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RISE is a film about a robot revolution in the future, told from the perspective of the robots. Read more

Los Angeles, CA Shorts
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This project was successfully funded on August 17, 2014.

RISE is a film about a robot revolution in the future, told from the perspective of the robots.

Los Angeles, CA Shorts
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About this project

Thank you to everyone who's supported RISE. We've surpassed the primary goal of $20k, and with only a few days left, I'd like to see if we can reach a stretch goal of 500 backers!

So many wonderful people have helped make the impossible, possible and every backer and dollar beyond the primary goal will help us expand the visual effects team and expedite the enormous task of finishing the visual effects.

A small army of some of the best visual effects artists in the world have already donated their time and resources to get us half way, and now it all boils down to hiring the same team fulltime to finish the work that remains.

Work is also underway on the public build of the RISE VR experience that we premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year.

Creating the VR experience for RISE came with its share of technical challeges, particualy for the more innovative elements. I teamed up with Nurulize to create the unique VR experience that captures every minute detail and allows participants to experience a cinematic moment from RISE "frozen in time". It's a perfect companion piece to the short film and represents a fundamental shift in the way cinema may be created and experienced in the very near future.

 In the near future, sentient robots are targeted for elimination after they develop emotional symmetry to humans and a revolutionary war for their survival begins.

RISE is an original science fiction film that I've been developing at Warner Brothers for the past couple of years. As the feature film script has been in development, I've been independently piecing together a short film to test the idea, story, world, characters, and design of RISE. The short film has been a passion project that has relied heavily on friends and favors to get it to where it is today. RISE was shot in piecemeal fashion since early 2013. We transformed skid row in Downtown Los Angeles into a robot slum, built a robot tenement set, and then trekked halfway across the world to wrap up production with a guerrilla shoot in Beijing, China!

We are very close to finishing the short, and the plan is to raise $20,000 to complete the visual effects work that remains. Once complete, the short film will be available to stream online for free.

The short film stars Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Into Darkness, Terminator Salvation) and Rufus Sewell (Dark City, Hercules), who both deliver exceptional performances. The screenplay is written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (Pacific Rim, God of War). Because RISE was shot over the span of over a year, several talented cinematographers have worked on RISE. They include, Roman Vasyanov, Sam McCurdy, Perry Ho and Chris Probst. The visual effects are being supervised by Scott Metzger.

Before working on RISE, I directed a short film titled THE CANDIDATE that was a Viewfinder List selection and also picked for Short of the Week. In addition to RISE, I'm also developing OUTLIERS - a supernatural action film - at 20th Century Fox that's also based on an original pitch.

$20k - This amount will go towards hiring a small team of visual effects artists who will work over a period of 15 weeks to complete the VFX on the short film. The short heavily involves humanoid robots and futuristic environments and thus, needs some pretty intense VFX of all kinds.

$50k - This is our first stretch goal. With this backing, we'll be able to double the visual effects team and shorten the amount of time it'll take to complete the visual effects work. There are also several fully CG robot characters that we'll be able to finish and use as robot extras in a number of shots.

VFX process for the lead character, Basil
VFX process for the lead character, Basil

The visual effects work being done on RISE is on par with work being done on blockbuster feature films. We're pushing the boundaries of visual effects and also making sure that every visual effect shot in RISE is done in service of the story.

Our work on RISE has also led to some other exciting developments that almost feel as science-fiction as the movie itself. One of those developments has been the creation of a Virtual Reality experience based on the short film! A Kickstarter-exclusive version of this Oculus VR Experience is available as one of the project rewards.

Creating the VR experience for RISE came with its share of technical challenges, particularly for the more innovative elements. Scott Metzger and the VR start-up Nurulize spearheaded the enormous task of creating a hyper-realistic virtual experience. Starting with the environment captured with Faro LIDAR scans, HDR photography, and xxArray character captures, a team of artists used these enormous data sets to reconstruct a scene from RISE in its entirety within virtual reality.

The project was one of the Oculus curated selections to be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival 2014 Storyscapes event.

RISE Oculus VR experience, courtesy of Nurulize
RISE Oculus VR experience, courtesy of Nurulize
Yep, that's Robert DeNiro experiencing the RISE Oculus Rift short film at the Tribeca Film Festival
Yep, that's Robert DeNiro experiencing the RISE Oculus Rift short film at the Tribeca Film Festival

Welcome to the uprising! You'll receive access to the post-production diary to follow our progress on the film.

All of the above plus you'll receive a digital copy of the original score created for RISE

All of the above plus a digital copy of the script and access to visual effects tutorials on how we're bringing these robot characters to life.

All of the above, plus you'll be able to download a full HD 1080p resolution copy of the short film. This version of the short film will also include a commentary by the director and the writers, exclusive to Kickstarter backers! Plus your name will be included under Special Thanks in the credits.

All of the above plus a Blu-ray copy of the film. The Blu-ray will also include my previous short film THE CANDIDATE.

A glimpse into the future! All of the above plus a copy of the finished RISE virtual reality experience for the Oculus DK2 that we premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival! The build created for Kickstarter backers will be a special and exclusive build.

All of the above plus the official RISE poster.

All of the above plus a printed copy of the production book that includes the script, concept art, sketches, storyboards, and behind-the-scenes photos. Signed by the cast and crew.

All of the above plus invitation to an advanced screening of RISE in Los Angeles and your name listed in the credits under "Very Special Thanks". You will have to provide your own travel and accommodation

All of the above plus be invited to an intensive whole day master class on animatronic robot effects in Los Angeles.

All of the above plus Associate Producer credit on the short film and access to rough cuts and deleted scenes. (1) Your name will be included in the end credits of this film; (2) Your name will be listed (under the title “Associate Producer”) on IMDB.

All of the above plus the film's central prop, designed and fabricated by WETA Workshop.

All of the above and Executive Producer credit on the short film. (1) Your name will be included in the end credits of this film; (2) Your name will be listed (under the title “Executive Producer”) on IMDB.

robot design by Greg Broadmore, WETA Workshop
robot design by Greg Broadmore, WETA Workshop

Risks and challenges

RISE has been an incredibly ambitious project and a grassroots experiment that has relied heavily on favors and individuals donating their time. The backing from Kickstarter will help expedite the work, but favors will still be needed to complete the film. There are big obstacles ahead and every dollar will go a long way to getting the project closer to the finish line.

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    28 backers

    Help get an original science fiction film off the ground!

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    19 backers

    Welcome to the uprising! You'll receive access to the post-production diary to follow our progress on the film.

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    19 backers

    All of the above plus you'll receive a digital copy of the original score created for RISE.

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    6 backers

    All of the above plus a digital copy of the script and access to visual effects tutorials on how we're bringing these robot characters to life.

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    174 backers

    You'll be able to download a full HD 1080p resolution copy of the short film. This version of the short film will also include a commentary by the director and the writers, exclusive to Kickstarter backers! Plus your name will be included under Special Thanks in the credits.

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    119 backers

    All of the above plus a Blu-ray copy of the film. The Blu-ray will also include my previous short film THE CANDIDATE.

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    70 backers

    A glimpse into the future! All of the above plus a copy of the finished RISE virtual reality experience for the Oculus DK2 that we premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival! The build created for Kickstarter backers will be a special and exclusive build.

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    Pledge $35 or more

    7 backers

    All of the above, plus an invitation to a private Virtual Reality event in Los Angeles where you will be able to experience the RISE VR demo on the DK2 without having to actually own one. Exist inside the world of RISE, where you will transport into a scene from the film. This demo and model was used at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. The event will take place in Los Angeles. You will need to provide your own travel and accommodation.

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    19 backers Limited (11 left of 30)

    Includes all of lower-tiered rewards plus a custom embroidered military patch from the film. The patch is the insignia of the military unit responsible for exterminating the robot population in RISE, known as R.P.F., the Robot Peacekeeping Force.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
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    13 backers

    All of the above plus the official RISE poster.

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    6 backers

    All of the above plus a breakdown on how I pitched RISE and tips on how to put together a successful sizzle trailer.

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    44 backers

    All of the above plus a printed copy of the production book that includes the script, concept art, sketches, storyboards, and behind-the-scenes photos. Signed by the cast and crew.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    All of the above plus you get your name or nickname in the movie, either in the form of robot graffiti or signage. Be a permanent part of movie history!

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    Only ships to: United States
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    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    All of the above plus invitation to an advanced screening of RISE in Los Angeles and your name listed in the credits under "Very Special Thanks". You will have to provide your own travel and accommodation.

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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    All of the above plus be invited to an intensive whole day master class on animatronic robot effects in Los Angeles.

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  • You selected
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    2 backers All gone!

    All of the above plus Associate Producer credit on the short film and access to rough cuts and deleted scenes. (1) Your name will be included in the end credits of this film; (2) Your name will be listed (under the title “Associate Producer”) on IMDB.

    Estimated delivery:
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    All of the above plus the film's central prop, designed and fabricated by WETA Workshop.

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    All of the above and Executive Producer credit on the short film. (1) Your name will be included in the end credits of this film; (2) Your name will be listed (under the title “Executive Producer”) on IMDB.

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Funding period

- (30 days)