Wow! You donated $20,000 in December!

Dear YERTians,

Thanks to you and dozens like you, YERT received just over $20,000 in donations during December. This is an extraordinary breath of fresh air into the film– one that we plan to use very wisely. We have news about this and more in this latest YERT update!

    In This Update:

  • EVENT: YERT featured on FireDogLake TONIGHT, 8pm EST
  • EVENT: Coal Free Future Project and YERT film preview on 2/11 in Pittsburgh
  • Mark & Ben featured on “The Wall” by Repower America
  • Film Festival Update
  • Marketing Survey Results + ChicoBag Winners!
  • How YERT raised $20,000

EVENT: YERT featured on FireDogLake TONIGHT, 8pm EST
YERT was recently asked to appear on– our second appearance on that site. FireDogLake has a regular “movie night” event, and tonight, Monday 9/18, they’ll be featuring three YERT short films with Ben, Julie, and Mark available for Q&A in chat form. Come join us! . Oh, and here are the three films for discussion:

EVENT: Coal Free Future Project and YERT film preview on 2/11 in Pittsburgh
We have a very special event coming up in Pittsburgh– Ben is a key performer in and has created short film “faux-mercials” and visuals for the Coal Free Future Project’s presentation of “Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal,” an original multimedia play by Jeff Biggers, American Book Award winner and frequent contributor to Huffington Post and The Nation. From the Coal Free Future Project’s website: “The performance draws attention to the national scandal of mountaintop removal mining, and the grave health impacts of coal mining and coal-fired plants, and the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate destabilization triggered by CO2 emissions.” In addition to Jeff and Ben, the play features and is directed by Appalachian Voices National Field Coordinator and actress Stephanie Pistello, and is set to songs by some of coal country’s finest songwriters. After the performance, we’ll be screening selected “sneak peek” chapters of the YERT feature film– chapters featuring Joel Salatin, Wes Jackson, and other favorite personalities from the trip. We’re eager to get your honest feedback to help shape the creation of the film!

Picture from Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal
<-- Here's a picture from "Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal," courtesy of the Coal Free Future Project.
The event happens from 8-10pm on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 at the Union Project Great Hall, 801 N. Negley Ave., Pittsburgh, PA. Contact for more details. For more information about the Coal Free Future Project and additional events around the country in Louisville, KY, Asheville, NC, Washington DC, Columbus, OH, Lexington, KY, and NYC, visit

Mark & Ben featured on “The Wall” by Repower America
Through a bit of magic performed by our friends at Repower America, Mark and Ben have been given exclusive “big boxes” to highlight the videos posted on “The Wall,” a collection of countless videos by activists sharing their views about the need for action on climate change. Ben and Mark created videos sharing our views, and our small squares were upgraded to more easy to see “large squares.” Browse around here and then click on the picture of Mark or Ben to listen to our messages! Here’s The Wall. Or if you want to cheat and go right to our video messages (with, oddly, small squares for us), click for Mark’s message and Ben’s Message.

Find Mark and Ben on The Wall!

Film Festival Update
Scott and Ben have been working their tails off on the latest cut of the YERT film, with our most recent film submission going into the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. The next big entry date is the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride, CO. We’re still waiting for results from the South By Southwest entry. In the meantime, we’re working to get the time of our film down to 90 minutes, with the next big developments likely to be the addition of additional narration and some motion graphics to move the story along more effectively. After that we’ll drop in some custom music. We are currently trying to get the film fully baked by the summer of 2010.

Marketing Survey Results + ChicoBag Winners!
Thank you all for the excellent feedback that you contributed through the marketing survey that we released in December. It was extremely helpful to our planning and marketing efforts– so much so that I’d like to share it with you and put the knowledge into the public domain to help other filmmakers out there. You can check out the data about pricing and demographics here. And there were some wonderful suggestions for marketing an environmental feature film in our open-ended question, with the top 99 suggestions collected in our blog here.

And, as promised, we’ll be shipping out a YERT ChicoBag to five special survey participants, chosen at random (via random number generator in Excel). Congratulation to the winners, specifically…

  • Joan Hare
  • David Buscher
  • Callie Williams
  • Aaron Meyers
  • Ellie Gordon

How YERT raised $20,000
We are thrilled and a little stunned by the incredible flow of donations from YERT supporters all around the world. We received contributions from over 30 brand new donors in December, bringing the total number of donors to 119, raising just over $20,000 in December. We blew away the matching donation of $3,000, and apparently that got the ball rolling with people coming out in waves to support the project. Most (95%) of the money came through checks written to Pittsburgh Filmmakers, with 5% coming through PayPal.

We were wondering how we were going to find the funds to finish the film, and this round of support lets us worry much less about that and focus on finishing the film. We still need more money to do it right, but this keeps the core team in gear for the foreseeable future. It also gives us more options for marketing and distribution when that time comes around– increasing the impact of the YERT film even more.

We can’t thank you enough for all of your incredible support. May you have a happy, GREEN new year, and please keep in touch.

Ben, Julie, and Mark

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