Documentary Fundraising for Our National Bird: The Bald Eagle
Guest Blogger: Victor Rook
The first cut of our bald eagle documentary, Who’s Protecting Our National Bird? has been completed. It clocks in at 1 hour 52 minutes. In the following months I hope to bring that down to around 1 hour 45 minutes or less. We are still short $2600 from our final goal of $8000 when GoFundMe, PayPal, checks, and cash donations are combined. This amount will be needed to pay for more music, final travel, entry fees, and other costs incurred in the post-production and distribution of the film.
Watch the Documentary Trailer:
What an incredible journey this has been since this all began back in 2015, before all the construction took away our eagles’ main habitats here in Manassas, Virginia. My hope is that other cities will see this film and, in turn, make better decisions when it comes to protecting our nation’s bird. And that more hunters will choose to hunt with lead-free ammunition. There will have to be some changes. And it all starts with us: We, the People. In the documentary I highlight not only our nest, but also five of several dozen nests around the country where citizens are trying to protect their eagles from developers. Many of them have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to adhere to their own Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act guidelines.
Please watch the video trailer above, share this page, and if you can, make a contribution in any of the following ways. All who support the film will have their names included in the film credits.
3. Seed & Spark: Seed & Spark is a crowdfunding site for independent films where you can pledge contributions. The drawback on this form of funding is we will not receive any funds unless $2600 is pledged within 60 days. So even if $2300 is pledged, we will receive nothing. But check it out at https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/whos-protecting-our-national-bird#story
4. Cash or Check Contributions: If you’d like to avoid making online payments, we can receive checks made out to Rook Communications, P.O. Box 571, Manassas, VA 20108. Make sure you put “For Bald Eagle Film” in the memo line.
5. Wealthy Philanthropists: The largest donation we’ve received for the documentary from one person is $1900. That’s almost 1/3 of our total so far. I’ve been told to connect with someone who has money to spend and is pissed off by how our government treats wildlife. I’ve yet to find those people, but if you know of any, please share this page and video trailer with them!
I sincerely thank you for any support you can provide. – Victor Rook, Producer
Jan/Victor, This made me cry! But I’m left with a question that I think others may also have. What goal are you trying to achieve with this project? A clear goal isn’t defined in anything I’ve seen so far. Thank you for working on this! Just a thought. Penny Dobbins
Sent from my iPad
Hi Penny, thank you for your comment. The goal of this documentary is to shed light on what is happening to bald eagles across the country, both through habitat loss and lead poisoning. It was predicted by biologists and conservationists in 2007, when the bald eagle was removed from the Endangered Species List, that habitat loss would be the next big challenge. And we are seeing it now all across the country.
Our film documents in extreme detail what has happened at the Manassas, VA nest, and also covers five other nests around the country. We have obtained extensive emails and documents through a Freedom of Information Act from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the City of Manassas. Many of those emails contradict what these entities told the public. We are aware, and it will be shown in the documentary, that the developer lied on a FWS Draft Permit Application regarding the distance from the nest of the development, and the location of the construction. And that the City of Manassas told the media and the public that the developer was following all state, local, and federal guidelines, but said otherwise within those emails.
The bald eagle is still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife is supposed to enforce. Numerous citizens and groups around the country have sued the FWS for not making developers follow those guidelines. Almost weekly you will find battles written about in the news between FWS, developers, and citizens fighting to protect their cherished eagle nests.
But, I also believe that if you are going to point out problems, you should also seek solutions. And this documentary does that. For instance, eagles are dying at an alarming rate by ingesting lead from gutpiles left behind by hunters. A sliver of lead the size of a grain of rice will kill a bald eagle within 72 hours if not treated. The solution, of course, is to encourage hunters to use copper or steel ammo, which tend not to shatter into thousands of fragments upon impact.
Also, I am happy to report that the documentary has already saved eagles. In Cape Coral, Florida, lawmakers were asked by developers to lessen the city’s unique 1100-foot construction buffer from nests to the federal guideline of 660 feet. Before the vote came up, I contacted the Mayor of Cape Coral and all council men and women to reconsider, based on what has happened here in Virginia. By a vote of 7-1, they kept the 1100-foot distance. You can read about that at http://baldeaglefilm.blogspot.com/2018/06/manassas-debacle-helps-save-florida.html
Finally, I invite you to join our Facebook Bald Eagle Preservation Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/baldeaglefilm/ where you can follow along with the making of the film.
I am actually working on the second editing pass of the documentary, so the story is already there and currently clocks in at 1:57:20. While I trim that down, I will need to secure the final funds for more music licensing, final travel for a few interviews, and all the costs involved in distribution. My intention is to release the documentary for free on the Internet when completed and after any film festivals it may be accepted into. Film festivals don’t want films released elsewhere until after they’ve shown them.
So all my work on this film is being done by me voluntarily, and through the helpful donations of friends and strangers. I don’t take these things lightly, and you will see from our Facebook group how hard I work to move this film to completion. My previous nature documentary won two Telly Awards and aired on PBS.
Again, thank you for your question. For more info the official website for the film is http://baldeaglefilm.com