Birch tells the story of Jed, a father who lives on the peripheral of rural Vermont. His story began a long time ago, like yours did. Birch is a film about memories, Jed’s and yours.
My name is Paisley Valentine Walsh and I am the director of "Birch". I was born and raised in Middlesex Vermont but moved to the UK as a young teenager. This film began as a desire to reconnect with something I had lost in my childhood.
We shot in early March, in and out of some sublime snowstorms and weather. The cast and crew worked tirelessly to make this project, but they all believed in it. I can assure you that all of this work and passion will be evident in the film we have made.
As preproduction developed, the story took on the lives and the energy of the people who came to work with us. As the cast was largely comprised of non-actors the film began to breathe itself, and these personalities and stories all bring a vitality to the screen that is larger than life.
Birch was shot on Super 16mm. The decision was made, not just for the pure aesthetic quality of film, but also because it has a crudity which emulates the rustic landscape of Vermont.
Because the film investigates history, memory and also family it felt appropriate to also bring the story back to the home movie era.
Working on film forces a discipline and a trust between the cast and crew that you rarely feel on set with a digital camera and it creates a impetus that allows us to stay in the moment, because there is no way to watch shots back, you keep moving.
We have Kodak to thank for giving us test footage and for offering us substantial student disocunts to make this film, without this we would never have been able to consider shooting on film.
What is post production funding?
We need your help at this stage because post production is one of the most expensive elements of filmmaking, and even more so because we chose to shoot on film. Unlike a digital film, our material must be developed by a lab.
We want to make "Birch" the best possible film it can be, and to do that we need to make sure the look and the audio are polished to cinema standard. So, on top of raising funds for development, money will also go towards a high-quality colour grade and sound mix.
We would also like to send this film to international film festivals around the world so it can be seen and this incurs many application fees that without your help we cannot afford.
Paisley’s sense of aesthetic and story are firmly rooted in her upbringing, which spans off-the-grid territories from Vermont to the west coast of Scotland. Her exposure to these rural communities and to the landscapes they inhabit, has set the tone for her work as both a director and a photographer.
Alongside her Master’s degree in English Literature at The University of Glasgow, Paisley studied photography at The Glasgow School of Art. Getting to spend time in the darkroom, she developed her love for analogue processes which she has continued to work with as a filmmaker.
‘Birch’ is Paisley’s graduation film from the London Film School. It is her third and most ambitious project to date.
Zhannat Alshanova is London based producer and writer/director from Kazakhstan with a background in management. Earning both a Bachelors degree in Business Administration and Masters degree in Marketing. Moving to film, she began working as a production assistant and translator on "Marco Polo" season1 (Netflix).
In 2015 she started her Master studies at The London Film School. Zhannat has experience producing both narrative and documentary films, and is currently producing films between South Africa, USA, the UK and Turkey. As a director, her most recent short film, ‘The White Orchid Hotel” premiered at Camerimage Film Festival.
Originally from Italy, Vincenzo moved to London after graduating with a distinction on his Semiotic of Photography thesis. At the London Film School, he has crewed on over forty productions, learning the craft of filmmaking through the mediums of both film and digital.
Over the last year he has worked as the Cinematographer and camera operator of eight graduation films, giving him the opportunity to fly all over the world.
This has been his boldest project yet as Cinematographer, as he got to take his knowledge further afield to shoot in the snow on super 16.
From Trentino (Italy) with love, Emanuele is a 27 year old filmmaker raised on the alps. He has a Diploma in Film Editing with a mention at the NUCT Academy of Cinecitta (Rome) with editing teachers such a Consuelo Catucci (editor/Vallanzasca – Angels of Evil) and Walter Fasano (editor/I am Love, A Bigger Splash). Emanuele has worked as an editor on over thirty short films, including the 3D film “Beato chi Riceve la Grazie” (2012) screened at the Rome Film Festival, directed by Margherita Giusti.
His work as an editor also includes music vidoes, documentaries, small commercials and montage/art concept work. Emanuele is currently finishing his MA in Filmmaking at the London Film School and working on the postproduction of four thesis graduation projects.
Yu-Hsuan Chen is a New York City based set and production designer born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. She received her MFA in Design for Stage and Film at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Working among theater, film, dance, commercial and exhibition, she is always excited in collaborating with amazing talents to create compelling souls & scenes through visual storytelling.
Her film experiences include the set designer in feature film KANO (Taiwan) and Conspiracy (Taiwan). Selected short film credits include: Purple Days (Taipei Film Festival 2017), Pregnant ( First Run Festival 2017, Best Production Design) , Léa ( Cinequest Film Festival 2016) and Marie (New York Short Film Festival 2016). Spec commercial "Music Everywhere" is shortlisted at the AICP Awards and won a prize at the Porsche Ad Awards in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
Please have a look at our rewards along the side, an example of the original photographic prints by Olivia Walsh is shown below:
Thank you to Sid Hammer for our BTS footage.
Risks and challenges
This project has come a long way, and we feel very confident about its development from here on out.
After coming out of the woods and the snow and all the manual labour that the cast and crew got through we feel we are on a home run now.
Of course, if we dont make our funding target we run the risk of not polishing this piece the way it deserves, but we are fully prepared to look for alternative modes of funding should that happen and will ensure a correct completion of the film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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