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January 10, 2003
Finished (for now)!
The filmmakers are proud to announce that the European Cut of The Last Link has been completed and shipped off to Paris. France 5 (a PBS equivalent) has purchased the broadcast rights around the French-speaking world. Before long, our film will be seen in France, Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and in many other locations. As soon as the dates for these viewings are announced, they’ll be posted in our new section “Now Screening”.

When we use the term “European Cut”, it denotes the fact that we had to make this version a particular length (52 minutes) to meet European television standards. We are currently pursuing broadcast possibilities throughout Europe and the Americas, and a successful sale in one of these areas may force us to make a cut of a slightly different length. Hopefully, the momentum gathered in the past few months will carry over into our new endeavors.

Stateside, The Last Link has been accepted to the Sonoma Valley Film Festival in California and will screen there in April. Currently, premiers are being planned in Wyoming and Vermont. Stay tuned for announcements!

In the meantime, the production staff continues to search for funding in order to promote the film and ensure its screening at film festivals, on television, and in the classroom, as well as to attempt to recoup some of the out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the project. If you are interested in finding out more or make a financial contribution to this project, please refer to the Contact page of this site.

January 15, 2002
Summer and Fall 2001 were periods of high production for The Last Link. From July to August, we ventured across the Atlantic with Pete Camino, our 83 year-old Wyoming-Basque sheep rancher, on his first trip to his “homeland”. Enthusiastically embraced by the 230 family members present at the reunion, Pete was able to meet French shepherds, young and old and to see the countryside of his native tongue. Our crew interviewed numerous shepherds, both men and women: those who had returned after working in America, those who aided the French Underground during WWII, and those continuing the traditions of their forefathers. We were fortunate enough at one point to capture an annual “transhumance”, the 24-hour trek with livestock to the high pastures for summer mountain grazing.

In October, we wrapped our U.S. shoots, returning to Wyoming to capture Pete’s reactions to his trip and to interview the Buffalo youth about their feelings on being American-Basque in the 21st century. We then went to California to capture words of advice on how to maintain culture through the process of change from the Béarnais community there.

The Last Link is now in post production. As the film takes shape under the hands of the editors, music is being composed in France and in the United States for this story of cultures in exile. As the weeks pass, the reality of The Last Link’s availability to audiences grows stronger. We are currently negotiating an international broadcast release with La Cinquieme of France and have been accepted to the Sonoma Valley Film Festival in the United States (California).

The Last Link is beginning to see the fruits of fundraising pursuits. In California, La Ligue Henri IV has recently made its second contribution to the film. In Vermont, the Windham Foundation, The Lintilhac Foundation, and Education For Sustainability have generously supported the project in the last few months. The project continues to be spurred on largely by our own resources and by the generosity of individuals who share our dedication to culture, community, and education. The most pressing priority is completion of the film; without it, the educational project falls short. And as we approach the home stretch, timing is critical. Between now and September 15th, 2002 we are pushing to complete the film. However, we are still soliciting donations in order to accomplish our goals.

February 15, 2001:
Stage 1:
To date, we have conducted and compiled a preliminary round of interviews. At the beginning of October, 2000, when the sheep were moved from the Big Horn Mountain meadows to the winter range around Buffalo, Wyoming, we interviewed the following members of the Basque community: Domingo Martirena, Pete Camino, Simon U. and Madeline Harriet, and John Marton. One month later, we interviewed Béarnais and Basque presently residing in the San Francisco Bay area. The Béarnais include Bernard Baylocq, Jean and Catherine Souvercaze and their son, Jacques, and Jean and Marie Moulia. The Basques interviewed are Pierre Etcharren and Jacques Harguindeguy. From these 28 hours of interviews, we have created an 8-minute Teaser.

Stage 2 and Beyond:

In the summer of 2001 we will launch Stage 2 by interviewing Basque and Béarnais shepherds and their families in the Pyrénées. (This will be preceded by a scouting trip to France in April, 2001.) We are in the process of arranging for Pete Camino, an 82-year-old, second-generation Basque shepherd in Buffalo, Wyoming, to attend a large family reunion in the northern Basque Country. We will capture on camera his experiences on his first trip to his parents' birthplace and the origin of his first language, focusing on conversations he may have with shepherds there about the present status and the future of shepherding in the Pyrénées and how its decline may impact this pastoral way of life. We will also interview shepherds who spent time in the American West but returned with their earnings to families in the Pyrénées. Later in the summer, we will return to Wyoming and California to interview the younger generations and to pose additional questions to interviewees that may have been overlooked. In the fall, we will complete the production stage of the film. Postproduction will begin in October 2001.

Beginning at the present time and continuing through postproduction, Ann Sorrell, Joe Greenwald, Tim Kahn, and Fran Kahn will be researching and constructing the supplemental materials and curriculum design.

April 30, 2001:
We have just returned from location scouting and preliminary negotiations in France and Spain, and the reception we have received these past few weeks has been, simply put, phenomenal. Our efforts have entered us into serious discussions with “La Cinquieme” and “France 3” and EiTB, Basque Television. We also received pledges of support from the Basque government, Aquitaine’s Conseil Regional, the Conseil General des Pyrenees Atlantiques, and the Credit Agricole Bank.

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