Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 25, 2013.

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By documenting Dallas Edward Duat from his life into his death, our Independent Dark Zombedy pioneers the "Coming of Decay" film genre.

****STRETCH GOAL ADDED!!****

We are successfully funded, thanks to the hard work and generosity of so many. Thank you everyone so much for the support, the kind words, and the diligent sharing. This is a triumph for all of us.

We chose our initial amount because it was the bare minimum in order to complete post production and to send this film to a limited number of festivals, since Kickstarter is an all of nothing platform. But there is no limit to exceeding our goal. With a Stretch Goal, we can submit to even more national and international film festivals, broaden our promotional reach, build a stella website, afford all of the post production fees, and better compensate our cast and crew.

If our we hit the Stretch Goal, editor Lucas Donnan and director Junella Gabriel have agreed to shave their heads, while emulating a famous head shaving scene from some of our favorite films. Director of Photography Michael Fernandez will film these shorts and they will be posted on our pages exclusively for our Backers, as well as added to the special features of our DVD. The Backers, no matter what amount pledged, will vote for which scenes we will recreate, from a list we provide. But suggestions are welcome as well! The hair will be donated to free wig charities for cancer patients. 

EVERYTHING MUST GO: Junella Gabriel's Hair Length is absurd.
EVERYTHING MUST GO: Junella Gabriel's Hair Length is absurd.

Previous backers, you can increase your amount to see these two bald and new backers, you have until the wee hours of the morning to join this unstoppable project.

Thank you everyone!!!

***WE DID IT!! PUT ON YOUR PARTY HATS GUYS!***

The CEO of Medical Ninja Productions: Ziggy Stardust celebrates vigorously.
The CEO of Medical Ninja Productions: Ziggy Stardust celebrates vigorously.

Our Funding Goal has been reached!

***

*NEW REWARD ADDED*

Hey Big Suspenders, we just got clearance from our Director of Photography Michael Fernandez to add to the $500 Reward Set: 

Your very own 30 Second Biopic, filmed by Michael Fernandez, complete with your own personalized logo.

One very lucky backer already has had this added to their reward list and there are only 5 more slots left. Look at this reel to see his brilliant work.

Become a backer for the first time or increase your reward to $500 to snag this one-of-a-kind reward!

Who wants a film made about them?!

**

In the Dead of Summer

We all leave our childhoods behind, regret life choices, grow apart from dear ones, and live as we die. In the Dead of Summer is a film about all of us.

Dallas Edward Duat (Andrew Puckett) isn't feeling well.
Dallas Edward Duat (Andrew Puckett) isn't feeling well.

Before print, a comic book must first...

be penciled.

The film follows Dallas Edward Duat, a 27-year-old American every-man. Dallas constantly struggles to balance his dead-end job and lackluster marriage, to his high school sweetheart Marta, with his aspirations to be a comic book writer, alongside his co-creator and best friend, Billy Tate. In this dark zombedy, Billy and Dallas embark on a supernatural quest, with unproven ancient incantations, to cultivate their own zombii specimen. Their experiment will end in either science fiction victory, or complete and utter tragedy.

Dallas and Marta Duat (June Marsh) on a typical date night.
Dallas and Marta Duat (June Marsh) on a typical date night.
Billy Tate (Aaron Rustebakke) hard at "work."
Billy Tate (Aaron Rustebakke) hard at "work."

Bare bones: it is an independent coming-of-age buddy story that is seen through the lens of becoming a zombii. Not a Zombie movie, per say, but a movie with zombiis. Something that most modern undead-themed cinema neglects to explain is the phenomena that occurs within the human brain and body after being turned, be it via bite, magic, or demon possession.This progression, or rather, digression, is what our hero, Dallas, encounters over a 24 hour time period.

have an Origin Story. 

Some of our influences. Clockwise from the top left: Resident Evil III: Nemesis (Capcom), Frank Miller's Sin City, Brian K. Vaughn's Y: The Last Man, and Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II
Some of our influences. Clockwise from the top left: Resident Evil III: Nemesis (Capcom), Frank Miller's Sin City, Brian K. Vaughn's Y: The Last Man, and Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II

The influences behind this project are numerous; the Resident Evil games, the original Evil Dead trilogy, the writings of Max Brooks, the research behind Wade Davis' The Serpent and the Rainbow, comic books by Brian K. Vaughn, and film directors like David Fincher, Guillermo Del Toro, and Peter Jackson, to name a few. When coupled with the grief of losing my father to stomach cancer as a teenager, the concept of In the Dead of Summer was born.

Of course, we all love the Zombie genre but something that has always interested me is the transition from human to zombii and how this very important change is so often overlooked in horror story telling. In order to put it into a perspective to which we can all relate, In the Dead of Summer compares zombiism to a terminal disease. Like any disease, Dallas' body undergoes terrible changes while he comes to terms with his life; what he has become, what he has taken for granted, and his hope for a cure.

What started as a short story in college grew into one-man show, which  was expanded into a two act play, but it was always meant to be a film. Armed with years of theatre training, in both tech and performance, I took on the daunting task of pre-production, despite having no prior film school under my belt. These characters have been with me for almost a decade and to see them come to life on the silver screen will be a dream come true. Taking the most crippling tragedy in my life and channeling it into something I hope will comfort others in similar situations is a goal worth the wait.

Since I think it is fun to see how a film evolves from page to frame, we thought we would share with you a little pre-production gem. Before we even picked up a camera, our Director of Photography Michael Fernandez took concept art by Martha Perez and breathed life into it in this short clip:

be inked. 

From a goofball buddy comedy to a dark zombedy, the script has undergone several changes. After various rewrites and workshops with gifted writers, we gathered a crew of extremely dedicated and phenomenal students, professionals, theatre designers, and friends who put their blood and sweat into this project. They sacrificed several hours of much needed sleep and were always raring to go on set, putting their faith into an unproven film director.

Flare Lighting: Aaron Rustebakke, Junella Gabriel, Nick Helfers, Michael Fernandez, and Laurel Perez
Flare Lighting: Aaron Rustebakke, Junella Gabriel, Nick Helfers, Michael Fernandez, and Laurel Perez

Even when our film location in a cemetery fell through, instead of canceling the shoot, they all came together to fashion graves out of discarded foam core. They went so far as to hide behind these set pieces to hold them in place when Chicago winds were unforgiving, as well as standing in as extras in other scenes.  And they did all this in exchange for only meals. They are the ones that made principal photography possible. 

And they are: Michael Fernandez, Alanna Perrie, Laurel Perez, Priya Yavagal, Angela Campos, Sean Kinslow, Ziggy Chicano, Peg Bang, Nick Helfers, Allen Samuel Lee, Kaveh Ryndak, Jon Bingham, Erin Hughes, Jason Muzzo, Nick Kubinski, Mike Moreno, Drew Hopson, Kaitlin Martin, Melissa Ybarra, Megan Cather, Bryan "Beaster" Sentiere, Travis Legge, Carl Ferrario, Becky Dale, Andy Hoffman, Mike Fletcher, Lois Harris, Abhi Sharma, Rachel Farnham, and locations/automobile consultants Alice Yang, Katie Dufresne, and Ashley Whitehurst.

be colored. 

Mystical aspects aside, In the Dead of Summer is about relationships. At the center are our two main characters, Dallas and  Billy. Their friendship is actually based on the relationship I have with my Director of Photography, Michael Fernandez. I have known him since high school and have never trusted anyone else artistically the way I trust him. 

Capturing a friendship that I hold so near and dear to my heart, I could not trust just anyone to portray these men. Yet this project could not have been blessed with finer actors. After auditions were held in the Chicago area, we rehearsed for 2 months until filming began. What binds Dallas (Andrew Puckett) and Billy (Aaron Rustebakke) together is their love for not only each other, but also for comic books. There is simply no one else that could have portrayed these two friends more perfectly.

Dead of the Class. Left Column: Erin Hughes, Julie Puckett, Laurel Perez. Middle Column: Alanna Perrie, Andrew Puckett, Megan Cather, Sean Kinslow. Right Column: Aaron Rustebakke, Emily Murawski
Dead of the Class. Left Column: Erin Hughes, Julie Puckett, Laurel Perez. Middle Column: Alanna Perrie, Andrew Puckett, Megan Cather, Sean Kinslow. Right Column: Aaron Rustebakke, Emily Murawski

Throughout the film, we meet all the people Dallas sees on a day to day basis. HIs wife Marta (June Marsh), his sleazy boss Abydos (john Crosthwaite, his office mates Mr. Rezz and Fat Helen (Tom Krol and Elizabeth Krahulec) as well as the sexy intern Candace (Katie Johnson). I prefer to work with stage actors because they have a certain diligence and discipline that you do not always find in the film world. Being of theatre person myself, it also made me feel a bit more at home. And these folks were no exception; bringing so much more to these characters than I could have ever foreseen. Our production was so fortunate.

The ensemble players include: Piotr Gorczynski, Jason Cather, Julie Puckett, Megan Cather, Emily Murawski, Allison Tillery, Kelly Schultz, Carl Ferrario, Alanna Perrie, Laurel Perez, Jason Muzzo, Allen Samuel Lee, Erin Hughes, Nick Kubinski, Sean Kinslow, and Ben Zisk as M. Rayanamanamanahan.

be lettered. 

It is important to us that all of our backers feel as though they can call this film their own. That is why our incentives are so personal . All our rewards include a "Special Thanks" credit at the end of the film, as well as the chance to submit the name of a late loved one for the "For Our Dearly Departed" dedication credits. Immortalizing their legacy on film is a fitting tribute for those we miss.

Any donation of $10 or more will receive a digital copy of the film. Or if you are like me and still enjoy the look and feel of a DVD, then our backers who donate $100 or more will receive a DVD copy of the film, including special features. We plan on adding commentaries, production stills, a Between the Frames production special, a blooper reel, a chronological version of the film, as well as a Director's Cut. These planned special features are subject to change. If accepted to festivals, these copies of the film, both digital and DVD, will not be distributed until the closing of these festivals, due their rules and regulations.

In the Dead of Summer has been the title of this story for so long. Because of its natural evolution, we are considering updating it to fit its new tone and theme. For $25, you have the chance to submit a title to be considered by our producing team.

Our T-Shirt Replicas and "Stab-Me-Knives" will be handmade, just as they were for the film. After all, our backers deserve nothing but the best.

Our Aaron Rustebakke sporting the "D. E. D. 4 LYFE" T-Shirt
Our Aaron Rustebakke sporting the "D. E. D. 4 LYFE" T-Shirt

Produced by: Alanna Perrie, Michael Fernandez, Lucas Donnan,  Laurel Perez, Rachel Farnham, and Junella Carla Gabriel

Director of Photography: Michael Fernandez

And now hopefully, be published.

We at Medical Ninja Productions would love to thank:

Depaul University, for equipment rentals, filming locations, brilliant tutelage, and guidance.

Brella Productions, for their equipment rentals and support.

Stage 773, for filming locations, a fundraising venue, and love.

Bohemian Cemetery, for filming locations and their patience.

Alley Cat Comics, for filming locations and props.

Nelson Funeral Home, for filming locations.

PROPabilities Inc., for props and set pieces.

And Thank You to our proud sponsors:

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Exchequer Restaurant and Pub 

And to thank You, for visiting our page. For more stills, updates, and information, please visit and "like" our In the Dead of Summer Facebook Page

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

So principle photography has wrapped, but we are still nowhere near done. Since we paid out of pocket for production, we have racked up nearly $3,000 of back expenses. These costs include craft services, make-up effects, costumes, props and set dressing, cemetery rental, equipment, and transportation being the most expensive (truck rentals, gas, mileage, parking, etc). Recovering from these debts has taken its toll on the production. As for our dedicated cast and crew, we would like to be able to reward them as well for all of the hours they have put into the project.

Due to some sound recording mishaps, a vastly dedicated post-production sound team must be hired to mix, edit and build the effects needed for the film. Because we required the use of green screen, special effects also need to be applied. The script, being a blend of comedy and horror, calls for a very specific original soundtrack to underscore the film, so we need to bring gifted composers on board. These elements, though necessary, can be pricey.

Achieving final cut of the film is still not the end. We intend to submit In the Dead of Summer to several festivals, including but not limited to, Sundance and SXSW next year. These festivals, international and local, all require non-refundable submission fees to even be considered. After festivals, we are looking into renting a premiere venue to showcase our work to the Chicago film community. And once we are able to mass distribute our film digitally, we will need to enlist the help of a web designer, as well as the materials needed to manufacture our DVDs.

So there is still a lot to be done, but nothing that our gifted production team cannot handle. And we hope you will be there to help us along the way so that we can give you the best film possible.

Thank you for visiting our page and please spread our word.

Sincerely,

Junella Carla Gabriel
Writer/Director
In the Dead of Summer
1983 - ?

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    5 backers

    A "Special Thanks" credit at the end of the film, with the option of submitting 1 name to appear in the "For Our Dearly Departed" dedication credits.

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    57 backers

    A Digital Copy after distribution has begun and a "Special Thanks" credit at the end of the film, with the option of submitting 1 name to the "For Our Dearly Departed" dedication credits.

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    A Chance to Title the Film! (1 Title Submission to be entered into a selection pool for the producers and director), a personalized "Thank You" Card from a cast or crew member, a digital copy after distribution has begun, and a "Special Thanks" credit, with the option of submitting 1 name to the "For Our Dearly Departed" credits.

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    Handmade "Billy Tate" Replica T-Shirt that appeared in the film, a Chance to Title the Film (1 Title Submission to be entered into a selection pool for the producers and director), a personalized "Thank You" Card from a cast or crew member, a digital copy after distribution has begun, and a "Special Thanks" credit, with the option of submitting 1 name to the "For Our Dearly Departed" credits.

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    16 backers

    A DVD of the film, including Special Features once distribution has begun, a handmade "Billy Tate" Replica T-Shirt that appeared in the film, a chance to title the film, a personalized "Thank You" Card from a cast or crew member, a digital copy after distribution has begun, and a "Special Thanks" credit, with the option of submitting 1 name to the "For Our Dearly Departed" credits.

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    5 backers

    Invite to an exclusive Cast and Crew Screening in Chicago, IL, Handmade "Stab-Me-Knife" Replica Prop that appeared in the film, a DVD of the film including Special Features once distribution has begun, a handmade "Billy Tate" Replica T-Shirt, a chance to title the film, a digital copy after distribution has begun, and a "Special Thanks" credit at the end of the film, with the option of submitting 1 name to the "For Our Dearly Departed" credits. (If you do not live in Chicago, you will have to provide your own travel and accommodations.)

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    1 backer Limited (5 left of 6)

    Candle lit Dinner with our Director prepared by our Editor-N-Chef in Chicago, IL, Invite to an Exclusive Cast and Crew Screening in Chicago, IL, an "Executive Producer" credit, a handmade "Stab-Me-Knife" Replica Prop, a "Fake Credit", a DVD of the film including Special Features once distribution has begun, a handmade "Billy Tate" Replica T-Shirt, a chance to title the film, a digital copy after distribution has begun, and a "Special Thanks" credit, with the option of submitting 1 name to the "For Our Departed" section of the credits. (If you do not live in Chicago, you will have to provide your own travel and accommodations.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)