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A trans teen and her disapproving father strike a troubling deal during a charged summer road trip.
129 backers pledged $22,030 to help bring this project to life.

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"JESSE", A Short Film project video thumbnail
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$22,030

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THE STORY: 

Jesse, a fiercely independent trans teen of mixed race, arrives from Switzerland for a road trip with her estranged father Marcus, a man with rigid beliefs about gender roles.  Marcus is clinging to Jesse’s former identity as his son Blake, and has only a vague grasp of what her new transgender identity really means. 

The two are on their way to visit Marcus’ deeply religious mother on her death bed.

His struggle to understand his daughter, and Jesse’s deep desire to be understood, accepted and loved by him, leads the two to strike a weighty deal – one with serious repercussions for their trip and their future. 

Marcus is waiting to pick up Jesse at the airport
Marcus is waiting to pick up Jesse at the airport

WHY THIS STORY IS IMPORTANT 

The facts are shocking – more than half of transgender teens have attempted suicide at some point in their lives according to a recent study. And nearly all transgender youth experience some form of exclusion, bullying and violence on a daily basis,  burdening them with a host of social and mental health issues like fear, isolation, anxiety, depression and personal despair.

With gender and racial intolerance and inequality at an all-time high, both here in the U.S. and globally,  it’s more important than ever to take on these issues and shed a revealing light on the intolerance and ignorance that drives them.  As a society we have a responsibility to do better: to listen,  to learn,  to discuss,  to educate ourselves and others, and most of all to understand and embrace the gender and racial diversity that constitutes our true strength. 

As filmmakers we believe in telling stories that examine inequality, injustice and intolerance. Although our contribution might be minuscule, we're not willing to witness transphobia, homophobia and racism in any form and for this reason we want to continue telling stories that celebrate diversity.  

...AND WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT

My favorite aspect of making a film is its collaborative nature. With the right team in front and behind the camera, the results can be stunning and rewarding. But creating a picture is a time consuming and exhausting task and unfortunately expensive. So far, we have been able to assemble a great team of friends and colleagues with decades worth of experience, many of whom agreed to work for scale or pro bono. But there are bottom line costs that cannot be avoided and in order ton make this film a reality, we need to raise 

$ 18,000.00

We will be shooting for three days this summer and finish post production by the Fall of 2019. Every cent raised through this Kickstarter Campaign will be spend on location rental, equipment rental, meals and lodging, travel expenses, payroll, insurance, permit fees and of course the entire post production from editing to a color correct and sound mix. 

MEET OUR TEAM: 

  • Executive Producer Susan Batson 
Susan Batson
Susan Batson

 Actor, writer, director, producer, teacher, and coach Susan Batson has been called an "alchemist" by the New Yorker. In private consultation on film sets all over the world and in her New York acting studio, Susan Batson has enjoyed the privilege of working with Nicole Kidman, Juliette Binoche, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Tom Cruise, Kerry Washington, Zac Efron, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Sean Combs, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connelly, Kirsten Dunst, Laverne Cox, Common, Janet Jackson, Rihanna and countless other actors searching for truthful connections between themselves and the characters they play. https://www.susanbatsonstudionyc.com

  • Producer/ Director Vinz Feller  
Vinz Feller on set of "Montauk" with cinematographer Martin Ahlgren
Vinz Feller on set of "Montauk" with cinematographer Martin Ahlgren

Vinz Feller is an accomplished director, having won many awards for his work including mentions from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures (NBR), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Finalist, Student Academy Awards) and the Swiss Department of Cultural Affairs. His films have been screened at numerous film festivals worldwide including Tribeca Film Festival, Clermont Ferrand Int. Short Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival and many more. Vinz also works as a TV editor for shows on Netflix, History Channel, National Geographic Channel and many more with hours worth or programming under his belt. https://vinzfeller.com

  • Producer Carl K. Ford  
Producer Carl Ford
Producer Carl Ford

Carl Ford is a writer, director, producer and acting coach/teacher. His directing film credits include Generation X, The Coolest White Boy Ever, Barnone. Recently Mr. Ford completed his second feature which he wrote and directed entitled Free Richard and co-produced another feature entitled 30 Beats currently being distributed by Lionsgate. He has also produced and written two television pilots Barnone—based on his short film--and Soul of Fashion a fashion show pilot for BET.  https://www.susanbatsonstudionyc.com/coaches/#teachers

  • Writer Paul Leo  
Screenwriter Paul Leo
Screenwriter Paul Leo

Paul Leo is an award-winning screenwriter & producer best known as the show-runner and “voice” of the hit VH1 series Pop-Up Video.  In 2010, Paul wrote and co-produced the original narrative short Down This Road, which was chosen to open the “New York Stories” program at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, and later won awards at the 30th Annual Black Mariah and Honolulu film festivals. He continues to write and develop shorts, series and features for a wide variety of outlets. 

  • Producer Petra Hoebel  

Petra has been a producer, line producer and production manager for the past two decades on movies such as Cadillac Records, Jumping The Broom and Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls just to mention a few. She produced the hit TV shows The Men Who Built America, American West and many more.  Petra's Full Credits 

  • Production Designer Ernesto Solo  

Ernesto Solo is a Production Designer for film and television with two decades of experience.  He also designed various South American and Caribbean period productions including the award winning film “Taita Boves”.  As an Art Director he worked on projects like “Don’t Tell” (Academy Award nominated), “Captivity” and “Me & Kaminsky”. His TV shows credits include; “The Making of the Mob” for AMC,  “Men Who Built America” (4 Emmy nominations) for History and “Gold Fever” for Discovery.  Ernesto's Work 

MEET THE CAST: 

  • Stephen Hill as MARCUS
Stephen Hill is attached to play Marcus, the father
Stephen Hill is attached to play Marcus, the father

Stephen Hill is an award winning actor (Best Male Actor, ABFF Star Project 2010), known for solid work in a variety of roles in film, TV, theater, web series. He can currently be seen on CBS' Magnum P.I. as Theodore "TC" Calvin. He has recently been cast in the lead role of York in the HBO mini-series, Lewis & Clark. He is also on HBO, in Pete Chatmon's BlackCard, and in the fifth season of Boardwalk Empire in the recurring role of Clarence, right hand man to Jeffrey Wright's, Dr. Narcisse. On Netflix, in Kiara Jones' Christmas Wedding Baby, Stephen gives a heartfelt and truthful performance in the lead role of Issac. Look out for him on Law & Order SVU, Blue Bloods, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Louie, Political Animals, and Unforgettable. Check out Stephen's website here.

Enjoy some of Stephen's work

  • Linda Geiser as Grandmother Anna 

Linda is a veteran actress who has worked extensively in Switzerland and the USA for over 50 years. She is best known for her role in the Swiss TV series Lüthi und Blanc as Johanna Blanc.  Linda's Credits  

Actress Linda Geiser is attached to play the Swiss Grandmother
Actress Linda Geiser is attached to play the Swiss Grandmother
  • We're currently casting the role of Jesse 

WHAT HAVE WE DONE: 

"Down This Road"premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and had over 50 screenings worldwide. It also won awards at the Black Mariah and Honolulu Film Festival. Feel free to watch the entire movie here.  DOWN THIS ROAD 

DOWN THIS ROAD premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
DOWN THIS ROAD premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
Down This Road (2010)
Down This Road (2010)

"Montauk" premiered at the amazing Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France, one of the biggest short film festivals worldwide. The film won The Stellar Award for Best Fiction at the 33rd Black Maria FF and had over 60 screenings worldwide. Watch it here.  MONTAUK 

Montauk (2013)
Montauk (2013)

Risks and challenges

In my opinion the main ingredients for making a good movie are a compelling story, great actors and a good team and luckily we have all three ingredients already secured.

But many challenges remain. Shooting this movie in three days is one concern as there is very little to no wiggle room to make mistake. Everything has to fall in place from the flawless performance, to the difficult camera movement in my head and the weather that hopefully plays along.

And despite the fact that we work with collaborators who are donating their time and talent, we still have to spend a lot of money on equipment rental, location fees, casting expenses, transportation, insurance, food and lodging and the entire post production from editing to hiring a colorist. The budget is tight and the money has to spent carefully and wisely.

But the biggest risk? It's all or nothing. In choosing Kickstarter we believe it's either all or nothing so if we fall flat of achieving our goal we won't be making this film! It's that simple. "Jesse" is not just another short film to me, this is an important story to tell and facing the possibility of failure keeps me up at night. t's terrifying but we're up to the challenge.

With thanks and in gratitude -- Vinz

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    SUPPORTER: FOREVER GRATEFUL

    With our thanks and in deepest gratitude.

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    SUPPORTER: FOREVER THANKFUL

    We are forever thankful! And you'll get a special Thank You Shout Out on social media by one of the filmmakers.

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    SUPPORTER: THE BIG THANK YOU

    A Thank You mention in the credits of the film and an advanced online password protected copy of the movie.
    An on set still from the movie signed by the cast.

    Includes:
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    • On Set Still signed by the cast.
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    SPONSORS: YOU'RE ALL KINDS OF AWESOME

    A This Film Was Made Possible By credit in the film, an advanced online password protected copy of the movie and an appreciation SMS or What’s App from director Vinz Feller.

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    SPONSORS: TEA WITH SCREENWRITER PAUL LEO

    A one hour get-together in NYC with screenwriter Paul Leo to discuss the process, themes and inspirations behind Jesse, your own work, or anything else you'd like to talk about -- adorable pets! favorite sandwiches! global dystopia!

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    SPONSORS: COFFEE WITH VINZ

    A This Film Was Made Possible By credit in the film, an advanced online password protected copy of the movie and take a coffee break with director Vinz Feller (coffee is on me but NY only). If you live anywhere else, let's FaceTime.

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    SPONSORS: PRIVATE SCREENING

    You will get a This Film Was Made Possible By credit in the film, “Jesse” or whatever the title will be swag created by artist Magaratz, and an invitation to a private screening of the finished film followed by a Q and A with the filmmakers.

    Includes:
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    • Private Screening of the Finished Film followed by a Q & A
    • "Jesse" swag designed by artist Magaratz
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    SPECIALS: THE ACTOR'S SPECIAL

    Get ready and hone Your Acting Skills! Get a Kickstarter Super Stars mention in the credit of the film and a one-hour private with amazing acting coach, teacher and producer Carl Ford. DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS DEAL.

    Includes:
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    SPECIALS: WELLNESS WITH MAYA

    Wellness Special! Get a Kickstarter Super Stars mention in the credit of the film and a private one-hour phone session with celebrity dietitian Maya Feller.
    www.mayafellernutriton.com.

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    SPECIALS: MS. BATSON ALL TO YOURSELF!

    Don’t Miss This AMAZING OPPORTUNITY. Get a Kickstarter Super Stars mention in the credit of the film and a one-hour private with the world’s most renowned acting teacher and coach to the stars Ms. Susan Batson herself. This reward won't last long so get it while you can.

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    TOP TIER:HOMEMADE FOOD & TALK

    Get a Kickstarter Super Stars mention in the credit of the film, “Jesse” or whatever the title will be swag designed by artist Magaratz, a poster signed by the cast and crew and an invitation to a home cooked dinner with the filmmakers and prepared by celebrity dietician Maya Feller.

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    • Dinner at Home with the filmmakers, prepared by Maya Feller
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    TOP TIER: ASSOCIATE PRODUCER LEVEL

    Get an Associate Producer credit, “Jesse” or whatever the title will be swag designed by artist Magaratz, you’ll also receive a roughcut of the film and can give feedback and you will be able to submit suggestions for a possible title Carl will approve.

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    • Give Notes and Feedback on the Roughcut of the film
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    PLATINUM MATERIAL: CO-PRODUCER LEVEL

    You are now officially a Co-Producer! Join us for a rehearsal at the Susan Batson Studios and you will also be able to make a cameo appearance in the movie if you feel inspired. You are of course also invited to the private screening and everything else that comes with the privileges of being a co-producer.

    Includes:
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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER LEVEL

    Congratulations! You have received Executive Producer Status. You will received top billing in the credits of the movie. You’re a boss and will be showered with all the love and attention deserving of this status. And you'll get whatever you want on the list of rewards.

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Funding period

- (30 days)