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“Crafted”, A Feature Length Documentary

“Crafted”, a feature-length documentary tells the story of New England through the vehicle of traditional Heritage Crafts and of the people who make them, highlighting the vital role they play in the preservation of cultural heritage and the sustainability of global resources.

Help us bring this important story to life by making a generous contribution towards our documentary project. Every donation counts and will have a significant impact, enabling us to tell a compelling story that provokes thoughtful conversations and sparks change.

Please click HERE to contribute or scroll to the end of this page to our Zeffy donation portal. 

Fiscally Sponsored by Arts Alive! Your DONATION is tax deductible 

Heritage Crafts are more than just functional objects; Heritage Crafts are vehicles of story. When you look at a basket, you are looking at the hands that made it and carried it, the natural materials of the land that bore it, details of the everyday life that necessitated it.  Stories of who we, where we came from, and even the history of our region & landscape are within the form & material of our Heritage Crafts. By examining the evolution of the tangible things made by inhabitants of this region ( shelter, clothing, tools, transportation, art) and through interviews with local archeologists, historians and the crafters still working with traditional designs and techniques, this documentary will tell the story of the people of New Hampshire & wider New England. Additionally, it will promote sustainable & ethical practices as shown through traditional crafting using traditional techniques and natural materials as opposed to mass produced objects.

Living life as a heritage crafter means constantly reinventing and recalibrating to survive. Whether that’s repurposing spaces for specialized workshops, using and modifying machines from the 1800s – literally inventing and manufacturing parts to keep them working – adapting to face and thrive during industry struggles, there’s a resilience that cannot be defeated. They are heritage keepers, sustainability promoters, survival hustlers, and dedicated mentors and leaders. They link us to our past, our present, and may be the key to our planet’s future.

 

As our development and ability for mass production processes has increased (mass productions of objects that were originally hand-crafted), people that have generations of experience and training in crafts are being made redundant. We’re losing an critical link to our own cultural heritage representing traditions, beliefs and values of our community and region. This documentary aims to add value and relevance to traditional methods of producing functional objects, additionally showing these methods as a means to live sustainably and more ethically.

This documentary will identify the historic area of significance of a given craft, the area where it’s still practiced and when it first appeared in this area. This may be at the regional level (New England, Northeastern US), geographic level (Connecticut River Watershed, phytogeographic region), and/or local level (Tribe, town, neighborhood, family).

 

Questions being raised through “Crafted” include: What are the heritage crafts of New England? Can this documentary trace them back to their original form and function? What determined the distribution of these crafts – geology, biogeography, anthropology, or political boundaries? What are the most basic forms of local craft? What function did it serve? What is our visual representation in craft form that can only be found in this area and what are the reasons for that? What shape and form of craft was born from our local resources and began with the earliest human inhabitants of the region, and then how did it evolve to and through European Colonists? What are the current local forms/variations of the craft (this may involve different materials, techniques, styles or finished products)? How does natural landscape shape craft and early industry (what influences created our crafting traditions)? What are issues affecting the sustainability of regional heritage craft, if any? This might include shortages of raw materials (because of environmental changes or otherwise), reduced or lack of demand for product, shortages of training opportunities, shortages of craft skills, etc. What crafts are endangered and critically endangered? How do we safeguard our heritage crafts?

 

For this documentary project, a heritage craft is defined as “A practice which employs manual dexterity and skill with an understanding of traditional materials, function, design and techniques, which has been practiced for two or more successive generations” (Heritage Crafts Association, UK)

As stated by UNESCO, in the convention to safeguard Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Traditional craftsmanship is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage. However, is mainly concerned with the skills and knowledge involved in craftsmanship rather than the craft products themselves. Rather than focusing on preserving craft objects, safeguarding attempts should instead concentrate on encouraging artisans to continue to produce craft and to pass their skills and knowledge onto others, particularly within their own communities.” This documentary works toward that end, focusing on & encouraging the support of the artisans working within our region and promoting the continued knowledge and skills of the traditional heritage crafter, while highlighting the significant challenges to their lifestyle and craft.

Fiscal Sponsorship provided by Arts Alive

Help us bring this important story to life by making a generous contribution towards our documentary project. Every donation counts and will have a significant impact, enabling us to tell a compelling story that provokes thoughtful conversations and sparks change.

Fiscally sponsored by Arts Alive!, your donation is tax deductible. 

 

Filmmaker's Statement

Independent Producer, Director and Shooter, I spent 15 years working and living in Los Angeles, CA before moving back to my native New England. My start as an independent producer and director began in professional theater, mounting everything from Absurdist Theater to Opera. Moving out west to pursue a career in media, I started working in TV soon after moving to LA, landing a job at Michael Ovitz’s Artist Management Group in the TV production department where I worked on several multi-camera sitcoms for NBC and UPN. This eventually led to a career as a Casting and Story Producer specializing in docudrama and reality, working on hit shows such as “The Biggest Loser”, “Kid Nation”, “Billy the Exterminator” and most recently “Finding Bigfoot”. The list of network clients include NBC, CBS, A&E, CW, Animal Planet, and FOX in addition to many others. Furthermore, I have made over seven independently produced short films and worked as a director for Hollywood’s renowned Theater of Note, Sacred Fools, Theatre Unleashed and Eclectic Company Theater.

 

Now home on the East Coast I develop and create content that tells the stories of my native New England. Currently specializing in short form documentaries, I help create an online presence for charitable, innovative and inspirational organizations. As an independent documentarian, I’m drawn to the small but poignant stories found in people and the community at large. I believe in the power of inspiration. Stories that show people taking charge of their own life and making a difference, matter. Through focusing attention on grassroots initiatives, innovative technologies, environmentally responsible practices, on local sustainable farms, we learn how to rebuild our communities, our home and spiritual centers, and heal our planet.

 

My years in television resulted in a very formulaic approach to photography and storytelling. This project is allowing me to take a very visceral as opposed to technical approach and come back to myself as an artist and filmmaker. It’s letting me get back into my flow, freeing me up, letting go of formulas, and being in the moment with artists and their creative processes.

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