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Jacob Wetterling Documentary

$17,880 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 271 people in 1 month
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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!

With your help, we can reach $18,000 by midnight tonight! We've been losing momentum in our fundraising and we need your assistance to make this project a reality. 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.

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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:

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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.

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A message to our donors:

It’s been a whirlwind month on the fundraising trail! This is our first update for our GoFundMe donors, but it won’t be the last. Our team has been overwhelmed – in a good way – by the outpouring of support from donors like you. We have passed some important milestones and created a strong foundation of support for the remainder of the campaign. There is still a lot of work ahead but I wanted to give you a few updates:

1. Today is National Missing Children’s Day, and we’ve set a goal to reach 30 new supporters this weekend. Since starting this week’s donor drive, we’ve reached 10 new supporters, but we’re hoping 20 more people will join us to mark this important day. If you know someone in your life who was touched by Jacob’s story, the symbolism of giving on Missing Children’s Day may be meaningful to them. So please, share our campaign, and be sure to tell them you gave too. You can copy and paste this link: gofundme.com/jacobfilm

2. We’ve passed the $15,000 mark, a quarter of the way to our GoFundMe goal. But more importantly, we’ve received donations from 237 backers! Some of you are friends and family of the filmmaking team, and some of you learned about us on social media or by word-of-mouth. In all cases, we are grateful that you believe in our project!

3. One thing that’s important to share with you: Even though we have a long way to go on our GoFundMe campaign, we have two additional fundraising efforts underway. We’ve been raising money at fundraising events around the region, the highlights being our Trailer Release Parties in five cities. And we’ve been accepting additional donations through our fiscal sponsor, FilmNorth. All told, we are now HALF-WAY to our net fundraising goal. We are extremely encouraged and are looking to finish strong in the coming weeks.

Thank you for believing in the power of Jacob’s story, and for coming along on this journey with us. We’ll be in touch with further updates in the near future!

With gratitude,
Chris Newberry
Director-Producer
The Jacob Wetterling Documentary
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$17,880 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 271 people in 1 month
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