Ursula K. Le Guin Documentary Raises $200,000 with Kickstarter

'Worlds of Ursula K Le Guin' director Arwen Curry and SciFi author Le Guin

'Worlds of Ursula K Le Guin' director Arwen Curry and SciFi author Le Guin (Courtesy: Arwen Curry)

The filmmakers behind a documentary on science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin had plenty to celebrate Wednesday as their Kickstarter campaign surpassed $200,000.

With 50 hours left, the campaign reached its final goal — the remaining amount of the film’s $800,000 budget — and the filmmakers made this announcement on their Facebook page:

The film concentrates on the work of Berkeley native Le Guin, creator of the internationally-renowned Earthsea fantasy series and a Library of Congress Living Legend. Director Arwen Curry left her job as a KQED Science producer to make the film about a writer whose presence in her life was so ubiquitous, she described Le Guin as like “being an auntie.”

“American fiction was not the same after her,” Curry says. “She opened doors between mainstream literature, and genres like science fiction and fantasy. Before those genres were not necessarily maligned but looked down upon as being immature. After Ursula Le Guin, it’s hard to say that those aren’t areas where important thinking is taking place.”

After filming hours of interviews with Le Guin, Curry applied for a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities and was awarded $600,000, the majority of film’s projected budget. But there was a catch: in order to receive the funds, Curry and her crew had to raise the remaining $200,000 on their own.

Thinking that they would have to apply for other grants, the crew initially set their Kickstarter goal at $80,000. They raised that amount in two days, so they pushed to raise the full $200,000, which they did with a little more than two days left in the campaign.

Curry said that the remaining funds will be used for finishing costs such as editing, licensing archival material, and bankrolling the film’s musical score.

The campaign has received funding and plugs from notable authors such as Cheryl Strayed, Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman.

“Ursula Le Guin may be the last great SF and Fantasy writer of her generation who is still writing as well and as wisely as she did in the Sixties,” Gaiman wrote, adding that he had been supporting the film’s campaign from the beginning.

Curry says the outpouring of support for the film has been both overwhelming and encouraging for a project she envisioned more than seven years ago. It also made it known that fans of Le Guin are dedicated, and when asked why that is, Curry says that after hours of interviews with them, the answer is clear.

“She teaches us how to live well.”

To learn more about the documentary, watch the video below:

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

Arwen Curry is raising funds for Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin on Kickstarter! Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, a feature documentary, explores the remarkable life and legacy of the groundbreaking 86-year-old author.

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Kevin L. Jones

Kevin Jones reports on the Bay Area arts scene for KQED. He loves his wife and two kids, and music today makes him feel old.

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