Fifth Grade Around the World

by Mary Rosanne Katzke


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As a filmmaker, my practice is based on cause-driven projects that give a voice to people and subjects that otherwise wouldn’t have a voice. My current project encompasses this same mission but is based on my own, very personal and life-changing experience.  As many already know, finding funding for personal films is next to impossible and you personally can make a huge difference in our ability to bring this story to the screen, large or small. We have all our footage in the can, logged and ready to edit.  We have a story outline- and a musician, editor, and colorist on stand by. We just need your help to pay these talented people for their time, and in the happy event that we over-fund we will use the additional monies to distribute the film and build outreach tools.

In January 2010 our family suffered the tragic loss of my young nephew. This was a shock to our family and deeply impacted to us. It forced me to realize that I have but a small window of influence on my 10 year-old son.  I decided to take a huge leap toward a long held dream of taking him out of school, learning to home school, selling our home, and hitting the road- with a goal of “heading East until we made it back to Alaska.” 

We were successful and it was a tremendous experience.  I am certain this will be one of the top highlights of our lives when all is said and done in the end. We hope to help other families see how they, too, can take a “family gap year” and that it is worth facing down the perceived risks.  When we got back, people were far less interested in seeing photos of where we went (27 countries) than they were in hearing about HOW we did it. We learned a lot and we are ready to share our experience in an engaging film. As a photographer, I feel that the imagery is strong.

My son will narrate the story and I will be shaping it around some themes of cultural diversity, school curriculum and lunch differences, his POV vs. mine while observing different cultures, and how growing up on the road impacted us (he lost 9 teeth and grew 6 inches!). 

We will include details on practical aspects from insurance to communication, and more fun details like how to be a student in a school for a day in a foreign country, but the focus and energy of the piece will be the shared experiences of mother and son on the world trail. 

We thank you for considering helping us finish our story and getting it out to the world. We believe we have lived a dream and want to give courage to others to take the same leap, or at the very least, experience it vicariously through our film. 

Match Funds are not currently available.

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    • February 08, 2013 Tami Zwicke Artist

      Wow, How exciting. I was lucky enough to do my MFA in the UK and it was one of the best experiences in my life. Travel can open your eyes to so many things. What a great project.