Support our film about the struggle between energy development and the preservation of Patagonia's pristine and free flowing watersheds
What is this project about? What’s this film about?
Combining our love for free flowing rivers, telling stories through film and an insatiable itch to explore, our group of expedition paddlers and filmmakers will journey to Patagonia to immerse ourselves in some of Chile’s largest and most spectacular river valleys. Along the way we will document our adventure with the goal of sharing a unique look into the struggle between energy development and the preservation of the regions watersheds.
HidroAysén is a hydroelectric proposal which, if completed, would place five massive dams on the Baker and Pascua Rivers in the Aysen region of Patagonia. The electricity would be carried north via 1,500 miles of transmission lines, clear-cutting 1,000 miles of old-growth forest in the process. Once the transmission lines are in place, no river from the Aysen region to Santiago would be safe from hydro-development.
The film will follow our group of adventurers as we investigate the proposal to dam these rivers, including the economic, ecologic and cultural impacts it will have, as well as alternatives and the movement to stop the dams. The crew will paddle the Futaleufu, Baker and many more of Chile’s finest whitewater rivers along the way. The Futaleufu and Baker are considered some of the best big water rivers in the world, on par with the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in the United States and the Zambezi River in Africa.
Our team will produce an online journal during the trip, a three part web series and a short length documentary film. We hope this combination will inform viewers about the most current hydro-development situation, and further inspire them to take action through a visually stunning adventure in one of the last truly wild places on earth. It’s not too late to join the resistance and keep these rivers free!
The title of this project is Somos Del Rio, which roughly translates to, “We are of the River.” Rivers are the lifeblood of our world. We need healthy, free flowing rivers to provide the freshwater that sustains us, so in this way we are all, of the river.
How can you help?
Jesse Levine and Evan Stafford have been partners in a digital media company, Reel Motion Media, for a number of years. We’ve been creating short films, websites and campaigns for businesses and non-profits. We’ve gotten a lot of practice telling other people’s stories, and this kind of work sometimes actually pays the bills, but we can’t resist the urge to tell a story of our own, to travel to a place that’s captured our imagination, and to engage in an unsettled situation that we both feel passionate about. For small time filmmakers like us, these kind of passion projects tend not to pay the bills (they actually wind up being quite expensive and time intensive).
We are asking you to help fuel our dream of creating this documentary film. There are tons of awesome rewards that make funding our project feel more like buying yourself, a friend, or a family member a gift, but make no mistake you will be funding our art, our passion, our film.
You can also help if you have contacts or are knowledgeable about Patagonia and hydro-development in Chile. If you have ideas for topics we should cover in the film, know people who we should interview, or places we should capture on film, let us know so we can make this film together! We’re asking you to be a part of this film any way you can.
You’re broke but you still want to help.
Great. No money, no problemo. You can still contribute. Tell your friends and family about our project, send emails to anyone who might be interested, and share our project on your favorite social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Here’s the link to send out to all your peeps LINK and know that you’re making a valuable contribution to our cause.
Where is your hard earned cash going? (or are we just pocketing your money)
We are committed to this project and to putting in the time filming and documenting the trip, crafting a compelling story, and to editing and producing this film. We aren’t doing this to make a profit and we will not be paid for ANY of our time putting this film together (which, will be around 300 + hours of pre and post-production). This crowd-funding project is intended to help pay for our crew’s travel and lodging costs, basically getting to and traveling around in Patagonia.
- Travel and Lodging for 5 person crew
- Plane flights, buses, ferry rides, lodging, meals $ 9,000
- Fulfilling giftbacks, including print costs, shipping etc $ 2,000
What happens after we reach our funding goal?
If we somehow manage to exceed our funding goal, unfortunately, we still won’t be pocketing your money. Our film however will just keep getting better! We’re producing this film on the cheap, mainly on our own backs and the sometimes willing backs of our extremely talented and highly underpaid friends, but there are still many parts of making a professional film that cost real money. Below is a list of what funds beyond our goal will help us achieve.
- Float plane $ 1,600
- One day for aerial footage
- Audio mixing/mastering $ 3,000
- Motion graphics $ 2,000
- Licensed music
- Web license generic tracks $ 1,000 or
- Composed/licensed direct from artists $ 10,000
- Color grading $ 5,000
- Film festival entry fees/promotion $ 5,000
…and a list of things that probably won’t ever be paid for
- Not budgeted for
- Pre and post-production time (250+ hours)
- Equipment (camera/adventure)
- Guides and activity fees
- Crew time (120+ hours x 5)
Who’s on the team?
The team is composed of accomplished paddler and photographer Leif Embertson, filmmaker Jesse Levine, communications specialists Pete and Majia Stromberg, and guidebook author (Whitewater of the Southern Rockies) and freelance journalist/photographer Evan Stafford. Not only is this the crew for documenting the adventure and the struggle, these will also be characters in the film and will make this personal journey come to life.