**UPDATE** The outpouring of commitment from our backers has been overwhelming and head-spinning. But when you visit this page and see that we've reached our initial goal (hurray!!) please DO STILL JOIN us. Because Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition, we had to balance need with accessibility in setting that initial goal of $5200, and we were thrilled to reach it so quickly! We've now set an external goal of $10,000--these are funds that will be put to use A) giving this story an even more beautiful treatment than we'd dared to dream and B) getting the film into many, many festivals (which cost a lot of dough!) and C) sharing "Cash for Gold" with organizations like schools, churches, and specifically Persian communities all over America. Join us in sending this story of hope and connection out into the world in as big a way as possible! We want to have as many of you backing this labor of love as we can--YOU are the heart of this film. Thank you for joining us!
Now back to business...
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE STORY...
When Grace walks into the Queen of Persia Gold Emporium, all she wants is to get in and out with some desperately needed cash and a shred of her dignity intact. Things do not look promising when she comes up against Ehsan, an Iranian-American man with troubles of his own who works the store's counter under his controlling father's gaze. But does she really see what's going on? "Cash for Gold" examines the current economic and ethnic tensions our country grapples with today, and the good that can happen when we look beyond our prejudices and really see each other.
FROM THE WRITER:
Hi, and thank you so much for taking time out of your day to learn a little about our project. My name is Deborah Puette, and the "Cash for Gold" team and I would LOVE for you to join us so we wanted to tell you a little about where this story came from and the terrific group of film professionals we have assembled to make it.
"Cash for Gold" came to life earlier this year when I thought I was writing a play. I had a story in mind that addressed ethnic tensions here in the U.S., particularly between American Muslims and non-Muslims, and how easily we can surmount our differences two people at a time. The effect the economy has been having on us all was also on my mind. I began researching and discovered that quite a few cash-for-gold shops are owned by Iranian-Americans; I've always been fascinated with Persian culture, so I set my story around the fictional, but true to life, Queen of Persia Gold Emporium. I sent one of the scenes to my friend and manager, Robert Enriquez, for feedback. He encouraged me to turn that scene into a short film, and "Cash for Gold" was born. I sent the screenplay to a few more trusted, experienced filmmakers I admire, and the feedback I got was to "just shoot it already!"
The story takes place in that one location with two actors. I'll play Grace, and I'm thrilled to begin working with the marvelous Navid Negahban, star of the Emmy Award-winning series, "Homeland."
Now on to the rest of the team...
MEET OUR DIRECTOR.
Robert Enriquez was already an accomplished producer and one of my most trusted colleagues; he also has one of the kindest and biggest hearts I know. Hearing his thoughts about the script and the transformations both Grace and Ehsan go through in just a few short minutes, I knew he was the right person to direct this story. He also has extensive experience shooting beautifully conceived and executed projects without a ton of money, and he always does it under budget. His vision for the message of this film reflects his enormous teddy-bear heart and rock solid integrity. (If you watch our video, you'll see he's also a very very good sport. Can you tell I love this guy?)
OUR KNOCKOUT DP...
Hissoni Johnson is an accomplished and talented director of photography with a slew of recent credits. His current projects include "Olympia" and "Fight Night Legacy," both of which are currently tearing it up on the festival circuit. He's already been invaluable to pre-production on the movie. He's a-mahzing, as we like to say.
NAVID NEGAHBAN JOINS OUR CAST!
Robert had met Navid Negahban a few years back and suggested him for the role of Ehsan; I knew Navid from his work on "Homeland" and thought he was perfect for the part. We sent him the script, and he asked to meet with us, so we all sat down at the Brighton Coffee House in Beverly Hills and talked about Persian culture and food (which I love), Islam, prejudice and tolerance for an hour and a half. Navid was gracious, smart, and passionate about the story, and the deal was sealed. Navid will also be translating some of the dialogue into Farsi for us. (You can see a little bit about his role in the Emmy-winning show in this story Yahoo! just did on Navid's surprising turn as the villain we can relate to here.)
WHERE DO YOU COME IN?
The next step now is to raise the funds to shoot the film and take it through post-production. The money is budgeted to pay for our DP, sound, crew, actors, our location, craft services, insurance, trucks and all the little incidentals that pop up. After that there will be editing, sound design, color correction, and more.
We intend to have the movie complete in time to submit to the major festivals this year. We'd love very much for you to join the team at whatever level feels good to you.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for becoming part of "Cash for Gold" and for putting a little good out there in the world.
Risks and challenges
For filmmakers, underestimating time/costs can be a big mistake. Fortunately, "Cash for Gold" has a terrific, experienced line producer who is accomplished in creating realistic budgets for everything from shorts to features and bringing those films in within their budgets. We are putting the money where it will show up on-screen--our director of photography will be providing his own crew and sound professionals; the shorthand they've developed will cut down on the time they'll need to successfully set up shots and bring our show in on schedule.
And the actors and additional crew, most of whom will be completely donating their services or taking enormous cuts in their regular fees, will be taken very good care of during the day with delicious food and coffee so that they can work the long hours a film demands. Film budgets can often balloon due to complicated set ups, locations or large casts. We'll be shooting in one place with just two actors, both of whom are doing the project for the love of the story.
We've built into this fundraising plan the completion funds for the movie. That way you'll know that you are contributing to something that will move efficiently all the way through post-production and be on its way to the festival circuit in no time. The more money we raise here, though, the more thoroughly we can get the film into the world via multiple festivals, so raising money past our goal, both in this campaign and via the production team's own contributions will be important.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (17 days)