We are gearing up for an 18 day shoot for my second narrative feature, THE HAPPY SAD, from July 11th to July 31st in NYC. We’re raising funds here to make sure we have what we need to get it all done. THE HAPPY SAD follows two couples, one black and one white, whose lives collide as they navigate open relationships and sexual identity.
Our goal of $15,000 is really the minimum amount we need to cover the casting director’s fee, actor salaries and a stipend for the Director of Photography. We hope to far exceed that amount and you receive all sorts of fantastic rewards for your contributions (see list to the right). As with all kickstarter campaigns, if we don’t reach the minimum goal then we don’t get anything so we need your help to get us there!
Below is a list of different funding levels and what each goal achieved helps us to afford.
$15,000= Casting Director's fee + cast salaries + Director of Photography stipend
$30,000= All of the above plus RED camera package and sound equipment rental
$50,000= All of the above + Location rental fees + lighting and grip equipment + hard drives for storage + editing
$70,000=All of the above + legal fees + insurance + director & producer stipends
$100,000=Editor’s stipend + sound mixing + color correction + HDcam MasteringIf you’d rather make a fully tax deductible donation to the project through our 501c-3 fiscal sponsor, Third World Newsreel you can do so here: http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=2026
Please make sure to specify “For THE HAPPY SAD project” in the Additional Options section. For additional info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Armed with roses and art, Stan brunches with his girlfriend Annie, a schoolteacher, only to discover that she wants to take a break. Aaron confronts his boyfriend Marcus about their open relationship. The lives of these two couples become intertwined when Stan and Marcus meet online and hook up. Apparently, Stan has a bi-side, and Aaron walks in on the aftermath of Marcus and Stan’s afternoon tryst. Meanwhile, Annie goes on a blind date with an older man David who makes his living writing scripts for reality TV shows, which feels more “real” than Stan’s afternoons spent in the rehearsal space with his band. Annie confides in her fellow teacher Mandy about her relationship troubles. Mandy and Annie engage in some flirtation and decide to try a lesbian relationship, which, in turn, reminds Annie that perhaps she was in love with Stan all along. Eventually all of these characters must face the consequences of their choices and decide what matters to them most.
The film uses the multi-cultural ensemble to explore the questions that alternative twenty- and thirty-year olds face in a culture where there appears to be endless possibilities for sex but also a resistance to any definitive model for a “proper” relationship. The film juxtaposes the storylines of the two main couples of different races (Marcus and Aaron, Stan and Annie) to highlight the ethical dilemmas facing men and women who are trying to create new ways to be in a loving relationship, while recognizing that monogamy might not be for them. Since music is a crucial means of creating bonds and establishing connections for young New Yorkers, the film prominently features original indie rock songs written by Mr. Urban in the film.
KEY PRODUCTION PERSONNEL
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER --- Rodney Evans (BROTHER TO BROTHER)
PRODUCER --- Tory Lenosky
WRITER --- Ken Urban (THE AWAKE)
CASTING DIRECTOR --- Susan Shopmaker (HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH, SHORTBUS)
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY --- Arlene Muller (TOPO GIGIO IS DEAD)
EDITOR --- Sabine Hoffman (PERSONAL VELOCITY, THE BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE)
I am the director/producer of THE HAPPY SAD, an adaptation of a stage play by Ken Urban. Ken and I met when we both had residencies at the Macdowell Colony in 2008. We both sensed a connection in the work that we were doing and stayed in touch in the subsequent months. I went to a performance of the stage version of THE HAPPY SAD at the Summer Plays Festival at the Public Theater in New York 1n 2009 and was extremely moved by it. I immediately saw its potential as a film and when I mentioned that to Ken he told me he had already begun adapting it into to a screenplay.
The quirky sensibility of THE HAPPY SAD is similar in style to recent films like 500 DAYS OF SUMMER by Marc Webb, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND by Michel Gondry andME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW by Miranda July, three independent films that explored the inner workings of relationships. But what sets THE HAPPY SAD apart from those films is how gay and bisexual characters are not at the periphery or absent, but taken seriously while forming the center of the narrative. The goal was to create gay and bisexual characters that are as richly examined as the straight protagonists in those films. The overwhelmingly positive response and sold-out audiences for the stage production demonstrated the need and desire for a seriocomic exploration of contemporary relationships. Thinking about recent micro-budget features like TINY FURNITURE, HUMPDAY and MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY we began strategizing about how to make the film with a similar production model for under $100,000 by using personal connections to actors and in-kind resources available to me in New York. Mr. Urban has completed several drafts of the screenplay that reimagines the story of the four principal characters for the screen. He will revise the screenplay based on feedback from the producers and myself, with the aim to begin an 18 day shoot using the RED camera in July 2011 in New York.
CRITICAL NOTICES FOR DIRECTOR’S 1ST FEATURE “BROTHER TO BROTHER”
“The Harlem Renaissance comes thrillingly alive in Rodney Evans’s evocative and profoundly moving feature film”
-Dennis Dermody, Paper
“Breathtaking….a fascinating and absorbing tale…heralds the emergence of an exciting new voice in filmmaking”
-Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
“A captivating drama….Tremendously accomplished filmmaking by writer/director Rodney Evans”
-David Germain, The Associated Press
“The story Evans tells of the spiritual link between a contemporary black gay New York artist and the trailblazers of the 1930’s Harlem Renaissance is an excitingly ambitious one, conveyed with guileless passion of purpose”
-Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
“A well-acted work of grace and depth”
-Kevin Thomas, LA Times
“Haunting…a film of great beauty and conscience”
-Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
“BROTHER TO BROTHER brings depth and intelligence to black politics and sexuality”
-David Rooney, Variety
“Excellent…a gifted cast brings to vibrant, sexy life the likes of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin and Eldridge Cleaver, and in the process conjures the neatest hat trick of all — making the loves and woes of the past resonate with those of the present.”
-Chuck Wilson, LA Weekly
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