Fundraiser Friday: Kurt Vonnegut Documentary Sets A Steep Price

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Kurt Vonnegut is one of those literary titans, that while appreciated in “nerd book world” seems to get less hype in the real world. As a fiction satirist, he wrote colorful metaphors designed to hold a mirror up to the world, that weren’t designed to expose what we were doing wrong, but how we could be doing better. A lot of people seem to miss that aspect, though — which is why a documentary about Kurt Vonnegut explaining himself in less abstract ways should be crucial. This should be one of those deals where everyone puts a buck in and we all band together and get this made.

The project is simple enough: a young guy 30 years ago wanted to make a documentary, now known as Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time. He got the author’s approval and the two became friends. With hundreds of hours of footage, however, the man ran out of money and started creating … let’s say annoying reasons to not complete the documentary while Vonnegut was still alive. Since then, the documentarian has gone on to win some industry awards — but he wants that documentary made.

This is where you come in.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
is seeking $250,000 to get this project done right. It’s an absurd amount of money. It seems like this guy is almost holding us hostage with this doubtlessly amazing footage: give me a year’s pay and I will take the time to cobble it all into a singular narrative. And yet, I do want to see this footage. And you should want to as well. So it’s become a sort of logic puzzle: do we contribute to the project and trust that this guy doesn’t decide to edit from St. Bart’s, or do we not contribute and hope he dumps it all unvarnished and free online anyhow?

Already the project has made almost $75,000 in donations — but that’s not even a third of the goal, which must be reached in order for Kickstarter to release the funding. He’s got until March 10, but that seems like a lot of money to be accrued in not a lot of time. I have a feeling if it were an author like J.K. Rowling, $250,000 might be accessible. But Vonnegut, he’s always been too niche.

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Still, I wanted to call attention to this crowdsource plea on our Fundraiser Friday, not because I necessarily want this effort to succeed, but because I want to attract the attention of the folks involved, Robert Weide & Don Argott, and say: You can make a terrific documentary for the $75,000 already raised. Don’t let greed or grandeur get in the way of letting the world have access to this fantastic stuff. I recognize it costs money to have someone come in and score the thing and there’s a lot of technical color correcting-type stuff involved. But Vonnegut was a hero to many — think cheaper and maybe consider crowdsourcing volunteers instead of Hollywood cronies.

If you were truly friendly with Vonnegut, I’d think he’d agree.

Share this article because either this documentary gets made or we all learn a lesson of sorts.

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