Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 6, 2011.

Update #6




Back in the 70’s, when we were little mop-haired twins, our parents would host ‘work parties” at our ranch in rural western Montana. They’d call up all their friends—my father’s English Lit colleagues at the university, his graduate students, all their hippie, carpenter, writer, rancher, logger and bohemian buddies– and invite them up, first to do some ranch work, and then to have a party.

And we would all, together, gather stones spit up from the meadow and stack them on rockpiles; pile up old fence posts, rotten lumber, old rusty tractor parts and scrap metal; we would clear irrigation ditches and thin the larch stands.

And every spring we would take on some seriously ambitious, semi-crazy project—trying to turn the basement of an old burnt down farmhouse into a swimming pool, or fusing two old hand-hewn turn-of–the-century log cabins together, to form the “big house” – the house in which we grew up.

In short, a lot of good people would come together for a short period of time, and they’d get something epic done quickly. Then there’d be a softball game, and a feast— chili and salad and beer— and a bonfire with guitars, stories and singing. We still have the Super-8 movies to prove it.

Those mid-1970’s community gatherings, in their “Whole Earth Catalogue” funky, post-psychedelic form, were a reiteration of a much earlier homesteader model— the old fashioned ‘barn-raising’. (Cue the clip of Harrison Ford in suspenders in “Witness.”)  The family who needed the barn would do all the heavy preparations. The mapping and measuring. The gathering of tools, the cutting of lumber, the cooking– and they’d get everyone to come over– and they would all, together, raise that barn. And in the next season, this family would pitch in to raise some else’s barn.

And, so, too, now, creative project-makers find themselves returning to that reliable, roll-up-your-sleeves, grass-roots, reciprocal “gather”— and its corresponding “glean”—salvaging the fine apples that the industrial machines left behind—to get our crops in (the literal ‘roots of grass’), and our barns built, be they actual buildings, or specifically, in this context, the sturdy, scrappy, home-made architecture of indie films. We’re not talking DIY, but rather, DIO—‘Do It Ourselves’. This joint effort spirit is what gives crowd-financing platforms their energy, power, and, indeed—joy.

Our own father is gone now– he’s been gone a long time. Not all of his projects turned out exactly the way he thought they would: few things do. But on those golden ‘Days of Heaven’-like gathers, magic happened. Serious work happened. It was a truly communal effort: work hard; play hard. Later there’d be dancing— and even some howling at the moon. Almost forty years later, the result of those efforts still bear fruit.

And that’s what we are trying to do with the Kickstarter {Barnraiser} campaign for our film, Winter in the Blood: gathering, gleaning, raising load-bearing beams. Digital uploads and Mail Chimp-generated email lists have replaced Whole Earth catalogue instructions, but the communal work— and the sharing of strategies of ways to best get to our goals— remains the same. “You help us with our project—and we’ll honor your contribution. And help you with yours.”

We’ve been brainstorming and barnstorming for over four years on our film project. We’ve drawn the maps, measured the clearing, cut the timber, smithed the spikes. We’ve stewed the meat, iced the beers, set stumps around the fire, and invited a bunch of good people to join us. The script is written, the cast is cast, the crew is lined up, and we are—90% financed.  This Kickstarter campaign will make the difference. 

Now we just need a little help– to hoist our movie up onto its feet. 

To anchor it to the ground.

To raise this barn of a film.

—Alex & Andrew Smith

pledged of $60,000 goal
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    30 backers

    THANK YOU! We really appreciate your support! We'll put YOUR NAME on our DONOR PAGE so all your friends and family can see how swell you are!

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    59 backers

    HI-LINE PENPAL! We would love to send you a personalized POSTCARD FROM SET. We'll write you a SUPER exciting note about what we're up to and send it from a post office somewhere on the Montana Hi-Line, where there are exotic-sounding towns such as Malta! Zurich! Harlem! Havre! We will also put your name on our DONOR PAGE on the website!

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    67 backers

    T-SHIRT- We've just added this reward and we're pretty excited about it! We have two different Winter in the Blood T-Shirt designs in men's and women's sizes. At this pledge level you will receive a Winter in the Blood T-SHIRT, a PERSONALIZED POSTCARD FROM SET and your name on the DONOR PAGE.

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    89 backers

    FRONT ROW— GUESS WHAT? That's right-- we're going to send you an Icelandic Pony! But seriously, we're out of ponies, so instead we're going to send you a signed DVD OF THE FILM as soon as it's released! We'll also put your name on our DONOR PAGE and we'll write you a POSTCARD FROM SET.

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    65 backers

    TAKE— Sound! Speed! Rolling! This is where things get even MORE exciting! Not only will you get a SIGNED, LIMITED EDITION POSTER (your choice of 3 different artists), AND everything in the FRONT ROW package, but you can also 'take' pride in personally financing a single take from the film. Take by take, we couldn't do it without you.

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    35 backers

    SET-UP— You have arrived— we're going to put YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS! That's our version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since your contribution is responsible for financing one entire on location camera SET-UP, we'll also send you a unique STILL IMAGE from the series of takes you paid for! AND you get everything in the TAKE package! Thank you. Now we get to move camera.

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    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    YOUTH & VALOR- You and your friends will have your ears tickled by the sweet melodies of YOUTH & VALOR. The band (composed of Courtney Saunders and a special guest on guitar) will perform a one hour HOUSE SHOW at your domicile. You will also receive everything from the SET-UP package! To hear some of Y&V check out this link here This incentive is offered to residents of NYC, Austin, TX and Missoula, MT

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    2 backers Limited (1 left of 3)

    I'LL BE IN MY TRAILER- You get the star treatment: A private, two hour ACTING MENTORSHIP from Dana Wheeler Nicholson (Fletch, Tombstone, Friday Night Lights) and everything from the SET-UP package! This special incentive is offered only to residents of New York NY, New Orleans LA, Los Angeles CA, Austin TX, and Missoula MT!

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    4 backers Limited (8 left of 12)

    SCENE— Lights! Camera! Action! Want to TALK FILM? So do we. You get to have a 17.5 minute CONFERENCE CALL-- on Skype or the phone-- with our lead actor, CHASKE SPENCER, or if, you so chooseth, with THE DIRECTORS...yes, you read that correctly...seventeen and a half minutes. Start getting your questions ready! You can talk about film in general, or the specific scene in Winter in the Blood that YOU helped finance. Plus-- you also will receive TICKETS to a special CAST & CREW SCREENING and ensuing DANCE PARTY with live music from various soundtrack artists (transportation not included), a STILL IMAGE of the scene that your contribution paid for, the SCRIPT PAGES from your scene, AND everything from the TAKE package!

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    8 backers

    LOCATION— Your generous donation has helped us fund a LOCATION from the film - it might be the The Cowboy Bar, the First Raise ranch house, a lonely stretch of highway, or the interior of the 1950s movie theater (check out the blog for photos). As a sign of our immense gratitude we will send you a beautiful STILL IMAGE of the location you sponsored, a finely BOUND WINTER IN THE BLOOD SCREENPLAY signed by the three writers, and an ORIGINAL PROP from your location as well as TICKETS to a CAST & CREW SCREENING (transportation not included). You will also receive everything in the TAKE package!

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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    MAGIC HOUR— You are obviously as excited as we are about this film! So we're going to give you TWO TICKETS TO THE WORLD FESTIVAL PREMIERE and yee+haw PARTY AFTERWARD! (transportation not included). Although we don't know where this premiere will take place, our last two films have premiered at Sundance. You also receive a finely BOUND WINTER IN THE BLOOD SCREENPLAY, signed by the three writers—and everything in the TAKE package! When you're shooting exteriors, you often have to race the light to get your day. Luckily in Montana in the summer, Magic Hour is four hours long— exactly what your contribution afforded us! Thank you for helping us get our day!

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    0 backers Limited (8 left of 8)

    MARTINI SHOT— COME TO MONTANA! We would like to give you a GUIDED FLY FISHING TRIP on a world-class river, and invite you to come and SPEND THE DAY ON SET! You will also receive two tickets to the WORLD PREMIERE (transportation not included) and everything from the TAKE package... Also, we love you. The Martini Shot is the last shot of the day-- everything we shot since lunch today is thanks to you. So here's to you. That's a wrap, folks!

Funding period

- (30 days)