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Jacob Wetterling Documentary

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Inspired by the continued donations and overwhelming  interest in our campaign, we have decided to increase our stretch goal to $35K to help meet our Phase 3 fundraising targets. Please consider a donation today.

About the Film:

In October of 1989, eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted on a quiet road in St. Joseph, Minnesota. The mystery of what happened to Jacob haunted us for decades, and the impacts were felt far and wide.

For three years, we’ve been filming with the Wetterling family and those closest to the story, and now it’s time to craft the footage into a gripping and inspiring film. Help us bring this important project one step closer to the finish line, so we can share Jacob’s story with the world! And be sure to scroll down and watch our video.

Please give as generously as you can, at any dollar amount, but here are some suggested giving levels:

           $20               $25               $50               $100               $500               $1000               $2500

Please note, our campaign's GoFundMe contributions are not tax-deductible. If you intend to give at $1000 or more and a tax deduction is important to you, you can learn how to give to the production and receive a full tax-deduction here.

Thank you, and remember every dollar counts!

More About the Project:

If you turned on your television in the fall of 1989, chances are you witnessed a news story that was so haunting, it changed the way you looked at the world around you. If you were a child growing up in the decades since, chances are your childhood was different than the generations that came before you, because of cases like this.

On the evening of October 22, 1989, Jacob Wetterling was riding his bike on a quiet road in the small town of St. Joseph, Minnesota. A masked gunman appeared from out of the darkness. He grabbed Jacob, and Jacob was never seen again. The crime sent shockwaves across the country and devastated the Wetterling family. The story became more tragic with each passing day, as the Wetterlings searched for answers for 26 years.

But the Wetterlings, and supporters around them, turned their very personal tragedy into something good. They lobbied for changes in the law and advocated for the safety of all children, all in Jacob’s name.

For us in Minnesota, and our neighboring states, Wetterling is a household name. We want to spread it far and wide, to tell Jacob’s story in an intimate, thoughtful way, so his memory, and the resilience of those who loved him, can serve as an inspiration.

We were filming, behind the scenes, during some of the biggest moments in the story, including the biggest break in the case in decades – 26 years after the crime – and the moment when the world learned what happened to Jacob on that quiet October night 29 years ago. We have interviewed several people who shaped the story, people who investigated the case in 1989, negotiated to obtain a confession from the perpetrator in 2016, the citizen journalist who put together a crucial piece of the puzzle, the sexual assault survivor who bravely came forward to tell his story – a story that would eventually be crucial in shining a light on the truth of what happened to Jacob. But most importantly, we have worked intimately with Jacob’s parents, Patty and Jerry Wetterling, to hear the story in their own words.

The filming is nearly complete, but we’ve reached that stage all too common when you’re making an independent film – we lack the resources to get the film edited. But if we reach our GoFundMe goal, we’ll be able to assemble a rock star editing team with the tools and experience to shape this story into something really special. We’ve made it this far, but we need your help to get us one step closer to the finish line.

Please consider a contribution, and be a part of this important project.

Who We Are:

Chris Newberry (director-producer) lives in Minneapolis and was born and raised in Minnesota. A recipient of a 2014 regional Emmy and several film festival prizes, Chris has been making films for twenty years, and his previous work has enjoyed multiple nationwide broadcasts on PBS. Norah Shapiro (producer), also a Minnesota-native, worked for a decade as a public defender before shifting focus and becoming a filmmaker. She was recently nominated for a NAACP Image Award and just won a 2019 Daytime Emmy! Mark Steele (producer) has credits on dozens of acclaimed independent films, including Oscar nominees. He moved to the Twin Cities in 2010 to help shepherd several high-profile films at production company Werc Werk Works.

These three producers, along with a dedicated team of collaborators, have joined forces to make this film independently, and have undertaken it as a labor-of-love. This is a hometown story for Chris, Norah, and Mark. Each one of them is a parent, and they are deeply touched by what happened to Jacob, and his legacy. They take the responsibility of telling this story very seriously and consider it a great honor. They are dedicated to honoring Jacob's memory by telling a truthful, comprehensive, and hopeful tale, of how an unthinkable crime touched so many lives.



  • Allysa Hamann
    • $9 
    • 2 mos
  • Conni Conner
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $250 
    • 5 mos
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • Barrett Evans
    • $100 
    • 5 mos


Chris Newberry
Minneapolis, MN

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