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A natural history filmmaker documents imperiled wildlife along the city's "urban edge"; conservation icon Joan Embery narrates.
A natural history filmmaker documents imperiled wildlife along the city's "urban edge"; conservation icon Joan Embery narrates.
328 backers pledged $25,641 to help bring this project to life.

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$25,641

328

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Keep up with Animal R&R on Facebook and at www.animalrehabtv.com!

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Meet Patient #1974.

He's a six-month old black bear cub rescued by the roadside in Kern County, Calif. He was clinging to his deceased mother, who was likely an automobile strike... 

Black bear #1974 is one of the incredible wildlife rehabilitation stories we're working on for "Animal R&R."

Watch #1974 take a climb around his temporary enclosure!

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What Does "R&R" Mean?

"Animal R&R" is a TV show that follows the stories of wildlife "patients" who come into animal rehabilitation centers in San Diego. Our cameras are right there as rescued animals go through different stages of recovery, sometimes in people's homes (they're licensed), and then, hopefully, are released healthy back into to the wild. "Animal R&R" also introduces you to the inspirational folks—the wildlife "rehabbers" themselves—who do this challenging work of saving lives. 

Feeding time for #1974
Feeding time for #1974

For us, "R&R" doesn't mean "Rest and Relaxation," it means "Rehabilitation and Release"!

"Animal R&R" reveals an invisible side of our world where animals struggle daily to survive, right under our noses. The series embraces a goal of compassionate coexistence with the animals that share our world. Their stories deserve to be told! 

With your support, we can keep producing "Animal R&R" in San Diego, and even bring it to where you live! 

Here's our TV promo:

"Animal R&R" started with a small grant and a single two-hour time slot on San Diego's local PBS station. Once we began shooting, we knew we could fill more than two hours with great animal stories! Many were left out of the final cut of our first two-hour installment. The station has already agreed to pick up more "Animal R&R" if we can produce it ourselves. We already have our contract in hand!

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$50 gets you one of our T-shirts!
$50 gets you one of our T-shirts!

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We're doing this Kickstarter campaign to bring you stories like these:

Coyote Pups

These two coyote pups, brother and sister, suffered burned paws as they escaped from the summer's early wildfires. With your donation, we can share their touching story, and help raise awareness about how wildfires affect all of us, both people and animals, in the era of global warming. Watch rehabilitation vet Dr. Meier and tech Gina at work on the delicate task of changing their bandages:

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Osprey

"Gilbert" is an adolescent osprey who fell 60 feet from his nest. With your help, we can tell Gilbert's story and share a vital chapter in our shared conservation history that we should never forget. People have worked hard to keep osprey populations vibrant since the DDT pesticide threatened the whole species with decline in the 1950's and 1960's. Ospreys like Gilbert tend to struggle in captivity. As rehabilitator Aireo can tell you, they prefer hunting to being fed:

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Baby Bats

We also have met a pair of baby yuma bats, discovered half-starved and clinging to their dead mom. Your donation will allow us to tell this poignant story and show how essential bats are to having a healthy ecosystem we can all share. Though much-maligned in both science and myth, bats are far more helpful than harmful to people. Here's rehabilitator Kristy doing basic bat care and feeding: 

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Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

"Animal R&R" is about learning to coexist with the animals that live right beside us. That's a challenge everyone faces, no matter where you live. 

Your donation, whether $5 or $500, will help us inspire wonder and compassion for the natural world in audiences everywhere!

This hazardous border zone between the human and animal worlds is sometimes called the "urban edge." It can be a tripwire for the animals that stumble over it. In fact, that's how many of the patients on "Animal R&R" wind up needing help. 

By giving to "Animal R&R" today, you're helping us make people aware of how intimately connected our world is to the animal world.

A red-shouldered hawk released from rehab on "Animal R&R."
A red-shouldered hawk released from rehab on "Animal R&R."

"Animal R&R" In Your Backyard?

Our highest hope is that we might find a national sponsor who would underwrite us to produce editions of "Animal R&R" in cities all over the country. How about an edition of "Animal R&R" where you live? No matter where that is, you can bet you're close to an urban edge like the one I knew. 

Your Kickstarter pledge could help us tell the stories of nature going on right in your neighborhood!  

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The $10 button reward!
The $10 button reward!

The Funding $tory So Far

"Animal R&R" was initially grant-funded, under the KPBS "Explore San Diego" grant. The guarantee of broadcast by the station really attracted us. We wanted to break out from working for others and have our own series on TV. 

Help us keep our breakout dream of creating independently produced natural history television going strong...Make a donation now!

The grant covered about 15% of our estimated production cost. We closed the gap by matching the grant in contributions from family and friends, and with the help of supporters in San Diego who put us up in their home for our shoots. KPBS also helped us with in-kind support and all kinds of good advice!

A striped skunk under examination in "Animal R&R."
A striped skunk under examination in "Animal R&R."

So why Kickstarter now? Because after our grant period ended -- and it was, unfortunately, a one-time deal -- and we have too many cool stories "in the can" (already filmed) that were going untold! 

We'll use the funds from this campaign to carry out the final filming and post-production on another hour of "Animal R&R." Our expenses are travel, lodging, equipment rental, and paying hired hands on set and in post-production. With your support and a successful Kickstarter campaign, we'll be on track to deliver by January 1 for broadcast later in 2015.

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Designed with the rehabber in mind...$40 reward
Designed with the rehabber in mind...$40 reward

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A Filmmaker's Journey Home

"Animal R&R" is an amazing opportunity for me, as a natural history filmmaker, to tell people about the animals in one of the most important places on earth: my home. It may surprise you to learn that San Diego is the most biologically diverse county in the entire U.S.! Since San Diego is such a hotspot of diversity, the nature-related issues that "Animal R&R" touches on, such as urban growth, disaster management, and global warming, will have resonance where you live, too. 

It was also an incredible thrill to learn that Joan Embery, whom I held in awe growing up, was willing to give "Animal R&R" a voice as our narrator. Joan was the longtime spokesperson of the Zoo and is a fellow native of San Diego. If you don't know who she is, you can watch some of her awesome "Tonight Show" appearances on YouTube: 

Please join me, Joan Embery, and the courageous wildlife rehabilitators who work at The Fund for Animals and Project Wildlife by throwing your support behind "Animal R&R." 

We have many more amazing stories to tell, animals to save, and audiences to reach with our message of compassionate coexistence with the animal world! 

You can watch both one-hour episodes of "Animal R&R" on the KPBS website: http://video.kpbs.org/program/animal-rr/

(Video Music Credits: "Sneaky Snitch," "Hidden Agenda," "Cherry Blossom," and "Accralate" by Kevin MacLeod) 

Supported by our friends at http://kickingitforward.org !

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge in this kind of filmmaking is keeping up with the stories of nature, which don't always unfold in a predictable way. We're not shooting to a script here, we're following a real-world story—the story of nature!—with a rhythm all its own. We can miss things because, well, nature doesn't care about our production timeline!

Even if we can keep up, not all stories in nature end happily. Rehabilitation patients are sometimes lost without warning. I always bear in mind that we're making a documentary, not an animal "show." That's why I decided early to include the stories of animals that don't survive rehabilitation in our episodes. (I've heard estimates of 60/40 percent in favor of survival for animals that come into rehab.) Whatever the outcome, it's always inspirational to see how tirelessly the people who do this work strive to save our wildlife. They kept me inspired every day of the filming.

I'm pleased to say we have the cooperation of the two rehabilitation centers, Project Wildlife and The Fund for Animals, who have been keeping us well-informed of what's going on with the patients that we're following. We have permission to film the animals and their handlers for our stories.

Production is always risky. Equipment failure, delays, accidents and mistakes all happen. Luckily in this case, since we've already gone a round on the series, there isn't a major unknown to worry about. Fingers crossed!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    BIRTHDAY SPECIAL!!!...CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL. September 9 is my birthday!! So in celebration, TODAY ONLY, for a $5 pledge you get a limited-edition "Animal R&R" button!

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    NEW BACKER SPECIAL!!!...CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL. This weekend only, for a $5 pledge you get a limited-edition "Animal R&R" button!

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    HUMMINGBIRD. Hummingbirds (or "hummers") receive credit under our Special Thanks. You've got a lot of heart...and it beats 1200 times a minute!

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    CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL. Backers at this level receive a cute little round button with our amazing logo on it!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    ***10/3/14 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR SPECIAL, ONLY 12 AVAILABLE***
    FREE-TAILED BAT. Nocturnal? You'll need coffee. And if you're a wildlife rehabilitator, you need a covered cup (those are the rules!). Pick up a travel mug featuring our awesome logo beside the word REHABBER.

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    OPOSSUM. As an "opi" sponsor, you receive an "Animal R&R" limited edition sticker for your car, bike, or notebook, as well as your name in the credits under Special Thanks. A special prize for a very special creature, North America's only native marsupial.

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    ***10/3/14 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR SPECIAL, ONLY 12 AVAILABLE*** REDTAIL. You'll receive the official "Animal R&R" T-shirt emblazoned with our killer logo (designed by the incomparable Carlo Flores) as well as your name in the credits. Thanks for embracing us with your four-foot wingspan!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    FREE-TAILED BAT. Nocturnal? You'll need coffee. And if you're a wildlife rehabilitator, you need a covered cup (those are the rules!). Pick up a travel mug featuring our awesome logo beside the word REHABBER.

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    REDTAIL. You'll receive the official "Animal R&R" T-shirt emblazoned with our killer logo (designed by the incomparable Carlo Flores) as well as your name in the credits. Thanks for embracing us with your four-foot wingspan!

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    ***10/3/14 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR SPECIAL, ONLY 7 AVAILABLE*** SKUNK. You stinkers get a DVD including all three hours of "Animal R&R" and a limited-edition 3x5 sticker with our logo. Your name also goes in the credits under Special Thanks.

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    COSTA'S. Your brilliant purple head plumage gets lots of attention! And so will you, for your EXTREMELY limited edition print of an original watercolor by San Francisco artist Christine Hostetler, depicting a wildlife patient from "Animal R&R." Whoever picks up the original gets to decide which animal patient it is! (See RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD $300 reward, below).

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    SKUNK. You stinkers get a DVD including all three hours of "Animal R&R" and a limited-edition 3x5 sticker with our logo. Your name also goes in the credits under Special Thanks.

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    BAT. As the spookiest supporters, you'll join the rest of the "cloud" or "colony" for an intimate group lunch with director/producer Elliott Kennerson in San Diego. You'll get an "Animal R&R" T-shirt, too, and the chance to ask all your behind-the-scenes questions! Plus your name goes in the credits under Special Thanks. (Travel to San Diego not included, and scheduling is subject to expiration.)

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    RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD. Hey Red! You'll receive an ORIGINAL 8x10 watercolor of one of the wildlife patients from "Animal R&R" (your choice), painted from a stillframe by San Francisco artist Christine Hostetler. See a sample of Christine's work in Update #9! (Prints available at a lower pledge level, $75, see COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD $75 reward, above!)

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    CROW. You'll have lunch with a wildlife rehabilitator...And it'll be murder! (That's a group of crows.) Join one of the "rehabbers" seen on "Animal R&R" for an intimate group lunch in San Diego. You'll also receive an "Animal R&R' T-shirt and credit in our Special Thanks. (Travel to San Diego not included, and scheduling is subject to expiration.)

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    FOX. You sly guys and gals are invited to join the producers, cast, and crew on the night of the broadcast at our private party in San Diego. You'll receive a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers) and credit under Special Thanks. (Travel to San Diego not included.)

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    ROADRUNNER. In the spirit of the animated cartoon, your pledge will help cover animation costs for "Animal R&R." You'll receive the credit ANIMATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE POSSIBLE BY [YOUR NAME HERE!]. You'll also get a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers).

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    COYOTE. You and a guest will join an intimate pack (no more than 8) for a behind-the-scenes tour of the sanctuary facilities at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, California. You'll receive a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers) and credit under Special Thanks. (Travel to San Diego not included, and scheduling is subject to expiration.)

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    PEREGRINE. Swooping in at 200 mph, you'll screen the show with us before anyone else sees it! You're invited to a wrap party with the filmmakers and crew of "Animal R&R" in San Diego. You'll receive a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers) and credit under Special Thanks. (Travel to San Diego not included.)

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    PEACOCK. You're bright and you're loud, so your pledge goes toward sweetening the final COLOR and SOUND on "Animal R&R." You'll receive the credit POST PRODUCTION COLOR AND SOUND MADE POSSIBLE BY [YOUR NAME HERE!]...And subject to logistics, you're invited to come into the studio for a half hour before lunch and watch us work on color and sound (then we'll take you to lunch!). Plus an "Animal R&R" swag bag (T-shirt, DVD, stickers).

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    MOUNTAIN LION. You and a stealthy friend will join the staff at The Fund For Animals for the release of a rehabilitated animal back into the wild. Scheduling will depend on the animals -- welcome to our world! You'll receive a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers) and credit under Special Thanks. (Travel to San Diego not included, and scheduling is subject to expiration.)

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    RACCOON. You little bandits! You and a friend will have an intimate lunch in San Diego with "Animal R&R" narrator and conservation powerhouse Joan Embery as well as the producers. You'll receive a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers) and credit under Special Thanks. (Travel to San Diego not included, and scheduling is subject to expiration.)

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    CONDOR. You're a conservation success story! You'll receive credit as one of the Producers of "Animal R&R" as well as an intimate lunch with Joan Embery, a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers), plus an invitation for you and up to four friends to our broadcast-night party. (Travel to San Diego not included, and scheduling is subject to expiration.)

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    BLACK BEAR. As California's largest resident mammal, you get the biggest prize! Besides credit as an Executive Producer on "Animal R&R," you'll have lunch with Joan Embery and a tour of Pillsbury Ranch, where she houses her many wildlife ambassadors. You'll get a swag bag of "Animal R&R" merch (T-shirt, DVD, stickers), plus you and a guest are invited to both our wrap party, where you'll see the show before anyone else, and our broadcast-night fete with cast and crew. (Travel to San Diego not included, and scheduling is subject to expiration.)

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Funding period

- (32 days)