I'm a title. click to edit me / Cannes, FR

Even before we were married 29 years ago, we were film buffs.  A 90-mile drive was nothing if it meant we could see a great film.  In 1993, we stumbled upon an ad in a trade paper called The Big Reel for a film convention in Saginaw Michigan, decided to go.

I'm a title. click to edit me / Austin, TX
I'm a title. click to edit me / NYC, NY

Our Crowdfunding Campaign

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Thanks for checking out our campaign.  We already have something very important in common; we all recognize the importance and influence film has on the quality of our lives.

 

If you’re like us, you love film.  You love it so much, you are willing to do what you can to help more, new, inspiring films get out into the world to inspire and educate others.  You’re willing to put your money where your heart is and fund these films into existence.  That’s exactly what we’ve done with our resources, time and lives, to bring Reel Heroes to the screen.

 

So let us ask you, What would you do to save a film you loved for future generations?

 

That’s a very real question these days when the world’s media is now controlled by only 6 corporations (and Disney’s just acquired 20th Century Fox!).  SIX CORPORATIONS – and one of them is Disney!  Imagine if Disney controlled all film holdings in the 40s and 50s.  Would we even know about the holocaust or early race films or ethnic stereotyping or films focusing on homosexuality or women’s rights … because there are actually some pretty interesting films available from those time periods that would not exist today or be accessible to the public were it not for film collector/preservationists. 

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So, what is our film about?

Reel Heroes is a documentary, covering 15 years, that exposes the underground world of a special group of film collectors who out of necessity became protectors and guerrilla film preservationists. It uncovers the startling reasons why they refuse to allow film to die in the digital age, why you should care and what you can do to keep access to these films available to you and future generations.

 

Why did we make it?

We made Reel Heroes because we, as film collectors, were in a unique position to gain access and trust within a very tight-knit group of collectors.  It was not easy to gain their trust.  Did you know they were hunted and their homes were raided by the FBI in the 1970s?  We cover that dark time in our film but it took literally YEARS for us to get the right people to talk about it.

 

Why now?

We are offering you a unique and rare opportunity to become involved in a project that has been 15 years in the making, has interviewed some of the most important people in film collecting and restoration and has amassed a wealth of exclusive footage from which we are creating an exceptional documentary. 

 

And the good news is you didn’t have to sit thru all of the painful early years of the project or the upgrades of technology or all of the growing pains we went thru in order to keep the film not only current but also important.

It’s a frightening, Orwellian, fact and that’s why crowdfunding is so important.  Crowdfunding is the last opportunity the people have in directing their film choices.  We are grateful you’re here!

It has also come to our attention that at least two other film companies are now creating similar projects.  We have been warned that we must beat them to market or else possibly lose our target audience to lesser projects that would dilute interest in the true stories of heroism we are sharing.

  • WE have the 15 year scope

  • WE have the last footage with deceased heroes

  • WE have footage of vaults and festival closings that no longer exist

  • WE have the early photos and rare interviews

 

Help us finish our film in time for the Cannes Film Festival Deadline.

If we reach our goal, we can make the submission deadline.

 

Why should you fund this project?

You’ll be coming in on the very end of the process but still have an opportunity to participate and even be associated with it by having your name in the credits or even becoming a producer.  You’ll get the benefit of association with an  historically-important film.  Participation at this point in the process will yield you the largest result for the least amount of effort or your time. 

 

Let us tell you about some of the other things you won’t be paying for …

 

  • the acquisition of 130 hours of footage

  • the cost of plane tickets, gas, hotel or car rentalsover 15 years, across X states to X film conventions

  • the cost of admission to those conventions

  • the cost of the computers, hard drives, software or classes we had to take to learn how to do as much of the production ourselves as possible

  • web hosting or entry fees

 

Because we already paid for all of this ourselves.

 

How important is this film, really?

Let us tell you where this hard-won footage is going when we’re through.  It will be put on deposit at a major film archive so scholars of the future will have access to these interviews.  What Kevin Brownlow did with his book “The Parade’s Gone By” we’ve tried to do with film collectors.  Many of these interviews are the last recordings of now-deceased giants in preservation.

 

If you want to know the backstory, read on but if not, take a look at the contribution options and make your donation now.

Our Crowdfunding Campaign

 

It was spectacular; we saw 3-strip Technicolor, rare silents, even films printed on original nitrate. Films you couldn’t see anywhere! For $5 we bought our first film print; a TV show of a mysterious turbaned organist named Korla Pandit. (We didn’t even own a film projector!) 

 

We met and made friends with so many people who shared this passion. We thought WE were into film; but after meeting these people, it felt like our first day at film school.

 

After a few years attending Cinesation, we became regulars.  We also branched out to other similar festivals including Cinevent in Ohio, Cinefest in New York and Cinecon in California.  We developed ongoing relationships with other collectors.

 

We were getting the inside scoop into this little-known underground world.  In talking with the collectors, we were moved by their stories, their sacrifices and their efforts to keep and preserve films (no matter the consequences), and we were inspired to make a documentary about them.

 

This subject matter had never been covered before. There were respected documentaries about film history and preservation and even film fanatics. But no films were telling quite the same stories as we were hearing. These people would dive into dumpsters to save films thrown away by studios.  They were splicing back together shredded films they believed were the only surviving print.  Some were even digging in chicken coops and cleaning the caked on chicken dung off what would turn out to be the only print of something.

Other issues that came to light including the FBI raids conducted on many innocent film collectors in the 1970s.  Copyright laws were being unfairly extended to keep great films from the public domain (or public access).  Great performances were kept from the public record due to lack of ownership paper trails.

 

There was something bigger going on here.  We needed to bring this private fight to the public.  We needed to find what the average person could do to forestall these encroaching corporate interests along with advances in digital technology that threaten to render this medium and its members extinct.

 

We unwittingly captured the death of film as people quickly adopted the much cheaper digital medium, never realizing that they were unconsciously losing access to most of their film history in exchange for the cheaper technology.

During our quest, we’ve met and interviewed so many fascinating people but we’d have to say some of our most sought-after interviews finally came true: Oscar winner (and true patron saint of film collecting) Kevin Brownlow met with us in England, Bambi Everson (daughter of the legendary film collector William K. Everson who influenced Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick) and the family of notorious deceased film hoarder Al Detlaff who had died under unusual circumstances and we got the 17 year old who had been raided by the FBI in the 1970s to talk on camera about the ordeal.

Since we started this journey, some of our subjects have died, leaving us with their only interview, and two of the four major film conventions mentioned above (Cinesation and Cinefest) closed their doors for good (and we have the footage). There are some incredible Cinderella stories to be told and some David and Goliath fights that will come to light. We’ve gathered the footage, now we just need a bit of funding for post production to finish the film.

 

By the end of our film, the viewer will understand not only how these collectors became protectors for the common good, but that their film history is being stolen out from under them and how they can stop the theft and regain the right to access our cultural film history.

 

So if you love film, and all its life-changing potentials, we invite you to join us. Support this project.  Help us get to the finish line.  These Heroes stories deserve to be told!

© 2017 Reel Heroes Film, LLC.  All rights Reserved.

email:   info@reelheroesfilm.com

phone:  708-254-9084

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