A little girl attempts to escape the rigors and misfortunes of the ghetto through the power of her mystical imagination.
It all started with one man's experience.
I was recently in a foreign country and experienced homeless like I’ve never seen. A tiny young girl on the street begging for money at 6:30am. The part the broke me immediately was the fact that she was completely naked and covered in filth and grime. Only the streaks from tears showed this poor child's true skin tone.
Here's the scoop.
"Catching Fireflies" is the story of a little girl who attempts to escape the rigors and misfortunes of the ghetto through the power of her mystical imagination while simultaneously protecting the relationship with her addict mother.
Sometimes little angels (our children) get caught in the crossfire by accident. Sad and unfortunate but true in the world we live in. It shouldn’t hurt to be a child.
This story is written and will be directed by Lee Whittaker.
It’s our sole responsibility to protect our children. When you fall you get back up, brush yourself off and fight to no end for the safety of our children. It's also a misconception, homeless people are always wanting money.
On the contrary, 90% of the time they just want companionship. To be recognized in our society and not treated like a disease. They are mostly misconstrued and ignored within the neglecting appearance of our society. “Our,” meaning globally. How about a hello how are you? How is your day going?
Putting the pieces together to create a Miracle starts with the heartbeat.
Our composer is a multi-award winner. Yuichiro Oku brings such depth and heart to the project. Multilayers of sonic vibrations he uses to paint a canvas of melodies that are colorful and emotional.
We listened to a temp track of his during the casting process and everyone in the room was mesmerized. One of the cool things about being a backer is that you can get access to rough sound bytes of the tracks Yuichiro is working on.
Here is the first rough track to the scene:
Our Cirque Choreographer, yes that’s right, is Elisabeth Carpenter.
I’ve known Elisabeth for some time through the action world and when I went to her with my concept and story she insisted on being apart of it and how she could bring it to another level of excellence. How could I say no to a person so talented.
She quickly brought in her resources which are all huge in the cirque world including Erica Lynz who is the lead in the documentary film,”Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away,” in theaters now!
Eyes on the Story
Elie Smolkin is our incredible Cinematographer. I was introduced by a friend and after seeing his work, I had to meet him. He really understood how to capture not only a directors vision but also the beats within the art of cinematography. Capturing the moment in a stylish way that draws you deeper into the character and arc of the story subtly and creatively. Being a huge fan of art and beauty, I wanted nothing more than every shot to be nothing less.
We met and it was an instant match as we both had the same vision and wanted the end game to be nothing less than captivating every step of the way. We are shooting on a RED EPIC.
Did you know that shooting with a minor means dealing with the law? We only have 5 total hours of shooting time with our lead actress every day that we have her on set. If the budget permitted, we could shoot with 2 or 3 cameras so that we can get all the shots we need and in time... We will get to shoot with the brand new Dragon Sensor which shoots at 6K. New technology that captures so much information which we will need for our vfx shots I have planned of this little girls imagination. We will be using cool things like an Easy Rig and Steadicam Operator, Underwater camera housing as we are shooting underwater. That alone is a huge task and challenge. Also a new technology using aerial photography. A lot of challenges but not impossible if we have the right budget.
Imagination brought to life
A Production Designer is in charge of the overall look of the movie. They collaborate closely with the Costume Designer to ensure the film has a cohesive tone. They oversee all sets, set decoration, locations, props etc. "Catching Fireflies" will be designed by Brent Mason. Brent is one of the most amazing designers in the business.
As they say the devil is in the details and this deviously talented and creative production designer is well suited to help bring this world and our little girls world to life before your eyes!
Putting a face on things
Our Makeup Artist hails quite the resume as a 2 time Emmy Winner and 12 time nominee, Todd A. McIntosh.
As well as being honored by his peers in the Hollywood I.A.T.S.E. Local with their own Hollywood Make-up and Hairstylists Guild Awards. Todd headed the Make-up department on the hit TV series “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” for six seasons where he juggled all his skills at beauty and special make-up. In 2009 Todd won a second Emmy Award for his work on the TV series, “Pushing Daisies.” True to form, Todd remains active as an educator in Hollywood, and retains his 30 year association with Blanche MacDonald, where he continues to upgrade his curriculum and to teach between projects.
Mystical creatures for an adolescent imagination.
What would an imagination be without the mysticism of fantastical creatures? Our Professional Mermaid, Linden Wolbert, is definetly up for the task.
As host and creator of the Mermaid Minute, an educational ocean web series for kids, Linden “edutains” viewers about an array of animals and ocean life whilst wearing a tail. She has appeared on ABC 20/20, the NBC Today Show US and Australia, Good Morning America, Univision's Morning Show, Inside Edition and co-hosted Discovery Channel Shark Week’s feature “Shark Week’s 25 Best Bites” in Summer 2012.
As a PADI Master Scuba Diver and professional underwater model with over 800 dives, Linden swims across the covers of diving publications like the Undersea Journal, Sport Diver and Scuba Diving.
In front of the lens
When I was approached about casting by our award-winning casting directors I told them I didn’t want any actors with a big name. I didn’t want their persona of being a celebrity to get in the way of the story. I wanted true authentic talent that deserves to be discovered. Our casting directors delivered as day one of casting I was amazed at the people who came thru the door to poor out their hearts.
It was quite an emotional experience and one of the first signs of real life breathed into this project seeing first hand the on camera talent and the power of this message.
Lay of the land
This film is set in LA, our City of Angels, but the message behind the story spans around the world, in my backyard, in your backyard, everyone’s backyard... your donations are going to help us secure a soundstage.
Here is one place where the budget skyrockets. The majority of your donations will go towards VFX work.
The most important piece? That's You.
This all started with me. My efforts alone have paired me up with some of the most talented creators and artists in the industry and they have come on board non-monetarily because they like I, believe that art is one of the most powerful tools to bring awareness to the world. Help us prove that art and creativity have a place in this world and help us reach the hearts of millions through cinema. Help us reach across the globe so we can begin to strive for compassion and responsibility.
It truly doesn’t take much to be a part of the difference. It can be as simple as sharing this project or donating.
Whether you end up with a personalized light painting or an invite to a special preview screening, you'll know that the best incentive you get is knowing on a global scale that YOU helped make a difference.
Here is where we get to decide, not the wealthy and powerful, but us together by doing as little of a gesture as donating "pocket change". That small bit on a large scale can show the world that we as a collective can make all the difference we could ever dream. Kickstarter is our vehicle and you have the power to take the wheel. Be the difference in the world.
Be the difference. Check out the latest from Twitch who plays Elijah in Catching Fireflies.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
When it comes to risks and challenges, every endeavor has them. Film is no different than any other project. "Catching Fireflies" has many challenges. One challenge is that our lead actress is a 9-year old girl who will have to be put up against sensitive material. We will have to have a studio teacher present at all times, abide by laws and union rules, obtain a work permit and workers compensation, and make sure she is okay in situations where we are filming under water or during a heavy scene. Another challenge we face is shooting underwater. Other challenges include lack of time, limited budget, having to deal with whatever comes our way, but we have a solid crew. We have carefully selected each and every person working on this project, not only for their passion and dedication to this industry, but because of their high level of professionalism and experience. For instance, we hired award-winning casting directors to make sure to find us a little girl who felt comfortable with the setting we are putting her in. We have sought out professional mermaids, underwater camera operators, certified scuba divers and rescuers, in order to overcome any hurdles in regards to the underwater shoot. There are always risks and challenges, but so long as we are prepared for not only what's to come, but for what may come, we will be able to handle whatever comes our way. And prepared we are and are constantly becoming.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.