/ Two disciples I have thought/ Fulfilled my work as I pleased/ Turda Toader, Stan Vasile/ May Holy God keep them safe”.

Maria, the daughter of the folk artisan Stan Vasile Coltun, became my father’s wife. My mother and my father grew up together, got to know each other and in the end they made a family of their own. They gave my grandfather a niece and a nephew: my sister Irina and I. In the primary school I worked with my father in the workshop, manufacturing the crosses, giving hope to my grandfather that I will be the one carrying on the work started by Patras, the creator of the Merry Cemetery. When I chose to follow a different path, my grandfather’s soul filled with sorrow. Now I enlightened his soul. Through this project I will record all our family’s legacy and I will carry on all around the world the folk tradition and the Romanian people’s culture.

For 30 years my father manufactured crosses for the Merry Cemetery. This cemetery was to become famous and host tourists coming from all the corners of the world, so my father thought it was necessary for these people to be able to take with them a memory of this place, a copy of the crosses from the Merry Cemetery. Until today he manufactures miniature crosses, so that every tourist can take with him a part of this art, thus the cemetery will become more famous and more visited. He will keep doing this thing for as long as he lives on this earth.

Why should you help us make this movie?

  • Because every gesture helps continuing and spreading worldwide this tradition and these works of art unique in the world. Another reason is that the life story that is about to be pictured in the movie is absolutely impressive. It is the life story of two men who achieved great things, in spite of being deprived of scholar education because of poverty and in spite of all the obstacles encountered in life. Their story, of courage and ambition, is a life lesson and an encouragement for all of us.

How can I donate and be a part of the film?

  • Just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email us if you have any problems or questions.

What is our Kickstarter goal?

  • The budget that we need in order to make this movie is 24.500 $.
    If donations will exceed the amount mentioned, we will use the money to improve the quality of the project by investing in equipment and by using actors to reconstruct certain scenes from the childhood of the artists. There are a lot of scenes that we can improve as long as the budget will be exceeded. Every extra cent matters.

How much is shipping?

  • Absolutely nothing, zero--we'll take care of the costs. It doesn't matter if you live in Europe,America, Asia etc...we will ship the package there through a special courier.

How can I contact you?

What happens if the money isn’t raised in time?

  • Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. Your credit card or debit card will not be charged.

Risks and challenges

Probably the greatest risk of which I'm afraid of is the fact that my grandfather is very old and his health condition is not one of the best.

I want this project to remain a legacy not only for my family and my country, but also for the Merry Cemetery and all the tourists from all over the world who visit it.

Another risk, as well as a challenge, is the terrain and the not so accessible route to the isolated locations in the mountain land where my grandfather grew up. Part of the route is made on foot, without any means of transportation.

About the 4-5 hours trip that I am about to make with my grandfather and crew: as I was saying, the route is not an easy one, but given the fact that I had the chance to visit the location together with my grandfather, many years ago, I am certain that the landscape is absolutely amazing and unique. From up there you can see on a range of about 20 km. You can see both the Sapanta native village and a small town from Ukraine, the neighboring country.

Another risk is related to the wild animals. Quite often my grandfather bumped into bears, wolves and other animals, but fortunately there were no incidents. Hopefully there won't be any incidents during the time of the filming.

I am saying with all my certainty that this project is worth all the risk and effort!

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    Our eternal gratitude for helping to make this film possible.

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    Photo gallery with 10 digital format photos of the artists Turda Toader and Stan Vasile Coltun + special thanks

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    Special DVD edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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    Special Full HD Blu-Ray Disc Edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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    Small-sized miniature painted cross + signature of the artists + special DVD edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Medium-size miniature painted cross + signature of the artists + special Blu-Ray Disc edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Miniature cross, hand carved and hand painted + signature of the artists + special Blu-Ray Disc edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Set of three miniature crosses consisting of a small painted cross, a medium painted cross and a carved and painted cross + signature of the artists + special Blu-Ray Disc edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Miniature cross, hand carved and hand painted with your portrait and customized text + signature of the artists + special Blu-Ray Disc edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Real-sized cross, identical to the ones in the Merry Cemetery, with a portrait and text of your choice + signature of the artists + special Blu-Ray Disc edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    5 days together with the artists Turda Toader, Stan Vasile and John Turda. A route in which you will visit not only the Merry Cemetery, but also 15 other main attractions of the County, including the biggest wooden monastery in Europe + Executive Producer credit in the opening credit roll + real-sized cross, identical to the ones in the Merry Cemetery, with a portrait and text of your choice + signature of the artists + special Blu-Ray Disc edition of the final movie (signed by the artists and the director) + your name/special thanks in the credits + photo gallery of the artists + "making of" photo gallery

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Funding period

- (45 days)