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Cloud Piercer at Stowe Story Labs
By Anita Ross
I want to embed this project somewhere
63 people pledged
NZ$3,500 minimum target
Pledges will only be confirmed if the target is reached by: 31/08/2015 at 10:00 PM (NZST)Make a Pledge
Cloud Piercer At Stowe Story Labs
Project 2015-08-03 10:13:00 +1200
Two years ago I came across the story of Freda Du Faur. She was born in 1882, 100 years almost exactly to the day before my own birthday. Freda grew up in the wilderness outside of Sydney and taught herself to rock climb, solo and without the use of a rope. Oh and in a dress. On a trip to New Zealand, Freda fell in love with our beautiful Southern Alps and decided to become a mountaineer.
Back then mountain climbers had nothing but wool to protect them from the elements. They climbed in hobnail boots; forget crampons and fancy nylon rope! Women also wore long skirts, although Freda cut hers scandalously short… to just below the knee. Freda broke into a domain held by men and against all convention, with hard work and sheer determination became the first woman to stand on the summit of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook, the Cloud Piercer.
We don’t often get to see films about trailblazing women or women in general, or films written or directed by women. This is why this project is so important to me. I’ve spent the last two years developing and writing Freda’s story and my feature film script Cloud Piercer is now getting some international recognition.
I’ve received an early admission to the Stowe Story Labs in the US as well as a merit-based scholarship, covering part of the tuition. The Labs are all about script development, mentoring by industry veterans and learning essential skills that will get me much closer to taking Freda’s incredible story from script to screen.
This campaign will help cover the cost of the remaining tuition, flights and accommodation.
Freda is an incredible character, her story is astounding and I need your help to get it onto the screen. The Labs are a huge step in the development of the film.
Thank you for your support in getting me there!
What people have said about Cloud Piercer
"We are very pleased to have Anita joining us in Stowe this fall. Her commitment to learning the craft of screenwriting and her vision for telling the story of Freda du Faur is inspiring." - David Rocchio, Director Stowe Story Labs
"The tenacious Freda leaps off the page, hobnail boots and all, to tell the story of her love affair with the mountains. A triumphant tale of determination and true grit." ~ Jane Fletcher
"I read 'Cloud Piercer' in one sitting and thought it was a wonderfully written script. It's the true story of a woman who refused to let others define her path and ascension in life and ultimately becomes the first woman to reach the top of Mt. Cook. I'm convinced it would make for an equally compelling story on screen as it does on the page and would be surprised if anyone else who read it felt otherwise. I hope we'll get to see this in cinemas soon and believe that any efforts to make that happen should be supported." ~ Chaz Harris
"It is an excellent piece of work, well done! The story is engaging and filled with determination and lively energy. I want to see it. It is a story that should be told and I was engaged in Freda as a character and in her achievements against the odds." ~ Tanya Wheeler
Thank you to Jane Fletcher (writer, director, editor extraordinaire!) who shot and edited the campaign video. You can keep up with Jane's work at http://janey-fletch.com/
Thank you to Beck, Tim (check out his rad art here!) and Clementine for the flight-loan!
And thank you to my Little Human for the silly faces and mowing the lawn with your craft scissors. xx
You did it!
28/08/2015 at 9:55 AM
We've reached the SUMMIT!
Thanks to many lovely new supporters we have reached our target and are taking Cloud Piercer to the Stowe Story Labs! Thank you very much to our newest supporters:
Tanya M. Wheeler
Mystery Pledger #7
Not-so-Mysterious Pledger #8
With 59 pledges made and 4 days to spare, you did it! THANK YOU EVERYONE!
I'm feeling very much like this today:
I gained the summit and waited for them, feeling very little, very lonely, and much inclined to cry. They caught my hands and shook them, their eyes glowing with pleasure and pride, and with an effort I swallowed the lump in my throat and laughed instead. Then we all began talking at once; it was only 8.40 a.m., and we had beaten any previous record by two hours, and I a mere woman! I felt bewildered, and could not realize that the goal I had dreamed of and striven for for years was beneath my feet. I turned to them with a flash and asked if it were "really, truly the summit of Mount Cook," whereat they laughed very much and bade me look. Truly we were on top of the world, our little island world.... Human nature has but a limited capacity - this wide world was limitless.
Freda Du Faur, The Conquest of Mount Cook, p 104
There'll be many mountains and valleys to navigate to bring Cloud Piercer to the screen but this experience and your support make me believe, more than ever, that it is possible! I'm feeling very grateful and very excited, and I will keep you posted from time to time about where Cloud Piercer is at.
Thank you all again so very much!
20/08/2015 at 11:06 AM
Do you know who broke 3K? WE DID!
Thank you very much to two more generous supporters:
Bernd Justin Jütte
Here's a little song for you:
The Song of Life!
by George Essex Evans
Sing not of Rest
For heart, or brain, or the strong soul’s emotion
Beneath the shadow of Eternal peace!
There is no rest in Nature or surcease
Of Law, and Labour, in unceasing motion.
Sing not of Rest!
Sing not of Peace
On earth, or in the realms beyond our dreaming!
Progress and Retrogression all things draw
Within the edict of Eternal Law.
Search for the Real which lies beneath the Seeming.
Sing not of Peace
Sing thou of Toil,
Of toil that moulds to-day the larger morrow!
Move with stout heart on Life’s great battle-field
And wear the motto “Progress” on thy shield.
All that is best is won through toil and sorrow.
Sing thou of Toil!
Sing thou of Hope!
Of Hope that lights the world to strong endeavour!
Height beyond height but loftier summits show,
Depth beneath depth reveals a depth below.
Choose thou the best. There is no resting ever.
Sing thou of Hope!
Sing thou of Truth!
That which alone can stand when all is sifted;
That which Humanity in pain and tears
Has sought with patient toil through myriad years,
Till thou shalt see with radiant face uplifted
The italicised verse was Freda's favourite and she quoted it in her book, The Conquest of Mount Cook. I can see why. Hope is pretty darn powerful feeling to hold onto.
In my case, I am daring to make dinner plans for my first night in Vermont, to meet some of the other writers/directors/producers participating in the Story Labs. $480 to go to target and still 11 days to go! That's a pretty hopeful place to be.
Thank you, everyone and keep sharing Freda's Story!
40 is the new Awsome!
19/08/2015 at 9:01 AM
Good morning beautiful people!
We have reached another milestone with our 40th supporter!
Welcome to the journey and thank you very much to:
Mystery Pledger #5
Mystery Pledger #6
Kate, Holger, M & T
Here's a story for you.
When Freda's mountain guide and friend, Peter Graham, took her on her first high climb up Mount Sealy, he had no idea how familiar Freda was with rock climbing.
They were ascending the rocks up to the summit which are steep and have few hand and foot holds. Graham, of course, lead the climb and started showing Freda which way to go, where to hold onto and sometimes trying to pull on the rope to help her up. To his considerable surprise, every time he turned, Freda was already at his heels, grinning cheerfully.
Graham's response was a quiet murmur along the lines of, 'Did not know I was taking out a blessed cat.'
(This is Millie: http://www.backcountry.com/explore/my-climbing-partner-eats-chicken-liver)
We have another $730 to go to hit the target. This is an all or nothing campaign, so please keep sharing Freda's story and this page. 13 days to go!
Thank you very much for your continued support.
Happy half-way to the weekend day!
17/08/2015 at 11:22 AM
Happy Monday, everyone!
It's been a quiet weekend, so why not kick off the week in style, Mount Cook style, that it.
Ever wondererd what it's like to climb Mount Cook? Check out adventurer/blogger/engineering student Alastair McDowell's video! Bet those mountaineers among you are just itching to get out there (again)!
Now imagine watching Freda climb this mountain, in a skirt and with rope that by today's standards can hardly be called that. Imagine reclining in your compfy chair at the local movie theatre cheering Freda on, mourning her defeats, celebrating her victories, and taking in those stunning views....
Can you imagine?
Do you know anyone else who can?
Then, please share this page with them!
We have 14 days to raise another $785 to hit our target. While the Stowe Story Labs do not guarantee Cloud Piercer will hit the screens one day, it is a significant step towards that goal.
Thank you for your help and support!
Have a happy week.
14/08/2015 at 10:49 AM
It's (almost) the weekend and we're celebrating four wonderful new supporters, our first interview and another one in the works. Interviews are simultaneously terrifying and fun. Saying 'Thank you!' to our supporters is wonderful!
So, THANK YOU! to:
Cath Tate and The Family
Mystery Pledger #4
With your help we're able to officially ring in the homestretch!
Speaking of 'home'. This is how Freda discribes her home from the age 17.
I lived in the bush happily ignorant of both mountains and mountaineering. My home from the age of seventeen was situated four miles from anywhere, on the edge of a twenty-five miles Government reserve. This reserve, left absolutely in a state of nature, is a series of ridges with valleys of from 300 to 400 feet in depth on either side. These ridges and valleys are for the most part unexplored. They are of sandstone formation, and are a regular paradise for wild flowers. Lured by the flowers, I explored ridge and valley for miles, usually with no other companion than a hound, who deserted me whenever so inclined, to chase iguanas, 'possums, and native bears. During five years of scrambling I gained a very considerable knowledge of rock-climbing.... Besides rock-craft I developed a love of exploring and adventure, and a self-reliance which caused my parents some alarm.
Freda Du Faur, The Conquest of Mount Cook, pp 25-26
Freda climbed without a rope and unassisted, and while her parents were not entirely happy with her exploits, they also didn't seriously try to prevent them. Fascinating!
If you want to know a little bit more about how I got started on Cloud Piercer and what else I've been up to, please head over to Marian Evan's informative and entertaining film blog Wellywood Woman and share with your family, friends and everyone else you think would enjoy a film about an awesome woman climbing in the equally awesome Southern Alps. There may also be some cool photos of Freda...
You can also copy/paste the link below to share it:
I really appreciate everyone's support! Thank you very much, keep talking about Freda, keep sharing and most importantly, have a fantastic weekend!
Whoever said Tuesdays aren't wonderful?
11/08/2015 at 6:02 PM
What a start to the week! With eight more generous supporters today we’ve reached almost 70% of our target. The response of the climbing community has been amazing and it’s wonderful to see that people want to see Freda’s story on screen.
I love reading the comments made on this page and elsewhere, so thank you both for pledging and your comments, good wishes and sharing your own stories of what Freda means to you. It has truly been inspiring!
Thank you to our wonderful new supporters:
Julie Burton - my new real life super hero for sticking it to cancer by climbing Mount Cook!
Renée Binkowski Abbot
Inspired by a wonderful phone conversation this morning with a new friend, I went snooping around online archives and found a picture of Freda I'd never seen before!
This is Freda in the Auckland Weekly News of 15 December 1910, shortly after her succesful ascent of Mount Cook. (Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19101215-7-1)
There aren't very many photos of Freda, so I am quite excited to have found this image. Makes me wonder what else is out there?!
Thank you all for an amazing start to the week! You're warming my heart on a very cold, dreary Wellington winter day.
10/08/2015 at 12:30 PM
We have reached 50%! This is getting more and more exciting. I can practically feel that plane taking off to Vermont!
Thank you very much to five awesome new supporters:
Franz Josef Glacier Guides
Halfway there and still 21 more days to go!
One of the fascinating things about Freda was how immediately and profoundly she fell in love with the mountains and that she acted on those feelings without waiting for anyone's permission. Here is what she said about her first climb in the Southern Alps, up the Sealy Range.
I stood alone on the crest of the range, and felt for the first time that wonderful thrill of happiness and triumph which repays the mountaineer in one moment for hours of toil and hardship. On the descent I experienced my first glissade; it was rather a steep slope, and I arrived at the bottom wrong side up, and inconveniently filled with snow. These facts. however, did not deter me from tramping back to the top just for the pleasure of doing the same thing all over again. At the end of the day I returned to the hotel fully convinced that earth held no greater joy than to be a mountaineer.
Freda Du Faur, The Conquest of Mount Cook, p 28.
It's very encouraging to know that there is an audience out there for Freda's story. The more of an audience we can build now, the more likely this film will one day be greenlit.
So, THANK YOU very much to all of you who have pledged and shared this campaign so far! Please keep spreading the word.
08/08/2015 at 9:00 AM
Say what?! 36% on day 3 with six more beautiful supporters joing the journey!
Thank you very very much to:
Mystery Pledger #2
Mystery Pledger #3
When Freda woke up in camp on the day of her first high climb on Mt Sealy, this is what she saw:
"Immediately beneath us lay the Hooker Valley, all filled with soft white morning mist, which hid the base of the mountains while their summits stood out clear against the deep blue sky, in which innumerable bright stars twinkled and flashed. As I watched, the stars faded one by one and the first streaks of dawn lighted the eastern skies. Brighter and brighter grew the colours, and soon a patch of rose lit up the deadwhite snows of Mount Sefton; onward and upward it crept until the whole summit flushed to glowing crimson. One after another the light caught the surrounding peaks, edging their cold snows with glittering gold. Up came the sun from his hiding-place behind Mount Cook, scattering the mists before him, till the perfect colours of dawn faded before his triumphant majesty as he heralded in a glorious summer day."
Freda Du Faur, The Conquest of Mount Cook, p 39
Mount Sealy from Sealy Track by W. Crow
Thank you for an awesome Day 3!
06/08/2015 at 10:25 PM
It's only Day 2 and we're only $5 away from 1K! My mind is very gratefully boggled.
Thank you to Pledgers 8, 9 and 10:
The Amazing Olsons
Desiree Rose Cheer
For you, an excerpt from one my favourite poems chosen by Freda for her own book. I think, this one in particular sums up her love for the mountains and what she felt standing on their summits:
Only a hill: earth set a little higher
Above the face of Earth: a larger view
Of little fields and roads: a little nigher
To clouds and silence: what is that to you?
Only a hill; but all of life to me,
Up there between the sunset and the sea.
G. WINTHROP YOUNG.
You can read the entire poem here.
Thank you and lets see what Day 3 has in store!
P.S.: Tanya couldn't let me go to sleep with only $5 off. Thank you Tanya! xx
05/08/2015 at 8:43 PM
Wow, what a great start to the campaign! It's been a cracker of a day and thanks to our first seven Pledgers we're almost 20% there already!
Thank you very much to
Raquel Roderick and William Yip at Team YIP - Harcourts Wellington
Tanya M. Wheeler
Mystery Pledger #1
This quote about falling in love with the mountains in Freda's own, beautiful words:
From the moment my eyes rested on the snow-clad alps I worshipped their beauty and was filled with a passionate longing to touch those shining snows, to climb to their heights of silence and solitude, and feel myself one with the mighty forces around me. The great peaks towering into the sky before me touched a chord that all the wonders of my own land had never set vibrating, and filled a blank of whose very existence I had been unconscious.
Freda Du Faur, The Conquest of Mount Cook, p 27.
Thank you and bring on Day 2!
2015-08-31 17:53:59 +1200
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"For the next step after the lab! All the best, you will make it!"
2015-08-27 16:55:53 +1200
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"Go ahead - make some magic!"
2015-08-26 17:21:08 +1200
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"Still believing in you, Anita - hope you hit your target :) "
2015-08-26 13:42:34 +1200
"Go well Anita!"
2015-08-26 10:04:10 +1200
"Wish I could contribute more. I hope this meets target Anita. Good luck!"
2015-08-24 11:36:50 +1200
"May you have mountains of success Anita! :-)"
2015-08-24 08:48:17 +1200
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"I think this will be a brilliant project. How could it not - with your talent, the great subject matter and the cutest helper!"
2015-08-20 11:11:07 +1200
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"As a new scriptwriter, I am inspired by your tenacity and vision. I wish you well and will spread the word."
2015-08-18 08:49:15 +1200
"Good luck Anita! Love Kate & Holger"
2015-08-18 01:18:44 +1200
"Wishing you all the best with this amazing adventure. xx"
2015-08-17 22:15:13 +1200
"This sounds like an incredible film. Good luck, Anita!"
2015-08-17 21:21:55 +1200
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2015-08-14 17:54:29 +1200
"Look forward to seeing this. Love NZ women film makers. "