By Sandra Zunino
A pristine wilderness, a way of life barely touched by modern age or civilization, a development proposition bringing economic promise or possibly havoc to the aforementioned…, sound familiar? But this time, we’re talking about Maine.
Filmmaker and part-time Easton resident Sarah Katz has been working diligently on a documentary about a conflict over the largest forest in the eastern United States between conservationists and Plum Creek Timber, the country’s biggest private landholder.
What started out as her Master’s in Film degree thesis at American University, Moosehead’s Wicked Good Plan will be the project that Sarah hopes will turn attention on Maine’s beautiful 40-mile-long Moosehead Lake and her cast of real people who are struggling with the prospect of change and how to protect a beloved natural resource.
Growing up on the outskirts of Auburn, one of Maine’s larger towns surrounded by forests, Sarah spent much of her childhood hiking, skiing and developing a deep-seeded love of the Maine outdoors. Now that her parents, Dr. William and Mrs. Joan Katz are residents of Easton, she considers the Eastern Shore her second home and can relate to the concern many residents have about over-development in this area.
Thus far, Sarah and her crew have shot more than 50 hours of footage, filming all day, five days a week for six weeks. Then she transcribed hours worth of interviews. A five-minute trailer that can be viewed at http://strayjournal.com/mooseheads-wicked-good-plan sets the tone for the finished documentary, but there is still much work to do.
While Sarah is the producer, writer and director of the film, she needs an editor to help reduce the raw footage into a 50-minute time slot at a cost of about $8,000. “I think the project will benefit from an extra pair of eyes,” she says.
Sarah was able to utilize AU’s equipment such as cameras and microphones, but used her own funds for travel expenses and crew. Scholarship donations helped with some of the funding and Sarah is petitioning for more grants and organizing fundraising efforts to complete the project, which will probably cost $30,000 to $40,000 before it is finished. “That’s actually considered a low-budget film,” she explains.
Sarah’s experience comes from working on documentaries for the past seven years at numerous media companies in Maine and D.C., including National Geographic Channel International, Story House Productions, Corina Productions and Norman Star Media. She is currently an associate producer at National Geographic Television.
Fortunately, Sarah was recently awarded fiscal sponsorship by Women in Film and Video, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the professional development and achievement for women working in all areas of film, television, video, multimedia and related disciplines. Conbtributions to the film are charitable donations with this new status.
Sarah says when the documentary is complete, she would like to submit it to film festivals and eventually see it run on PBS. Ultimately, she says she hopes the film inspires dialogue about land use and finding a balance between sustainability and residential and economic development. “I would also like to showcase how unique Moosehead Lake is,” she says. “You don’t find many places as remote and untouched, and I hope to see it better protected.”
For more information on Moosehead’s Wicked Good Plan, visit www.kickstarter.com or contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Women in Film and Video, visit www.wifv.org.