Downriver meets Upriver in a 30-minute comedy by students from Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. It's a film that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you wonder how different we really are from one another. The screenplay was written by Brandon M. Verdi, a recipient of the 2012 Hopwood Award in Screenwriting from the University of Michigan.
In the wake of his father’s sudden death, 15 year old Alex is forced from his posh, suburban lifestyle into a “downriver” life with his estranged half-sister Crystal and her family. The socially awkward Alex doesn’t like the family, can’t stomach the food, gets into scrapes with their friends, and is drawn into a backyard brawl that turns him into an accidental tough guy. In spite of the cultural divide, Alex and Crystal eventually connect in an unexpected way, realizing that whether you are downriver or upriver, family is family.
Downriver is the third project of the Michigan Creative Film Alliance (MiCFA), an exciting innovative collaboration in support of an indigenous film community across the state. Each summer, the MiCFA brings together top students and recent graduates from the film-related programs at Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. These students share their expertise as members of a production team dedicated to making a high-quality film, employing real-world professional standards and practices. Our first two projects, Appleville and Beauty Queen, premiered at the Detroit Film Theatre to large and enthusiastic crowds of film supporters. Michigan Film Office Director Carrie Jones called Beauty Queen “one of the best films I’ve seen this year.” Downriver promises to be another big success, both as an egaging high quality film and as vital professional experience for a team of some of Michigan's most promising emerging filmmakers.
MICHIGAN STUDENT FILMMAKERS AND THE MiCFA
The Downriver production team is comprised of 30 students or recent graduates from each of the three MiCFA universities. We work in a real-world feature-film style production atmosphere, filling all key production department roles from development and production through post-production and distribution.
Our team is led by producer Tinisha Brugnone, a senior Media Arts and Studies production major at WSU. Tinisha is a MiCFA veteran who worked as co-producer and unit production manager on the 2011 Beauty Queen team. She has also produced and/or directed four previous short films, including the award-winning Attic Theatre production Sobriety Now. She aspires to be a filmmaker whose work addresses both economic and cultural issues.
Downriver is directed by Billy Jackson, a senior Screen Arts and Culture film/screenwriting major at UofM. He’s also a returning MiCFA member of the art department of Beauty Queen. Billy garnered his first feature film credit in 2011, working on the set of the forthcoming film Love and Honor. When he’s not working on a film (which is rare) he enjoys rock climbing and midnight adventures. Downriver is his third 30-minute directorial short. Downriver co-director of photography Ryan Sundberg (MSU) and sound recordist Josh Rickert (MSU) are also returning MiCFA team members.
Our entire production team is hard at work, preparing to launch principal photography the first week in August. Our universities have combined their resources to insure that we have both the training and the core camera, lighting and sound equipment for a first-rate production. We also rely heavily on in-kind contributions from generous supporters of Michigan Film. Here’s where we urgently need your help.
Where your $$$ will go:
Our $12,500 Kickstarter goal is only a part of our total budget for our production and distribution efforts, but it is critical to insuring that we can conduct our intensive 14-day location production schedule for Downriver during the first three weeks in August 2012. Every Kickstarter dollar that we raise will go directly into making our film, including:
- Rental of camera mounts, waterproof housing, dollies and crane
- Rental of a generator to provide electricity for outdoor lighting requirements
- Location fees
- Location travel for cast and crew during the 14 days on location
- Costumes, makeup and scenic materials
- On-set meals for cast and crew during our long production days
The Michigan Creative Film Alliance's Downriver is a fiscally sponsored project of TechTown, Detroit, MI, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, visit mi-cfa.com
When you contribute to Downriver, you are supporting far more than a student film. You are supporting a professional production by members of a creative team who have dedicated ourselves to creating films that make a difference--to telling stories that resonate from our own unique experiences and, in doing so, to cinematic storytelling that breaks the traditional Hollywood mold. Moreover, you are joining a growing community of MiCFA supporters who believe in films that are made in Michigan, who are committed to the future of American cinema, and who believe in supporting our production team's collective goal of becoming future film industry leaders.
HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully funded or no money changes hands. In other words, if we don’t raise our goal, we lose everything. Once we have reached our goal we will contact you to get your address and once our project is completed, we will start working on getting those awesome rewards (on your right) to you!
HOW TO PLEDGE
Just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. You must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded.
WHAT IF WE DON’T REACH OUR GOAL?
If we don’t reach our goal, we get nothing.
CAN WE EXCEED OUR GOAL?
Yes, and we need to!
CAN YOU DONATE IN ANOTHER’S NAME?
CAN YOU DONATE OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES?
Yes and Yes! Just click on the Amazon Payment Button and you will see that you can pay with a credit card from any country! But you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. If you have any problems just contact us.
WANT TO HELP BUT CAN’T DONATE MONETARY FUNDS?
Well, we understand, you can also help us by donating your products such as coffee, bagels, sandwiches, juices and meals which will help feed our cast and crew during the production of Downriver.
Lastly, SPREAD THE WORD! Share our Kickstarter campaign with everyone you possibly can.
REACH OUT AND CONTACT US!
We would love to hear from you, so do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information.
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