Take an inside look at the 2020 bird hunting season for the Project Upland community.
Every year around March we finally start to regroup from the previous hunting season. Cabin fever begins to set in, our dogs become restless and at least for us in the North a want for the spring woodcock to return. To curb those blues, to celebrate those day dreams and to connect with the community around us we bring the launch of our new 2020 bird hunting season trailer in hopes to maintain sanity and begin the countdown to another opening day. As of right now, we have 17 new films scheduled for release over the next 12 months!
The Purpose and Motto of the Project Upland Magazine Film Series
The Project Upland Original Film series is a collective of our community’s stories. That idea, this community, is represented in our tagline “These are your stories . . . ” As if my rant is on cue, this is NOT the idea of one person does everything, this is NOT “A.J. hunts 12 different places, 12 different ways, for 12 different things” that aren’t my own narrative. This is the idea of each individual, their passions, their stories. Our “professionalism” is that as storytellers, curators, and journalists. It is up to the individual in the community to be the story of their passion and love for the uplands and for us to share that with our community.
The first line of our motto “To expose the uplands to the world” is one of the core reasons we continue the Project Upland film series. If I had to boil that down to one word it is to “inspire”. Inspire new people to find a love for the birds, the dogs, and the places we call the uplands in hopes that they will carry with them a love to sustain this unique human tradition. This perhaps is the most timeless part of our motto. Because the uplands, what we are today, is about the past, present, and future. Not just one timeline.
The second line “to capture defining moments” could be represented in the word “stories”. Moments that are captured in motion, stills and words to capture the “inspiration” from the first line of the motto. Stories may just be the oldest of human traditions. In some cases, we race against a clock to try to capture the stories of the trail blazers before us and in others its less obvious until that defining moment is realized before the community.
Then we move on to the words “to push our passion and culture forward”. This line often reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote “Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” This part of the motto could be embodied in the word “empower”. It’s the principle of empowering our community to push innovation forward, to modernize, to make the uplands our own narratives. To find new writers, filmmakers, storytellers and to harness the stories in our community that innovate our traditions, expand our knowledge, seek the science as it applies to our birds and habitat and continue the work of those that came before us.
In the times we live in, the next line is so important to what we are, “to bring our community closer”. The precursor to this part can often come with growing pains and in a polarized world the need for “community” is of the utmost importance. That is what that line represents, that is what Project Upland is. Not a brand but a community, to influence, to crowd source, to leverage, to be part of it all. It is the inclusion all those willing to participate that we seek to harness.
“To make us feel” is the last part we have not dissected. The word this represents comes up over and over again – “passion”. Passion is the motivation of the filmmakers, writers, and photographers. Their art inspired by none other than the passion of the people that make up the community we celebrate together.
All said and done the motto “To expose the uplands to the world, to capture defining moments, to push our passion and culture forward, to bring our community closer, to make us feel…” could be translated into its simpler root form “inspire, stories, empower, community, and passion.” And to end this rant on our motto I submit to you “these are your stories” and share with you a look at what’s to come in 2020.
Coming in the 2020 Project Upland Original Film Series
When you watch the 2020 season trailer you will likely notice some new segments of our community. A pack of beagles graces the first scene and represents our first rabbit hunting film. Falconry follows on its heels as we revisit this timeless pursuit and this version on wild quail in the Southwest. We venture across the North American landscape not only in pursuit of 14 separate species and subspecies but also deeper into the world of bird dogs. We will travel abroad to capture more of the shotguns and dog history that adds an even greater depth and character to our stories.
Films will be released each month starting this month!
Morning Thunder Merges with Project Upland
After much thought and deliberation we have decided to merge the turkey hunting series Morning Thunder into the Project Upland community. Although the culture and pursuit of wild turkeys can be vastly different than that of their smaller cousins we hope that Morning Thunder will find its place among those of us the crave those Spring days.
The feed for Morning Thunder on the website will be housed on a separate landing page from our normal upland obsessed home screen and followed by two films this Spring in collaboration with Project Upland. For those few days we dodge the guilt felt towards our bird dogs (in most cases) as we leave on early mornings in search of turkey roosts, we promise the usual flow of upland content will not be interrupted.
Looking to 2021 . . .
It’s hard to image that we are already in production of our sixth season of films for Project Upland. In 2019 we closed out our biggest and boldest year with the first volume (four issues) of Project Upland Magazine. We are grateful to the community that has embraced this print medium and helped us grow our circulation over the past year. From the newsstands we moved to the idea of feature length films and film tours the first being #PublicGrouse which was an amazing rallying point for community based events. That project, the leap to grassroots events, was made possible because of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, onX Hunt, and Eukanuba Sporting Dog.
And so in the successful light of that community based project we announce that we are in fact moving toward a second feature length film for release the beginning of 2021. A story driven from the northern forest to the southern wintering grounds of our beloved American woodcock in the film Wandering Souls. A bird, story, a culture, that is a throwback to how this brand came to be. As the project progresses more information will be shared in this multimedia experience that will involve audio, short films, and print.
As always we will traverse the North American landscape to capture more of our community in a series of short films as well as in Volume Two of Project Upland Magazine.
Project Upland is made up of brands, non-profits, and people, that result in the word community. We thank that collective as you are Project Upland. This is your brand and as always we value your input, feedback, and influence over this crowd-sourced on going story.
A.J. DeRosa founded Project Upland in 2014 as an excuse to go hunting more often (and it worked). A New England native, he grew up hunting and has spent over 30 years in pursuit of big and small game species across three continents. He started collecting guns on his 18th birthday and eventually found his passion for side-by-side shotguns, inspiring him to travel the world to meet the people and places from which they come. Looking to turn his passion into inspiration for others, AJ was first published in 2004 and went on to write his first book The Urban Deer Complex in 2014. He soon discovered a love for filmmaking, particularly the challenge of capturing ruffed grouse with a camera, which led to the award-winning Project Upland film series. AJ's love for all things wild has caused him to advocate on the federal and state levels to promote and expand conservation policy, habitat funding, and upland game bird awareness. He currently serves as the Strafford County New Hampshire Fish & Game Commissioner in order to give back to his community and to further the mission of the agency. When those hunting excuses are in play, you can find him wandering behind his Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in the mountains of New England and anywhere else the birds take them.