For the last five years or so, Milwaukee filmmaker Anthony Lopez has captured the city at its most sublime and idiosyncratic. As part of his High Frequency Media production company, Lopez created dozens of top-shelf music videos and short films, including 2013’s Points Of Interest, which followed Juniper Tar on an impressionistic cross-country tour. As part of his Content Milwaukee project, Lopez trained his camera on subjects who would normally be relegated to the margins. Now, Lopez wants to look beyond the city borders for inspiration; not only that, but he wants to live in a van while doing so.
In an Indiegogo campaign launched Tuesday, Lopez lays out his idea for “The Van Chronicles”—a.k.a. a series of documentaries shot on the road while living in his 1996 Dodge Ram. “Living in my van is going to allow me to significantly lower my costs of living for the next year,” Lopez says in his pitch, “while enabling me to go anywhere in the country to find the people whose stories must be told.”
But don’t let the Matt Foley-esque gimmick fool you: The documentaries Lopez wants to make won’t be about nomadic van exploits and eating at Thrillist-approved brunch spots. Instead, they’ll be unplanned slices of life, discovered wholly by chance. The only concrete thing about the project—other than the whole “living in a van” thing—is Lopez’s first destination: the 2015 Rainbow Family of Living Light Gathering. After that, “I have no idea where or what my next story will be, but I’m going to trust that the universe will lead me in the right direction.”
Of course, living in a van and leaving your filmmaking life to chance isn’t exactly free. Lopez is looking to raise $5,000 in the next 30 days to cover expenses like gas, food, insurance, vehicle maintenance, and some camera equipment. (Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo doesn’t require campaigns to reach a certain dollar amount.) Per usual, there are plenty of incentives to entice potential investors, including postcards and mixtapes at the $20 level, and a personal visit from Lopez at the $1,000 level.
“A major aspect of my work is relying on chance to lead me from story to story, and The Van Chronicles is the ultimate realization of that concept,” Lopez says in his pitch. Check out the project’s Indiegogo page here, and its Facebook page here. Oh, and watch the video below, which features Lopez’s dog and traveling companion Saget giving him a high five.