Join award-winning filmmaker, wildlife ecologist and conservationist Rob Whitehair – whose nickname is "Tree" – on his latest feature documentary to explore the new realm of spiritual ecology, where the bounds of science and spirituality intersect and reveal their inextricable link to the health of our planet and our very own survival.
Why THE BOOK OF TREE is an important message for our times
media has been dragging us down with negativity for too long. It's no
wonder that many people across the globe have felt overwhelmed and lost
hope that something can be done about the greed and short-sightedness
that continue to destroy our environment.
Sure, there are major,
pressing environmental issues that we need to deal with. Yes, they are
directly related to the long term survival of the human species. And no,
they are not going away if we simply choose to ignore them. But, they
are not insurmountable.
Across the globe, human ingenuity and the human spirit are alive and well. But they are not in the media spotlight.
BOOK OF TREE will counter the negative messages with stories of real
people who are examples of the practical and positive ways to affect
change in the world.
"Why do we continue to destroy our home even when science tells us the repercussions of our actions? Could it be we've lost our spiritual connection to nature? Is there a way back?"
My name is Rob Whitehair. Please join me on a yearlong journey to document the stories of people who have a profound spiritual connection to their landscape, and to record the dialogue and wisdom of scientific, spiritual and creative visionaries who believe that in order for humans to survive, we must reconnect spiritually to the natural world.
This is an intensely personal journey for me. Some 25 years ago, at the end of the Cold War, I was on a submarine in the US Navy when we ran a simulated nuclear strike against an enemy. Instead of triumph, I felt an immense sense of guilt and remorse for having taken part in what amounted to a wanton and mass destruction of life on Earth. Sure, it was not real, but the intention of it was. The realization of the power humans have to destroy life on this planet, and the ability to rationalize it, was something I could not live with.
The course of my life changed at that moment and set me on a path of deep exploration of how we, as humans, connect to the Earth. I spent many years making wildlife films, thinking that if I could just show people the beauty of life and the intricacies of how everything works together, they would care about it and move to save it. But, that has not been the case. The destruction of the natural world is increasing at an exponential pace.
There must be another reason. I believe it is because we have simply lost our spiritual connection to the world around us. And, I want to help humanity regain that before it's too late.
That is why I am embarking on the most important documentary film of my career. THE BOOK OF TREE will be a cinematic adventure, rich in storytelling, to record the dialogue and wisdom of some of the greatest spiritual, scientific, environmental and creative visionaries on this planet.
Please join me in helping to create this epic film. As in life,
in physics, ecology and even in the realm of spirituality, the whole is
greater than the sum of its parts. Let's do this together.
Thank you! – Tree
THE BOOK OF TREE frames the story with an opening premise that it makes absolutely no sense that we are destroying the habitability of our planet. It makes no sense scientifically. It makes no sense spiritually. Yet here we are today living in an age of exponential change, unprecedented in time and scale, that is at once destroying our home and placing the human species on a dangerous precipice.
The film then continues to illustrate and question the following paradox: Scientific consensus points to overpopulation, climate change, deforestation, species extinctions, ocean acidification, degradation of water quality, and rampant nonrenewable energy exploitation. We are in the midst of a human caused environmental crisis. But just as science has given us a clearer picture of what is going on, it has also presented us with solutions. So why aren’t we acting? Where is the spiritual consensus? Why do we continue to destroy the only home we have? Do we really believe that our journey here on this planet is merely for short-term economic gain for the few people who will ever benefit by such action?
Ultimately, the film seeks answers from a diverse group of people. From scientists to poets, conservationists to economists and cowboys to
gurus, these people share an insight that stems from a deep spiritual
connection to the natural world. All believe in the underlying truth
that science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive and that to
create a home that is survivable for all life, we must begin to approach
the issues with both scientific and spiritual principles equally. This
is the realm of spiritual ecology.
WHY WE NEED WHAT WE NEED:
Quite simply films like this cost a good deal of money to make. We are investing a significant amount of our own resources in this film because it is something that we believe in with all our hearts. We need $75,000 of additional funds to cover the budget. This will ensure that all production costs needed to film and edit THE BOOK OF TREE are covered.
The production company of Tree & Sky Media Arts,
co-founded in 2006 by Rob Whitehair and Pam Voth, will produce THE BOOK
OF TREE. Together, this husband and wife team has produced two feature
documentaries that made it to the silver screen. TRUE WOLF
(www.truewolfmovie.com) was picked up for theatrical release by Shadow
Distribution in 2012 and is currently in theaters across the US and
Tree & Sky Media Arts’ previous release, THE LITTLE
RED TRUCK screened in Regal Cinemas, AMC theaters and independent art
house theaters in 50 cities from NYC to LA in 2008 and is now available
on DVD via Netflix and other retail outlets.
Prior to co-founding
Tree & Sky Media Arts, Rob Whitehair produced wildlife programming
for international television broadcast including HOLLYWOOD FOX (2005)
for Parthenon Entertainment in the UK. This one-hour HD television
special about the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox aired in 60 countries
around the world on cable channels including National Geographic
International, Animal Planet and NDR.
The amazing composer and multi-instrumentalist, Cody Westheimer of New West Studios in Los Angeles, is on board for our second feature documentary collaboration. In addition to his many feature film credits, his music was celebrated during NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics, and in the coverage of the Tour de France.
We believe that Kickstarter has proven to be a game-changing platform. As such, Kickstarter is the ideal fit for THE BOOK OF TREE. Our goal is to build this from the ground up and create a work of art that provides an important perspective in the public discourse.
Kickstarter is an “all-or-nothing” funding method. We’re offering some great rewards to thank you for your support. If you choose to support THE BOOK OF TREE, you make a pledge by selecting the “BACK THIS PROJECT” button. Choose a reward level and pledge the corresponding amount. You’ll be asked to enter payment information, but you won’t be charged unless we reach our goal. If we meet (or exceed!) our goal of $75,000, you’ll be charged and will receive an e-mail message from Kickstarter that your payment has been finalized. Once you pledge, you’ll get regular updates about our progress and we’ll set everything in motion to deliver your rewards.
Our campaign will last 30 days, concluding on Solstice night when light begins to return and the nights get ever shorter. This time will go by very quickly. If you can, please pledge now – it will help build crucial momentum and get us closer to our goal. Thank you!!
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO SUPPORT THE BOOK OF TREE?
Since Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” we definitely need backers to make this film happen, but if you can't make a pledge, you can still be helpful by doing any or all of these things: - e-mail a link to our Kickstarter campaign to your family and friends - “Like” us on Facebook - Follow and retweet @thebookoftree, #thebookoftree - Blog about THE BOOK OF TREE and our Kickstarter campaign - Follow and repin the film on Pinterest - Share links on Reddit, Digg, Google+, etc. etc. - Visit our website www.thebookoftree.com
Production of THE BOOK OF TREE will be completed in December 2013.
Post-production, music composition and editing will be completed in June 2014. Of special note, editing will take place in the Wandering Buddha, a 1962 Flying Cloud Airstream Trailer that Rob has converted into a retro-styled editing studio.
Tree & Sky Media Arts has a solid track record of getting our films into distribution.
We believe that in today’s rapidly changing information age, a mix of traditional distribution outlets with nontraditional outlets gives us an opportunity to have THE BOOK OF TREE screened for more people across the globe than ever before.
This includes film festivals, theatrical release, DVD release, educational markets, house parties, a robust multimedia Web campaign for the film, direct action screenings in communities around the world and translation into other languages for global distribution.
It is our goal to gain the widest distribution for THE BOOK OF TREE.
SHARE THE BOOK OF TREE!
SHARE IT FAR AND WIDE – Social media allows us to connect to each other across the globe and to spread ideas quickly.
CAN I GIFT AN INCENTIVE? Absolutely! If you would like to donate to the film but gift the incentive to someone else, go through the usual process of making a donation in your name. For billing purposes, this action must be in your name. After our deadline, we will send a message to you on Kickstarter that will be forwarded to the e-mail address you provided. If you choose to gift your incentive, you can simply reply with the information on the person you'd like to receive the reward and we will send it to that address.
IS MY PLEDGE AMOUNT DISPLAYED PUBLICLY? No. Only you and the project creator will be able to see the pledge amount.
Risks and challenges
As with any film, there are inherent risks and challenges associated with producing, from the ability to finance the film to the delivery of the finished product.
Specifically with THE BOOK OF TREE there are a few challenges that we will be dealing with.
1.) Our main risk and challenge is that this is an art form that is completely captured on digital media and stored on hard drives. As such there is always potential in a variety of circumstances to lose footage. To minimize this possibility, we have a policy of backing up footage immediately after shooting it. In fact, our experience has led us to create multiple backups of our footage to give us peace of mind so that we will never completely lose footage.
2.) Scheduling interviews with such a diverse group of people around the globe. In many cases, there are small windows of opportunity to fit an interview into their busy schedules. In anticipation of this, we have given the film an ample production schedule to remain flexible and able to achieve the interviews and deliver the film on time.
3.) For delivery of video updates throughout production, there may potentially be connectivity issues in the more remote areas we will be filming. If such a case arises, we will deliver the updates at the earliest opportunity as soon as we get to an area of connectivity.
4.) In the big wide world we live in, there are always going to be complications with travel. Given the global nature of this film, we anticipate that there will be travel issues, whether man-made or natural. But fear not, we are seasoned travelers (with film gear) and excellent problem solvers and will do everything we can to overcome any travel obstacles that might arise.
We are a highly skilled, hardworking and dedicated team that has a proven track record of delivering entertaining and meaningful films, on time and within budget.
You'll get a big Thank You! shout out on Facebook and Twitter, and a special thank you on the official film website, and that great feeling you get by being part of something larger than yourself. It's all good!
All of the above, plus we’ll send you a very cool The Book of Tree sticker. Put it on your water bottle, bicycle helmet, or recycling bin. PLUS, we’ll add your name to the on-screen "Thank You!" credits at the end of the film.
You'll get all of the above, plus Rob Whitehair will autograph the DVD of The Book of Tree (inscribed to you personally!) and we'll include a collectors' edition 11x17 movie poster also autographed by Rob Whitehair.
Double the love! You'll get all of the above, but at this level, we’ll send you two (2) autographed DVDs and two autographed collector’s edition 11x17 movie posters. Keep one and share one! PLUS, we’ll list your name in the on-screen “Very Special Thanks!” credits at the end of the film
All of the above, plus you’ll get password-protected access to personal video message updates from Rob Whitehair throughout production. Rob will share special behind the scenes stories from the field and from the Wandering Buddha (his 1962 Airstream converted to edit suite!) filmed especially for backers at this level.
All of the above, plus you are invited to be part of the creative process! We’ll send you a Sneak Peak DVD of the rough cut. You get to watch this work-in-progress and send us your comments. PLUS, you’ll get on-screen credit as an “Associate Producer” at the end of the film. Rob Whitehair will send you a personal handwritten thank-you note.
You'll get all of the above, plus a limited edition 16X24 black-and-white archival print of Pam Voth’s photograph, "Bear Dancer," and 4 VIP tickets to the World Premiere screening of The Book of Tree. Exact location and date TBD...sometime after June 2014. (Travel and lodging costs not included.)
All of the above, plus a limited edition hard copy of The Book of Tree companion book AND you’re invited to join Rob Whitehair and Pam Voth in the field for a day of filming, photographing and watching wildlife. (Travel and lodging costs not included, but we’ll work with you to find a time, date and place that is convenient for all.)
Thank you for being an Executive Producer of The Book of Tree! You’ll receive an on-screen credit as Executive Producer. You’ll also receive all of the above rewards, plus a private screening of The Book of Tree at your location with Rob Whitehair in attendance for pre- and post-screening discussion, Q&A and whatever else you and your guests would like to talk about. (Travel and lodging costs not included, but we’ll work with you to find a time and date that works best for all...sometime after June 2014)