Since 2006, Yellow Bird Project (YBP) has been collaborating with indie rock bands to raise money and awareness for various charity organizations, usually through the sale of band-designed t-shirts. However, last year the project’s co-founders, Matthew Stotland & Casey Cohen decided it was time to step up their game.
Enter Kathryn Calder, a Victoria-born musician, who plays the keyboard and sings lead vocals with The New Pornographers, a celebrated Vancouver-based indie rock super group.
In 2006, Calder designed a YBP t-shirt on behalf of The New Pornographers and Immaculate Machine (her previous band), to raise money for the ALS Society of BC. During that time, she was acting as her mother’s primary caregiver after she was diagnosed with ALS – a terminal illness widely known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
During this difficult period, Calder fulfilled her mother’s dream and hers, by writing and recording her first solo album. She converted her family living room into a recording space and recruited fame producer (now husband), Colin Stewart to co-produce the album with her. As her mother’s disease progressed rapidly, Calder worked around the clock to complete the album in time for her mother to hear it.
When Cohen and Stotland became aware of this story, it inspired them to produce their first film: a music/bio-documentary tracing back to the genesis of Calder’s career. The film, which will be feature length, is called A Matter Of Time.
“This is a film about courage in the face of disease”, says Cohen. “It’s about letting difficult experiences meet artistic impulses and about making a positive difference through music”.
As Stotland explains, “We’re producing this film to raise awareness for ALS, a disease which has no cure… Our organization’s model was always to collaborate with bands, allowing them to use their artistic talents as a vehicle to raise awareness for causes that matter most to them. This is the same as we’ve done before with t-shirts, just on a much larger scale.”
The film is being directed by Victoria-born director Brent Hodge. Previously, he directed two full-length music documentaries for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation): Leo-nominated Winning America (Said The Whale documentary) and What Happens Next (Dan Mangan documentary).
The crew volunteered months of their time, traveling across Victoria, Vancouver, Chicago, New York, Woodstock, and Baltimore to interview musicians, authors, and ALS experts, gaining various perspectives and insights into Calder’s story.
Cohen says: “…the people we’ve met, the unimaginable characters, the sheer irrefutable work ethic of our friends. The experience over the past year, albeit exhaustive, has also been incredibly rewarding.”
Jonas Prupas is the movie’s Executive Producer, acting on behalf of Muse Productions, a film and TV production company that is recognized across North America and internationally as a major producer of well-crafted, high-quality film and television productions with strong international appeal. Many of their television productions (“The Kennedys,” “Bomb Girls”) have garnered critical acclaim and large audiences – as well over 100 international awards and over 300 award nominations.
As lead producers, Cohen and Stotland are aiming to raise $50,000 through their Kickstarter campaign, which will be running until July 22nd, and coincides with ALS Awareness Month in. The money raised will allow them to bridge their fundraising gap and complete the film.
Some of the Kickstarter ‘perks’ include copies of the soundtrack and DVD, signed merchandise, concert tickets, meet and greets, personalized artwork from Kathryn, and more.
The campaign can be found at the following link:
Cohen says, “Our goal is for every person who sees this film to leave with at least an understanding of what ALS is. That’s how we believe awareness is achieved.”
About Yellow Bird Project:
Yellow Bird Project (YBP), founded in 2006 by Matt Stotland and Casey Cohen, is devoted to bringing together the worlds of music, art and charity. YBP gives fans the opportunity to support and promote their favorite musicians while simultaneously raising money for a multitude of diverse charitable organizations such as Teenage Cancer Trust, Free Arts For Abused Children, Safe Space NYC and The Elliott Smith Memorial Fund, among others. They have also published The Indie Rock Coloring Book and The Indie Rock Poster Book (both via Chronicle Books).