Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 29, 2012.

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A modern tragedy that blends theater and film, written/directed by James Burns, subject and co-producer of upcoming film 'Jamesy Boy'

The Story

Epitaph is an independent short film following Michael (Michael Trotter of Jamesy Boy), a small time inner city gang member with a hunger for something more. Michael’s ambition leads him into the hands of a local pied piper of wealth, power, and the local drug scene (played by Anwan Glover of HBO's The Wire). Blinded by temptation, Michael abandons his lifelong friends for a shot at the big leagues, but instead finds a path riddled with violence and betrayal.

Why We Need Your Help:

We have a great team of people who have been donating their time and working very hard through pre-production, and a cast and crew that is ready to create Epitaph. In addition to our incredible cast, we are particularly excited to have cinematographer Andrew Baris be part of our team. With his prior experience on major motion pictures such as Lionsgate's Killers, Sony's House Bunny, as well as Jamesy Boy, Andrew and James' vision will successfully bring Epitaph to life.

Although we have found many people who are generously willing to donate their time to make Epitaph possible, we need your help in bringing Epitaph to the screen. Your contributions will go toward feeding our wonderful cast and crew, renting equipment, location fees, insurance, props, etc. If you donate, along with helping us to complete Epitaph, we have some rewards (which you'll see listed on the sidebar on the right) to thank you, because without your contributions this film would not be possible.

James Burns
James Burns

A Word From Writer/Director James Burns: 

I originally wrote Epitaph as a short play for a theater class. As a teenager I spent 5 years in prison, where I discovered writing and spoken word poetry as a means to free my mind. Simultaneously I began reading the classics, and have since been fascinated by the idea of using poetry to tell a fluid story. Revisiting this in my theater class inspired me to modernize the idea by using a backdrop of urban decay, and verse in a language that holds true to that lifestyle. Because of my background, the subject matter of Epitaph is also very close to me, which helped create complex and multifaceted characters.

Recently I have been working on the production of the upcoming feature Jamesy Boy (starring Mary-Louise Parker, Ving Rhames, & James Woods), which tells the story of my adolescence. Experiencing film production on such an intimate level further inspired me to turn Epitaph into a short film. I was very taken by certain elements unique to cinema, so I decided to switch gears a bit and incorporate them into my piece.

What I hope to do is create a well-balanced mixture of stage and screen, remaining true to certain theatrical principles such as lighting, dialogue in verse, and staging, while embracing some modern film techniques through camera work, editing, and the use of real locations.

Apart from the creative aspects of this project, I believe the fundamentals of Epitaph present a very important message for the community. I chose to write a tragedy because I wanted people to learn something from such human suffering, and really think about the tough choices we make every day. Since my release from prison in 2005, I have done a lot of work with organizations catering to at risk youths, and believe that this story would be beneficial in raising awareness of the effects of misguided temptation and violence. By helping me make this production concept a reality, your support will give me a greater opportunity to help others in the future.

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93
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$10,210
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    7 backers

    You are awesome, thank you for your contribution! We will send you a poem written and signed by James Burns.

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    22 backers

    You will get a special thanks credit at the end of the film along with a digital download of Epitaph.

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    20 backers

    You will receive a DVD of the short film signed by James Burns and the cast of Epitaph, as well as all of the above rewards!

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    14 backers Limited (1 left of 15)

    You will receive two tickets to a special early screening of the short film in NYC, as well as all of the above rewards!

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    5 backers

    James Burns will call you to personally thank you for contributing, and write an original poem for you. + a signed Epitaph DVD, digital download of the film and special thanks credit!

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    2 backers

    You will receive an invite for you plus two to the Epitaph wrap party (date TBD) in NYC, as well as tickets to select screenings of Epitaph! + a signed Epitaph DVD, digital download of the film and soundtrack and special thanks credit!

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers

    You will receive an associate producer credit and Dinner with Producer Robbie Mirels and James Burns at the exclusive 15 Central Park West restaurant! + along with an invite to our NYC wrap party you will get to spend a night on the set of Epitaph, a signed Epitaph DVD, digital download of the film/soundtrack and special thanks credit!

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    0 backers

    You will receive an Executive Producer credit on the film and dinner with Director James Burns and the cast of Epitaph! + invites to our NYC wrap party and premiere party, a signed Epitaph DVD, digital download of the film/soundtrack and special thanks credit!

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Funding period

- (32 days)