BORDER CROSSING is an intense psychological thriller about children who commit murder and the destruction that’s left behind in the wake of those terrible crimes.
I came to Pat Barker’s book through personal tragedy. Three years ago, one of my oldest, dearest friends was murdered by her own son. In the depths of my sorrow, in the terrible aftermath of that tragedy, I struggled with the trauma. The crime blurred my notions of sanity and insanity, good and evil, and as I tried to make sense of things, someone gave me a copy of Pat Barker’s book BORDER CROSSING. I read the novel in one night. In the morning I called Barker’s agent to option the film rights. In Barker’s novel I found a character, in Tom, who was grappling with the same question I was confronting: what if we can’t explain evil?
Walking beside an icy river in New London, Connecticut with his wife, Lauren, Tom Seymour instinctively risks his life to save a young man who they happen to notice just before he jumps into the current. Tom’s spontaneous act saves the life of someone whose past, as well as whose future, he feels a sense of responsibility toward. Recently released from prison and living under an assumed name, Danny Miller was tried for murder as a ten year old on the basis of Tom’s assessment of him as a psychologist and his expert witness testimony. When Danny asks Tom to help him re-examine his life - beginning with his past - Tom is drawn into a lonely, soul-searching reinvestigation of the child murderer’s case.
What is evident in all my work is a sense of landscape, a geographical grounding of images and characters in the locations I’ve depicted. More than backdrops, the landscape becomes an essential storytelling device, from a neon lit street corner in VARIETY to the seduction of the open road as seen in HANDSOME HARRY.
BORDER CROSSING takes this idea further, incorporating time, trauma and memory into the landscape. The action begins with an attempted suicide by the arch of the bridge rising over the mist of the murky water of the Thames River, a tidal estuary on the harbor of New London, Connecticut. This is the steely river where Tom, the psychologist, and Danny, his patient, meet again in this liquid void, which is not really inviting but more of an abyss. The film uses this setting to probe the status of characters who test the limits of conventional morality. Tom is a man gradually trapped, out of professional duty, with a dashing charismatic patient who might never let him out of his grip.
Independent film financing is often a complex puzzle, where each investment hinges on the other and nobody wants to write the first check. Filmmakers typically need to rely on something called “bridge financing” to get them to their first day of shooting. “Bridge financing” is a kind-of loan that places onerous interest and recoupment costs on the filmmakers. With Kickstarter, we’re looking to bypass that traditional model so we can spend more on the movie itself.
This Kickstarter campaign will serve as a key that will open a door to the financial commitments that have been pledged to us. We’re not looking to raise our whole budget on Kickstarter, only the minimum amount we need to get us to our first day of shooting and to show the investors that they can leave the sidelines and jump into the game. But to get that first day of shooting we need your backing. More than ever, independent cinema needs people like you. Your Kickstarter contribution will help launch principal photography. Your contribution will go towards location scouts, casting, vehicle rentals, camera equipment, costumes, and art/production design.
Bette Gordon (director) is a director and independent filmmaker best known for her film VARIETY (1983), a beautifully seductive film about voyeurism and pornography. LUMINOUS MOTION (1998) was produced by Ted Hope and Anthony Bregman and stars Deborah Kara Unger in a breathtaking performance. Gordon's most recent film, HANDSOME HARRY, premiered in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival (2009) and opened theatrically to rave reviews. Gordon's films have been shown in international festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Locarno and Toronto.
Pat Barker (novelist) is an award- winning British novelist and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She won the Fawcett Society Prize for fiction for her debut novel UNION STREET, which was adapted into STANLEY AND IRIS starring Jane Fonda and Robert De Niro, while her REGENERATION Trilogy was hailed as one of “the 10 best historical novels” by The Observer, winning the Guardian First Book Award and the Man Booker Prize, and securing her place as a fellow in the Royal Society of Literature.
Frank Pugliese (screenwriter) is currently supervising producer and writer on Netflix acclaimed series HOUSE OF CARDS. He has been Artistic Director of Naked Angels, and playwright of AVEN'U BOYS (Off-B-way, Obie Award). In Television, he has written for HOMICIDE (WGA Award, with Tom Fontana), BLUEFISH (For HBO, creator, currently in development), THE BORGIAS (Netflix), and COPPER (BBC America).
Stephen Molton (screenwriter) is a writer, documentary producer, professor, and former television/film executive. Molton’s first novel, BRAVE TALK, was published by Harper & Row. His most recent book, co-written with Gus Russo, was BROTHERS IN ARMS: THE KENNEDYS, THE CASTROS, AND THE POLITICS OF MURDER which publisher, Bloomsbury USA, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Molton has written movies and mini-series for New Line Cinema and Paramount Television/Showtime Networks, among others, and, as a creative exec at HBO and Showtime, has guided such films as ELVIS MEETS NIXON and HARLAN COUNTY WAR to the screen.
Elizabeth Kling (producer)is an editor and producer working in film and television for over 20 years. She began her editing career in New York with Robert Altman, and went on to edit many feature films including ZEBREAHEAD, HOUSEHOLD SAINTS, GEORGIA, and PRACTICAL MAGIC. Her recent television credits include Associate Producer and Editor on DEADWOOD, CRASH, and, most recently, THE KILLING. She was Executive Producer on HANDSOME HARRY, directed by Bette Gordon and Producer of the upcoming documentary CRESCENDO! THE POWER OF MUSIC.
Jamin O’Brien (producer) is the co-founder of The Community, founded in 2012 to produce HATESHIP LOVESHIP starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte and Hallee Steinfeld; available on VOD via IFC and TWC Int’l. The Community's second film, CHRONICALLY METROPOLITAN began photography February 18th, 2015 with Mary Louise Parker, Chris Noth, Ashley Benson and Shiloh Fernandez. BORDER CROSSING marks The Community's third production and O’Brien’s second collaboration with director Bette Gordon.
Daniel L. Blanc (producer)is co-founder and CFO of The Community a full service production and finance entity founded in 2012. The aim of the company is to create outstanding original content with both domestic and international appeal. Daniel Executive Produced BOYNTON BEACH CLUB (Roadside Attractions 2005), which was a part of Variety’s Top 100 Grossing films in 2005 and PLAGUERS (Image Entertainment 2008), an award-winning sci-fi action film. He is currently producing CHRONICALLY METROPOLITAN and DOUBLE EXPOSURE for The Community.
Radium Cheung (director of photography) has been an active member in the U.S. film community for 18 years and has worked on many acclaimed motion pictures including ALL IS LOST, BLUE VALENTINE, MARGIN CALL, and RABBIT HOLE. In 2012, Radium served as Director of Photography and Co-Producer on the internationally acclaimed STARLET with Director Sean Baker, garnering various awards around the globe.
Risks and challenges
It’s never easy making an independent film, especially one with dark, difficult subject matter like ours. More and more the film industry is looking to produce generic and risk-averse marketing campaigns where the movies are an after-thought. But Kickstarter gives you, the audience, the opportunity to short-circuit that. I came to New York City in the early 1980s, the time of punk rock. In rundown lofts and tenements, artists, filmmakers and musicians challenged the status quo and embraced the complexity of life. From out of my experiences in 1980s New York, I learned to embrace risk and it has informed every project I’ve worked on subsequently – whether it was subverting the gaze in my first feature, VARIETY, a film shot at a porn theater, or exploring the taboos in a mother-son relationship in LUMINOUS MOTION. This project, BORDER CROSSING, is no different.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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