I’m not a fan of Buffalo wings. I never have been (despite attending college in the heart of wing country), and never will be. And yet… Not only am I going to see a film about a man’s search for “the perfect wing,” I am hoping to help fund it.
On the surface, The Great Chicken Wing Hunt is a straight-up quest to find the world’s best Buffalo wing. It follows Matt and his band of wing cognoscenti as they eat, drink and judge their way through 75 northeastern wing houses on a two-week tour in 2007. Along the way they hit the local morning show circuit, discuss the concept of perfection (wing and otherwise) with strangers, and have heated debates among themselves about wing theory and their core mission. (“I think it deviates from the original recipe,” says a judge in one tense scene. “That means you can’t have anything but Frank’s and butter!” points out another, exasperated. Where will they draw the line?)
But the film is not only about wings. Here’s Matt in a bar with a man I’m guessing is a local. When Matt tells him they’re there to find “the perfect wing,” the man is not encouraging:
There is no “best wing,” he says. It’s an individual preference. But Matt is a persistent guy: “I want to believe that there are perfect things in life,” he tells the man. “The perfect relationship, or the perfect song, and the perfect wing.” The man just looks at him. “Are you married?” They both laugh.
Keep in mind, I haven’t seen the film yet; this is all based on the trailer. But I know from experience that Matt tells a great story-within-a-story. In the 2009 short, Lebowski, My Czech Wife and Me, he tries to get to the root of his wife’s ambivalence to his favorite movie. In a mere 20 minutes, he covers the evolution of their courtship, why people love certain movies, what to expect at a Czech wedding, and how The Big Lebowski stands up after multiple viewings. It was heartfelt, funny, and interesting, and when it was over I was half in love with his wife myself and checking to see if Netflix had The Big Lebowski in streaming.
KICKSTARTING THE DREAM
So there you have it. I, a non-wing lover, want to help speed Wing Hunt‘s journey from “rough cut screenings” to film festival glory. Enter Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is a great “crowdfunding” platform that it puts the power of financing creative projects in the hands of the masses (meaning, us). Even if all your friends are as poor as you are, they can still help finance your project with small donations and social media sharing. They share the link on Facebook, Twitter, and their various social networks, and voila—the word gets out and those donations (have the potential to) add up.
Matt’s Kickstarter page summarizes what the film is about and what the funds are for. For a mere $5 pledge, you get his everlasting gratitude* and a folk song. $600 gets you cool gear and an associate producer’s credit. And you wouldn’t believe what you get for $5,000…
* I”ll have to fact check this. It doesn’t say so in the pledge copy, but we can ASSUME, right?
from the “About this project” Kickstarter page:
THE GREAT CHICKEN WING HUNT is a co-production between Slovak and American filmmakers. It has been funded by the New York State Arts Council (NYSCA), the Slovak Ministry of Culture, a handfull of private investors and made possible by the hard work and generosity of dozens of filmmakers and wing buffs from around the world.
An excerpt from the film was broadcast on PBS in 2010. A rough cut of the film screened to a great response at the monthly Docuclub screening series in NYC in January.