A metaphysical murder mystery that traverses the bewildering world of institutionalized learning.
UPDATE: With a little under twenty-four hours remaining on the clock, we have reached our Kickstarter goal for "Universe City." This means that the film will receive the funding that it desperately needs, and commence principal photography this fall. THANK YOU!
Any funds raised above and beyond our goal will be used to cover other production costs, such as lens rental and transportation. So feel free to continue pledging, as every single penny raised is immensely appreciated as an essential building block in the creation of this new universe. Once again, THANK YOU!
The text that you are now reading is a test. An entrance exam, of sorts, to ascertain your aptitude as a student. It is divided into three distinct sections: VISUAL, AUDITORY, and KINESTHETIC, with point values weighted equally.
The first task is to watch the Orientation video, located above. But before you press play, it is imperative to construct the ideal viewing environment. Start with a quiet space. Turn down the lights and turn up the volume. Expand the frame until it fills the screen. Lean into the image. Take notes if need be.
The second objective is to listen. You shall hear a series of questions, each of which must be answered with a short paragraph.* Sentences should be clear and concise. Avoid repetition at all costs and keep digressions to a minimum.
*Admin Note - Due to the recent malfunction of the campus intercom system, these questions have been transcribed for your reading pleasure.
1. What is Universe City?
Universe City is the title of a feature length motion picture. An independent film directed by Steven Dale Hedrick Jr., shot from a script that he penned over the past three years. Principle photography will commence in August, and continue until the end of the year. A final cut will be ready in the Spring.
2. What is the story of Universe City?
An unnamed Visitor enters the lobby of a campus dorm, rolling suitcase in tow. As he trudges up the spiral staircase, his eyes keep darting down to the room number written on his hand. He comes to a stop before a particular door on the third floor and knocks. No response. He knocks again. Still nothing. The boy looks around to ensure that no one is watching and then opens the door.
The Visitor hopes to find an old friend inside. The two boys had planned to reconnect over the weekend, pleasantly making up lost time. Instead, the dorm room has a different story in mind. An apocalypse unexpected.
The alarm clock wails, digital numbers flashing 12:00. Tattered clothes are strewn about the tiled floor. A cryptic symbol is scrawled on a white board. And taped above the disheveled bed is an old trash bag, caked with blood.
The clues in this room disorient the Visitor, launching him on a freewheeling quest to uncover the fate of his dear friend. Along the way, he encounters an eclectic collection of students, each with their own academic concerns. As paranoia mounts and patterns emerge, a grand conspiracy takes shape.
3. What is the theme of Universe City?
The film is an epistemological odyssey into the fragmentation of education. A surrealist thriller set within the world of institutionalized learning. A horror film concerned with the tenuous link between signifier and signified. An inclusive collage of disparate, often contradictory, perspectives. And, uh, hegemony.
But above all, Universe City is an intimate portrait of a place, both physical and mental. A cartographer's sketch of a scattered headspace, depicting a confusion peculiar to the collegiate experience. Ambition wrestles doubt.
4. Why does Universe City need funding?
Being a microbudget feature, Universe City was deliberately scripted to to make the most of limited resources. That means equipment is borrowed, props are purchased on the cheap, and locations chosen for being free. Dozens of talented people are donating their time and energy to this film.
But the one expense that is unavoidable is a camera. A quality recording device is essential to fully capture the opulent, haunting world of Universe City. Lucky enough, technology has reached a place where professional grade digital cameras are affordable for public consumption. So the only hurdle obstructing an arresting aesthetic is a few thousand dollars.
Which is why this Kickstarter campaign exists. See, almost every production expense is completely covered, except for the most critical: a quality camera. But with your financial support, we can bridge this budgetary gap. Any and all funds raised will be used to secure this indispensable piece of equipment. We need your help. Desperately. For a film without images is not a film at all.
5. What kind of camera will Universe City be shot with?
After months of exhaustive research on all available options, the decision was made to shoot Universe City with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Of course, this move is still contingent upon reviews, as the camera will not be released until late July. But barring any fatal glitches or unfulfilled features, this is the visual tool that will be used, making Universe City the first feature to do so.
Capable of capturing at a 2.5k resolution and storing images uncompressed on an SSD, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a minor revolution. It has a stunning dynamic range of 13 stops and is compatible with a wide variety of lenses. The device pulses with potential, offering up infinite possibilities to create monumental, transcendent images. To bring Universe City to life.
To the right you'll find an assortment of rewards, neatly divided into nine tiers. Carefully read the description of each one. Contemplate the financial weight. And then, if you feel called, pledge. Doing so is an exercise in agency, a bold act that beats back abstraction. You impact the tactile world. Create a brand new universe with the click of a button. Be comforted by this influence, as it concretely confirms your own existence. The final step of the assessment.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $3,000 goal
seconds to go
Jul 10, 2012 - Aug 9, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $5 or more
As a VISITOR, you will receive a digital copy of the campus map, inscribed with the route navigated by the narrative. Don't get lost.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $10 or more
Every incoming FRESHMAN is supplied with a laminated badge that displays his or her unique major. You must wear this tag at all times or risk expulsion from the campus grounds. Plus, you will receive the digital map mentioned above.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $25 or more
As a SOPHOMORE, you can download a high definition digital copy of the finished film, DRM-free. You will also be rewarded with the aforementioned map and badge.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $50 or more
Should you become a JUNIOR, you shall receive a limited edition DVD of the finished film, loaded with special features. You will also receive all of the above rewards.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $100 or more
For reaching SENIOR status, you will be rewarded with a physical copy of the screenplay. This document includes three different drafts which illustrate how the film evolved over the years. The text is also littered with clues which are invaluable in solving every mystery of "Universe City." Plus, you will receive all of the above.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $500 or more
As a GRAD STUDENT, you will receive an exclusive invitation to the world premiere of "Universe City" (travel and lodging are not included). You can also jump up on stage to host the post-screening Q&A, if you choose. And you will receive all of the above.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $1,000 or more
Should you become a PHD CANDIDATE, you will be rewarded with an Associate Producer credit on the finished film. Your name will be prominently displayed and also featured on the film's IMDb page. You will also have the ability to watch a rough cut of "Universe City" and provide feedback to the creators. Plus all of the above.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $2,000 or more
Being a PROFESSOR, you have the right to record a commentary track. Total freedom to talk about whatever you want as the film plays. So you can critique the picture, recite poetry, meditate on weather patterns, share deeply personal stories, bemoan recent sports scores, or crack jokes. The content is entirely up to you. This audio track will be included on the home video release of the film. You will also receive all of the above.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $3,000 or more
You are the DEAN. This means that you can create a student from scratch. Choose their name, major, appearance, personality, fears and desires. Be as detailed or vague as you want. This character will play a prominent role within "Universe City." Plus, you will receive all of the other rewards.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013