About this project
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.
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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