Craven, who believes that Wilder might now be too close to the material to be able to edit the film herself, encouraged her to get the services of another professional editor.
So Wilder found Kamila Calabrese, an editor very committed to the project since she herself had a child in the McArdle school.
As Wilder reports on her Kickstarter fundraising page, “a very generous grant of $12,000 from The Bay and Paul Foundation got us through production. The footage has been digitized.
“Kamila Calabrese has edited a rough cut of the first 20 hours, the first week of school,” Wilder writes. “Jay [and I] are happy with this initial cut and want Kamila to work with [me] to edit the footage into a 90-minute piece.”
The Kickstarter funds will pay for this editing process.
Kickstarter characterizes itself as “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” It has gained popularity in the past couple of years as a way to “crowdsource” funding.
According to Kickstarter’s rules, a project “must reach its funding goal before time runs out, or no money changes hands. This way, no one is expected to develop a project with an insufficient budget. Projects can always raise more than their goal, and often do.”
An artist like Wilder sets her own funding goal, so she aims to raise the minimum amount needed to create a vision.
Those using the service often give incentives to encourage people to join at higher levels and also encourage investors to get intimately involved in projects.
In Wilder’s case, each level of donation comes with a special reward. The pledge categories range from $1 to $10,000, each pledge level offering benefits.
For instance, a pledge of $5 or more comes with an Approaching the Elephant postcard and a personal thank-you note.
Donors of $25 will get a DVD of the completed film. A $45 donation gets a donor a special-edition version with interviews and deleted scenes.
A pledge of $350 places the donor’s name in the documentary credits under “special thanks,” a limited edition poster, an invitation to an early screening, and more.
Big-ticket donors are offered premiums like an invitation to a New York premiere, dinner with the filmmakers, signed copies of the DVD, and other gestures of appreciation.
Wilder might be a Brooklyn filmmaker and the Teddy McArdle Free School might have been located in New Jersey, but in many ways the making of Approaching the Elephant is a southern Vermont story.
Wilder’s interest in free-school methods began as early as the fifth grade when her father took her to visit the Summerhill School, a free school in England.
But only when she came to Marlboro College did she experience this kind of learning firsthand.
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