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We are storytellers, activists, and artists bicycling from Seattle to the Alberta tar sands August 2015 and documenting our journey
69 backers pledged $5,874 to help bring this project to life.

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$5,874

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Meet The Road to Athabasca Team!
Meet The Road to Athabasca Team!

STRETCH GOAL: $3000

UPDATE: Our pilgrimage to the tar sands has a unique and last minute opportunity to hire an additional filmmaker that will increase the total impact of our trip and the environmental storytelling.

A note from our filmmaker, Phil Walker:

"My intention is to raise additional funds to support the documentation of this journey allowing me to hire a Director of Photography (camera person) for the trip along with renting additional equipment. This will provide the most latitude for storytelling as we define the key narrative aspects of the film. And it elevates the documentation to the standards required for television or theatrical release."

We are seeking funds in other arenas outside of Kickstarter as well, to provide a total of $20,000 to film this project, and our Kickstarter stretch goal will help towards this effort!

If you are interested in speaking more with Phil Walker about his needs, or are interested in assisting to produce this story, please email: tarsandsride@gmail.com.

Join Our Journey To Bring The Tar Sands Home

 We are a group of storytellers, activists, and artists that have committed to journey by bicycle to the tar sands in Alberta, Canada along the Trans Mountain pipeline this August 15 - September 8. This journey is as much a spiritual endeavor as it is a strategic collective action to illuminate the tactics of the oil industry, elevate the voices of those most impacted, and empower people to educate themselves and their communities about the tar sands’ far-reaching impacts.

Conservation + Bicycles + Art

Our collective of artists, musicians, and activists have come together and engage in the climate movement through just that -- movement! We believe that our communities are been constructed to avoid, minimize, and abstract the environmental damage of massive oil extraction projects. Through pilgrimage we can begin to illuminate the infrastructure of the oil industry that we are always connected to, but can rarely truly understand or feel in a meaningful way.

We have paired with Phil Walker, a lauded independent filmmaker whose work has been featured on PBS. He is committed to traveling with us, documenting this journey, and crafting a film that will reach beyond into the larger public dialogue around oil dependency and renewable energy solutions. (More on Phil Walker below)

We have partnered with Backbone Campaign, a Seattle-based nonprofit committed to crafting artful activism that engages peoples’ minds and hearts in the struggle for environmental justice.

What is the Trans Mountain Pipeline?

As just one among several proposed projects, the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would increase the amount of tar sands oil coming to the West Coast by three-fold over its current level, from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day -- an amount 22% larger than the Keystone XL pipeline which NASA scientist James Hansen referred to as, "game over for the climate."

The Road to Athabasca Route along the Trans Mountain Pipeline - Check it out!
The Road to Athabasca Route along the Trans Mountain Pipeline - Check it out!

Traveling the pipeline by bicycle and documenting our conversations with people on the ground through blogs, pictures, and video affords us the unique opportunity to connect with all the different communities along the Trans Mountain pipeline, from Anacortes, all the way up to oil boom town Fort McMurray and craft the narrative of what this pipeline expansion means for the Northwest's water ways, air quality, and health of its communities.

The RTA in front of the Tesoro Oil Refinery in Anacortes, Washington July 11th
The RTA in front of the Tesoro Oil Refinery in Anacortes, Washington July 11th

Why Pilgrimage?

A pilgrimage is any long journey, especially one undertaken as a quest or for a votive purpose. Though the tar sands are cross-border and several states away, they are playing an ever-expanding role in the politics, economy, and communities of the Northwest.

Through place, story, and through direct physical connection, we seek to understand the cross-border relationships between Canada and United States and the social and economic complexities that compel the continued extraction of fossil fuels with what we know about climate disruption.

Through this ride, we are challenging ourselves and our communities to tell the story of what we are capable of, to grapple with our own power and agency, and to subvert the oil industry's narrative that we are dependent on dirty energy and have no alternative.

The Road to Athabasca team pilgrimaged to the Shell Drill in Seattle in May
The Road to Athabasca team pilgrimaged to the Shell Drill in Seattle in May

What We Need To Make This Happen

These expenses represent the bare necessities we need to successfully support this pilgrimage’s basic needs on the ground.

  • Food $2,700
  • Lodging $480.00
  • Train Fare (For Return Journey) $1,800
  • Backbone Biodiesel Support Vehicle FREE
  • In-Kind Lending from Backbone Truck Insurance $225
  • Biodiesel $300
  • Truck Maintenance $1000
  • Push Planes to get tar sands aerial shots $400
  • Art supplies for the crafting of a large storytelling piece $300

Total Trip Logistics Costs: $7,205

  • Communications Hosting & Domain Purchase $100
  • Printing $200

Total Communications: $300

Kickstarter fees & Fiscal Processing (approx 8%) : $600.00

Total funds raised thus far: $2,500

Thus, total basic fund raising needs: $5,605.00

Not too bad, right?

The big question...What About the Film?

We all know there is more to the story then just getting there. Documenting a 1000 mile journey, filming interviews and capturing the most important moments along the way requires the right tools and personnel. Right now our filmmaker Phil Walker is fronting the funds necessary to document this journey with a single crew member. Ultimately, we hope to create a feature length film about our journey suitable for television, film festivals or theatrical release. In order to make a more impactful, well documented piece of storytelling, we are seeking funds and partnerships to help facilitate the proper documentation of this ride.

Phil is requesting stretch goals that include:

- Funds to pay for a crew member to run sound. 

-Funds to pay for a skilled Director of Photography.

-Funds to rent additional cameras and production equipment

If you are interested in speaking more with Phil Walker about his needs, or are interested in assisting to produce this story, please email: tarsandsride@gmail.com.

Phil Walker's Bio

Phil Walker is a documentary filmmaker from Atlanta. From 1992-95, Phil developed global media campaigns for three United Nations conferences – the Earth Summit, the Population and Development Conference, and the Women’s Conference. The campaigns aired on CNN and featured Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Al Gore.

In 2004, Phil produced the PBS documentary, D-Day: Down to Earth. The film continues to run on public television stations each year. In 2010, Phil produced the art film General Orders No. 9. It screened at over 20 festivals worldwide and won the Kodak Vision Award at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Most recently, Phil produced The Fire Inside. The film is a meditation on our deep connections to the natural world. It features a small group of educators, clergy and social activists who participate in a contemplative wilderness retreat in Puget Sound. Phil is also a member of the Cascadia Climate Collaborative.

www.smallcirclefilms.com

Risks and challenges

With any large trip, there is the chance for unexpected bumps in the road (if you'll forgive the pun). We are embarking on this trip to witness, to engage with the land, and to bring home some of what we've seen and experienced to you, through video, music, storytelling, and art. We are going on this ride no matter what. The major challenge is how far we can make this reach.

We have within our team, the potential to tell a beautiful story. One that engages with climate change, with the oil industry's ever growing presence in the Northwest in a very real, tangible, physical way. The reach of this trip -- our ability to document what we see, who we talk to, depends on the support of our community.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

    - Your name will be incorporated into an art piece that we will be constructing and bringing up to the tar sands
    - You will be listed as a supporter on our website

    You can also follow our blog posts, and videos on www.tarsandsride.org.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    MOVER & SHIFTER

    - Your name will be incorporated into an art piece that we will be constructing and bringing up to the tar sands
    - You will be listed as a supporter on our website
    - A Road to Athabasca sticker to put wherever you like!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    BIKE LANE CHAMP

    - Your name will be incorporated into an art piece that we will be constructing and bringing up to the tar sands
    - You will be listed as a supporter on our website
    - A Road to Athabasca sticker to put wherever you like
    - Block print flag to hang from your bike, your bag, on your wall -- wherever!

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    OUR BELOVED PIT CREW

    You keep our tires spinning, our gears oiled and our spirits high -- you are our devoted pit crew! For this, we can offer you these small tokens of appreciation:

    - Your name will be incorporated into an art piece that we will be constructing and bringing up to the tar sands
    - You will be listed as a supporter on our website
    - A Road to Athabasca sticker to put wherever you like
    - Block print flag to hang from your bike, your bag, on your wall -- wherever!
    - We'll list you as a Pit Crew $100 donor on our website.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    TIRE-LESS TEAM MATE

    For this you get all our best puns, our gratitude, and our commitment to make this pilgrimage reach as far as possible. You are contributing to the story and making every mile that much more meaningful in our mission to bring the tar sands home.

    - Your name will be incorporated into an art piece that we will be constructing and bringing up to the tar sands
    - You will be listed as a supporter on our website
    - A Road to Athabasca sticker to put wherever you like
    - Block print flag to hang from your bike, your bag, on your wall -- wherever!
    - Road to Athabasca T-Shirt
    - Fine Art Print of the trips route from Anacortes to the tar sands in Alberta, Canada
    - Phil Jones and Animals of Grace will each give you a copy of their most recent album.

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  6. Select this reward

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

    PILGRIMAGE PARTNER
    - Your name will be incorporated into an art piece that we will be constructing and bringing up to the tar sands
    - Your name as a major supporter on our website, and listed in the credits of the documentary that comes out of this project.
    - A Road to Athabasca sticker to put wherever you like
    - Block print flag to hang from your bike, your bag, on your wall -- wherever!
    - Road to Athabasca T-Shirt
    - Fine Art Print of the trips route from Anacortes to the tar sands in Alberta, Canada
    - A house show and musical storytelling experience featuring classical pianist Phillip Jones and Erika Lundahl of Animals of Grace. They will share with you music that they have crafted along the road, and bring you a singular evening that you won't forget.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    ARTFUL ACTIVATOR

    - Your name will be incorporated into an art piece that we will be constructing and bringing up to the tar sands
    - Your name as a major supporter on our website, and listed in the credits of the documentary that comes out of this project.
    - A Road to Athabasca sticker to put wherever you like!
    - Block print flag to hang from your bike, your bag, on your wall -- wherever!
    - Road to Athabasca T-Shirt
    - Fine Art Print of the trips route from Anacortes to the tar sands in Alberta, Canada
    - A house show and musical storytelling experience featuring classical pianist Phillip Jones and Erika Lundahl of Animals of Grace. They will share with you music that they have crafted along the road, and bring you a singular evening that you won't forget.
    - Dinner made by the team members upon our return, in Seattle or surrounding areas. We will fix you a wonderful meal, and share our stories, experiences, and revelations from the road.

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Funding period

- (21 days)