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Kickstart The Moo Man

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Director Andy Heathcote during production on The Moo Man.

Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier

Directors Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier are using Kickstarter to bring their 2013 Sundance Film Festival selection The Moo Man to UK theaters. Click here to help them reach their goal.

As we write this, we have only seven days left on our Kickstarter campaign and still need to find more than £10,000 (appx. $15,000) to bring The Moo Man to UK cinemas. If we are successful, we will be the first British film to release theatrically with crowdfunding. It is hairy and nerve-racking.

Since our self-funded film was selected for the Sundance Film Festival six months ago, it feels like the roller coaster has not stopped. In the meantime, our horizons have expanded massively, but our desire to keep doing it our way is what gives us the white knuckle ride. Our film was initially planned as a story about a British farmer, his fight for survival, and the right to sell his barely legal raw milk. However, the story soon developed its own legs as our relationship with farmer Steve and an understanding of small farm realities developed. Our filming evolved into less of an issue doc and more of a subtle study of what farming actually means—the ways we as humans use and domesticate animals and whether it can ever be a relationship with two sides.

We realised we could tell this story best with a very observational style. Wonderful. But that does mean a film takes much longer to make. Farm life captivated and challenged us, and two and a half years of filming on a small English dairy farm changed our own thinking in so many ways.

We think there is something within our DNA that forges both our attitude and our sympathies toward domestic animals. This connection to nature and animals might be emotional, but it is also practical, a long evolved survival response from tens of thousands of years of farming. It is a part of who we are. But today this response is under threat. Supermarkets and the food processing industry continually disconnect us from food reality.

For most North Europeans like us, farms are our only real connection with nature. They are not just our food basket but our countryside, too. Farms are living things—beautiful, gritty, dirty and ugly places and essential to our understanding and acceptance of the cycle of life. Our aim was always to tell Steve the farmer’s story in an engaging, funny yet serious way, so allowing the audience to understand emotionally what we’re in danger of losing. We are convinced that touching the audience with a film is the most effective way of changing the understanding of a topic.

We hope The Moo Man will stay with audiences long after they have left the building.

But we have to get them and the film into the building in the first place. We are learning so much as we attempt this. We are convinced that a DIY release is the way to go. We want to tour the film around the UK and take the farmer with us too, so that we can create debate and let people see how important small farms are to their communities. But we also want to bring relevant cinema to rural communities. Its all a big ask!

So communicating this on Kickstarter and raising the funds is the current ride on the rollercoaster. Have a look and maybe you can help us get our movie out there and on the big screen.

Thanks,

Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

In Memoriam: Diane Weyermann (1955–2021)

A singular force within the documentary film world with a global reach, Diane Weyermann passed away at age 66 after battling cancer. Over the course of her 30-year career as a funder and an executive, her work elevated the documentary form and expanded its cultural impact.

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