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“People of the Delta” Film Project

January 18, 2013 //  News Back to posts

(Above: Campaign pitch video I made for my Kickstarter project “People of the Delta”. You can view the project here.)

People of the Delta is my dream project. All is explained in the video above, but allow me to make this blog post a personal note.

This film is a personal project I believe can connect with a huge global audience once completed, but let’s be honest- it’s not exactly a Hollywood Blockbuster that studios will be throwing piles of dough to me for. If a major film studio invested in this, my fear is they would not have the same vision we do, and it could mean some kind of compromise.

Collaborating with agencies and studios has never been a problem for me in my commissioned work, but there is something just too personal about this project to include an outside company into the creative process. Raising the funds through a site like Kickstarter helps me maintain creative control.

To be extremely honest, it took me a long time to come around to Kickstarter as an outlet to fund the film. I’m actually a huge fan of the website and it’s inspiring “do it yourself” message, but I didn’t want my film to be lumped into the million other Kickstarter projects. If you’re like me, sometimes I browse the internet all roll my eyes at all the white noise. Although I’ve actually contributed to a couple cool campaigns, I remained a skeptic for a long time.

Then… I took a second to realize what this site represents and jumped off my high-horse. This is an outlet in which fans can directly support things they believe in. For film projects like mine, it cuts out any middle-men and speaks direct to the supporters who share the same vision. The supporters are the crucial enablers behind the project. In return, the supporters benefit from special rewards directly catered them. The Kickstarter campaign should be mutually beneficial for myself and followers. On the Kickstarter site, you’ll find all sorts of rewards that I developed based on feedback I asked for earlier in the year. There are downloads of the final project, tutorials on the creation of the film, gallery prints, gear with my photos on it, and even portfolio reviews where I’ll sit down with you on Skype to have a one to one chat.

(Above: Early concept art by illustrator and friend of mine Sam Spratt. Click to enlarge.) 

I feel at this stage, my blog readers and followers trust the long-term commitment I have to my personal projects, and feel confident I can create a film with a strong work ethic.

Kickstarter is “all-or-nothing” funding. This means, if we don’t reach our funding goal, the project doesn’t happen. (The money goes back into the supporters pockets.) I believe in this model since what I’m asking for is the bottom line cost to create the film. Anything below, I will have to alter my vision of the film and try again with a new approach. Anything raised above the goal, will only make the film better and increase production value by enabling my crew to stay longer on location.

As I mentioned in the video- it’s not going to be easy. This is just the beginning.

Thank you,


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alejandrina // January 21, 2013 08:58

really beautiful work

Soven AMatya // January 21, 2013 21:15

The people of the valley are truly beautiful...

I have no doubt this is going to be an amazing production that showcase such amazing people...

Good luck!!!

DidotMartha // January 25, 2013 20:01

Super awesome dude!!!

Rainer Behrens // January 28, 2013 08:34

Hi Joey,
thank you for sharing your very inspirational project.
Really amazing how you put yourself out there and foster the knowledge of mankind.
Good on you!
Warm regards,

Brandon Price // February 04, 2013 00:45

I just spent five bucks on a iTunes rental for an okay movie, so I have no problem putting money into this project which I know will be excellent. I've let my friends and family know on Facebook and G+. I'm really hoping to see this project come to fruition! My money has been pledged and I can't wait!

Eduardo Banderas G. // February 04, 2013 17:45

Hi Joey...
Really great jobs...your photos and projects are really beautiful.
Congratulations from Chile and Brazil.

Luca Zizioli // February 05, 2013 01:43

Hi Joel! Thank you for you works and for sharing them with us... I've watched the "Beyond" Documentary and I think that world needs some people like you and your friends, able to compare themselves with other people and cultures by going far away from our country, and come into their society in peace and with big respect for them. Too many times I see people shooting thousand of photos without thinking about the life, the religion, the feelings of the people.
I love the way you work, I hope that you'll have a great future and very good luck! I'm proud to support you in this new "Film Projecr"!
Best Regards,
big fan from Italy!

Luca Zizioli // February 05, 2013 01:50

I've just watched the "Varanasy" Documentary and must thank you a lot for your works and for sharing it with us (the decision to put it for free in your blog shows what a great people you and your friends are!)
I love the way you approach with other cultures and people and you work, many times I see rude people shooting thousand of photos without thinking about feelings, culture, religion of the people!
I'm very proud to support you in this new experience, "People of the delta", I wish you all the best, it will be a masterpiece, for sure!
A big fan from Italy!

Luca Zizioli // February 06, 2013 12:49

Ok, sorry I didn't see that the first message was ok.... lol

Just a question : is possible to choose two rewards on kickstarter??

Yesterday I chose the "$50+ pack", but I'd like also to buy the book and add it...but it seems not possible because I can choose one or the other!


Harald Voglhuber // May 01, 2013 12:03

Hi Joey, this is a really beautiful idea! Especially document the life of this people in a cinematographic way and not just in a "run and gun" documentary. If you need some additional crew member, please let me know :-) // May 07, 2014 15:40

great insight. Really enjoyed browsing this blog.
Keep up the good work and to everyone keep on tweeting!

Andom Gebreyessus // August 25, 2016 22:32

This is really wonderful JL. I'm working in the Ethiopian tourism sector (Booking, operating tour, renting car, promoting tourism, etc) and when I always happen to the Omo Valley with guests, I always feel strange. And when I think of the poor culture of preserving this place and people, I feel sad. I don't want to think of some 10 years, 20 years from now about them. They are being deprived of their own dignity.

Thank you JL, and please I would be very happy to have a chance to meet you.

Nhu-Linh // October 06, 2018 00:11

Hello Joey, it's a beautiful idea and beautiful work you have done. I specially apreciate your aproach about your photo shoots. I admire your humility and your respect. You are a great guy.

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