Summer camp gets really strange for 15-year-old Lizzie when she is forced to play a Holocaust role-play game.
THANK YOU for checking out my Kickstarter page. For MY BIO and a list of fun CAMP-THEMED REWARDS, see the column on the right.
A Holocaust role-play game? Sam, you’re kidding, right? Nope.
WHAT’S THE STORY?
One day at summer camp, Lizzie and her fellow campers are divided into SS Officers and Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1941. As the game devolves into chaos, Lizzie tries to avoid the ever-increasing frenzy of the campers and the zealousness of her counselors until she must decide whether to participate in this bizarre game of memory and identification.
IT HAPPENED TO ME. SORT OF.
I went to Jewish summer camp for many years and have many fond memories. When I was at camp, the plight of Soviet Refusniks (Jews denied the right to emigrate from the Soviet Union) was a HUGE issue for Jewish communities around the world. One night, we met in the library for evening activity. Suddenly the lights cut out and a counselor declared that we were all “Soviet Refusniks” who had to escape “KGB” agents (our counselors) in the “USSR” to get to America or Israel. I can’t remember what happened. I think I blocked it out. But I’ve spoken with and heard of many people who played similar “games,” about the Holocaust, Soviet Jewry, even the KKK. So...
I COULDN’T SAY NO TO THE STORY. IT GOT STUCK IN MY HEAD.
When I first heard Ellen Umansky’s short story of the same name, I knew I had to make it into a film.
Hopefully the film raises a lot of interesting questions: What is the best way to teach this terrible historical legacy, or other unfathomable historical events, to the next generation? With the last generation of Holocaust survivors nearing the end of their lives, how should we remember the Holocaust? And if you were Lizzie and had to play this game, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
In 2012, I was awarded a production grant for PROMISED LAND from the Jerome Foundation, a Minnesota-based arts foundation, which supports New York City artists. This grant has helped pay for a portion of our costs. But movies are expensive, even short films.
The money you pledge will help pay for crew salaries, transportation, equipment, costumes and props, location fees, plus additional post-production expenses, and festival and promotional materials.
If you can’t pledge, you can help spread the word through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. You never know who might be interested in supporting this project. So thank you for pledging! And for passing it on to your friends. Every bit helps.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE FILM IS DONE?
Our team shot HOW TO MAKE IT TO THE PROMISED LAND for five days in March at VT Ranch in Santa Clarita, California, north of Los Angeles. We edited the film in April and once we’ve raised the rest of the money, we will complete the final stages of the film.
Once the film is complete, we will begin submitting it to festivals – and of course, keep you updated on our progress. Maybe you’ll be able to come to a screening, see it at a festival near you, or watch it on DVD! Eventually we will have a new short film that we will all be proud of. Thanks again for your support!
MEET OUR TEAM:
SAM ZALUTSKY (writer/director) was short-listed for the Independent Spirit Award’s Someone to Watch Award for his feature film, You Belong to Me. Variety called it: "A nifty little suspenser bordering on horror… a la Polanski’s ‘The Tenant’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’...” It's available on Amazon.com, Facebook, Netflix, and iTunes. For my full bio, please see the column on the right.
ELLEN UMANSKY (short story author) has published fiction and nonfiction in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Salon, Tablet, Jane, Playboy, Lilith, and the short-story anthologies Lost Tribe and Sleepaway. She has worked in the editorial departments of The New Yorker, the Forward, Tablet, and the late New York Sun. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia, and has been awarded a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts.
ALEXANDRA BARRETO (producer) has guest starred and/or recurred on a wide range of TV shows from CSI to Pushing Daisies to Justified. Currently she recurs on the ABC Family show, The Fosters. As a producer, her projects include the feature film, Too Late, starring Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes and Famke Janssen. Previously, she wrote, directed, and produced, with Rider and Shiloh Strong, the first political commercial on Comedy Central, and then produced two short films with this team: The Dungeon Master (Best Short, Tribeca Online Film Festival; Best Comedy Short, Sonoma International Film Festival) and Method (Opening Night, Palm Springs International ShortFest), which The Huffington Post singled out as one of the “best of the fest." Shorts International will be distributing both films. She's also produced three additional shorts, including F the Parents, starring twitter sensation Rob Delaney.
ANGELA DEMO (casting director) has cast a wide range of projects from independent films to major studio productions. She began her career with renowned casting director Denise Chamian and now has her own casting shingle with Barbara McCarthy. Angela has worked with A-list directors, such as Tony Scott, Gore Verbinski, and Michael Bay, and top acting talent, including Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Chris Pine, Denzel Washington, and Reese Witherspoon. Her casting credits include Rango, Unstoppable, Water for Elephants, The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Thing, and indie features Two Night Stand and Electric Slide.
MIKE TESTIN (cinematographer) is at http://miketestin.com/
RACHEL PAYNE (production designer) earned a Master of Arts in Production Design from the American Film Institute. She has production designed 12 feature films across the globe; commercials for Ask.com, Time Warner & Ortho mattress; music videos for the Rose Bowl’s 100 Roses Celebration, bands Dirty Projectors, Maher Zain, K Young and Na-shay; spots for Showtime and web sensations The Next Game Boss & Compulsions; along with numerous award-winning shorts. Her design talent received a write-up in the Hollywood Reporter for her film Sassy Pants, which premiered at the 2012 Santa Barbara Film Festival.
JACOB CHASE (editor) has been working both in front of and behind the camera since the age of seven. He earned his degree in film from Brooks Institute of Photography, where he received “The First Year Award,” “The Departmental Award” and “The Achievement Award” (The highest honors) for his directorial work. Chase’s first feature film, The Four-Faced Liar, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and went on to win the HBO Audience Award for “Best First Feature” at Outfest 2010. Jacob’s sophomore feature is currently in development at Sneak Preview Entertainment. His long list of short films include: The Lifting, Detention, Patient Zero, The Faithful, Hideaway, and Fantastic Feelings.
JOHN TURNER (composer) created the score for Sam’s feature You Belong to Me, featuring strings by the powerhouse NYC band ETHEL. He recently completed scores for the short films Dearly Departed, My Night With Andrew Cunanan, and Clara's Carma. Other scores include indie feature Alma Mater, and shorts Slo-Mo (Sundance, Telluride, HBO) and Passengers (Deauville, Special Jury Prize; Sundance Film Festival). John’s music was part of multi-media artist Romeo Alaeff's work for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Chelsea Art Museum video installation, Crybaby. Other work has been heard includes NBC’s The Voice, The History Channel, The National Science Foundation, and Worth Publishing.
DAVID BRIGGS (sound designer) was the Supervising Sound Editor for Sam’s You Belong to Me, as well as for My Best Day, 3 Backyards, Diminished Capacity, Teeth, and Something in the Water. Other sound editing credits include Moonrise Kingdom, The Wire, Bachelorette, The Art of Getting By, The Oranges, About Cherry, Cadillac Records, New York, I Love You, and Friends with Kids. He holds an MFA in film from New York University and teaches sound design in the graduate program of City University of New York.
MARLANE BARNES (Lizzie) is best known for The Twilight Saga's Breaking Dawn Part Two as Maggie of the Irish Coven. Most recently she starred in the feature film Sake Bomb (Official Selection SXSW 2013) and the record-breaking one take feature, Somebody Marry Me, screening this summer at the Hoboken Int'l and Manhattan Film Festivals. Television appearances include Mad Men and recurring roles on iCarly and the upcoming Showtime's Masters of Sex. Marlane studied theatre in Austin, Texas, where she appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream, An Ideal Husband, The Shadow Box, and a world premiere adaptation of Trojan Women. She volunteers in the animal rescue community by fostering, volunteering for Best Friends Animal Society, and acting as a national spokesperson for the spay/neuter organization SpayFirst! Follow her on Twitter @MarlaneBarnes!
NOAH HARPSTER (Camp director Bobby Z.) has appeared most memorably on Grey's Anatomy, CSI, Big Love, Californication, Longmire, The Closer, Dollhouse, and Lucky Louie - usually he's seen crying, dying, taking his shirt off, eating, or in one case... all of the above. As a writer, Noah and writing parter Micah Fitzerman-Blue just won Best Screenplay at Rome Film Festival for their feature, The Motel Life, in which Noah took his shirt off. Together, they've also adapted Going After Cacciato based on Tim O'Briend's National Book Award winning novel and The Games based on the novel by Ted Kosmatka.
LIA H. (Kron/Karen) was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently studies at the University of Southern California. As an actress, she has been a part of the Silverlake Theatre Group for many years. She is also a musician and frequently performs with her band around Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @Lia_H.
KATE KRIEGER (Orna) loves playing nuanced characters with intricate backstories and idiosyncrasies. She studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and continues to train in L.A. with mentor Dan Ireland at the Director's Playhouse. She loves theater and film equally, having played everything from Olivia in Twelfth Night to one of Andy Samberg's vapid, but hilarious love interests in Celeste & Jesse Forever. She writes in her free time and is currently developing a screenplay of her own. She loves acting and hopes to one day work with the likes of Woody Allen and Paul Thomas Anderson.
FINAL FRAME (post-production services) is a post-production house in Manhattan. They’ve worked on dozens of award-winning scripted features and documentaries, including doing the color correct and finishing on Sam’s You Belong to Me. They do great work and are always fun to work with. For more information go to Finalframepost.com.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The biggest challenge is completing this campaign. If I don’t reach my goal in 30 DAYS, then I won’t receive any of your Kickstarter pledges and the film won’t go forward. That’s why EVERY PLEDGE, no matter the size, is essential.
Since we have already shot the film, other potential obstacles include finishing the sound design and edit, as well as the score, and the final color correct. Scheduling conflicts and availability of collaborators and timing for festival submissions are all potential hazards.
Filmmaking can seem glamorous, but it’s really about day-to-day hard work, collaboration, and communication. I’ve been working with my team for months to make the best film possible. And we're almost done. With a feature film, three short films, and 15 – 20 short videos under my belt, I know how important it is to focus on one step at a time. With your help, we can do it.
THANK YOU for your trust and support!!!
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