In 1905, two American naturalists set out on horseback across the remote deserts of Baja California, Mexico. Their 2,000-mile expedition was the first of its kind to span the entire peninsula and complete a comprehensive survey of Baja’s flora and fauna. Zig-zagging from coast to coast across the desolate interior, Edward William Nelson and Edward Alphonso Goldman described plants and animals unknown to science.
One hundred years later, Goldman’s descendants return to Baja to retrace the steps of this landmark expedition on motorcycles, and document the changing nature of this strange and beautiful landscape.
The Devil’s Road is very multifaceted. It is part historical documentary, a re-telling of Baja’s natural history, highlighting the significant work both Nelson and Goldman did in this region, in a time when very little was known about Baja. We will be documenting 110-plus years of change on the peninsula, looking at its environmental, economic, and cultural implications. The film is also part journey through several crew members’ family history, as three of the frontrunners of the film are directly related to Edward A. Goldman.
At its core, The Devil’s Road is an adventure film and travel narrative that aims to entertain viewers, while also being educational, raising awareness about, and paying homage to a uniquely beautiful and inspiring place that is quickly becoming tarnished by the human footprint.
The crew completed a two-week preliminary expedition in May of 2016 as a proof-of-concept for our main expedition in March of 2017. Our producer, director, and scientific director explored and documented five islands (off both the Sea of Cortez and Pacific coasts) that Nelson and Goldman visited in 1905 and 1906. The team was able to complete this preliminary expedition on a micro budget and a limited timeframe. The result was a series of five episodes.
We were all fascinated by the changes that have occurred over the last century, and this has further motivated the crew to embark on the main expedition. But we can’t do it without your help.
“The Devil’s Road” Episode 1: Isla Raza
“The Devil’s Road” Episode 2: Isla San Martin
“The Devil’s Road” Episode 3: Isla Cerralvo
“The Devil’s Road” Episode 4: Isla Espiritu Santo
“The Devil’s Road” Episode 5: Isla Magdalena
The crew spent many hours at the Smithsonian Institution sifting through and scanning most of the photographs, documents, and other treasures found in the archives that belonged to Nelson and Goldman. This is an important historical aspect of the film, as Nelson and Goldman had ties to president Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and other historical and scientific figures.
It is our goal to incite the crew’s passion about Baja in viewers, create excitement about the film’s message and its content, and produce a visually stunning film. We hope the film will resonate within viewers, and spark a desire to preserve Baja for future generations.
The impact of contributors will make all the difference in our film.
We have a strong hold on the film and expedition treatment and the accomplishments we aim to achieve while on the expedition, using Nelson and Goldman’s original route and their findings as a guide.
However, none of this will happen without help from contributors, sponsors, and supporters. No contribution is too small; every bit helps get us closer to completing this project.
Not only is this project important to the film’s crew members, but our film has much larger, global implications. We want to share with viewers the intimacy with Baja that we experience, and in doing so express how crucial it is to understand and preserve this ecologically, historically, and culturally significant and unique region.
Contributors will play a key role in sharing the film’s message and joining the conversation our film establishes. We want nothing more than to stir in viewers the crew’s same passion and regard for Baja and to make a difference in its future.
WHAT WE NEED
We aim to raise $25,000, with a flexible goal. We have budgeted this to be the overall cost of completing this film, taking into account expedition, post-production, and promotional costs.
All funds made through this campaign will be used toward the film, even if we don’t meet our goal.
Our budget breakdown is as follows:
- Equipment (~$15,900): 3 outfitted motorcycles (Kawasaki KLR 650) and proper riding gear for each rider; GPS (4); satellite phone (2); Fuel for truck (chase vehicle), boat (for island access), and motorcycles; food and lodging (when necessary, though crew plans to camp the majority of the time);
- Fees (~$1,250): Insurance for truck and boat trailer; insurance for 3 motorcycles; tourist cards;
- Post-Production (~$5,300): Computer hardware/software needs; music licensing; contracted labor
- Marketing/Promotion (~$2,550): Film festival submission fees; DVD creation for festival and broadcasting submissions; mailing costs; promotional materials; website costs;
RISKS & CHALLENGES
Making a documentary film is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. The Baja desert is a rugged, inhospitable, and sometimes dangerous place.
Road conditions will be poor, riding conditions will be taxing, and the crew is bound to face challenges with engine troubles and any number of obstacles.
Yet despite the formidable Baja terrain, raising money to film and outfit the expedition, conduct post-production operations, and promote the film before, during, and after it’s completion will be among our biggest challenges.
The Broken Wagon Films crew has over a hundred years of combined experience exploring the Baja peninsula and surrounding areas, as naturalists, educators, watermen, and extreme adventurers. The crew, with it’s diverse and valuable backgrounds, each bring a unique perspective and skill set to the project, which will be a key factor in helping us overcome the risks and challenges of making this documentary.
TODD BRUCE (Producer, and Goldman’s Great Grandnephew) is a published author and extreme outdoorsman that has been exploring Baja since 1991. A retired fire captain with over 30 years of logistical and administrative experience, his duties included establishing command of large incidents and supervising dozens of personnel during emergencies and training events, budgeting and reports, and logistical support. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Humboldt State University and has a passion for diving, fly fishing, backpacking, and riding motorcycles.
JT BRUCE (Director) got his hands on a VHS camcorder in the early 90s and has been making movies ever since. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in television, film, and new media production from San Diego State University, he cut his teeth on nearly every aspect of the filmmaking process. After graduating, he took a job at a production studio working on myriad nature documentaries, experimental films, and animated shorts. For the past 10 years he’s been working as a professional freelance animator and visual effects artist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
GREG MEYER (Scientific Director, Naturalist) has been a professional naturalist, outdoor guide, and educator for over 30 years and led his first trip to Baja in 1985. During this time he has traveled all over Baja working for the Oceanic Society, National Geographic Expeditions, Betchart Expeditions, and the BBC, among others, and he has led trips on five continents from Alaska to Antarctica.
With an M.A. in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Conservation Biology, his research interests include the preservation of island ecosystems, the evolution of island birds, and marine vertebrates. Currently he teaches Outdoor Education at California State University, Monterey Bay and continues to explore the natural world with clients and students.
BRI BRUCE (Associate Producer, Marketing Manager) is an accomplished surfer, free diver, backpacker, and adventurer. A graphic designer, publisher, and award-winning author with a BA from UC Santa Cruz. Her professional career in publishing, design, and marketing have given her the opportunity to work on hundreds of creative projects with well-known authors, academics, and businesses from around the globe and in varying capacities.
DANIEL RUIZ (Fixer, Interpreter) was born and raised in rural Ayotitlan, Mexico, in the state of Jalisco. The hills and valleys surrounding this pueblo allowed the opportunity for young Daniel to explore and hunt for the family’s food. After immigrating to the United States with his parents and siblings in 1987 at the age of 13, Ruiz continued his education in Santa Cruz County while also learning English. Ruiz is currently the Building and Maintenance Supervisor with the Santa Cruz City Library, and is also a painting contractor. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.
PERKS FOR CONTRIBUTORS
Our contributor perks are unique. All contributors will receive mention in the credits, a personal thank you from the Broken Wagon Films crew, and a digital download of the completed film. For contributors of increasing brackets, the perks vary depending on contribution amounts, ranging from stickers, t-shirts, and bandanas to shout outs on social media and locally handmade, special edition ceramic mugs by Jamie Lowe Ceramics.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
If you can’t contribute financially to the campaign, here are other ways you can help:
- Sponsorship or endorsement is greatly appreciated and will give the film credibility and exposure to wider audiences.
- 100% of proceeds from our webstore go toward funding the film. Our stickers, hats, totes, t-shirts, and hoodies make great holiday gifts!
- Please share our campaign with friends, family, and others that may be interested in the film’s themes, purpose, or message.
- Talk about our film on your Facebook page, your Instagram account, and in your Twitter feed. Help us spread the word by liking us on Facebook, following us on Instagram and Twitter, and giving our YouTube videos a thumbs up!
- Donations in kind will be accepted. A few items on our Wish List are listed below:
- Satellite phone
- External hard drive for film and photo storage
- MOTORCYCLE GEAR & PARTS
- Spare tubes for Front: 90/90-21 Rear: 130/80-17
- Tool kit
- Basic spare parts (levers, break pads, chains, oil filters, tires, etc.)
- Spare fuel and oil bottles (MSR 30oz)
- Air compressor
- Pelican cases of various sizes
- CAMPING GEAR
- Small chairs
- Dry bags of varying sizes
- Coolers and food storage
We can’t make this film without your help.
We greatly appreciate any and all contributions, and we’re excited that contributors will be part of this incredible expedition.