Okkervil River’s "Down Down The Deep River," the centerpiece of their 2013 album The Silver Gymnasium, recounts frontman Will Sheff's childhood growing up in a very small town in New Hampshire during the 1980s.
NEW "Down Down the Deep River" exclusive trailer.
I wanted to make a short film to dramatize the song and pay homage to children's science fiction and fantasy adventure films like “The Goonies,” and “E.T.” that influenced me as a child. "Down Down The Deep River" takes place in various locations around my hometown in Meriden, New Hampshire, including my former elementary school, the woods near my childhood home, and the hills that overlook the town. These specific locales anchor the depiction of a small New Hampshire town that has seen little change since the 1980s.
The film is being shot over the course of Summer, Fall, and Winter in New Hampshire. Nature, the town, and the seasons play a huge role in what happens on screen. The specific locations of the film are just as important as the era in which it’s set, and most of the team helping create “Down Down The Deep River” are centered around the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont area. This is an improvised group of brilliant, passionate people – actors, crew, producers, costume designers, all doing something that’s unlike anything we’ve done before.
The period setting has been a special challenge for this feature; it’s rare that something with this low of a budget requires such an immersive setting. Luckily our crew has been very resourceful in pulling together vintage toys, games, furniture and costumes from friends and families all around the New Hampshire and Vermont area. It’s been a fun and even profound experience trying resurrect the past like this, and their sets and costumes have done an incredible job of making a viewer feel like they’re really there.
Risks and challenges
This ambitious project is a labor of love, and we will need your help to get over the finish line. At the same time, I view this Kickstarter campaign as an occasion to be creative with the prizes and experiences we can create for fans and make artworks that are beautiful and fun in their own right. To that end, I’m designing vintage-style collectors’ cards based on the spin-off trading cards tied-in to 1980s films, as well as a large film poster, an original “Read-Along” book with all-new narration, audio and artwork (done in the style of classic 80s Read Along books), and a copy of the original soundtrack and score enclosed in a vintage Nintendo game cartridge. The Kickstarter is also an opportunity to develop a closer connection with fans, and on the experiential level we’re offering everything from credits in the film to private screenings in your town, from props from the film to on-set Polaroids updating you on the shoot. I want people involved with this Kickstarter to feel charmed and enthusiastic about the process, because we’re so grateful for any help you can give us. With that help I think we’ll be able to make something really beautiful, special, and singular.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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