Dear Friends of “The Singing Wilderness,”
If you are reading this, it’s probably because you’ve supported this project in the past. And thanks to you, we were able to go to the Boundary Waters for five days last October and gather some pretty incredible footage, a sampling of which you can watch right here. We also shot another key interview with Sigurd’s son Bob, and another with a 92 year-old woman in Ely who knew Sigurd and was inspired by him to become an outfitter.
After watching that clip online, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Communications Director Greg Seitz called me and asked if there was any way they could support the project, since it aligns so closely with their mission. After a meeting with Greg and Executive Director Paul Danicic in March, Friends of the Boundary Waters has featured the project on their website, in newsletters, and in several Tweets (!), and even pledged a financial contribution. As THE premier advocacy organization for the BWCAW, their support means A LOT. Read their lovely, complimentary blog post about the film here.
I also made presentations in March at the The Moving Pictures Collective New York City (MoPictive), and Docuclub Minnesota, where I got a lot of praise and a ton of great feedback. Thanks to Melody Gilbert, the matriarch of the Midwestern documentary scene, for her guidance and connections to the talented and vibrant Minnesota filmmaking community.
In December, the monthly Good Age did a cover story about me and the film. You can download a PDF of the full issue here. We’ve also been featured prominently on a number of great blogs, along with the footage, including UpNorthica.com, MidwesternGentleman.com, new-wood.blogspot.com, WildernessWatch.org, and CreateHappy.org. Thanks to all of you for helping us broaden our exposure.
In just the last three weeks the video had been visited almost 2500 times through these websites. So, word is getting out. We’re gaining momentum. But our most important shoot to date is coming up in May, and we are lacking in the funds needed to undertake it. A group of students from Northland College, Sig’s Alma Mater and home to the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, will they take to the lakes and rivers of the BWCAW for a two week canoe trip. They will be studying the works of Olson, Thoreau, and other wilderness writers, recording their reflections, and finally, composing their own essays on what it means to live among the elements, to touch the infinite, and reconnect with our evolutionary origins.
This sequence, this story, which will be interwoven into the body of the documentary, stands to become the backbone, the lifeblood, and the living spirit of the film. Interviews and wilderness footage can go, well, only so far in bringing Sigurd’s ideas to life. But these eight students will embody the notion that wilderness can nourish the spirit where modern civilization and digital technology only leave it dulled, empty, and wanting. Or they won’t! Either way it will be interesting. Their observations, conversations, and insights discovered during their deep immersion into the wilderness will bring intimacy, perspective, and contemporary context to the film.
We’ve budgeted about $6000 for this shoot (this will cover costs for travel, food, lodging, and gear rental – but NOT any sort of compensation for the crew, all of whom will be taking time off of paid work to give to the project). I still have about $2500 left over from last spring’s fundraiser, but that leaves a considerable gap. Please, if you can help with even a small contribution, donate now.