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Big Idea

Northern Minnesota is home to some of the most pristine wilderness and cleanest water in all of America. People from all over the world have enjoyed the majesty of Lake Superior and the beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, an exquisite wilderness kingdom carved out by glaciers that’s persisted for 10,000 years. But now that might change. Two proposed sulfide-ore copper mines threaten the sanctity of these places and may forever change them for future generations. 7 Generations is the first film to tell the story of Northern Minnesota's long and ongoing moral struggle over sulfide-mining. While the region historically has been home to America's iron mines, this new type of mining has never been done before in Minnesota and has polluted waterways around the world. Through in-depth interviews, stunning videography and archival footage, 7 Generations portrays this issue in a way nobody has done before.


The Seven Generations Principle was first recorded by the Iroquois Native Americans. This principle states that the impacts of decisions made today should result in a better, more sustainable world seven generations from now. Today, this principle is practiced by hundreds of native tribes all over the country, including the Fond du Lac Tribe in Northeastern Minnesota. It is from working with this tribe throughout the production of our film that we came to the name 7 Generations.

After a lengthy interview with tribal elder Ricky Defoe, we immediately connected with his description of this principle. After discussing using this as the name for our project, Defoe felt that this title would highlight the efforts the Fond du Lac tribe, along with other native groups, have put into opposing these mines. It is our intention with 7 Generations to make Fond du Lac’s work in this fight central to the narrative of the film, as these mines are an immense threat to native communities. PolyMet’s proposed location sits on Ojibwe Ceded Territory upstream of Fond du Lac’s water supply. We must consider the impact these mines will have on Fond du Lac and downstream communities seven generations from today.


Any amount helps us achieve our goals

The importance of 7 Generations Film is more evident than ever. There is still time for us to tell this story and to convince people all over the U.S. that this type of mining does not belong near our planets greatest freshwater resources. This fight is not over.

We have made a ton of progress with the film in the little time since our initial surge of funding via Kickstarter. That being said, it's more clear to us than ever why we are going to need more funds to complete this film. The more funding, the bigger the impact.



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Tom Deschenes

Tom is a passionate environmental advocate who strongly believes that video is the most powerful medium to raise awareness and educate. He obtained a degree in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Minnesota Duluth, with a focus in digital storytelling. Tom has used his knowledge in film production and photography to support those making a positive impact on their communities. Tom is founder of Old Saw Media, a production company based out of Minneapolis, MN. Through his work as a self-taught filmmaker and storyteller, Tom seeks to do better in his work by creating content that is impactful, potent and drives people to action. Tom builds on his values through his work. He is a proud Minnesotan who has a deep appreciation for Minnesota's lake country and a profound desire to protect it. Tom is a family man who strives to live simply and give back more than he takes. He spends his free time participating in many outdoor activities, from paddling to rock climbing and everything in-between.


andrew bydlon

Andrew is a creative director, cinematographer, photographer and problem solver. Born in Minnesota, trained in advertising, experienced in conceptual ideation and commercial content development. Over the last decade, Andrew has photographed the journey to Mt. Everest with a cancer foundation, co-managed the photo department of a national award winning magazine and founded a full service production company.

He has successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for NGOs, educational programming and small businesses. In addition, his commercial campaign work for such clients as Eddie Bauer, Bote Boards, Bedrock Sandals and other companies is fixed in multi-platform compatibility. Andrew’s experience bringing commercial projects to life has helped him transition his motivation into conservation focused activism.    




Tom and Andrew have been working diligently to share small stories from the film.
Click the link below to read more about the community that has shared their perspective.