Story behind the story
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January 10, 2003
Finished (for now)!
The filmmakers are proud to announce that the European Cut of The Last Link has been completed and shipped off to Paris. France 5 (a PBS equivalent) has purchased the broadcast rights around the French-speaking world. Before long, our film will be seen in France, Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and in many other locations. As soon as the dates for these viewings are announced, they’ll be posted in our new section “Now Screening”.
When we use the term “European Cut”, it denotes the fact that we had to make this version a particular length (52 minutes) to meet European television standards. We are currently pursuing broadcast possibilities throughout Europe and the Americas, and a successful sale in one of these areas may force us to make a cut of a slightly different length. Hopefully, the momentum gathered in the past few months will carry over into our new endeavors.
Stateside, The Last Link has been accepted to the Sonoma Valley Film Festival in California and will screen there in April. Currently, premiers are being planned in Wyoming and Vermont. Stay tuned for announcements!
In the meantime, the production staff continues to search for funding in order to promote the film and ensure its screening at film festivals, on television, and in the classroom, as well as to attempt to recoup some of the out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the project. If you are interested in finding out more or make a financial contribution to this project, please refer to the Contact page of this site.
January 15, 2002
Summer and Fall 2001 were periods of high production for The Last Link.
From July to August, we ventured across the Atlantic with Pete Camino, our 83
year-old Wyoming-Basque sheep rancher, on his first trip to his homeland.
Enthusiastically embraced by the 230 family members present at the reunion, Pete
was able to meet French shepherds, young and old and to see the countryside of
his native tongue. Our crew interviewed numerous shepherds, both men and women:
those who had returned after working in America, those who aided the French Underground
during WWII, and those continuing the traditions of their forefathers. We were
fortunate enough at one point to capture an annual transhumance,
the 24-hour trek with livestock to the high pastures for summer mountain grazing.
In October, we wrapped our U.S. shoots, returning to Wyoming to capture Petes
reactions to his trip and to interview the Buffalo youth about their feelings
on being American-Basque in the 21st century. We then went to California to capture
words of advice on how to maintain culture through the process of change from
the Béarnais community there.
The Last Link is now in post production. As the film takes
shape under the hands of the editors, music is being composed in France
and in the United States for this story of cultures in exile. As the
weeks pass, the reality of The Last Links availability
to audiences grows stronger. We are currently negotiating an international
broadcast release with La Cinquieme of France and have been accepted
to the Sonoma Valley Film Festival in the United States (California).
The Last Link is beginning to see the fruits of fundraising
pursuits. In California, La Ligue Henri IV has recently made its second
contribution to the film. In Vermont, the Windham Foundation, The Lintilhac
Foundation, and Education For Sustainability have generously supported
the project in the last few months. The project continues to be spurred
on largely by our own resources and by the generosity of individuals
who share our dedication to culture, community, and education. The most
pressing priority is completion of the film; without it, the educational
project falls short. And as we approach the home stretch, timing is critical.
Between now and September 15th, 2002 we are pushing to complete the film.
However, we are still soliciting donations in order to accomplish our
February 15, 2001:
To date, we have conducted and compiled a preliminary round of interviews.
At the beginning of October, 2000, when the sheep were moved from the
Big Horn Mountain meadows to the winter range around Buffalo, Wyoming,
we interviewed the following members of the Basque community: Domingo
Martirena, Pete Camino, Simon U. and Madeline Harriet, and John Marton.
One month later, we interviewed Béarnais and Basque presently residing
in the San Francisco Bay area. The Béarnais include Bernard
Baylocq, Jean and Catherine Souvercaze and their son, Jacques, and
Jean and Marie
Moulia. The Basques interviewed are Pierre Etcharren and Jacques Harguindeguy.
From these 28 hours of interviews, we have created an 8-minute Teaser.
Stage 2 and Beyond:
In the summer of 2001 we will launch Stage 2 by interviewing Basque and
Béarnais shepherds and their families in the Pyrénées.
(This will be preceded by a scouting trip to France in April, 2001.) We
are in the process of arranging for Pete Camino, an 82-year-old, second-generation
Basque shepherd in Buffalo, Wyoming, to attend a large family reunion
in the northern Basque Country. We will capture on camera his experiences
on his first trip to his parents' birthplace and the origin of his first
language, focusing on conversations he may have with shepherds there about
the present status and the future of shepherding in the Pyrénées
and how its decline may impact this pastoral way of life. We will also
interview shepherds who spent time in the American West but returned with
their earnings to families in the Pyrénées. Later in
the summer, we will return to Wyoming and California to interview the
generations and to pose additional questions to interviewees that may
have been overlooked. In the fall, we will complete the production
of the film. Postproduction will begin in October 2001.
Beginning at the present time and continuing through postproduction, Ann
Sorrell, Joe Greenwald, Tim Kahn, and Fran Kahn will be researching and
constructing the supplemental materials and curriculum design.
April 30, 2001:
We have just returned from location scouting and preliminary negotiations
in France and Spain, and the reception we have received these past
weeks has been, simply put, phenomenal. Our efforts have entered us
into serious discussions with La Cinquieme and France 3
and EiTB, Basque Television. We also received pledges of support from
the Basque government, Aquitaines Conseil Regional, the Conseil
General des Pyrenees Atlantiques, and the Credit Agricole Bank.