Perennial Blog

Inspiration, Move Me Brightly!

With two days left, we made it to our goal! Over 600 people came together to support Immigrants and Refugees — and the idea that storytelling has the power to change perspectives.

Kickstarter campaigns are hard, but doing this campaign inspired us:

We were inspired by your generosity — from donations of $1.00 up to $5,000.

We were inspired by the kindness of our “neighbors” as we received donations from Ireland, Australia, England, Mexico, Singapore and Tajikistan.

We were inspired by the countless “Thank you, I am an immigrant” stories sent in comments and emails.

We were inspired by our friends from the past who surprised us by their support in this, and new friends who we met through the campaign.

We were inspired by one such new friend, Benny, who was an early contributor. He sent in $50 and a beautiful note about a refugee who made an impact on him. Not long afterwards, he increased his pledge to $125 by selling a few things around his house — because, as he said, this was important to him.

We were inspired by Tim from Ireland whose incredible SECOND donation put us over the $50K mark last night.

We were inspired by the friends in the food and travel industries who reached out to offer up amazing rewards.

Were were inspired by people like Matt B, Jon W, Coley, River, Leslie and organizations like IOM and Define American who were promoting and supporting this as much as we were — as if it were their own project.

We were inspired by the 6 weeks we spent in Mexico during this campaign… where we heard countless stories from Mexicans who had lived in the US, who still had family there, who were deported, and who knew that the US government is not it’s people, and that we are neighbors.

We were inspired by the moving and devastating stories around the globe: of ICE crackdowns and of lawyers at airports, of chemical attacks and of families welcoming Syrian refugees in Chicago.

And, of course, we were inspired by immigrant and refugee stories and people the world over, stories that we hope to share in this film series… of our common human experience.

We can’t thank you enough. Now back to work (story ideas welcome)!

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The Value of an Idea

Can a kickstarter campaign succeed without tangible rewards? Will people support an untested idea for change? We aim to find out.

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How to find a story like McGrath’s

People often ask how we find the stories we film. There are many ways: Sometimes they come recommended from others, sometimes people recommend themselves, and other times we stumble upon them. McGrath’s is one of those. I had been looking for someone in Ireland to show us a recipe on blood pudding using real blood (I know, the vegetarian…). Though blood pudding is a very common dish in this country, it’s not easy to find a person who is making it in the traditional way of using fresh blood, and is also willing to show you their secrets.

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Trump in Ireland

Probably the most asked question during our two months in Ireland from farmers and fishermen, chefs and hunters has been, “so what do you think of Trump?” No joke — every single Irish person I’ve talked to for more than 30 seconds has broached the subject. My response always (except once) received a: “Oh thank God, it’s madness isn’t it?!” (the Irish public has been polled on Trump and he only has 6% support here).

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Hunting with Mirra

Filming the shoot presented a question about what kind of stories we tell in our series and where “sustainable” begins and ends. I’ve always considered our show to be less about the answer, and more about presenting different points of view, and so I was curious to hear the point of view on the ethics of shooting birds for food (and sport).

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How I learned to stop flying and Hate the Drone

Perhaps it is the appearance of drone shots in every single video I watch on TV or online. Perhaps it was the money. Perhaps it was the fact that Ireland is a windy and wild place, and the locations where I wanted to film, just can’t handle a drone flight. Perhaps it was a relief to let go of some gear and focus on the filmmaking. When you have a video camera, a still camera, a gopro, an iPhone and a drone, all trying to document what’s around you it ends up being stressful and you lose sight of what you are doing — capturing a real and true story. So drones: you are fun and cool, but at this moment in my filmmaking career, I’m going to wait till you can handle Ireland’s wind.

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Film Shoots with Baby

When we venture out on film shoots without a babysitter, and without Hunter, Daniel and I split up the work: One of us films our intended subject, while the other watches the baby. Last week, Daniel went up the mountain in the Burren with a sheep farmer while James and I stayed back on the farm. Within a few minutes, he had changed into his wellies, and was running through the open fields while the farm dogs trailed behind. For the next couple hours, that farm was a playground. James discovered horse manure, climbed on the tractor, mooed at the cows and stared at awe in the sheep. He fell in mud, and stumbled on the rocky dirt road. He squealed at the cat perched near the warm chimney watching him, and he munched on biscuits and butter made by the farmers wife. He slept the whole ride home and didn’t even realize that he was the luckiest boy in the world.

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Cliffs of Moher

These rocks are photographed literally thousands of times a day… still worth another look.

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On Cooking in Ireland

In Ireland, instead of eating out, we are shopping for great local ingredients, and eating from home. We do however have one large advantage, the airbnb we are staying at happens to have an acre kitchen garden, a dozen apple trees and alpine strawberries growing in the cracks of the various pathways.

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A Recipe for “Wine Bottle” Pie

Our backdoor opens to a trove of apple trees. Ever since we arrived, I’ve been anxious to take advantage of this amazing bounty and start baking. Unfortunately, the house isn’t yet stocked with the necessary baking supplies (rolling pin, measuring cups, mixing bowls…)

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