- Visual Arts
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We are brothers Tim and Noah Hussin, and America Recycled is a film following our two year bicycle journey across the American South. In addition to documenting our own experience on the road, we live with and film modern homesteading communities that creatively challenge conventional wisdom regarding production, consumption, land development, and community. During the first half of the journey, a collection of video, photography, and writing was produced that is available for free at http://www.americarecycled.org. A feature-length film is now under production, with its premier scheduled for January 2014. We are trying to raise $12,000 to assist in post-production costs and travel expenses to collect missing footage in New Orleans. Any money we raise in excess of our goal will go toward paying other production costs and festival submission fees.
While the project started just over two years ago, its seeds had been germinating throughout our youth in the Florida suburbs. Disillusioned by many of our inherited cultural values, we had both worked abroad after university to gain perspective on our country. Tim had just finished a photo assignment for National Geographic Magazine in Potosi, Bolivia. Noah was living in Berlin, Germany, where he had recently completed his term as a Fulbright scholar. Sharing resources, producing locally, and finding entertainment and creative fulfillment through intimate community had attracted us to foreign cultures, but we hadn't found such things at home.
After a long separation, we reconvened in Asheville, North Carolina in April 2010. Putting aside loftier career ambitions, we built recycled bicycles at a local bicycle cooperative (http://www.americarecycled.org/the-recyclery/) and set off on an indeterminate road trip to seek out novel and provocative interpretations of the American Dream. Rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of building new infrastructure and restructuring cultural relationships, our work explores the social, spiritual, and psychological effects of scaling down, re-localizing, and connecting to community and land. We absorb the perspectives of five radical homesteading communities and of conservative rural Americans as we ride toward California, coming to terms with poignant challenges our culture faces and unexpected ways of addressing them.
We have tried to make every effort to keep the project's method true to its ideals. We utilized a portable production studio we could carry on bicycles and operate without additional personnel. Using a Canon 5D Mark II, Zoom H4n, and an assortment of lenses and microphones, America Recycled remains a small-scale independent production while keeping quality high. We also have forgone income from advertising and sponsorship in favor of audience donations, small grants, and the kindness of strangers. These efforts have allowed us intimate contact with communities that wouldn't normally accommodate film crews and are generally distrustful of media. The soundtrack, recorded on the road, is sourced from musicians who are members of the communities featured.
The bare-bones budget of the film is approximately $45,000. We have so far secured approximately 20% of this. As media paradigms rapidly change, funding for projects such as this one is in a state of uncertainty. The digital age allows artists and audience to finally connect directly, and we believe this to be the most powerful route forward in funding powerful stories that might not otherwise be told. Thank you for considering supporting this film, and we look forward to sharing our journey with a larger audience.