About this project
What if you came up with a bunch of great ideas, were a true visionary, and never received any credit? Issac (Producer) and Marisa (Director) are hoping to change this situation for some really deserving men and women who made significant contributions to science fiction hundreds and even thousands of years ago.
Read some of the press coverage we've received:
From the leading science fiction website i09 Crowdfund a Documentary about Science Fiction's Forgotten Visionaries
Giant Freakin Robot Help Fund Cities in the Sky
Film Pulse Pick of the Week for Kickstart Sunday
1) We need your help to make this film!! As you hold a copy of the film in your hands (or watch it via download), you will know you contributed to something valuable.
2) The film covers innovative and creative ideas that were far ahead of their time including mountains of information that will be brand new and quite surprising to most people.
3) Great interviews- We have lined up amazing interviews with science fiction experts from entertainment, literature, and technology including people who worked on some of today's best known movies and television shows. Interviews will include directors, producers, VFX experts and actors from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Hobbit, 2012, Tank Girl, Independence Day, Alice in Wonderland, Looper, The Amazing Spiderman, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Titanic, Falling Skies, Heroes, Being Human, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Stargate: Atlantis and many others.
Scroll down to read biographies
4) You’ll find out facts and information that very few people know.
5) You'll play a key role in getting the work of these forgotten writers out to the public. These authors on average have been waiting 100+ years for recognition! The writers we cover include Edward Page Mitchell, Lucian, Vladimir Odoevsky and many others. Scroll down to read more.
6) Creative and unique perks for backers including getting animated into the documentary, getting a steampunk or graphic novel style illustration of yourself on a shirt, asking our experts your own questions, and the list goes on and on! (We TRULY appreciate your support and want to show it through cool perks.)
7) You’ll be helping today's independent animators, artists, musicians and others get much deserved exposure, as they will all play an important role in the film.
Sample page from the Cities in the Sky companion graphic novel
Artwork from the documentary
We Need to Get These Overlooked Visionaries Some Attention!
Writers like Verne and Wells get a lot of attention and they were no doubt great minds and visionaries, but a shocking number of other creative men and women stand largely unknown or forgotten; we deeply hope that we can help play a role in changing this situation! Without your help, these men and women could easily be waiting another hundred years to get noticed. After all, if they don’t get their due in the Internet Era, then when is it going to happen?
-Truly Evil Aliens
-The Internet (yes, seriously)
-Videophones (yes, seriously again)
-Life extension technologies
-Ultra high-speed rail
-Even Eviler Robots
-Powerful advances in food production
-Women in Key Political Positions
-Universal Translation Machines
-Different Social and Political Structures
-We cover this and much, much more!
While we could tell the story of these visionary minds of science fiction without any animation, artwork or graphics, this documentary most definitely cries out for this treatment. The intense and visual nature of these works is such that the more animation and artwork we can put into the final documentary, the more engaging and entertaining it will be.
These highly descriptive and imaginative works need the visual accompaniment of animation and richly detailed artwork. Luckily, we have some of really great artists and animators who have joined the project! Also we have lined up many excellent interviews of people with diverse backgrounds in academia, entertainment, technology and literature. We will be announcing more people that will be interviewed shortly.
Here are a few of the entertainment industry people who will be interviewed in Cities in the Sky. (We will be announcing people from other industries shortly!)
Alan Chan is a seventeen-year visual effects veteran whose career spans multiple Clio advertising awards for outstanding visual effects in the commercial field, as well as work on three Academy Award winning projects, including James Cameron's Titanic, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Alan currently resides in Texas where he is working at ReelFX on Guillermo Del Toro's Book of Life.
Volker Engel is an Oscar®-winning Visual Effects Supervisor and Producer.
He was Co-Producer and VFX Supervisor of 2012, and Executive Producer and VFX Supervisor of the period drama Anonymous, both directed by Roland Emmerich. He started his film career in Germany in 1988 as VFX Supervisor for Emmerich’s Moon 44. Emmerich hired him again in 1995 to supervise a team of 325 artists for Independence Day. Volker’s work earned him an Oscar® for Best Visual Effects in 1996. He then went on to lead the VFX team for Emmerich’s production of Godzilla.
In 1999, he co-founded the production company Uncharted Territory, LLC in Los Angeles with Marc Weigert to write and produce feature films. The first of these independent projects was an adventure movie titled Coronado. He and Marc also Co-Produced the four-hour mini series Dark Kingdom – The Dragon King and the six-hour Sci-Fi Channel mini-series The Triangle together with Bryan Singer and Dean Devlin, which earned him an Emmy Award. His current project as VFX Supervisor and Co-Producer is White House Down starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, to be released in 2013.
Laurence Gartel is a globally acknowledged "PIONEER" of the Digital Art movement. He is considered the father of the Paintbox Era (circa 1986), because he actually started this technique 10 years prior to any software being written for painting and photo-manipulation. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Joan Whitney Payson Museum, Long Beach Museum of Art, Princeton Art Museum, PS 1, Norton Museum and in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History and the Bibliotheque Nationale. His biography for his pioneering efforts is included in "Who's Who," "Who's Who in the East," "Who's Who in America," "Who's Who in American Art," and "Who's Who in the World."
Adam Kane is a cinematographer, producer and director. He has directed episodes of Being Human, Falling Skies, and Heroes, among many other shows. He is also executive producer of Being Human.
Isaac Kerlow (Ke Yi Xiao) is an artist and filmmaker whose work deals with change, abstraction, riddles and the human condition. He is considered one of the pioneers of digital art, and continues to create with digital technology and traditional techniques. Currently Isaac is Artist-in-Residence and Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore. He is also the Founding Dean and full Professor in the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Between 1995-2004 Isaac worked at Disney, in Los Angeles, experimenting with new media in entertainment, moviemaking, animation and games. In his early academic career Isaac was the Founding Chairman of the Department of Computer Graphics and Interactive Media at Pratt Institute in New York City, and the youngest full professor ever tenured at that institution. Isaac is an active participant in international seminars and festivals. He was Festival Director for the SIGGRAPH 2010 Computer Animation Festival, on the Advisory Board of FMX, and the technology committee of the American Society of Cinematographers. During 2009 he was Artist-in-Residence at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing, China.
Kiran Shah played Ginarrbrik in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. He currently can be seen in The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey. He also writes poetry; his work has been published in Britain and America.
Dane Allan Smith (PGA ) is a Los Angeles based visual effects Producer for such notable work as Looper, The Amazing Spiderman, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows pt 1 + 2 as well as numerous independent projects including "Jobs" and "Don Jons Addiction". Dane has received over 2 Dozen International Animation awards and currently produces Stereo Feature films at DELUXE 3D - Hollywood. He also teaches Stereoscopic Film techniques at Gnomon School of VFX.
Rachel Talalay has worked as a director, producer, and writer in film and television over 20 years - in the UK, the US and Canada. Her eclectic resume includes directing Tank Girl, Freddy’s Dead (Nightmare on Elm Street 6) and more than 50 episodes of television in the US, UK and Canada.
Her producing history is equally varied - from Hairspray (the original) and Cry Baby to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (parts 3 and 4) to The Borrowers. Recent directing credits include Durham County, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures for HBO Canada/ITV, Endgame and Continuum for Showcase/Graham King GKP, and XIII for Canal Plus/Reelz.
She is currently developing a television series with John Waters, a horror franchise with MTV and a teen scream movie with Foundation Features.
David Winning directed 13 Features, 25 Series, and has over 100 TV credits. He is mainly known for his work on Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, MGM's Stargate: Atlantis, ABC's Dinotopia and the HBO thriller Exception to the Rule. M. Night Shyamalan has cited Winning's episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, The Tale of the Dream Girl, as the inspiration for The Sixth Sense. In 2002 he received a National award from the Directors Guild of Canada for outstanding achievement in television drama. He was nominated again for this award in 2006. In 2010 he directed episodes of Space Channel's hit comedy/horror series TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL! In 2012 he is directing LOST GIRL for Showcase and SYFY Channel, high action series XIII with Stuart Townsend for Canal+.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO:
Illustrator J. Aburtov has worked as a colorist on Marvel and IDW titles, such as Ultimate Xmen and GI Joe respectively as well as for DC comics, Dark Horse and several indie projects and publishers. He loves his profession, good speedcore and dubstep music, and spending time with his two little daughters.
Music from Kickstarter video: "Heartbeat Remix" by Thrushes. Website www.thrushesrule.com.
Thank you to Nick Boxwell and Michael Lennon for your assistance with this page.
Who are the Authors You Cover?
Science fiction experts and die-hard fans may know many of the names that are covered in Cities in the Sky, but for the overwhelming majority of viewers, the information covered in this documentary will be unexplored terrain. A wide range of authors from around the globe and throughout thousands of years of history are covered.
Here's info on just a few of the authors we are covering:
Space travel, aliens and more staple science fiction concepts were all contemplated and detailed by Lucian in his work True History in the 2nd century AD. This is a controversial selection for this documentary, but the date of authorship and the sheer number of science fiction themes explored in his writing makes it an easy pick.
Edward Page Mitchell's work The Clock That Went Backward predated H.G. Wells’s much better known work about time travel The Time Machine. Additionally, Mitchell penned several other gems involving invisibility and other topics often seen in modern science fiction.
The work of Russian Vladimir Odoevsky is also explored in Cities in the Sky. Odoevsky’s The Year 4338: Petersburg Letters was written in 1835 and yet prognosticates an impressive array of technological breakthroughs and concepts including communications breakthroughs like blogging.
This is just a taste of the numerous authors discussed in Cities in the Sky: Science Fiction’s Forgotten Visionaries. So who are the other writers whose works we will be exploring? Good question!
Please back our project today and find out!
How Will the Funds Be Used?
Animation, Art and CG-Oh My!-Since we are a documentary that has animation, CG and lots of artwork, we need funds for all three of these major areas. Due to the nature of our topic, namely covering all these great overlooked science fiction novels and stories, we truly do need these visual tools to showcase just how great these works truly are. Plus, it will make for a much cooler and interesting documentary as well.
Music-We feel that music is a very big deal and we don’t plan on making it an afterthought. Music adds a lot to any project and this is why we went out and found a really great composer. There will be other music from bands, such as Thrushes, which we really like and think you’ll like as well.
A Professional Crew-We have all the expenses you would expect to see in a feature-length documentary and more. Our goal is to produce a very-high end documentary on what is truly a shoestring budget. The addition of animation, professional artwork and CG, of course, adds to the costs, but this project just wouldn’t be the same without it! We should note that the only reason that any of this is possible at the budget we have set is that many working professionals in the industry are cutting us a real break on what they normally charge for two reasons- one is that they like the project, and two, they are nice.
So why should you support Marisa and Issac on their journey to make Cities in the Sky: Science Fiction’s Forgotten Visionaries?
- We are lifelong science fiction fans and love the genre.
- Issac has a Masters Degree in History and has been researching this topic for many years.
- Our time as festival directors meant that we’ve seen thousands of independent films, animations and documentaries. This has given us a good idea of what generally works and what should probably be avoided. (We’ve seen wonderful things. And, of course, we've seen things that have made us worry for the soul and future of mankind.)
-Having promoted and screened lots of films by great filmmakers over the years, we have always been looking for the opportune time to launch this project. (We are finally looking for the chance to be the bride instead of just the bridesmaid!)
Help us to fund this documentary and we promise to use our hearts and souls to give you a professionally produced, visually intense and interesting documentary.
Risks and challenges
We have successfully executed many film festivals and panels, and also have completed a feature length film. But we do realize that every time a project is in the works, there are always risks and challenges that result. Life can be unpredictable.
While we don't necessarily foresee this happening, one issue that could occur is we could lose key people (like animators or artists) who previously had made commitments to work with us. This could delay the project's completion, because we might need to replace these people. Also we have lined up more industry professionals to interview for the documentary. These people's schedules and locations could change, and if this happens, it could also delay the project. We promise to keep our backers updated every step of the way, so you have a clear idea of when the film will be completed.
Right now the biggest hurdle is the money we need to make sure that Cities in the Sky is everything we hope it can be. And that is why we need your support and participation!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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