This slideshow documents a fundraising campaign that Legendary Time designed in 2012 to assist a group of Star Wars enthusiasts who were planning a trip to Tunisia to restore the "Lars Igloo" film set.
Here's the backstory: In 1977, many Star Wars scenes were filmed in the Chott el Gharsa desert in Tunisia. One of the most iconic involved the Lars Family Homestead with it's moisture vaporators and famous "Igloo."
After the Tatooine filming was finished, most of the sets were left in the Tunisian desert. There they remained as remote attractions for adventurous Star Wars fans to visit. However, by the early 2000s, after years of exposure the Lars Homestead Igloo had deteriorated so badly that it was in danger of collapsing and disappearing forever.
Realizing that a significant part of film history was in danger, in 2011, a group of diehard Star Wars enthusiasts organized by Belgium native Mark Dermul, decided to mount an expedition to Tunisia to restore the Lars Igloo to it's former glory. This was the formation of the "Expedition to Save Lars."
At Legendary Time, we read about the Expedition to Save Lars and suggested a fundraiser involving a unique watch containing genuine film set sand. These "Tatooine Sand Watches," along with other associated memorabilia, would help raise funds for the expedition via the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. This project was officially accepted by the trademark owners, which at the time was Lucasfilm, as a "fan-sponsored promotion."
With the go ahead from Lucasfilm and the Expedition to Save Lars executive membership, Legendary Time designed a complete crowdfunding campaign involving our unique watches and other Tatooine memorabilia. It was launched on May 17, 2011.
After the Kickstarter campaign was launched, we finished off the design of the Tatooine Sand Watch. This took several weeks and many late night design conferences. We also applied for a provisional patent at the same time.
Within a few weeks after launch, the Kickstarter Campaign funding goal was reached and the project was "full steam ahead." A total of 359 people had pledged $39,522 thru Kickstarter and several hundred had purchased watches via direct sale. Now the real work began at Legendary Time.
In November, 2011, we received the first watch prototypes for evaluation. We were fortunate that we had a great technical relationship with our Asian manufacturer and the prototypes we received were of excellent quality. After our testing was completed, we approved them.
Meanwhile back in Tunisia, several liters of authentic Star Wars film set sand was collected for transport back to New Hampshire.
After the Tatooine watch manufacturing was finished in China, production sand capsules were air-freighted to Legendary Time for filling with the Tunisian film set sand. This was a laborious process but "many hands make quick work" and we had it done in 2 weeks.
At the turn of the new year, we received all the Tatooine items from China. During the months of Jan 2012 to March 2012, all the watches, t-shirts and certificates were shipped to both those that pledged on Kickstarter or had purchased them via our website.
Each of the Kickstarter pledgers and direct sale customers was recognized as a "Expedition Saviour" and received a certificate hand-signed by Mark Dermul, the expedition leader.
On May 25th, 2012, the Expedition to Save Lars left for Tunisia. Key members included Mark Dermul, Terry Cooper, Mark Cox, Robert Cunningham, Imanuel Dijk, and Michel Verpoorten.
The next day, the work on the Lars Homestead began in earnest. Being located deep in the Chott el Gharsa desert in Tunisia, this involved a considerable amount of coordination with local contractors, building material transporters, and others.
The work was arduous and temperatures often soared to 122 degrees in the mid-day sun. However, the igloo was inching closer to its former glory with every day of work.
On June 1st, 2012, the fruits of over a full week's work were realized. The Lars Family Igloo had been fully restored and being brilliant white again, it was a sight to behold. Many salutations were hoisted that evening as the Expedition members celebrated their achievement and prepared for the trip back home.
Congratulations to Mark Dermul, Terry Cooper, Mark Cox, Robert Cunningham, Imanuel Dijk, Michel Verpoorten, and others, for job well done. At Legendary Time, we were thrilled to play a part in this restoration of one of the most important film sets in science fiction history.
For those who are interested in learning more about Mark Dermul and the folks that restored the Lars Igloo, visit his website at: http://markdermul.be/savelars/. Here you will find considerable information about the expedition. A 246 page "Save the Lars Homestead" book is available for those that want to share in the adventure.