Presenting Rabbit Island // A film by Ben Moon

In the summer of 2013, filmmakers Ben Moon and Page Stephenson spent a week exploring Rabbit Island. We weren’t yet a non-profit, and we had little money to support visiting artists – but those 90 acres, surrounded by the greatest great lake in the world, had already been legally preserved in perpetuity. Two years later, their film premiered at the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado. Since then, it’s played at more than a dozen acclaimed film festivals, and, with support from Patagonia, been featured on National Geographic Adventure’s website. In 2014 and 2015 Rabbit Island hosted 12 artists from five countries and over that same period received more than four hundred inspired applications from around the world. It all began that summer, and we hope above all else that this film supports the ideology that restraint can be virtue, that doing nothing can equate to doing the most good. Thank you, Ben, for training your eye on this little speck of wilderness defined by three quadrillion gallons of fresh water. May it remain thus forever.

Andrew Ranville’s TEDx talk is now online.

Take five minutes for a realtime sunrise over Lake Superior from Art’s Rock, Rabbit Island. August 31st, 2012.

-by Andrew Ranville

Cabin-Time x Rabbit Island mini doc by Colin McCarthy. Probably going to win at Sundance.

A collection of rough clips from Rabbit Island this past July and August. The storm at 09:25 was memorable.

Nice one Graham. Another tune from early August shot by Steven Michael Holmes of Graham Parsons grew up on the Keweenaw and organizes the annual Farm Block music festival on his family’s land. Good guy. Hopefully these tracks are the beginning of an island tradition.  Maybe we’ll start a little Rabbit Island label.  

Behind Graham, in the distance, is the rocky southwestern point of the island where the eagles often perch on a prominent dead tree and where a fisherman named “Berg" (a Swedish immigrant and first European to set foot on Rabbit Island) attempted to homestead in a primitive log cabin for 3 entire seasons in the late 1880’s.  As the camera pans back a fallen white pine is seen on the small sandstone cliff.  It came down in a storm about 6 years ago according to friends across the lake who know the island well.   Some of the flowering wild Lupines are also seen behind where Graham is playing.  It is nice to watch them bloom in late July and the bees often fly amongst them.

Chris Bathgate, Graham Parsons, Samantha Cooper and Michelle Brosius on the island in August, filmed by Steven Michael Holmes of Mostly Midwest (the Vincent Moon of the Great Lakes).  This came together last minute but turned into one of the most memorable evenings of the summer.  Music.  Skinny dipping.  Fiddles.  A ride back to land after dark.  No doubt the first of many.  NPR’s Michigan Radio is airing a piece about the island featuring this tune on Morning Edition and All Things Considered this morning.

Update:  NPR story here.   

Check out our new Kickstarter Project.  We’re pretty excited about the potential of bringing international artists, designers and thinkers to the northern Michigan woods. We’ve made some cool gifts for project backers (photography, Rabbit Island tee shirts, totes, art, etc.) and appreciate any support you can lend, financial or social.  Help us spread the word!  

Rabbit Island Artist Residency