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LOST TREASURE HUNT -- animated history television's video poster

Help bring history to a new generation this Columbus Day. The $10k goal will keep the project alive...please donate to make it succeed! Read more

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This project was successfully funded on May 11, 2014.

Help bring history to a new generation this Columbus Day. The $10k goal will keep the project alive...please donate to make it succeed!

About this project


To everyone including our eleventh-hour donors who helped make the Kickstarter campaign a success.

The Kickstarter pledge campaign has ended, but the real adventure is just beginning. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, it is never to late to join the adventure. Visit to help bring history to a new generation.

When was the last time you saw an educational series that was really great? Not just amusing or interesting, but really cool. Most people tell us - - not for a long time, maybe not ever.

We believe Lost Treasure Hunt will change this.

And to do it, we are getting help from some of the artists who brought you The Iron Giant, Shrek, Frozen, and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.

CLICK HERE to Watch the Trailer!

Lost Treasure Hunt is a half-hour television show where history and action come together in a new kind of adventure. Each episode focuses on a different historical subject, as the treasure hunters protect actual lost artifacts of history by staying one step ahead of the enemy.

Education or Entertainment?

So which do you chose between . . . quality education or exciting story? We want Lost Treasure Hunt to be the first to do both in a way never before seen.

In Lost Treasure Hunt history becomes essential to the plot and drives the story forward. We want our show to be dramatic and fun -- solving clues, outwitting the bad guys while watching a deeper mystery unfold. And when it is all over, viewers would have a more complete overview of history in the best possible way . . . by getting caught up in the action and learning without realizing it. 

The Project

Lost Treasure Hunt is based on original story by Matt Davis (at the time working at DreamWorks Animation) who wanted to bring feature-type storytelling to history education. The script is by award winning screenwriter David Rosenberg. Disney animator Richard Bazley is the Director of the pilot, with animation produced at Bay Area animation studio Ghostbot where animators have helped pioneer a new style of digital animation. 

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provided the funds to animate one episode: A half-hour pilot about the Columbus voyage and its impact on history. Years were spent working with educational experts and Columbus scholars, with extensive storyboarding and revisions to perfect the new type of story. Beautifully designed backgrounds and authentic details fill the screen. A labor of love for the team that wants to bring history to a new generation.

Music is being composed by Chance Thomas, the multiple award-winning composer who has done music scores for Oscars and Emmy winning projects and some of the most popular computer game franchises. His current work on Lost Treasure Hunt can be heard on the Kickstarter movie above.


One of the leading PBS presenting stations WETA will be presenting the pilot nationally on public television as a tie in to Columbus Day. WETA is responsible for launching many of the most-watched PBS programs including the Ken Burns documentaries (The Civil War, Baseball, The Dust Bowl, etc.)  

If we can cover costs for presentation and distribution, Lost Treasure Hunt will be offered via American Public Television nationwide and at the PBS Annual Meeting in May where the new slate of Fall programming will be unveiled.

Why Kickstarter?

Unfortunately the NEH funds do not cover the cost of mastering and distribution. And our funding requests to other providers in public television like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting were denied due to their emphasis on other priorities in children's education.

We come to Kickstarter because we want Lost Treasure Hunt to be discovered by you, and to help us reach a national audience. In addition, we want to get the pilot in the hands of schools and teachers who can use the Columbus material in classrooms. Our educational experts say this is something that every classroom in American should have access to. We want your help to send copies to schools in need.

With the PBS Annual Meeting in May, we have even fewer days on Kickstarter to do this!

Funding and Stretch Goals

If we raise a total of:

  • $10,000 – We will finish the pilot, distribute on public television, and provide copies to schools as part of our outreach campaign.
  • $20,000 – We will expanded marketing and outreach. The is crucial on public television where your support determines how many stations we can reach and what time-slot the show will play in. PBS doesn't pay us, we need you for this!
  • AND THE COLUMBUS WEBSITE – This is not something we are doing for just promoting the show. This will feature the most comprehensive collection of historical materials for young scholars of all ages, collected over years of working with our scholars on the Columbus pilot. Children looking to do a Columbus Day report will no longer rely on the scant number of watered-down biographies or random homework sites. For anyone who has tried to search for Columbus info for children, you will see why we are creating this. With your support, LostTreasureHunt .com will become the premiere destination for teachers, parents, and students on Columbus history.

All Kickstarter funds will be added to our existing budget which is administered by our not-for-profit fiscal agent San Francisco Film Society with oversight by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Television For Our Time

It is a great time for the television medium with so many outlets for storytelling, and so many shows experimenting with complex characters and interesting plot twists. We asked why can't something like this happen for animation.

Our creative team has been called crazy to try plot twists, surprise endings, and multi-episode arcs in an animated series like this. But this is the kind of television show we want to watch ourselves. And we believe there are others out there who agree.

Sneak Preview - EXCLUSIVE

To our Kickstarter supporters, you are invited to a digital sneak preview on the web once the pilot is complete. Instead of waiting for Columbus Day, you will get to see the sneak peak, including the surprise ending that launches the rest of the series. This will be held this summer when the pilot is complete EXCLUSIVE TO KICKSTARTER ONLY. For those who believe in the series, and want to be there at the beginning . . the official Lost Treasure Hunt Day – coming soon.

Is It Tax Deductible?

Lost Treasure Hunt has a not-for-profit fiscal sponsorship relationship through San Francisco Film Society that qualifies it to receive tax-deductible contributions.

While the funds for digital downloads and DVD’s generally are not tax deductible, larger amounts can qualify if we are contacted prior to the contribution. Please e-mail us for more information.

If you are reading this after the end of the campaign, we still want to hear from you. Visit or e-mail

Attention Schools and Educators

We want to hear from you too. If you are an educator reading this during the campaign, please contact us if you would like to receive on of the free DVDs contributed by Kickstarter fans. We will send you a copy once the pilot is completed later this year. Due to limited numbers, we recommend contacting us early in the campaign. If you are reading this after the campaign, we still want to hear from you.  Contact from home school organizations and school administrators also encouraged. Email:

The Mission

If you think it's time to reverse the negative trends in history education. . .

If you think it's time for an educational show that will speak to all ages including tweens. . .

If you think it's time for a program that parents will want to watch with their kids. . .

The Columbus pilot can show that it's time for a television program that ties into the great topics of our shared heritage. And with many great treasure hunts yet to come, Lost Treasure Hunt can take us there.

 Please contact us for any reason -- even after the campaign ends. Whether you just want to talk about history education, or if you would like to find out about future episodes. . . we want to hear from you!

Creative Team

Richard Bazley – Director (Disney, Warner Bros)

Roque Ballesteros – Co-director (Ghostbot)

Matt Davis – Story (DreamWorks, Sony Pictures Animation)

David Rosenberg – Script (Nickelodeon, Rugrats, Wild Thornberrys)

Alan Lau – Animation Director (Ghostbot)

Corrine Wong – Animation Executive Producer (Ghostbot)

David Yeary – Ghostbot Corporate Development

Chance Thomas – Composer (Lord of the Rings Online, Might & Magic, The ChubbChubbs!)

Cast includes – Yuri Lowenthal, Phil Lollar, J. W. Terry, among many others.

Production Crew: Brad Rau, Natasha Brown, Tatyana Carvin, Sam Chi, Brad Gake, Roman Laney, Gabriel Mase, Yolanda Martinez, Peter Millar, Julie Moskowitz, Eli Rosen, Aaron Soon, Kris Lacore-Toscanini, Birdo, Benjamin Rush, Will Kessler, Ethan Vincent, Nolan Southerland.

Educational and History Advisory Committee: Patrick N. Allitt, Shaaron Cosner, Marshall C. Eakin, Deborah D. Gallagher, Ed. S., Karen Hill-Scott, Ed. S., Laurel Horton, and Teofilo F. Ruiz


WETA (PBS Presenting station) – As the flagship PBS station in the nation's capital, WETA has nationally presented some of the most successful public television series including Clifford The Big Red Dog and Globe Trekker, and the entire catalogue of Ken Burns films.

National Endowment for the Humanities (Major funder) – independent federal agency, and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. 

San Francisco Film Society (Fiscal agent) – Building on a legacy of more than 50 years of bringing the best in world cinema to the Bay Area, the San Francisco Film Society is a national leader in exhibition, education and filmmaker services.

Kickstarter Preview Trailer: Edited by Ernesto Matamoros; Music by Chance Thomas; Starring Richard Bazley as the voice of Richard Bazley.

Risks and challenges

No risks for the production of the pilot. Our team is close enough to the finish line that Kickstarter support is all that is needed for our experienced filmmakers to complete the pilot.

Our challenge is proving to the educational and television community that a history program can reach out to a family audience in a broadcast environment that typically favors early preschool programming, and basic reading, math, and science over humanities education.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • As you probably know, PBS’s funding doesn’t provide it with the budget it would like in order to support all the programming it airs. They can fund only a handful of programs for their National Program Service that fall into a specific focus area. Right now, history for children is outside that area of focus. When we approached PBS and submitted for funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, they said our project could not be considered a broadcast priority due to their limited funding resources and scheduling opportunities. Without public television to pay or promote, this will not be possible without you!

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  • We don’t have one. Our goal is to interest viewers in history, represent multiple voices, and invite people to learn more on their own. The pilot is neither an empty tribute to Columbus nor a diatribe against his personal character. We focus on the voyage itself and its impact. Our job is not to take sides, but to get two sides talking.

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  • Yes. And we appreciate the many e-mails we have received from the Kickstarter community thanking us for making the campaign about getting copies to schools rather than about making mugs and t-shirts. It ended up that way only because our means were limited and we wanted to focus rewards on the project itself, but we are grateful for the kind words nonetheless.

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  • Absolutely. At the end of our funding period we will ask in the rewards survey which school you would like to donate to. It would be good if you have information from the school or teacher about the best place for the DVD to be sent. And where one school may be receiving multiple copies, we will let you know in case you would prefer that another school on our outreach list get a copy instead.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    16 backers

    THANK YOU. Every dollar counts. At this level you can keep updated on our progress and get notified when the show is broadcast. We will also send you a DIGITAL POSTCARD from LOST TREASURE HUNT.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    22 backers

    INITIATE TREASURE HUNT. A video download of the Columbus pilot following its premiere on public television. PLUS all previous rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    27 backers

    TREASURE HUNT NOVICE. A video download of the Columbus pilot following its premiere on public television PLUS a PDF copy of the script.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    36 backers

    TREASURE HUNT SPECIAL AGENT. The SNEAK PREVIEW, including the surprise ending, held on the web only for Kickstarter supporters. PLUS all previous rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    20 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD GETS THE TREASURE. DVD of the Columbus pilot. Signed by the creators of LOST TREASURE HUNT. And one unsigned DVD sent to a school of choice. PLUS all previous rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    29 backers

    TREASURE HUNT INVESTIGATOR. DVD of the Columbus pilot. Signed by the creators of Lost Treasure Hunt. PLUS all previous rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    4 backers

    TREASURE HUNT SLEUTH. Two DVD’s: One signed DVD sent to you, and one DVD sent to a school of choice. (Includes SNEAK PREVIEW, DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, and PDF SCRIPT)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    9 backers

    TREASURE HUNT OPERATIVE. Three DVDs: One signed DVD sent to you, and two DVDs sent to schools of choice. (Includes SNEAK PREVIEW, DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, and PDF SCRIPT)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    PROFESSOR - SPECIAL SCREENING - We'll provide a special copy of the Columbus episode for you to screen before the episode airs at your school or classroom. This includes a Skype call with the available creators where your class can ask questions! GREAT GIFT TO GIVE A TEACHER OR CLASSROOM.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    12 backers Limited (3 left of 15)

    HONORARY PROFESSOR. Your name (or your family) will be included in the end credits as a show supporter. Be honored on screen for having been there from the beginning of the series. A limited early bird price for those who contribute first. (Includes SNEAK PREVIEW, DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, and PDF SCRIPT). At this level, we'll also call you professor for the rest of time.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers

    Make a contribution of any amount to help bring history to a new generation. Select any of the previous awards, or make giving its own reward.

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Funding period

- (27 days)