Why Crowdfunding?

July 1, 2013 · 0 comments

As I’m sure many of you are aware, the latest documentary I’m working on is titled “Rural Transitions”. It will tell the story of photographer Chris Walker and follow him on his journey as he shoots his share of the last production run of the large format Kodak film he uses to create his images.

I’ve known Chris since High School, but we had fallen out of touch for over 20 years, until I ran across his work on the Internet. It drew me in immediately. His photography is big, compelling, and important. It wasn’t my personal connection with Chris that had me spellbound, it was the quality of the work.

Then, one day, I was perusing his facebook page, and there was a shot of his freezer, with a stack of Kodak film in it. His share, he said, of the last production run. The tools of his trade, the film he uses to make those compelling images, will soon be gone forever. I knew I had to tell his story.

As anyone in an artistic field knows, big ideas can be easy to come by. What’s not as easy  is funding them. Chris’ story is obviously time-sensitive: The project that he’s best known for, “Six Nights A Year,” documents changing social patterns through the eyes of youth at rural county fairs. There is only one “fair season” a year. There is only so much film left. There is very little time to arrange funding.

That is why I chose the “crowdfunding” model to help raise money to produce this project. My hope is that there enough people interested in this concept and this story to make it happen. I chose the website Indiegogo to help facilitate the fundraising, because with this model, I will receive the funds (minus their fees) whether I raise the requested amount or not. With other crowdfunding sites, it’s an “all or nothing” approach. One way or another, this documentary will happen, in spite of whatever funds are (or are not) raised. But as they say, the devil is in the details.

This will not be an inexpensive endeavor. I’ll be shooting footage and interviews with Chris in Michigan and in Maryland. I’m hoping to be able to interview the Kodak engineers that Chris worked with to develop (no pun intended) special processing techniques—techniques that he was told were impossible until he proved them wrong. The equipment needed to produce acceptable images in the challenging light of a county fair will not be inexpensive. And this will all need to be done while running my existing business, which I will be away from for significant amounts of time. It adds up. In addition, there are promotional costs, website design, consumables…the crowdfunding budget of $8,000 frankly does not begin to cover all the costs associated with this project. If it does not meet its goal, yes, it will still happen. But it will be a very different documentary.

So I’m asking for your help. Donations small or large all add up, and I appreciate every single one of them. I want to do something here that gives everyone involved a sense of ownership in what I feel is an important story, and an important way of telling it. If you agree, I’d love to have you on board.

Please check out the project’s crowdfunding page and consider supporting it. As always, thanks.


Chris Walker Photography
“Rural Transitions” Crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo
Coverage of “Rural Transitions” in the Elmira, NY Star-Gazette Newspaper

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