Crowdfunding since 2010

The story of a former dairy farmer, an animal rights activist and the first cow retirement home.

Butenland tells the story of Jan Gerdes, a farmer turned activist, and of Karin Mück, who liberated dogs and cats from vivisection laboratories in northern Germany in the 1980s. Together they created 'Hof Butenland' – a farm that became a sanctuary for former farmed animals.
Funding period
9/29/19 - 11/12/19
November 1st - August 12th
Website & Social Media
Minimum amount (Start level): 35,000 €

We can finish the film, organize and advertise the cinema tour in Germany and release the film on DVD, Blu-ray and as download.

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What is this project all about?

Jan Gerdes is a third-generation dairy farmer, but he struggles with his conscience when the milk yield decreases and he has to sell his cows to the slaugtherhouse. After suffering a burn-out, he decides to give up his farm. On the day his last cows are due to be transported to the slaughterhouse, he finds that there's no room for twelve of the cows. Instead of ordering another transport, he and his partner Karin Mück decide to keep them. This is the birth of Hof Butenland – the first cow retirement home in Germany. In the early 80s, Karin was one of the first activists to rescue dogs, cats and other animals from vivisection laboratories – actions that ultimately led to her arrest and imprisonment.
Paul was supposed to be slaugthered at the age of two months because of calf flu, Uschi because she refused to be milked; Lillja almost did not survive the birth of her first calf. On Butenland, they live together with many former farmed animals in an environment where they are equal to humans. It's a peaceful coexistence that seems almost utopian.
This intimate portrait follows two compassionate people who have dedicated their lives to the animals. It captures moments of happiness and sadness, of life and death, and questions the status of farmed animals in today's society.

What is the project goal and who is the project for?

We have already shot and edited the film and are now at the postproduction stage. This campaign will enable us to finish the film and take the story of Jan Gerdes and Karin Mück first to the big screen in Germany and later release it on DVD, Blu-ray and as download. We can only do it with your support!

The film is aimed at people who want to learn more about the secret life of cows and what it is like to dedicate one's life to the animals and start a farm sanctuary. People who already know Hof Butenland and would like to learn more about Jan, Karin and the big and small residents and their stories. And to all those wondering what it means to stand up for their ideals and start all over again.

Why would you support this project?

Over the last two years I have accompanied Jan and Karin with my camera. In spring, summer, autumn and winter I looked over their shoulders and researched their life stories. I met companions, met people who saved animals and tried to find out what it means to be a dairy farmer and what the life of a dairy cow looks like today. Step by step, a film came together that tells the eventful biographies of two people and also of the countless cattle and other farmed animals that have found a new home on Butenland.
So far we have been able to finance the production of the film from our own resources. But now we need your support to finish this story and present it to a global audience.
Butenland offers a unique insight into the everyday life of a farmed animal sanctuary and tell the stories of the animals, that stay hidden in many animal products. The film also shows the limits the two reach when they are trying to save animals and that living on a farmed animal sanctuary – apart from many beautiful moments with the animals – means one thing above all: hard work.

How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?

With the first funding goal of 35,000 € we can finish the film, organize and advertise the screening tour in Germany and release the film on DVD, Blu-ray and as download.

If we reach the funding goal of 50,000 €, we can screen the film in more cities across Germany, pay for a larger PR campaign and reach even more people with the film's message. We can also create extensive bonus features and subtitles in other languages.

If you would like to support this project without a reward, but need a donation receipt, you can donate to a german non-profit association, which will forward the amount to us. We offer this Fiscal Sponsorship to all supporters for amounts over 1.000 €. For further information please send us an email: [email protected].

Who are the people behind the project?

Marc Pierschel - camera, production and editing. I am an author and filmmaker from Münster and Butenland is my fourth feature length documentary after Edge (2009), Live and Let Live (2013) and The End of Meat (2016).

Steffi Köhler - second camera. Steffi is a filmmaker and freelance editor. She works as a media pedagogue and executive producer for film projects. She is part of the Filmwerkstatt Münster.

Alice Bacher - score. Alice is a pianist and composer from Berlin and has already written the score for The End of Meat.

Jonathan Schorr - sound design and film sound mixing. Jonathan works as sound engineer for feature films, documentaries and commercials in Cologne. Most recently for the film Systemcrasher.

You think you could help us with the release of the film? We would like to work with people who care as much about this topic as we do. Please send us an email to [email protected].

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