Hobo nickels: Kickstarter campaign falls short, but Adam Leech still hopes to make movie

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Time ran out last week for Adam Leech on Kickstarter.com. The Colorado Springs entrepreneur known for his vintage clothing and collectibles store, Leechpit, had been trying to raise a large sum of money to complete his documentary, A Nickel and a Nail: The Original Hobo Nickel Story.

Leech wants to create an expansive history of hobo nickels to share the bas-relief style folk art with a public who knows little to nothing about them.

The Depression-era art form began with buffalo nickels, which were pressed by the U.S. Mint from 1913 to 1938. The hobo nickel artists carved their own caricatures into the soft metal of the coins. Originally, "hobos," prisoners and other people with more time than money would carve the coins with nails, hoping to trade these small works of art for a meal or a bed instead of a five-cent market value.

But with $15,226 pledged, Leech fell short of his $38,013.05 goal. That amount would have covered every foreseen cost to complete the documentary. Unfortunately for Leech, by Kickstarter rules, if the goal is not met, no money is exchanged.

Leech admits his original goal was lofty, but he feels he knows more about the game now and plans to track down his larger monetary supporters to see if they are still willing to work with him financially. From there, Leech will start a new Kickstarter page, with a more reasonable goal, shooting to get that up next week.

"One way or another, the movie will come out early 2013" says Leech, "If I had made the [Kickstarter] goal, I would have a plane ticket already." 2013 will mark the hundred-year anniversary of both the buffalo nickel and the hobo nickel.

The money Leech now seeks will allow him to travel and finish the filming of the documentary, sneaking in a few more interviews, and getting some reenactments or animations to fill areas where he has only sound bites or crappy footage. It will also allow him to offer friend and filmmaker Jim Dziura fiscal motivation for the project. Not that Dziura lacks commitment, but as a filmmaker with documentaries under his belt such as Whiskey on a Sunday, Leech wants to make sure they can continue to collaborate.

"He is the meat-and-potatoes of the film. If I am patient and do my job, he will do his, and we will have something spectacular" says Leech.

But even if he has to make the movie on a "shoe string hobo budget" Leech is determined. "It is a hundred-year story, never told. It is all worth doing."

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