It’s probably the least sexy part of making a documentary film series, but it just might be the most important. After you’ve conducted compelling interviews, shot exciting action sequences and spiced it all up with original artwork and animation it’s time to take the show on the road. And if you think it’s expensive to produce a movie that advocates for the preservation of our precious natural resources you should see what it takes to make sure that people see it. Now that adventure filmmaker James Q. Martin and his crew have a collection of media content meant to raise awareness for the protection of the last free-flowing rivers in Patagonia he’s trying to raise money to share the message with audiences in both North and South America that have yet to hear the story.
With just a two weeks remaining in an online crowd-sourcing campaign at indiegogo.com Martin is looking for help to keep Patagonia wild. His project called Rios Libres aims to demonstrate what the world stands to lose if five new dams are constructed across the path of two rivers in Chile whose waters now travel undisturbed across great stretches of wild land. The Baker and the Pascua Rivers are the subjects of two feature-length documentaries that, despite having received numerous awards in several film festivals, have yet to be watched by those best able to take action. Without Spanish translation and a road tour through the southern hemisphere, the movies Streams of Consequence and Power In the Pristine will never reach an audience of activists and citizens who can stand against the destruction of otherwise undeveloped ecosystems.
“We want take this message to the Chilean people and also start a college tour to bring the films to audiences that would never go to Banff or Wild & Scenic or some of the other big events,” Martin said. “We have a lot of really great media and we’ve put so much energy into creating it. But we’re only just now able to put some of that same effort into distributing it.”
Scores of films are now successfully funded through crowd-source web sites every year. But producers are becoming painfully aware that it takes more than the cost of creation to fulfill the objective of advocacy. Energy and resources also must be invested in the distribution of these films to make sure that the message they aim to send is received.
Although a majority of the Chilean people object to the construction of dams along the Baker and the Pascua rivers powerful lobbying efforts by the multi-national conglomerate HidroAysén are pushing through legislation to subvert public sentiment. By creating the longest system of power transmission lines in the world the company plans to bring hydro-electric energy from Patagonia in the south to the Chilean capital Santiago in the north. But by all estimates environmental activists predict that the contraction of the power lines will result in the destruction of natural habitats and small-scale farmland that have been used sustainably by the local population for hundreds of years. Martin’s films aim to better inform the populous of critical issues that average citizens may not know.
Chile has incredible potential for the production of photo-voltaic energy. Though HidroAysén stands to gain billions of dollars by creating energy through hydroelectric dams in the south there are realistic opportunities to develop solar energy resources in the north. At the heart of Martin’s films is the understanding that there are alternatives. The Chilean people need not make the false choice of sacrificing their natural environment in order to achieve prosperity and energy security. Martin hopes that by sharing his films with the people of South America he can help to prevent the devastation of the few remaining unspoiled watersheds on the planet.
With the financial resources Martin aims to receive through his Indiegogo campaign he can cover the hard costs of distributing the media he has already created. The money he raises through online donors can help to counter the millions dollars being invested by HidroAysén to promote the construction of the dams. Though it may not seem as worthwhile or exciting as supporting the production itself those inclined to contribute to these films’ distribution can dramatically extend their reach and make them infinitely more successful. You can support Rios Libres at Indiegogo.com http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rios-libres
The Joy Trip Project is made possible with the generous support of The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market
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