THANK YOU to all of our backers; our endless gratitude for your support!
- JP & ALEC
is a realization of George Orwell's famous essay "Shooting An Elephant" set in its original form - the former British rule of Burma.
Everyone's resentment and hatred smolders on a young and passionately rebellious English policeman facing the impossible decision to become violent.
BEAST is a piece about the flaws of empire building and how it destroys all individuals in the process. But it is so much more. It is a story without borders about self discovery, and the universal need for compassion.
George Orwell famously shot an elephant in Burma when he was twenty-five years old and working as a colonial policeman. The animal, which had been in musth (a sexual period when male elephants are hyper aggressive), had just killed a man.
Ordered by his superiors to "handle" it, egged on by the distrusting natives, he suddenly found himself public executioner -- a violent role that stripped him of his humanity and dignity.
This was 1927.
"In order to hate imperialism you have got to be part of it." - George Orwell
ORWELL: The Prophet.
I am deeply moved by George Orwell; his manifesto is unyielding, honest and pure. He made political writing an art form and in the process crystalized some of the 20th Century's most read books "1984" and "Animal Farm" & famous neologisms ('Cold War', ‘Big Brother’, 'Room 101', 'thought police', ‘thoughtcrime’, ‘Ministry of Love’, ‘doublethink’, ‘four legs good, two legs bad’). There is no doubt that his experience in Burma horrified him, awoke him, and shaped him. He is immortally relevant because of it.
ESSAY TO SCRIPT
I am interested in the developing world. Having grown up in Venezuela, India and the Philippines, I value their way of life and the natural beauty that make them irreplaceable gifts of the universe.
Orwell's stories first captured my imagination while attending high-school in the Philippines. This was also the same time I decided I was going to make movies.
Nearly two years ago, I was given permission by the Orwell Estate to adapt "Shooting An Elephant" and I've been putting the pieces of this project together ever since. Early on it became clear that this was a major undertaking and that I needed help.
As luck would have it, my good friend Alec Sokolow also revered Orwell and became my partner in this project. Alec is an amazing writer who co-wrote TOY STORY and has followed that up with many other commercially successful studio films. But this project isn't about commercial success -- it's about putting together a beautiful film that we're passionate about, not only for Orwell fans, but also for people who want to see art exist in the world. Kickstarter seems like the perfect place to seek out others who love Orwell's stories so that we can bring this hidden classic to life.
Alec's first draft was so good that I realized we really could put together something worthy of Orwell. This film will be longer than a typical short, and we can't just shoot anywhere...
FILMING IN INDIA
Few places in the world can match the natural beauty of Burma, but India's scenery will provide a captivating visual experience.
India also has one of the most populated areas of elephants in the world. For all of you animal lovers out there (us too!), one of our highest priorities will be to "cast" animals that have been raised and treated humanely. We will also ensure that absolutely no harm comes to them during filming. Check out the "ELEPHANT EFFECTS" pledge.
Our Kickstarter Goal
Over the last few months Alec and I have been busy fundraising privately and we are now halfway to reaching our budget. To that end:
Our Kickstarter goal is to raise $15,000. This will get us close enough to launch pre-production while we finish our raise. Thanks to our first kickstarter effort (despite unsuccessful to getting funded), we have been able to minimize costs on equipment rental, post-production services and travel fees, lowering our budget to $80,000.
$70,000 PRODUCTION - Equipment, lodging/airfare, and production wages (and kickstarter fees). We'll head to India in the fall and spend 2 weeks prepping and shooting in remote locations. We'll bring the basics, but we'll also need to hire a lot of local talent and help, including some amazing elephants.
$5,000 POST-PRODUCTION - editing bay and wages, color correction. After coming back from India, we'll spend the next 60 days in post-production, final editing and scoring the music.
$5,000 FESTIVALS - We'll then submit the film to festivals on four continents (North America, South America, Europe and Asia) and present the film to as many ones as possible.
Can we exceed the funding goal?
YES! Given we will still need extra money for post-production, each dollar raised will be used for completing the film.
HOW TO PLEDGE AND BECOME A BACKER!
- Step 1: Read through the pledge levels and rewards we're offering in the right sidebar of this page.
- Step 2: Click the large, green "BACK THIS PROJECT" button to the right of the trailer video at the top of this page.
- Step 3: Enter your pledge amount - and complete the steps for filling in your information. It is processed through amazon.com. This process takes just a few minutes!
ENDLESS THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Video imagery of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" & "Animal Farm" by George Orwell (published by Secker & Warburg) book cover art use by permission of The Random House Group Limited.
Risks and challenges
Like all film projects, keeping everything on track and on budget is always the biggest challenge. it's greater on this short because we'll be filming in a foreign country, requiring local area knowledge, permitting and help. I have a better handle on this because my family moved to India when I was young -- I'm intimately familiar with the country's values and culture. I know we can make this happen!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)