Film-maker eyes web to wrap green epic
Crowd-funding scheme to finish docoNAOMI ARNOLD
Emma Heke is using people power to finish her third DVD.
Last summer, the Nelson film-maker and her 8-year-old son, Connor, travelled around New Zealand in a van to film Our Green Roadie, a documentary that meets 70 families working and living in an environmentally sustainable way.
After a winter of research, mother and son spent seven months driving 12,500 kilometres from Northland to Riverton, interviewing artisans, farmers, and other business owners producing for local, national, or international markets.
The Hekes self-funded the trip through sales of Heke's previous educational DVDs: Ours, an award-winning nature series that screened on TVNZ6 for two years and on Air New Zealand's in-flight programming, and Our Creative Children.
Heke, 45, is a former high school art and photography teacher, and home schools Connor. Along the way he learned to use the camera and she employed him to photograph the stills.
She wanted to meet mostly ordinary, working families - people with children who were producing a variety of green goods and services. To save money, they mostly stayed with the families they visited.
Now she has signed up for PledgeMe, an online crowd-funding website, to help finish it.
More than 50 people have pledged almost $5000 so far - but she will only receive the funds if her $9750 target is reached by 6pm, on August 16. In return for their donation, pledgers receive a variety of rewards, such as a copy of the DVD, listings in the film's credits, or a night out camping in Serena, the van from the film.
She has completed a rough edit of the film, but the pledged money will pay the wages of a professional editor and sound engineer to bring fresh eyes and skills to turn her footage into something "really special".
"I want it finished properly," she says. "I could do it, but there's only so much one person can do. Homeschooling during day and editing at night, there's not a lot of time for sleep in there."
Initially, she found it difficult to ask strangers for money through PledgeMe.
"But then [a friend] got me on the phone and said: ‘Emma, you are really deserving of this and I want you to market it as if it's for me, not you'. That was the switch that went off.
"We're making it for mainstream New Zealanders - we've picked really ordinary families so we can dispel myths around green living and green business. It's not crazy hippies in the wops - it's really normal people doing this who realise that change needs to happen. We want ordinary New Zealanders to really identify with these people."
Once the film is finished, she'd like to take it on a tour of New Zealand, screening the film in "the smallest of communities". She also has enough extra footage for eight half-hour television episodes.
"We want to get these stories out there," she says. "There's some really awesome things that we all have no idea about - until I started researching and realised there was this wealth of incredible things happening."
Though it was a difficult journey, the time spent with Connor was "really special" and she had seen her son's confidence grow.
"The things he's learnt and the people he's met. He's had a really rich, holistic education."
She said the amazing thing was that everyone they met was content with their lives.
"A lot of people have made real choices in their life to live and do things this way. They work incredibly hard - there's nothing easy about it, but they're really rewarded and satisfied and very happy to get up in the morning and do their work - which we should all be doing."
Check out pledgeme.co.nz/crowd/details/315 to help the Hekes finish their film.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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