The interview started with a casual statement. “The concentration of the river reaches a certain point where it becomes so inundated with fecal matter that it literally transforms into a river of poo; still I loved paddling on it.” It’s a statement so true and one that defines the mixed feelings I left with after traveling the full length of India’s River Ganges.
This week, myself and Go Ganges producer and editor, Ben Gottfried traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for an interview with PBS’ Director’s Cut. We had a chance to talk about the films being produced at Dudes on Media, and how our adventure films have grown side-by-side with professional careers in television production.
I’ve always thought it funny that a new music group can easily find an open mic night to present their work, but it’s not that easy for an indie filmmaker. The cost of booking a theater often falls on the filmmaker, and it’s rare that a network will have the huevos to try something outside of their market-reacher-tested comfort zone. If a network does take a chance on indie film, you can bet it will be airing at 2am on a Sunday night. So I’m extremely honored that some networks and programs value an independent voice. Thank you PBS for being weird (in a good way).
I thank Shiva that we have the internet for video distribution. Web based indie groups are now getting their content seen in a big way. Like the folks over at VICE who just surpassed 2-million subscribers on YouTube. While mainstream networks like CBS and Fox have less than a quarter of the number of online subscribers. As traditional TV broadcasting migrates fully to the web (and it will); the old network giants will have to get weird and flexible or they will go the way of the dinosaur.
The full 30-minute interview will air on Wisconsin PBS two times this summer: June 29, & July 26, at 10pm. Mark your calendars Wisconsin! These TV broadcasts will be the first for our latest adventure film; later this year it will also air nationwide on Outside Television.
“Go Ganges!” wins the Audience Award for Best Environmental Film at the Sedona Int’l Film Festival.
It’s with great excitement that we at Dudes on Media announce the Audience Award for Best Environmental Film at the Sedona International Film Festival. This is the film’s 4th festival award for Go Ganges!, and we’re just starting to see it air on television as a result.
We’ve been delighted to see the film create buzz at environmental venues. In truth we never set out to create a green film and Go Ganges! really isn’t an issues documentary. At its base it’s an adventure travel film that takes viewers to an exotic place and does it rather unconventionally. The journey just happens to take place on perhaps the most polluted river in the world. This opens up the dialogue for water quality talks and over population discussions. And we couldn’t be happier with how this film is shaping our brand.
As some of our most fervent Dudes on Media fans know, Josh and JJ not only make adventure documentaries together like Go Ganges! & Paddle to Seattle, but they also work on television documentaries for Discovery and National Geographic. Josh just finished 3-months of production for season 10 of the Deadliest Catch. As a producer/shooter, Josh held the camera steady while he puked over the deck of many a crabbing vessel, and then, he puked again.
JJ has just finished a one-hour National Geographic documentary on the illicit ivory trade. Battle for the Elephants, a groundbreaking new special, explores the brutal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks, fueled largely by China’s demand for ivory. JJ was one of the film’s producers, and in addition to the national broadcast on PBS, JJ wrote, edited and even narrated a 4 part Web series exploring the supply and demand for elephant ivory. Elephant numbers are at the lowest level ever recorded, and exposing this tragedy is at the core mission of Dudes on Media. It has always been our goal to create programing that honors and explores the natural world.
Here is one of the episodes in the series. In this video, JJ follows investigative journalist and war corespondent, Aidan Hartley. Together they were the first to ever film Tanzania’s ivory stockpile, which is the largest cache of raw ivory in the world. JJ held the camera and produced this piece in the field for National Geographic. So if this injustice calls to you or if you just miss JJ’s sultry voice, check out this video.
Listen to J.J. Kelley on Capital Public Radio
Go Ganges! Television producers and adventure travelers JJ Kelley and Josh Thomas test their limits on an adventure down India’s sacred river, the Ganges. Together, they journey from the source glacier of the river in the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, where it empties into the Indian Ocean. They do it rather unconventionally–traveling on foot, cycle-rickshaw, rowboat, and just about anything else that moves. They turn their adventure into a documentary called Go Ganges!, which is showing on Saturday morning at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City. JJ joins us by phone to give us a preview of his adventure.
A from the film “Go Ganges!” this is a pretty classic example of how not to change a bike tire.
Listen to Ben Gottfried at the St. Cloud Film Festival as he spills the dirt on Josh and JJ, shares his experiences creating the Dudes trilogy, and gives general advice that will add years to your life. Insightful, poignant at times and extremely uplifting, it’s a must hear.
Click here to listen
Interview with JJ about The Dudes travels down The Ganga
In D.C. Double Lives, we’ll introduce you to a series of Washingtonians who have moved beyond the confines of cubicle life to start passion projects in addition to or instead of traditional nine-to-five jobs.
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