Millions of Monarch Butterflies and One Filmmaker's Journey

Apr 30, 2013, 07:18 ET from Mariposa Productions

LONDON, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

A new project has launched on arts fund site, but this isn't just any project, it's a lifetime dream of one individual on her own personal journey.

Every year, millions of Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada to one region in Mexico. These delicate creatures fly over 4,000 miles over two months. They cross the Great Lakes, they weather storms and they pass cities, towns and countryside.

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Every year without fail the Monarchs arrive in one part of Mexico at the beginning of November - which happens to be near their holiday of the Day of the Dead. Mexicans believe the butterflies are the souls of their loved ones, coming back to visit them.

Now a London based Mexican-American filmmaker, Ali Alvarez, wants to tell this story linking the phenomenon of nature to a personal, spiritual event. Entitled The Journey, the documentary film will tell the story of the monarch butterflies and the people they pass at times of tragedy on their epic migration south to Mexico.

Ali comments: "It started years ago when I saw them all in their wintering site in Michoacan, Mexico. It remains one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. As I began my research into this project, I was really moved by the number of people who told me tales about these Monarch butterflies turning up at times of tragedy and loss. I believed they were a sign of beauty and hope for people who had experienced something sad."

One story, shared with Ali, was from an NYPD detective who was leading the clearing of Ground Zero after 911, he recalled "Amid the horror there were moments of surreal beauty. One day, shortly after September 11th, we were clearing a large pile and suddenly all of these butterflies appeared out of the debris, they were everywhere. Everyone stopped and just looked at them, it was a sign that life goes on."

It is this story and Ali's own personal journey that has led to her launching her project on Kickstarter, a not-for-profit organization that helps individuals bring creative projects to life through a funding platform and a community of backers.

Deciding to follow the journey of the butterflies and the people they touch along the way, Ali set her funding goal and deadline. She aims to raise £80,000 before June 3rd 2013 to make this project happen. The project has to reach its funding goal to receive any money at all. To date, 44% of projects have reached their funding goals on Kickstarter.

Ali Alvarez continues: "This is more than backing a project or donating funds, it's about believing in the power of nature and that it can help people on their journey. A living record of the power of these butterflies should exist... a living record of the Monarchsjourney and the people they touch along the way. It took a turn in my own life's journey to realize how important this project was and I'm determined to reach my goal and make this film.

About Ali Alvarez

Ali is a filmmaker and London based creative. In September 2012, she was out riding a horse when he stumbled and fell. Ali hit her head and sustained a brain injury. She lost her memory for two weeks, not remembering anything that happened on the day of the accident except for working on this film. Over the past 7 months she has had to learn to live again. She has endured her own personal journey of hope and loss. She is now more determined than ever to make this film for each and everyone of the millions of butterflies who have travelled a path of adversity and for everyone who has been touched by them. Ali lives in London with her partner Verity and Dog Frida.

About Kickstarter

Since its launch in 2009, more than 3.8 million people have pledged over ␣373 million, funding more than 39,000 creative projects.

About Monarch butterflies

Monarch butterflies are known for their mass migration from Canada to Mexico which begins each fall ahead of the cold winter weather. They are dependent on milkweed plants. Their coloured pattern makes them easy to identify.

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects, everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others. Roughly 10% of the films accepted by the 2012 Sundance, Tribeca, and South by Southwest film festivals were funded on Kickstarter. A documentary funded by kickstarter won an Oscar last year.

Only monarchs born in late summer or early fall make the migration, and they make only one part of the journey. By the time next year's winter migration begins, several summer generations will have lived and died and it will be last year's migrators' great grandchildren that make the trip. Yet somehow these new generations know the way, and follow the same routes their ancestors took, sometimes even returning to the same tree.

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SOURCE Mariposa Productions