Maine-based crowdfunding projects include film, restaurant, and farmers

Up-and-coming filmmaker Carl Elsaesser, a Brunswick native, aims to produce an experimental film titled “Cruel the Ash,” and he launched an Indie GoGo campaign two weeks ago to fund it. “Cruel the Ash” is a story about the fantasy one father can’t let go of living, how it is internalized in the the rest of the family and in Maine’s psychological landscape. The story is intertwined with the fate of the brown ash tree, the tree used by Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indians to make baskets, which is currently threatened by the invasive beetle the emerald ash borer. In his crowdfunding campaign Elsaesser is asking for $5,000 to cover the costs of purchasing, developing, transfering and printing the film, which will be shot on 16 millimeter film. For $10, donors can get a copy of the film; for $25 or $50 a cell of a scene from the film plus credit; for $75 all that plus venison meat from deer shot by Elsaesser’s father Rick. The film is being made with the help of Northeast Historic Film, based in Bucksport, and the Theater Project in Brunswick. He hopes to begin filming in late August in the Midcoast and Moosehead regions.

In Portland, chef David Levi has quite an ambitious Kickstarter campaign going. He hopes to raise $40,000 in startup money to open Vinland, a hyper local restaurant on Congress Street. As he puts it in his pitch on the campaign page, Vinland will feature food that is 100 percent sourced locally. Levi has cooked in kitchens including Denmark’s internationally renowned Noma restaurant, which also features an entirely local menu. For Maine and for Denmark, this means no oranges, no olive oil, no black pepper; it does mean foraged greens and other vegetables, wild game and lots of seafood. Levi has named his restaurant after the original name for the land the Vikings encountered when they first explored North America, in keeping with his fascination with Scandinavian ways of cooking. Maine has certainly never seen a restaurant like what Levi proposes; his $40,000 campaign will cover just one quarter of the total amount of money needed to open. A $25 pledges get the donor a thank you postcard and a jar of homemade Vinland herb sea salt; a $65 pledge gets you brunch, when the restaurant finally opens; pledge amounts go up from there.

Hops! Beer lovers crave the tangy, bright, sometimes floral, sometimes spicy flavor of hops in their brews, and Aroostook Hops, based in Westfield in Aroostook County, wants to provide a Maine-grown source for them. Their Indie GoGo campaign aims to raise $30,000 to buy a mechanical harvester and a new crop sprayer to facilitate their growing expansion. Aroostook Hops is a small family farm founded in 2009 by the husband and wife team of Jason Johnston abd Krista Delahunty.  At the time the pair started growing organic hops commercially, they were one of only three hops growers in the state of Maine.  They now have four acres of hops with five varieties to offer. Incentives to give include a handmade bottle opener keychain, a t-shirt, hats, pint glasses, private tours of the farm, a barbecue at the farm and a selection of all five hop varieties they grow.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a University of Maine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, taken belly dancing classes, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.