Big smiles at Howell At The Moon Productions greeted the news that the Wenatchee-based filmmakers had reached, then exceeded, their Web fundraising goal of $15,000 for the bike-umentary “Pedal Driven” via the Kickstarter site.
“We’re breathing a big sigh of relief,” said Jamie Howell, founder of the five-employee outfit putting together the groundbreaking movie focusing on resolving trail conflicts. Not that donors should quit giving, as the project still will have final-production costs to meet.
“People should feel free to keep on giving,” Howell noted.
There’s been enough buzz already about “Pedal Driven” to guarantee the movie will be a hit. Howell At The Moon stumbled across the idea while doing a commercial project in Leavenworth, where unauthorized trail building had left local mtbers and land managers at odds with one another.
“Pedal Driven’s focus is on the solutions aspect,” Howell said. “People are finding a lot of creative ways to approach new trail building, while building sustainability into the equation.”
Among locations already filmed, including Leavenworth, are the Seattle area’s Colonnade park under I-5 and the Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park near Issaquah. Both were put together by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance working with Seattle and King County authorities.
Howell in particular had praise for Jon Kennedy, former Evergreen executive director, under whose tenure the Colonnade and Duthie projects came to fruition. Kennedy, now marketing manager for Diamondback Bicycles in Kent, “deserves a lot of credit” for raising mountain-bike awareness in the region, Howell said, adding that Evergreen is “a great example” of a mountain-bike group working creatively with management agencies to open new facilities.
While the film’s core audience is the mountain biking community, Howell believes it will find appeal with land-management agencies, trusts, other user groups and even the mainstream public interested in mountain biking as a family activity.
“It’s a mountain-biking movie, but our goal is to be fair and unbiased,” Howell said. Or to put it another way, “our bias is the goal of sustainability.”
Howell At The Moon comes at the project from a different perspective than most mtb films. Although small, they’ve done a variety of commercial projects. They do ride mountain bikes, but consider themselves professional filmmakers first.
“As professional filmmakers, we really want this piece to work from the land-management-agency standpoint,” Howell said.
The film’s budget is $170,000 — “about typical” for a documentary of this scope, Howell said. The bulk of the money is coming from sponsors, including Shimano and Specialized. The $15,000 comes at a strategic time — to finish filming and do final production work.
The film is “95 percent shot,” Howell said, with some Moab footage and an interview with an Arizona sustainable-trail scientist still to be added.
The goal is to premiere “Pedal Driven” at the Sea Otter Classic in April. From there the film will do the local-premiere circuit. Howell hopes it will eventually find mainstream distribution or commercial broadcast.
Profits will go to sustainable trail-building projects under the auspices of IMBA, the International Mountain Bike Association.
“Our No. 1 goal is to survive the making of the film,” Howell joked. After that it’s “to get it out there for people to see.”