ORACLE: The Life & Music of Michael Hedges

San Francisco, California | Film Feature

Documentary, Music

Mischa Hedges

3 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $133,000 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

979 supporters | followers

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The first documentary about Grammy Award winning guitarist Michael Hedges since his untimely death in 1997. Directed by his son and brother, the story of Michael's life & music career will be told by his family, close friends, collaborators & fans, with never-before-seen footage & unreleased music.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

To tell an incredible story about a groundbreaking musician who died before his time. This film will build awareness of Michael Hedges as a composer and acoustic guitarist and show how his music is living on through the next generation of guitarists & musicians he inspired.

The Story

poster photo credit: Kim Stringfellow

Thanks for your interest! The crowdfunding campaign to fund the Production Phase of ORACLE: the Life & Music of Michael Hedges is complete, but we're still accepting sponsorships! If you'd like to support the project you can make a contribution of any amount here => Become A Sponsor



Reaching our stretch goals will help fund additional production days (filming several interviews on set, visuals of the next generation, etc), bringing us closer to finishing the film and sharing it with the world!

For every $5,000 raised above our original stretch goal, we'll invite ALL supporters to an additional online screening of an unreleased Michael Hedges concert film in High Definition - as an additional thank you gift for your support! We'll start in May 2023, and do one each month to keep you stocked up with fresh Hedges material before the film is complete.

Oracle is the first feature documentary about the late Michael Hedges - a revolutionary, Grammy-winning guitarist who released 8 albums on the Windham Hill label.

Michael's son (Mischa) and brother (Brendan) have begun work on the film, completing early production of key interviews and sequences for the film, creating fundraising materials and writing a 120-page documentary screenplay.

We're raising funds on Seed&Spark to film key interviews and visual sequences, and put together a rough assembly of the film to pitch to broadcasters & streaming platforms for finishing funds.

Will you help us make this film?
1. Follow this campaign - just click the "follow" button
2. Choose an incentive level and make a contribution
(contributions of $1,000 or more are tax deductible when made through our fiscal sponsor link)

Help spread the word by sharing:
• Write an email to your friends about why you're supporting this project and ask them to do the same. Be sure to share this link:
• Share the campaign link on social media: "I supported the upcoming Michael Hedges documentary! Will you join me and make a contribution?

After his death in 1997, Michael's impact could have faded, but awareness of his significance has quietly grown amongst musicians. He is considered to be one of the most influential and innovative acoustic guitarists in the history of the instrument. He was an eccentric, immensely talented composer and musician admired by many, who passed away before his time.

His career just missed the viral, YouTube era, so many people are simply unaware of his music, and never had the chance to see him play, or experience his unique stage presence.

In the prolific age of streaming and music documentaries, it’s time.

Michael was the eldest son of Midwestern musicians and educators - a young, musical prodigy. Studying at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, he played Beatles and Neil Young in the bars at night. After being rejected from graduate school, he packed up his Volkswagen van and moved back to California with his girlfriend, where he explored electronic music classes at Stanford.

It was there, in Palo Alto, California, that Michael was discovered by Windham Hill founder Will Ackerman, who signed him to the Windham Hill record label. With the release of his first album, Breakfast in the Field, Michael was immediately recognized as a pioneering new force in acoustic music - and would soon be regarded as one of the most influential guitarists of his time.

By using alternative tunings and pioneering new techniques to elicit as many sounds from the guitar as possible, his following quickly grew, and he began touring the world - regularly selling out to thousand-seat theaters. He made friends and collaborated with the likes of Frank Zappa, Bobby McFerrin, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, Leo Kottke and many others.

As Michael’s career blossomed, he would fight the ‘new age’ label he found himself branded with, hoping instead to be taken seriously as a composer, first, who happened to write for the guitar.

With success came complications: fame, life on the road, divorce, drugs, an exhausting touring schedule and impossible expectations for ‘the next record.'

He’d struggle with these issues before finding a way to embrace them, often with his music, deepening his work and the path ahead. He was also eccentric: raw juicing, inversion tables, hot springs, massage, veganism, coffee colonics, Chinese medicine and martial arts - were ways to express himself and expand the boundaries of his artistic life.

Michael's life is a rousing story of someone who was told 'no,' but proved that no force could stop his music. He was about to make his next creative leap….when tragedy struck on a rainy night in December, 1997. Michael’s car ran off the road near his home in Mendocino, California.

He died instantly, leaving his friends, family and a generation of inspired fans behind - with an outpouring of grief from everyone who knew him, from around the world.

He received three Grammy® nominations and won "Best New Age Album" for Oracle in 1998 just after his death. Event without new recordings and performances, awareness of Hedges' significance has nonetheless quietly grown. In the years since his death, thousands of guitarists and composers have been inspired by his music, making it their own, taking it in new directions.

Our challenge and ‘north star’ goal is to make film that is on par with Michael’s creative standard. Here's how we'll approach this project:

  • We're shooting all present-day footage in 4K Ultra HD using Sony Cinema Cameras.
  • Concert footage, archive video & home movies will be presented in full-screen, uprezzed to UltraHD, color corrected & restored.
  • Archive photos of Michael’s life will be brought to life with 3D motion effects.
  • Groundbreaking animated sequences will bring his childhood & early education in composing music to life.
  • Wildly original, scene-stealing sequences will reveal, startle, and inspire the audience…bringing Michael’s personality, eccentricities, and music to life…
  • Tell the rousing, inspiring story of someone who was told 'you can't play the guitar like that,' and did it anyway.

As Michael's family, we have unprecedented access to Michael's story through his family, friends, collaborators and fans. Our planned interviewee list includes those closest to Michael, who can share experiences & anecdotes from Michael's life unlike anyone else. We'll also feature the stories of the next generation of guitarists and musicians who were inspired by Michael - people like Andy Mckee, Calum Graham, Yasmin Williams and many others.

We're planning a full release of the film to reach audiences across the world! If we raise our full budget, we're planning on a full release of the film from late 2024-2025. We can't wait to share this film with you.

Here's what we're planning:

  • Premiere screenings at well-known film festivals - we'll submit to SXSW, Sundance, DocNYC, Telluride, Mill Valley, HotDocs, and other top-tier festival programs
  • Broadcast premiere on network channels - we'll pitch PBS, HBO, Paramount, Hulu, Netflix, Apple, etc
  • A nationwide screening tour - we'll take the film to music venues and classic theaters where Michael often played, host mini-concerts before each screening, and reconnect with Michael's fans. 
  • Community/Educational screening tour - we'll make a screening package available to Michael's fans to show the film in their communities, schools, clubs, etc
  • A wide release on all major streaming channels - we'll distibute the film on VOD platforms like Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Peacock, YouTube, etc.

This will be the definitive film about Michael’s life and music. A multi-year project of this magnitude requires a significant investment in a highly-talented filmmaking team, extensive footage/music licensing fees, and state-of-the-art restoration of archival materials.

We'll use funds raised in this campaign to compensate our filmmaking team, equipment rentals and travel costs, editing the film, licensing footage and music, and releasing the film far and wide.

Your contribution is key to the success of this project, and will enable us to share this unforgettable, inspiring story with the world.

Will you help us make this film?
1. Follow this campaign - just click the "follow" button
2. Choose an incentive level and make a contribution
(contributions of $1,000 or more are tax deductible when made through our fiscal sponsor link)

Help spread the word by sharing:
• Write an email to your friends about why you're supporting this project and ask them to do the same. Be sure to share this link:
• Share the campaign link on social media: "I supported the upcoming Michael Hedges documentary! Will you join me and make a contribution?


Crowdfunding Strategy by TrimTab Media
Color Correction by Nicolai Crane
Motion Graphics by Michelle Olivera
Graphic Design by Zina Oliver


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Key Interviews

Costs $40,000

Help us film 6-8 key interviews for the film with Michael's family, close friends & collaborators.

Oklahoma - "Hometown/Origins" Scenes

Costs $20,000

Help us film scenes in Michael's hometown in Enid, OK with childhood friends & relatives.

Next Generation Scenes

Costs $20,000

Help us film with guitarists like Andy Mckee & others bringing Michael's music to new audiences.

Network & Grant Funding Pitch

Costs $20,000

Help us edit a rough cut from our first phase of production to raise finishing funds.

About This Team

Our team is made up of award-winning filmmakers, advisors and partners who are committed to telling Michael's story with integrity, at the highest quality possible.

Filmmaking Team

Mischa Hedges
(Michael’s son)

Women’s March, Of The Sea, Seeker of Truth

Brendan Hedges w.g.a

(Michael’s brother)

Remember the Sultana, Learning Never Ends, Day Within Days 

Ling Mai
CINEMATOGRAPHER (east coast unit)

Chasing Famous, Beanie Mania, NOVA, Human Nature


Josh Fox

Gasland, Awake: the film
How to Let Go of the World

John Stropes

Stropes Editions, Ltd
University of Wisconsin

Michael Manring

Windham Hill bass player

Jake White

“Dream Out Loud”
the Michael Hedges Biography

Brian Malone

“The Artist's Profile: Michael Hedges” (1997)
the Michael Hedges Biography

Hilleary Burgess

Michael's longtime friend and manager

Randy Lutge

Friend, early concert promoter and Hedges archive material expert.

Bryan Lanser

Early collaborator and audio professional

Mark Marshall

Free Willy Trilogy, Harry Potter, Remember the Sultana

Louisa McCune

Editor-In-Chief, Artdesk Magazine

Current Team