“Coach” spent his career turning boys into men on the football field. Many of his students went on to play college football, and a couple went on to the NFL. Enjoy this short clip about his time as a coach, from our 2.5 hour interview.


Ferdie (Ferdinand) is a Brooklyn born Actor and Director who spent 3 years fulltime on Broadway before he got in to Perfumery. He brought along a set piece he had designed for show he was directing at the senior community where he resides in Charleston, West Virginia.

Doy – Summersville, West Virginia

Doy had plenty to say and I appreciated his candid nature and genuine conviction. Enjoy this short clip from our 2 hour interview.

Teaser Video of The Elders Documentary

Featured in this short teaser is Louise, from Waco, Texas. She relocated to Vermont when she was in her mid 80s. She was articulate and genuine, and it was a pleasure to get to know her. I’m excited to edit her full piece, and I know it will make a great contribution to the film. Enjoy!

Miller Tripod get’s on Board

Miller Tripod has thrown in an awesome tripod for this documentary film production, the Compass 15. It’s got the classic Miller SOLO legs which Philip Bloom has made famous, and a great fluid head. It’s a bit different from the Cartoni Focus system I’m so used to, but a few minutes with it on my shoot this last weekend in Vermont and I was ready to rock. I can’t wait to see what this thing can do. Stay tuned!

Lens Vendor Partnership

I am very pleased to announce a partnership with Zeiss USA and The Elders documentary project. Zeiss is an optics manufacturer specializing in still photo and cinema lenses used on a variety of cameras. Some of their lenses cost 4-5 times the total budget of this project! I’m so grateful for their support of the project, and this is a huge boost for independent film.

I’m excited to post here that the project will benefit from a set of prime lenses (shown above) that have been donated for use during shooting. This is a significant boost to morale, and is another indication that the project is on to something important. A “prime” lens is one in which the focal length is fixed. These are somewhat rare in the consumer world today, as most digital cameras have “zoom” as a big selling point. A prime lens does not zoom – in fact, the only way to zoom would be to move closer to the subject! Read the rest of this entry »

Interview 1: Pat – Boston, MA

I’ve walked by this store on Boylston street hundreds of times, and there is always an elderly woman peering out from behind the store front.

The front of the store is all glass, and the display case is filled with “collectible junk.” I couldn’t help but think every time I walked by, “how does this store survive, and what is that woman’s story?” I had no idea just how interesting the woman in the junk shop would turn out to be.

I decided early on to make the store an extension of the main character, Pat, as she is very much a part of the store and the store a part of her. I utilized an establishing shot from across the street to convey voyeuristic sense of peering in to this “familiar stranger’s” life. I wanted to create a sense of place, differentiated by sound and perspective, that marked the outside from the inside of the store. Read the rest of this entry »

On the road to make a successfully crowdfunded film, and lessons learned so far

Reposted from Documentary Tech Magazine

Nathaniel Hansen is getting ready to take a cross-country road trip to find his film, a documentary called “The Elders,” but he’s found his funding for the journey through the kindness of both friends and strangers, and their belief, in dollars, in what he’s doing.

Hansen, an Oregon native living in Boston, and with a degree in documentary filmmaking from Emerson College, is one of those filmmakers who is inverting the formula for how it’s done.

One of the ways he has is by mounting a successful crowdfunding effort through,  which bills itself as “a new way to fund and follow creativity.”

Kickstarter allows filmmakers and other artists to propose a project, with a defined amount of funding requested and defined window of time in which to raise it. If the funding goal is not met, all pledges are wiped clean, a kind of all-or-nothing prospect that can be both inspiring and daunting, seeing if your idea is as viable as you think.

Hansen says, “I’ve been following Kickstarter not quite since they launched, when a friend of mine sent me an email and said, ‘Have you seen this?’ I was a little frustrated because it was by invitation, and it was a bit of a mystery to me how you got invited. But I kept following it, and in the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘What kind of a project would get me the widest possible support from friends, family and strangers?’

It’s not just the idea, it’s the execution, and it was a matter of both finding the right idea, and then proving he could manage it.

As a documentary filmmaker, you have this kind of “idea bag,” a grab-bag of potential ideas that you’re flushing out, trying to determine what’s feasible or not. Last fall I’d started a short exercise, to test out an idea I’d had a couple of years ago, which was to do a documentary project online that had a linear DVD film that accompanied it, that was interview based, and more portrait documentaries that were all connected by some narrative thread that I would try to establish.

I interviewed five people I came in contact with on a regular basis, people I called “familiar strangers” who I saw on my walk around town or in my neighborhood. I created five portraits and found I got an overwhelming level of response from throughout my network, my friends and colleagues and family, and people on Facebook and Twitter. Over a couple months on Vimeo, my videos were getting over 1,000 views a week. That woke me up to the fact I was on to something.

“The Elders” spun off that. Hansen, who has done a variety of commercial work including a spot that will run during the upcoming World Cup soccer event, had been giving thought to the sometimes-unnoticed bank or wisdom among the older people who are the same “familiar strangers’ in our lives.

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Documentary Film Project about “The Elders” Gets a Kickstart

Nathaniel Hansen, filmmaker and media artist, turns to alternative funding sources for his latest feature film, The Elders, a documentary portrait series about aging.

Boston, MA (PRWEB) May 10, 2010 — Independent filmmaker Nathaniel Hansen is turning to the internet to raise funds for his latest feature film project, The Elders, a documentary about aging. With money all but gone for independent films with budgets less than $5-10 million, and with grant funds drying up quickly, filmmakers are having to become more innovative in their fundraising tactics. The new model appears to be fruitful avenue for artists looking to go-it alone.

In line with guidelines, artists have a set number of days to raise all the funds, or the project receives nothing. Hansen’s film has an 18 day fundraising window, from start to finish. If the alloted budget ($11,000 US) isn’t raised before May 26, all pledges are cancelled and the film is not funded.

When asked about why Kickstarter was appealing, Hansen noted that “the ability to spread the word quickly online to a lot of people, and keep them updated on the status of the project is invaluable.” An added advantage for artists is Kickstarter’s merchant partner, which enables each project the convenience of receiving funds from anywhere in the world.

Hansen entered the online fundraising pool a little bit at a time. Another film he is co-producing about the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans was 135% funded after a 45 day fundraising effort. The project’s success gave Hansen the courage to go-it-alone with his own project, “Seeing the success of our other project gave me the courage to put my own film on the line.”

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Through the eyes of an aging generation, The Elders examines what it really means to live, by coming of age. This website is dedicated to showcasing the stories filmed and the filmmaker's journey to film them.


A feature-length documentary, The Elders uses stylized interview portraits of elderly individuals to tell a universal story about life's most important lessons. Thematically organized around life lessons that reflect a wide range of human emotion and experience, the film seeks to reveal a larger more complex portrait of our shared humanity.

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