Main fundraiser photo

GalaxSea: A Voyage into the Bioluminescent Night

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Pre-Production -- CHECK!
Production-- CHECK!
Thank you for all your generous contributions. We have a little ways to go to reach our $25,000 goal to finish the film and send it for submission to film festivals!

(Please Note: GoFundMe keeps 2.9% of each donation plus $0.30)

We filmed in late JUNE in Castine, Maine! Our partners with Castine Kayak Adventures are sharing their resources to make this film happen.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT SO FAR. Thanks to you, we have been able to keep moving on Pre-Production and Production!

We will need support throughout the various stages of production to reach our Premiere goal of September 23, 2022!

We are now in Post-production! Editing equipment, media storage, music and sound, animation, screening venues, and film festival entries all cost a lot of money!

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WHERE (does the money go)?
Contributions will go towards:
  • Editing Equipment (est. $250)
  • Media Storage (est. $1000)
  • Music Licenses (est. $2000)
  • Audio Design (est. $500)
  • Stock Footage of Space Licenses (est. $200)
  • Animation (est. $2500)

+Screenings in Venues ($1000)

+Distribution to Film Festivals ($1,500)

Where the money has already been used!
+Food for my crew & money that goes back to small business in Maine!
(est. need: $5,000-$6,000)

+Other production costs ( i.e. safety equipment; insurance; business operation costs; licensing fonts, music, and etc.) ($1000-$5000)

+Cover Travel fees (est. need: $1000-$3000)

+Specialized Gear Rentals (est. need: $2000-$4000)

Your contributions are the antidote to the fear and overwhelm our current generation of teenagers and young adults are experiencing in the face of their dire promised future, especially around environmental concerns. 

Your contributions help create wonder to combat burnout through a film that offers a tangible first step to protecting our kid's mental health and the environment. You will allow this film to be used as an educational tool in classroom environments, festivals, and camps.

Your contributions allow me to support my crew of incredible, highly skilled, and generous volunteer filmmakers, researchers, and guides. Plus, the funds to feed the crew will be used in small businesses in MAINE!

Our field crew supports women-in-the-field with an 80% woman, LGBTQIA+ crew!

With your collaboration, I can feed my crew, help cover travel expenses, support the local businesses, and have access to specialized gear typically reserved for high-budget natural history productions. 

Your contribution and collaboration is the fairy dust to make this story fly. 


This year, we reimagined how to give back to the Castine community and celebrate the night by candlelight. 

On September 23rd, we will align with the Acadia Night Sky Festival and celebrate Castine Kayak Adventure's 25th year in a Gala event. 

We're very excited to collaborate with the Maine Maritime Academy to premiere GalaxSea on the sails of their gorgeous Arctic Schooner, Bowdoin. 

We have projects to involve Astro-photographers, painters, local businesses. 

I am eternally grateful for your support, contribution, and most of all, collaboration.

Sea you soon!

This film is dedicated to my close friend Merick Rain Madison 1991-2022, a true adventurer and outdoor leader.

Come on board “GalaxSea: A Voyage into the Bioluminescent Night,” our sci-fi-inspired adventure documentary. Our short film embraces darkness to find the simple wonders shining from water, earth, and sky. 

Seventeen-year-old aspiring astronaut, Nora, takes the audience through her hometown in Maine and onto Castine Harbor’s waters. She leads us to investigate how our fears of the dark hold us back from experiencing the hope offered by our planet and how by reducing light pollution, the Earth’s wonder naturally shines through. 

Our surrealist adventure dives into the beauty of bioluminescence, fireflies, and the galaxy of stars filling Coastal Maine’s night sky; and offers a do-able first step towards effecting positive environmental change.

Want to join us on our journey, why not follow along?
Instagram @GalaxSea_Film
Facebook @CactusBoxFilms
Cactus Box Films 

HELLO From the Director!
My name is Itzel-Marine Gourmelon, a French-Mexican-American creative producer, cinematographer, and anthropologist. This summer my crew and I will be embarking on a journey, creating an environmental documentary short film, and we want your collaboration! 


Go Fund Me & Venmo Contributions welcome
Contributions of $2500+, Gear, or Services
Official Coroporate Collaborators

Contributions $1000 to $2500 
Executive Producer Credit on film

If $25 is what you can do, EVERY donation counts! 

To continue our project, our dream goal is: $20,000
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Director & Cinematographer - Itzel-Marine Gourmelon

Itzel-Marine Gourmelon is a French-Mexican-American creative producer, cinematographer, and anthropologist. Itzel-Marine lived in Colorado, kicking off her/their career with short films created for the National Park Service. She then lived in Brazil filming for a wildlife rehabilitation NGO while creating poetic-short stories of Rio de Janeiro. After moving to Washington, D.C, she/they have worked in a technical editing role assisting on an Emmy-winning documentary, joining an expedition to Nikumaroro in search of Amelia Earhart’s plane, and was the co-Founder/co-Chair of a Business Employee Resource Group for Diversity and Inclusion at National Geographic Partners HQ. In her/their spare time, Itzel-Marine has worked on grassroots films supporting NGOs and independent, socially conscious filmmakers in the DC area. After nearly half a decade at National Geographic, Itzel-Marine has begun a new step in full-time freelancing and founded Cactus Box Films to join the ranks of culturally and environmentally conscious filmmakers, ready to highlight the importance of conservation through the art of film. Itzel-Marine is now a Registered Maine Guide in Sea Kayak and Recreational specialties. For more information please visit here. 

The Stars

Nora Spratt - as “Nora”

Nora Spratt is in high school and a local to Castine, a small town located on the Coast of Maine. She absolutely loves the outdoors, and is a natural-born adventurer. Nora spends her time as an athlete, academic, and musician, and of course, with her family and friends. Those who know Nora would say that she is a leader, and that she works hard at everything she does. She is shooting for the stars - literally - as Nora plans on being an astronaut when she grows up, as well as studying the ocean as a marine ecologist. She is an Eagle Scout, a Gold Scout, and a Junior Maine Guide! 

Karen Francouer - as “Fairy-Guide-mother”

Karen has operated Castine Kayak Adventures for 25 years. She is a Master Maine Guide, an instructor, singer, and dreamer. Rain or shine, she’s either in a Sea Kayak, on her mountain bike, or cross-country skiing with her friends. In all she does, she puts the “Master” in Master Maine Guide. 


Executive Producer - Audrey Buchanan 
Audrey Buchanan is an award-winning filmmaker, interviewer and business strategist who believes in the healing power of art and the outdoors, civic engagement, social justice, and the fact that diversity drives innovation. Most recently putting those skills to use in Washington, DC as a Senior Portfolio Director at National Geographic, she has a deep passion for growing and engaging intergenerational audiences through thoughtful, super-charged, imaginative brand franchises and experiences that build community, enrich people's lives, and make the world a more connected place.


Field Producer & Science Writer - Dr. Kate Furby
Kate Furby is a scientist turned filmmaker. Kate has an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in marine biology with a specialization in science communication from Scripps Oceanography. Kate now works to share science with the world. As a writer and producer, Kate prefers to tell narrative science stories that highlight authentic voices. She is a National Geographic Explorer and has worked on video and audio storytelling projects with the Washington Post, National Park Service, US Dept of State, Nat Geo Education, and others. Kate specializes in science journalism and field producing, working on science outreach, and giving talks and teaching courses worldwide. She speaks French, although not as well as she would like.

Director of Photography - Sydney Combs
Sydney Combs is a visual reporter with a background in anthropology. She is a multimedia journalist focusing on tradition, history, and how people make sense of the world. She specializes in mobile-first, episodic documentaries. For the last several years she was a photo editor, digital producer, and writer at National Geographic for the History and Culture team. Previously, she worked at The Washington Post as a copy aide and at The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting as a reporting fellow and production intern. Currently, she is editing a 20-episode documentary she directed about a Burmese-Thai resistance rap group in northern Thailand. She is also a NeXt Doc fellow with Youth FX, a program supporting emerging documentary filmmakers.
She is currently based in Louisville, Kentucky.

1st Associate Director - Elise Partain
Elise Partain brings together dance, film, and visual art to encourage others to think and feel more deeply. Elise seeks to break the boundaries between artistic mediums and the boundaries that divide humanity, thereby encouraging connection across cultures and experiences. As a result, her work often involves socio-political topics and embraces activism. Her work has been shown at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, Skidmore College Dance Theater in Saratoga Springs, NY, and the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington, KY. She has performed works by choreographers Erika Pujic and Danny Grossman.

Holistic Producer & Audio - Robin Miniter
These days, Robin Miniter is a senior producer over at Grim & Mild Entertainment, Inc., bringing listeners dark, historical tales. But before this, she was on the founding team of Overheard at National Geographic, where my episode about an ancient murder garnered a Webby nomination for the Podcast Episode of the Year. Robin has spun podcasts out of oral history archives for The National Park Service, produced alongside the good folks from Gravy at the Southern Foodways Alliance, and moonlit on the Morning Edition desk at KUAR Little Rock. Beyond that, she’s consulted of projects ranging from community-centered oral history initiatives, to feminist audio erotica, to how to make the best negroni (…with cynar, of course). She received my Masters in Oral History from Columbia University, and was also Fulbright research scholar to India, where she documented the rise of women’s rugby. Robin is a proud grad of the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, Ma.
These days, you’ll find her working on leg day and throwing pots on the wheel. She’s always armed with hiking boots and extra snacks to share.

Digital Imagining Technician & Lead Editor - Michelle Trujillo
Michelle Trujillo was born in Miami to Colombian and Costa Rican Parents and grew up in South Florida. She works in various mediums such as eco and hand-processed 16mm film, digital video, 35mm still film and cyanotypes. She is interested in mixed media within her editing. She is currently working and living in Milwaukee, WI where she is a Lecturer for the film program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Drone Cinematographer - Robert Trumble
Robert’s Love for the arts and the outdoors started when I was very young. Growing up, if he was not outside, he would be inside doing something creative with his hands. That is still the case today. Robert has a vagabond soul, and his heart is always longing for adventure. The anticipation of what could be is continually having him pack my bags. He has been pursuing photography since 2017, and in 2020 he landed my first publication in Ultrarunning Magazine. The coast of Maine is home, and some of his favorite types of adventures are sea kayaking out to islands and climbing anything that rises above the tree line. Robert Trumble is a registered Maine Sea Kayaking and Recreational Guide. 

Location Coordinator, Production Support, Horror Writer - J. L. Shively
J. L. Shively lives on a sparsely populated peninsula on the coast of Maine where she is continuing her search for old cemeteries and abandoned places while completing her collection of short horror stories. Shivey has a Master of Letters from Drew University where she studied creative writing and the psychological fascination of modern ruin. You can follow her on instagram @entertheruin. In her writing, Shively focuses on character-driven fiction and adventure stories that are thrilling or even speculative in nature. She leverages the strength of a story's capacity to showcase the humanity of horror and the power of terrific narrative. Her work has been published in the Sky Island Journal and her short story, "Bicycle," was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Behind the Scenes Photo-Journalist - Dallas Agnew

While in Maine, Dallas discovered a passion that will stick with him for the rest of his life. On his birthday in June, he received his first camera, a Canon DSLR. Since then, he has been photographing everything around him. From the moment he connected with a bee through his lens, he started taking photos much more frequently. That little bee didn’t know it, but he really made Dallas’ day. His photography speaks to the fact that noticing the small things in life, like bees in your backyard, can be fun and relaxing.

Assistant Producer -Clark Tate
Clark Tate is a freelance writer, researcher, guide, and on-assignment photographer. Armed with an M.A. in Environmental Science and Land Use Policy from the University of Virginia, Clark has rafted desert rivers as a restoration ecologist and guide, led dog sled teams along the continental divide, and covered marine ecology and climate change for local and national publications. Clark is now a certified Maine sea kayaking guide excited to share the wonders of Downeast

Non-Field Crew:

Animator - Ross Walter
Ross is an animation intern at NASA for the second time. He’s a big fan of Jules Verne and grew up reading him. Ross especially love his super detailed illustrations and has an eye and knock for surrealism. 

Design - Rebecca “Bec” Blaesing
Bec is a hybrid artist/graphic designer with a mile-wide curious streak. Her visual brain never turns off, and she never wants her learning curve to end. 
Of course she want her design work to look good, but ultimately it’s about listening, distilling and then building inventive solutions. She can spend infinite hours mining her obsessions for color, design flow, typography and beautiful simplicity. As much as she loves creating order, she also appreciates happy accidents and crooked paths. She balances out her precise design side with cartooning, street photography, painting and recording interviews with interesting people. Bec lives in southern Maine and is a Registered Recreation Maine Guide. 

Communications & Fundraising Consultant - LRUA
LRUA has broad philanthropic expertise with thirty years as an executive director, development professional, consultant, board chair, community organizer, advocacy expert and donor in educational and public health programming. LRUA has a diverse network of philanthropic, corporate, academic and political leaders. And some connections with the Obamas, we hear...

Production Controller - Rachel Bunner 
Rachel Bunner is a Certified Public Accountat (CPA) and received her Master of Accounting degree from the University of Kansas. She works in corporate accounting, ensuring that stakeholders have the right information when they need it. In 2022, she is sitting for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam. Outside of work, she enjoys backpacking and day hiking, studying French, climbing, doing yard work, practicing archery, and reading.

Pick-Up Crew:

Pick-up DP - James Dubourdieu 
James is an experienced cinematographer and producer that has worked for networks such as National Geographic, Discovery, BBC and many more.

Early Phase Support Crew (Non-field)

Sci-Fi Writer - Michael Wev
Michael Wev is a creator and writer at heart. He lives and breathes science fiction and has written twenty-three issues for his ongoing comic book series about the intergalactic hunt for a pair of critically endangered lovers. He has also directed and edited science-fiction and horror short films and served as Flight Director and Editor for a drone videography business in the Shenandoah Valley for two years. Currently, Michael Wev is the lead Quality Control Technician at National Geographic Partners and has spent thousands of hours technically evaluating programs such as Cosmos and Hostile Planet as well as feature documentaries like The Cave and Sea of Shadows.

Sound Mixing & Design - Nick Anderson
Nick Anderson started his sonic journey about 20 years ago, interning with Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studios in Arlington while still in high school. The next decade or so took him around the country on tour and into studios, recording, playing, and producing music for artists and bands in the DMV music scene. From there, he began to pivot into post-production mixing and sound design. He now works as Senior Audio Engineer for the National Geographic Channel, putting sound to story for one of the world’s most iconic, recognizable brands.

Marketing & Grants Coordinator- Liv Gwynn
When Liv Gwynn was a kid her dad showed her the Indiana Jones movies, and it was at that moment that she decided she wanted to be Indiana Jones when she grew up. After seeing those movies Liv consumed every book, article, and a documentary about archeology she could get her hands on. While the idea of becoming an archeologist was left in her childhood, what didn’t fade was Liv’s love of the documentary medium. Later, Liv received a BFA in Film from Rochester Institute of Technology, gaining a technical-focus education. While she has taken up almost any role on set, editing is what has always called her back. The award-winning documentary short film, Canvas (2019), she edited was the project that solidified her love of this form of storytelling. Since then, Liv has taken on a staff Assistant Editing position with National Geographic, being mentored by Emmy award-winning editors to help her refine her craft and skills. 

Gaffer & Lighting Design Consultant - Anne Saul, Saulgood Media 
Anne Saul is a Gaffer, Educator, Musician, Performance Driver, & Mom from Annapolis Md. She has been working in the film industry for the past 14 years and has had the pleasure of working with many outstanding crews and teams including Good Journey Productions ("The Girl Who Left Home" - Gaffer, Feature film 2020), Signature Theater Features ("Midnight at the Neverget" - Camera Op 2021, "After Midnight" - Jib Op 2021), IKAM Productions ("Clothed Minds" - DP, Documentary 2021), Women in Film and Video DC ("Night Waking" - Gaffer 2020), GMUTV, Smithsonian Folkways, and Stone Soup. 

Contributing Photographer - Jeff Hester
Jeff Hester is an Emmy award-winning wildlife cameraman (Our Planet, Outstanding Documentary) based in San Diego, CA, specializing in underwater and aerial cinematography. With beginnings as a biologist and NOAA marine scientist, he developed a passion for telling ocean stories and he's now worked as a cameraman and/or producer on all 7 continents. A former Rolex scholar and Explorers Club Emerging Explorer, he currently freelances as a camera operator for a variety of companies including Netflix, BBC, Apple, Disney+, and National Geographic. Jeff hopes that through his work, people will experience and appreciate our blue planet and in turn, make sustainable choices for the future.

And much, much more consulting aid from many more friends! 

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*About Promo Part I ( ): A Trip to the Moon (1902) "French adventure short film directed by Georges Méliès ... is widely regarded as the earliest example of the science fiction film genre [wikipedia]" AND is a major stylistic influence for GalaxSea. Our first video is an homage to bold creators as we mix genres of SciFi and documentary.

Shoot for the moon!

2020-2022 have been tough years for so many. The burnout brought on by the pandemic, social, political, and environmental issues led me to realize I felt helpless to support my community. And even more so when I realized the next 10 years are the most crucial for our choices surrounding the environment. For many, that brings on a sense of hopelessness. I realized I already had a tool I'd been nurturing. So, as a filmmaker, I want to use documentary to combat hopelessness and replace it with wonder, hope, and do-able baby steps towards change. 

I do want to be a part of the conversation towards hope, so on January 5th, 2021 I established my own freelance company, Cactus Box Films LLC, to generate wonder and gritty optimism for environmental, cultural, social advancement.

I know I can’t do it alone, so I asked some friends, colleagues, and contacts for their help. Many have agreed to volunteer their time. And I am so, so honored they believe in this project. Together, we seek to combat our own burnout, we seek to play, and we seek to wonder and dream about the night sky, bioluminescence, and the infinite beauty of the Earth on which we live. Please read above for each bio on these exceptional individuals.

Support for “GalaxSea: A Voyage into the Bioluminescent Night,” is provided by The Kindling Fund, a grant program administered by SPACE as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program.

 GoFundMe Giving Guarantee

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  • Anne Warren
    • $150 
    • 2 yrs
  • Nicole Coy
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Jean-Yves Gourmelon
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs

Fundraising team (5)

Itzel-Marine Gourmelon
Orland, ME
Devyn Machado
Team member
Rachel Bunner
Team member
Jean-Yves Gourmelon
Team member
Kate Furby
Team member

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