2012 was a big year for the Finding Traction team.  We wanted to share our top 10 highlights from the year.  Here they are:

1.  Receiving generous donations from Petzl, the Greater Montana Foundation and MontanaPBS to fund Vermont production activities

These companies and organizations provided crucial support for the Fours Five production team, a 5-member filmmaking crew consisting of Producer/Director Jaime Jacobsen, Director of Photography Danny Schmidt, Cinematographer and Sound Recorder Devon Riter, Cinematographer Tyler Duke, and the multitalented Cameraman/ Sound Recorder/Production Assistant Patrick Mclaughlin to travel to Vermont to film Nikki’s expedition…which brings us to number 2.

2.  Completing the week-long, whirlwind adventure to document Nikki’s Long Trail expedition with a fantastic crew of runners and filmmakers

Nikki ran day and night for over 4 days through the beautiful and brutal Green Mountains, and our film crew was right there with her to capture the pain, glory and hardship she experienced on the trail.

During the expedition, we became very close with Nikki’s support team, pacers, family members, and friends who were there to guide and accompany her along the trail, provide nutritional guidance, medical attention, emotional support and motivation.  We drove all over the State of Vermont in an attempt to follow a moving target (aka Nikki) over the course of almost 300 miles, hiked the area’s highest and most rugged peaks, camped out under the stars, filmed Nikki entering aid stations in the middle of the night (we won’t forget Mad Tom Notch at 4am), endured wind, rain, fog and scorching heat, and all came out a bit stronger for it in the end.  Little did we know we were all signing up for Nikki’s Long Trail marathon by embarking on this film!

3.  Organizing the debut of the Finding Traction trailer for an enthusiastic audience at The North Face Endurance Challenge in Atlanta

In conjunction with a winning run at TNEC in Atlanta, on Saturday, October 13th, as part of a North Face panel discussion in Atlanta, Nikki first shared the Finding Traction trailer to a captive, 75-person audience.  The trailer received rave reviews, and we knew we were ready to let it loose and send it out into the world.

4.  Launching our Facebook page to create an amazing fan base around the world

We currently have a growing following on Facebook (over 1,500 Likes since our launch on October 23, 2012) where we share project updates, character vignettes of our cast and crew, links to our recent Indiegogo fundraising campaign, and news of interest to runners, athletes, filmmakers and Finding Traction fans.  Building this online following in advance of the film’s release has already created an audience waiting in anticipation for the finished documentary.  We can’t wait to share it with you!

5.  Watching the Finding Traction trailer go viral (thanks to features by Trail Runner Magazine and many others!)

We logged over 5,000 plays of the trailer in just 5 days once the the news started to spread.  To date, together the trailer and Indiegogo pitch video have logged over 13,000 plays across the U.S. and around the world, with huge followings tuning in in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan and Germany.

6.  Screening the extended Finding Traction trailer for athletes in San Francisco at Sports Basement Presidio

Our first public screening of an extended, 10-minute version of the Finding Traction trailer took place on November 29th at Sports Basement Presidio in San Francisco.  This special movie night was organized in conjunction with The North Face Endurance Challenge and brought runners, race directors and community members together to celebrate an evening of trail running movies and race stories.  Nikki Kimball and Finding Traction’s Producer/Director, Jaime Jacobsen, were both at the event to present a special extended trailer (sneak preview of new scenes for our live audience), field questions, and spread the word about our Indiegogo campaign.

The trailer debuted in front of an audience of 300+ and generated a great Q&A and panel discussion afterwards.  Three generations ultra runners – Nikki Kimball, Anna Frost and Emilie Forsburg – shared great insights on health, nutrition and training from a women’s perspective. We had the chance to personally met and connect with a number of our fans at the event.  We are psyched to bring the finished film back to the Bay Area community in 2013!

7.  Meeting the talented folks behind our crowdfunding campaign at the Indiegogo HQ

Indiegogo’s film and sports campaign managers shared their insights on spearheading a successful outreach campaign while creating a sense of community around Finding Traction.  We implemented a number of their ideas for new perks in the final weeks of the campaign, including offering Holiday DVDs of Finding Traction and securing a Vermont Ski Tour Package at Bolton Valley.  Our visit to HQ and the wonderful buzz that resulted in the final week of our Indiegogo campaign was key to our success.  Thanks for the wonderful advice and support, Indiegogo, it was great working with you!

8.  Recording a stellar (and hilarious) podcast with Trail Runner Nation in their mobile studio

Nikki Kimball and Jaime Jacobsen joined TRN host Don Freeman and special guest Jimmy Dean Freeman to talk about the making of Finding Traction and how Nikki dreamed up and prepared for her 273-mile Long Trail expedition.  If you missed it, check out the hour-long podcast here (it’s also available on iTunes).

9.  Launching our new website and blog

Web designer Jon Burrill worked with us to create a beautiful new website and blog to keep our fans in the loop on the film’s progress!

10.  Reaching our $30K Indiegogo goal with the help of our supportive fans and friends – thanks, everybody!

This is a huge milestone for the Finding Traction team.  We hope to raise over $100,000 to finish the film, and the Indiegogo funding will help us pay for initial post-production costs while we continue to apply for grants and foundation funding, and bring additional sponsors on board.  With your help and generous support we are on target to finish the film in Summer 2013!

If anyone missed the Indiegogo campaign deadline, and you’re interested in supporting the film, tax-deductible donations via check can be directed to our non-profit partner, MontanaPBS (MontanaPBS/KUSM-TV, RE: Finding Traction, ATTN: Aaron Pruitt, Director of Content, Montana State University, VCB 183, Bozeman MT 59717).

Upon the completion of the film, our distribution plan includes national broadcast on public television (we just received word that Independent Lens is interested in considering the film for their upcoming series!), film festival screenings (we plan to submit to the Banff Mountain Film Festival, among others) and community screenings in select markets across the country.  We are also working to secure international distribution.  Finding Traction fans, stay tuned!

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The film was funded!