Kickstarter Tuesdays: World’s Longest Yard Sale Documentary


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Each year, the world’s longest yard sale is held along US 127 from Michigan to Alabama.  Called the 127 Sale, it runs the first weekend of every August from Addison, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama.  Since 1987, people have cleaned out their closets and set out goods for sale alongside antique vendors in the fields, parking lots, and towns along US Highway 127.  Shoppers come from neighboring towns and across the U.S. to scour the spread for affordable necessities and unique collector’s items.  The result is a massive exchange of not only goods, but also cultures, customs, ideas, and narratives.

Now, Riley Hooper and Katrina Sorrentino, who are friends, roommates, and documentary filmmakers, are wanting to do a four-day, 690 mile documentary film to capture the people and stuff found along the entire yard sale route.  Here’s their Kickstarter video.

So why do a documentary film on a yard sale?  The yard sale is a fascinating American tradition, and a perfect setting for a documentary film.  An object is a time capsule of stories.  An old rocking chair, a fondue fork, a pink shag carpet — every item has its own narrative, and that is the focus of their documentary.  As they travel the length of the sale, they will document the stories behind items sold and bought — where they’ve been, why they’re here, and where they will go next.  Through the lens of these “object narratives,” the film will reveal personal stories about the people buying and selling them — universal stories of family histories, love, loss, nostalgia, and the human experience.

They believe in the power of stories to incite empathy, understanding, and open-mindedness across cultures.  The object narratives in their film will be entertaining, but they also have the potential to stir up memories, provoke thoughts, and remind us of our own lives.  Documentary films allow strangers to feel like neighbors and friends.  Stories help to connect us, to relate to one another’s struggles, and to share in moments of happiness and sadness.

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Both Riley Hooper and Katrina Sorrentino are accomplished filmmakers.  Riley’s most recent documentary short FLO has screened internationally at such prestigious film festivals as Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival and Palm Springs International ShortFest, and has garnered top prizes, including the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 DOC NYC festival.

Katrina studied cinematography at NYU and has produced work for PBS Nature and Cabin Creek Films.  Through her photography she celebrates the overlooked and restful moments of daily life, and she promises to bring a strong photographic eye to the aesthetic of this film.  She is the director of photography and producer of Crossing Over, a feature documentary currently in post-production that follows three transgender immigrants from Mexico as they struggle to receive political asylum in the U.S.

Joining them to assist with sound recording and camera operating are recording engineer   Jonathan Seale and filmmaker/editor Bryan Chang.  Jonathan is the co-founder of Mason Jar Music, an audio/visual production company that has collaborated with such talents as Feist and Andrew Bird.  Bryan is a member-owner of Meerkat Media, a film collective specializing in independent documentary and works for clients such as HBO, MTV, TIME Magazine, and Google.  Most recently he was the lead editor on the feature documentary Narco Cultura.

So why are they raising funds through Kickstarter?  Although they are a self-sufficent documentary filmmaking team, and have most equipment and production costs handled. This project will involve quite a bit of travel.  They are raising funds for airfare, gas, and accommodation during the sale.  The money will also go toward post-production.  Things like sound mixing, color correcting, and film festival submissions are expensive, so every little bit helps.  If you support this project, you might get an item purchased by the film team along the US 127 Sale!  The item would be stamped with an official “Riley and Katrina 127 Sale” seal of approval.  They love buying stuff for other people so if you like the aesthetic of their video and photos, then you’ll like what they pick out for you!

As of July 2nd, this Kickstarter project has raised around $1,950 of the $4,000 goal they need to be funded.  And as you know in Kickstarter, a project is not funded until the fundraising goal is reached!  This project only has 22 days left to reach the $4,000 goal.  For a pledge of $10, you will get early online access to the film before it’s released to the public.  For a pledge of $15, you will get a postcard personally addressed to you from Riley and Katrina, with a production update from somewhere along the yard sale route!  There are other pledge levels including getting vintage photos, rabbit foot keychains, small trinkets, paperback books, aprons, coffee mugs, wall art, decorative plates, knick-knacks, lawn gnomes, and even a homemade apple pie made by Riley!

To learn more about the World’s Longest Yard Sale Documentary and to pledge money go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rileyhooper/worlds-longest-yard-sale-documentary?ref=home_location

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2 thoughts on “Kickstarter Tuesdays: World’s Longest Yard Sale Documentary

  1. Hi Riley, We were glad that you stopped by and interviewed me, and my buyers during our yard sale. It was interesting being filmed with our stuff. That has never happened before. Come on back next year :) Gonna have more people and more stuff to sell. I hope you and your companions had a good time and heard lots of stories.
    Deborah Stephens of Hudson, Michigan

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