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Exploring the last century of Russian history though the words and lives of Russians born 100 years ago, in 1917.
Exploring the last century of Russian history though the words and lives of Russians born 100 years ago, in 1917.
Exploring the last century of Russian history though the words and lives of Russians born 100 years ago, in 1917.
283 backers pledged $31,475 to help bring this project to life.

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The Children of 1917 Speak

$31,475

283

March 15 Update: Main Goal Reached!
(Now, about that Stretch Goal...)

Woohoo! We hit the main project goal of $26,000 with four days remaining in the funding cycle. 

Let's not stop now... There is still time to hit the Stretch Goal to upgrade the book to hardcover. 

Don't delay, act today to join this history-making project! History needs you...

What This is All About

One hundred years ago, in 1917, Russia was wracked by revolution, famine, foreign war, and domestic unrest. Indeed, the events that unfolded in Russia that year changed the course of twentieth century history. 

And yet, throughout 1917, babies were born, lives were started.

This book and movie project, dubbed The Children of 1917, will send its creators throughout Russia in search of the people those babies have become – to capture the life stories of individuals born in the Russian Empire in 1917. 

The Children of 1917 will offer an amazing journey through time, in which together we will learn about the lives of some remarkable survivors: Russians who not only were born in that tumultuous 1917, but who then lived through Civil War, industrialization, collectivization, Stalinism, World War II, the Cold War, Khrushchev, the era of Stagnation, the collapse of the USSR, and the turn of the twenty-first Century. 

Despite all the horrors and difficulties, they grew up, fell in love, created families, raised children of their own. Now they are 100 years old, and we cannot wait to hear the stories they and their family members have to share with us, so that we can share them with you. 

But we also cannot delay! The time to capture the living memories of Russia’s centenarians is now. 

Why Should You Care?

The singer Rosanne Cash once said, "God gave each of us a different story, hoping we'd talk to each other." And it is a widely-accepted maxim that by hearing another person's story, connecting with their life, one's own life is made richer.

The stories that Russian centenarians have to share will give us a better understanding and appreciation for overcoming hardship and embracing the good times. They will help us better understand Russian history and culture, and give us a deeper, more satisfying appreciation of the diversity of humanity.

Objectives

As with our first collaboration, this project's objective is to create a beautiful book with text and color photography. Yet we are also kick[start]ing things up a notch: we will create a documentary film so you can see and hear these amazing centenarians directly, as we did. 

In both products, we will mix the centenarians’ words with stories, portraits, and images of their families, homes, and towns. You will come away with a very tangible, personal sense of what the past century has been like for people throughout the world’s largest country – the country that changed history through the events of 1917. 

As collaborator Mikhail Mordasov noted as we were strategizing about this project: "What happened 100 years ago may seem like some sort of distant past filled with all but forgotten people. Yet it is a part of who we are. The fates of our ancestors define our present and even influence the futures of our children."

Get Involved

This is a huge and daunting project. It will require more time, more travel, and be more costly than any of our four previously successful Kickstarter projects. But we feel confident that, with the support of Russophiles from all over the world, we can pull it off. 

As with past projects, there are some cool ways you can be involved, in addition to backing us! We will have an active, members-only blog, where we will share stories, videos, images, and more from before, during, and after the trip. And if you pledge at certain higher levels, you can even influence where we travel, plus get a call out on those pages of the book that deal with your city, and you can get free tickets to the Moscow or Montpelier premiere of the movie (sorry, travel costs not covered).

We are also of course always interested in in-kind backers who can help us lower the costs of this project and make it more viable. In fact, the re-launch of this project is made possible by generous promises of in-kind support that have allowed us to lower our project budget.

All backers will be credited on the project website, and at the back of the book or movie if their respective support level specifies that (see grid, below). Top supporters (Producers) will also be credited at the front of the book and/or movie, based on their level of support.

– Paul Richardson and Mikhail Mordasov

STRETCH GOAL 1: HARDCOVER

The baseline budget has us creating a limited edition color book that is softcover. If we can reach the stretch goal of $35,000, we will upgrade the book to hardcover.

STRETCH GOAL 2: DVD 

The film will be edited, subtitled, and released for international viewing via a streaming service. But if we can reach a second stretch goal of $45,000, we will also produce a beautifully packaged DVD with copies sent to all those at the Co-Pilot level and above.

 

Risks and challenges

As we wrote for the Spine of Russia: This is Russia. The risks travel in packs here.

Visas could be denied, routes banned, roads unpassable. There will be road police demanding bribes, mechanics demanding surcharges, potholes demanding to be noticed, or else.

The only defense we have against these and countless other unimaginable but entirely plausible scenarios (bears? wolves?) is 40+ years of combined experience traveling in and about Russia. We know how and when to be flexible, when to turn aside, and when to charge forward.

We may not get the stories we expect are out there to be gotten, but we will come back with compelling stories, and the photography and cinematography will be brilliant.

And, because we will be providing backers with frequent online updates, you will be there with us to watch it all unfold.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Well-Wisher

    Come, travel with us! You will receive password-access to our project website during the trip, plus your name in lights on our website as a supporter.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    9 backers
    $
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Virtual Traveler

    Take the next step! You will receive all of the above, plus a copy of the final book as an e-book for Kindle, Nook or iBooks.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    50 backers
    $
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $59 or more About $59

    Early-Bird

    Get all of the above, plus a gleaming copy of the final, printed book, shipped anywhere in the world. (Just 100 backers will get this special early bird price.)

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 80 backers
    $
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    Fellow Traveler

    Get all of the above, plus a gleaming copy of the final, printed book, shipped anywhere in the world.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Co-Pilot

    The same as Fellow Traveler, but we throw in streaming access to the documentary film when it is released (may be upgraded to DVD, see below).

    The collaborators will personally sign all the books for backers at this level. No other backing level will get this (well, unless you stop us on the street somewhere and happen to have the book with you).

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    • Film Streaming Access
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    91 backers
    $
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $139 or more About $139

    Film Maven

    For the film lover! This includes all the rewards of the Co-Pilot (no signed book, however), plus 2 tickets to the premiere showing of the movie in either Moscow or Vermont (travel costs not included).

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    • Film Streaming Access
    • Tickets to Film Premiere
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
    $
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    The Double

    Just like the Co-Pilot, only you get two copies of the printed book, so you have one to gift to a friend or library.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    • Film Streaming Access
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    13 backers
    $
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Director

    All of the same benefits as Film Maven, plus you will be able to name up to three Russian cities, and we will attempt to find a centenarian in one of them, then call you out in the book as the person who spurred our trip to this place.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    • Film Streaming Access
    • Tickets to Film Premiere
    • Send us to a city
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    $
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  9. Select this reward

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

    Co-Sponsor

    All the same benefits as Director, except you will receive two books and two pairs of movie premiere tickets. In addition, you will be credited in the front of the book as a major co-sponsor of this project.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    • Film Streaming Access
    • Tickets to Film Premiere
    • Send us to a city
    • Front of Book Credit
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
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  10. Select this reward

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

    Associate Producer

    All the same benefits as Co-Sponsor, except you will be credited in both the front of the book and the front of movie as an Associate Producer.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    • Film Streaming Access
    • Tickets to Film Premiere
    • Send us to a city
    • Front of Book Credit
    • Front of Movie Credit
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Executive Producer

    All the same benefits as Co-Sponsor, except you will be credited in both the front of the book and the front of movie as an Executive Producer.

    Includes:
    • Blog Access
    • Ebook
    • Print Book
    • Film Streaming Access
    • Tickets to Film Premiere
    • Send us to a city
    • Front of Book Credit
    • Front of Movie Credit
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)