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Updated: Idaho Film Pioneer Returns To The Screen In Documentary About Her Life


This post was updated on April 21. 

Filmmaker Karen Day says she made her Kickstarter goal, with 12 hours to spare. Day needed $26,000 to wrap up editing and finish up the documentary,Nell Shipman: The Girl From God's Country.” She beat that goal, by $360. 

Day says, “We made it! Now, onward to post production!”

Original story was posted April 18.

Nell Shipman was already a star of silent films when she abandoned Hollywood in 1922.  She packed up her own zoo of 70 animal actors, including bobcats, bears, elk, eagles, and sled dogs, and moved to Idaho's Priest Lake to write, direct and star in her own movies.  Idaho filmmaker Karen Day is telling her story.

“Nell Shipman was the very first animal activist in Hollywood and the first action/adventure heroine in silent film," says Day.

Day says she learned of Shipman’s story just last year.  She calls Shipman a pioneer, in her humane treatment of animals and in how her film plots made the woman the star.

“They focused on women being self-reliant, often rescuing the hero, she was reversing the stereotype role, she was not only rebelling against it, but she was portraying women in a really unusual manner, which would be competent and capable of dealing with any kind of situation in the wilderness," says Day.

Eventually, Shipman’s 25 Idaho films were lost and forgotten, until a professor at Boise State University rediscovered her history and her movies in the 1980s.  Now Karen Day is taking that history and turning it into a documentary.  Through a Kickstarter campaign, Day is raising money to complete the film and return Nell Shipman to the spotlight.

Here's a look at the trailer for Day's documentary: Nell Shipman: The Girl From God's Country.

Girl from God's Country-Short from gcg productions on Vimeo.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio

As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.