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A GoFundMe fundraiser organized by Nathan Ward, for the Salida Circus is intended to help fund the completion of a PBS documentary about Salida Circus.

Over the last 15 years, the Salida Circus program has impacted hundreds of young people and adults, changing lives, one circus performance at a time. But, behind the show lights, in between high-profile performances, this is still a backyard circus. The Salida Circus remains local and grassroots, where on any given day you will find kids practicing trapeze in a park or riding unicycles to school.

To celebrate their 15th anniversary, a 26:40 minute film about the Salida Circus is being created. Why 26:40? This is the half-hour time slot for Rocky Mountain PBS, which is excited to premiere the film. This film will be broadcast to thousands of households, to audiences who have never heard of social circus. For the film to become a reality, the Salida Circus is asking for help.

Social Circus

Salida Circus tumbling classes teach balance and fun. Courtesy photo.

The Salida Circus is a social circus birthed in the high mountain towns of Colorado, the life project of knife juggler/unicyclist/stilt walker/mom Jennifer Dempsey. She migrated to the small mountain town of Salida in 2007 after working with the Belfast Community Circus in Northern Ireland, Circo Rum Ba Ba in London, and the Scarlet Sisters Circus in Orange County, California.

Dempsey started Salida Circus in her backyard, and now, 15 years later, Salida Circus members have performed thousands of times throughout Colorado, the USA, and worldwide. In 2020 Cirque du Soleil, the original social circus, granted Salida Circus their Employees Choice Award.

You join Salida Circus simply by showing up. You too can become a juggler or stilt walker or acrobatic clown. Or you can become part of the social circus movement by helping them make a film about it.

Films can cost an infinite amount of money to make, but organizers have honed it down to bare bones. And thanks to the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau and the Colorado Health Foundation, they are well on their way. But they still need to raise an additional $20,000 to reach their goal.

Assuming the GoFundMe can raise enough funds, the money will go to filming, editing, music rights, mileage, hard drives, postage, etc. The plan is to start shooting the film in March 2022, edit it in August and wrap up in September. The kids who participate in the circus, the communities throughout Colorado where the circus performs, everyone who has ever wanted to become part of the circus movement are the ones who will benefit from this film.

All donors will be listed in the credits of the film. Donors giving more than $5,000 may be listed as Executive Producers. Anyone who wants to make a larger tax-deductible contribution can donate directly to the Salida Circus, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contact Salida Circus for details.

Nathan Ward is the director/cinematographer of this film project. Based in Salida, Colorado, he’s worked on projects in more than 40 countries, won an Emmy in 2021, and screened his films in dozens of film festivals worldwide. The writer/editor, Summer Simpson, has crafted films for clients like The National Geographic Society, PBS, Al Jazeera, The Smithsonian, and many more outlets. More crew who specialize in sound, color, and music will be called upon to create a film that captures the essence of the Salida Circus.

Beyond the screening on Rocky Mountain PBS, the plan is to show it on other PBS affiliates, film festivals worldwide, schools throughout Colorado/New Mexico/California working to create their own circuses, the American Youth circus organization – a national network of social circuses, the Social Circus International network, Cirque du Soleil’s outreach network Cirque du Monde, the National Association of Social Workers Conference, the American Circus Educators Annual Festival, the Clowns Without Borders Festival, the Citizens Peace Building Program and many more places.

Follow this link to the GoFundMe page.