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A romantic comedy mystery that transforms into a magically realistic relationship dramedy exploring gender, sexuality, and love.
237 backers pledged $22,235 to help bring this project to life.

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$22,235

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The Way You Look Tonight is a magically realistic romantic comedy with a secret queer agenda. 

The film follows a man named Peter, who is approaching 30 and still trying to navigate the modern online dating culture. After a whimsical, romantic evening with a mysterious young woman ends with him waking up alone, Peter tries to put the night behind him by turning to a new dating site guaranteed to find his perfect match. But with each date from the site, Peter notices strange similarities between each woman and that first amazing date. As the connection between these women is revealed, Peter discovers a whole new world full of people and experiences that will make him challenge his notions of identity, sexuality, and love.

If you want to know the secret - and what makes the film so special - scroll down for more!

 Ok....So. The truth is, all of these women are one and the same. Her name is Heloise and she's a changeling: a person who wakes up every day with a different body. Her height weight, race, age, and even her sex are constantly in flux, and as Peter learns about Heloise and the larger world she’s a part of, he must decide whether or not he can love someone without a consistent physical form.

About the Project - A Note from the Director

Hi there! My name is John Cerrito. I'm a thesis candidate at UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television. I started making movies when I was 19, and my first significant project was a documentary for a class. It was a profile of my little cousin, a five-year-old who was raised as a boy and began to manifest herself as transgender at age two. I went into the project with almost no knowledge of transgenderism or queer identity. I considered “him” to be a flamboyant little boy who liked to play with dolls and wear dresses. But through observing that child’s kindness, creativity, genuineness, and unapologetic resilience, I came to understand the beauty and naturalness of transgender and gender-queer  identities. 

The project inspired me to research transgender issues. I followed up with another documentary following four Southern transgender women of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds as they dealt with different stages of transition in and around the Mid-South, observing their struggles with trans-phobia, documentation issues, healthcare concerns and strained family and personal relationships.  I became heavily invested in queer advocacy, queer theory, and intersectional feminism, and these concepts have become integral to my morality and artistic identity. 

Since these projects, I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate these themes into my narrative filmmaking. In my struggles with explaining my cousin’s identity to my less progressive family members and friends, I began to search for ways of talking about gender that would let them engage empathetically with her struggle. One of the best analogies I came up with was to imagine waking up tomorrow in a body with a different sex. To imagine the frustration of having to defend your expression of your inner self. That analogy developed into an allegory: a changeling. Someone who wakes up every day with constantly changing body.

Many of the struggles changelings face in The Way You Look Tonight– self harm, body dysmorphia, and documentation issues – are all directly drawn from the lived experiences of queer people I’ve met. I chose to make this my first narrative venture into queer themes because I wanted to create a queer narrative without appropriating the narratives of queer folk. At the same time, the changeling's constantly changing race, age, and body type allow for major diversity in actors to play Heloise, making an argument for inclusivism and body positivity. 

Rather than a direct one-to-one representation of transgender identity, this allegory forces the viewer to look at gender and sexuality through a broad queer lens. To do this, the film masquerades for a time as a generic straight romantic comedy with a mystery element to draw in the viewer. Once the intrigue is established, the film develops to a relationship dramedy, exploring the larger struggles of loving a person when they don’t have a consistent physical identity. That’s why this project has to be a feature (and why I came to UCLA to make it): love is not a moment. It is not a short story. It is complicated, consistently unfolding series of triumphs and struggles. This film does not encapsulate love. But it does look to present a significant change within one person as they learn to love another, and that, for me, is the biggest thing in the world. 

 I also think that fearless and inclusive media - especially media that empathizes with and argues for minority identities - is as important now as it has ever been. The Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab thought so – and selected The Way You Look Tonight as a semifinalist last year. Now is the perfect time to for this film, but we need you to make it happen!

With all this in mind, I would very much appreciate your commitment to backing the project. 

Get to Know The Team

 John Cerrito (Writer/Director) was born and raised in Memphis, TN. John grew up in his family’s restaurant, spraying himself in the face with the bar's soda gun at every opportunity. A self-proclaimed Mama’s boy, John was raised in the mixed environment of a big southern family on one side and Catholic guilt Italians on the other. John is an MFA thesis candidate at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. His directing credits include The Opposite of Echoes (2016) and Development (2017). He has a strong interest in LGBT activism and Queer Theory. Above all else, John strives to make a difference by facilitating otherwise ignored or underrepresented social issues to the screen, to widen the dialogue and (hopefully) affect change. He’s sort of what would happen if Woody Allen and Spongebob Squarepants had a baby – but, you know, without all the gross stuff. A sort of neurotic, super self-aware human Muppet, if you will. 

 

Masaya Tajika (Producer) graduated from the UCLA Producer’s Program in 2016. His feature credits include Love Goes Through Your Stomach (2017) and Between Waves (2016). His short film productions include Take Care of Yourself (2015) and Development (2017). He currently works at Warner Brothers. Doesn’t he look like a model in this picture? So dreamy. 

 Marcel Perez (Producer)  was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He produced the independent feature I Before Thee (2017) and is currently practicing improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in Los Angeles.

 Julia Angley (Producer) is a first year MFA Director at UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television. She received her undergraduate degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins and her Masters in Digital Media Design from Harvard Extension School. She's been making short films for four years and is passionate about expanding LGBTQ representations in film. She is excited to be producing her first feature with The Way You Look Tonight

 Adanne Ebo (Associate Producer) is a graduate of Northwestern Law School. She produced short films such as Keaton Olsen for HOA President: A Mild Inconvenience, and Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul. She is the producer and co-creater of SupaShawty Girls Funkadelic RoboMagic BangBang, a satirical animation parody. 

 Marcus Patterson (Director of Photography)  is a cinematographer born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. There he experienced smothering humidity, deep conservatism, Southern Baptist hymns, football Saturdays (and Sundays, Mondays, and some Thursdays), food fried to perfection, a surprisingly strong music scene, mowing lawns, and the best damn neighbors you'll ever meet. He's inspired by new places and interesting characters. Currently pursuing an MFA in cinematography from UCLA TFT, the gritty South sneaks it's way into most of his projects in one way or the other.

 Lauren Ivy (Production Designer) is a production designer and studio artist from Chicago, Illinois. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. Here she can be seen about to drop the most fire mixtape of 2017. She has designed dozens of projects including commercials, music videos, and short films. Her feature credits include Cassidy Red (2017) and The Best People (2017).

 Keelin Quigley and Kelsey Smith (Costume Designers) are costume design graduates from the UCLA Theater Department. Keelin’s credits include My Strat (2016), Forever and Always (2016) and Development (2017). Kelsey’s credits include The Opposite of Echoes (2016), Trojan Woman, and Search For Global Song. They have numerous other credits on both stage and screen. 

 Will Bryson (Editor) is a director, writer, producer, and editor. He is the creator of Milo’s Misfits, an LGBTQ-friendly children’s series. He is an MFA candidate at Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has screened at the Indie Memphis Film Festival and the Maryland Film Festival. It is an eighty percent certainty that Jim Henson’s spirit is currently inhabiting his body.

Fun with Fundraising 

We're very serious about our commitment to this project, and we're not too proud to do some things to get your attention. So, as we hit various benchmarks of the campaign, our director will be completing a series of famous (uncomfortable and degrading) internet challenges and post them. You'll be able to view the videos on our official YouTube page here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDSTxRHQuFUxjpXeIBLYWdw

First off: When we hit our goal, John will eat a bug and film it for you. John is not a fan of bugs. The faster we hit the goal, the more unpleasant the bug. Backers will be sent a survey to vote on the sub-type of bug. Please allow us 72 hours to acquire the bug. Here's the breakdown:

  • Fully Funded Day 1: A Live Spider (nothing poisonous). This is technically an arachnid, we know, but John is afraid of spiders. We will likely have to hold him down. He will almost certainly cry. 
  • Fully Funded Day  5: A Live Beetle. Perhaps with juice? :D
  • Fully Funded Day 10: A Live Cricket. If we can catch one.
  • Fully Funded Day 15: A Live Worm. Slimey, yet satisfying?  
  • Fully Funded Day 20: A Live Ant. Potentially on a log. 
  • Fully Funded Day 25 or Later: A Chocolate Covered Grub. Y'all made him sweat, so he's going to take it easy and enjoy something sweet. 

In addition, here are a series of benchmark challenges John will attempt throughout the campaign:

  • 1000 Dollars: Baby Food Challenge (Done!)
  • 2500 Dollars: Ice Bucket Challenge (Done!)
  • 5000 Dollars: Saltine Challenge (Done!)
  • 7500 Dollars: Eat a Banana with the Skin on it Challenge
  • 10,000 Dollars: 50 Nugget Challenge
  • 15,000 Dollars: Wasabi Challenge (Eaten, not snorted) 
  • 20,000 Dollars: Bug Challenge (See Above)
  • 25,000 Dollars: Gallon of Milk Challenge
  • 30,000 Dollars+: Backers Vote (Nothing Dangerous, Please) 

We know this may seem silly, but we also want to show you how dedicated we are to making this movie. This is us doubling down to EARN your support, so you know John will put every ounce of determination he uses for these challenges into providing you the best movie possible. 

So what are you waiting for? Pledge now and watch the fun ensue!

Risks and challenges

Obviously, there is always a large logistical and financial risk when making a low-budget feature film. The entirety of the budget is made up of scholarships, grants, reimbursements from the UCLA film program, and personal loans, so we need EVERY PENNY of this campaign to get this movie made. And anything over our goal will go towards increasing the production value - so the more you give, the better the film will be!

But if we hit our goal, the film WILL ABSOLUTELY commence principal photography in mid-August. The reimbursements and grants from UCLA dictate that we wrap before September 24th, and further reimbursements keep us on track to have final deliverables ready by summer of next year!

We're making a film with unconventional story elements, queer themes, and a large, diverse cast with dozens of people playing the same character - which could garner a fair amount of skepticism from mainstream distributors. But success on this campaign - especially a major over-performance - would give us a footing to show them that people want to see stories like this one.

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    Thank You!

    Special thanks on our film's Facebook page, and you are entitled to a hug if you ever meet the director in person.

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    Production Updates!

    Stay in the know! Get email updates and behind-the-scenes photos from the set.

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    The Soundtrack!

    Download that sweet, sweet tuneage and listen to your heart's content!

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    See the Movie!

    Get exclusive early access to the film – unlimited viewing access to the film for 30 days.

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    Sight and Sound Bundle!

    The complete audio-visual TWYLT experience. Get exclusive early access to the film for 30 days, plus the soundtrack and production updates.

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    Snapchats from Set!

    Get a steady stream of snapchat updates from the Director’s and Producers’ chairs. Guaranteed at least 5 premium Muppet impressions from John and a stream on inside jokes, goofs, and general frivolity - it's like you're there with us!

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    Learn the Secrets of Changelings!

    Changelings have a long and rich history. Learn about it in an exclusive booklet highlighting the history and prominence of changelings throughout history. A great way to learn about the world of the film and the characters that inhabit it. Plus a PDF of the shooting script - a Sundance Screenwriters' Lab Semifinalist!

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    Your Name in the Credits!

    You will receive a very Special Thanks in the end credits of the film. Point your name out to your friends and family and be featured on IMDB!

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
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    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Changeling Pamphlet
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    Be In The Movie!

    Be an extra in the film! Everyone will see you in the background of a major scene in the film

    **Filming will be in Los Angeles. Schedule subject to change. Travel expenses not included.

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    • Facebook Shoutout
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    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
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    Come to the Premiere!

    Come to the premiere! Be our guest at the first-ever screening of the film. See the final product on the big screen and join us for a reception to talk about the film.

    *Premiere will be in Los Angeles. Schedule subject to change. Travel expenses not included.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
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    Full Director Filmography!

    John Cerrito has made over a dozen documentaries, short films, and video art pieces. Enjoy over 2 hours of films that build the narrative and intellectual interests you'll see in TWYLT.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
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    • Changeling Pamphlet
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    Name a Changeling!

    The world of The Way You Look Tonight involves an entire community of changelings. And you can name one! Be it after yourself or someone you know, you can name one of the characters that appear in a scene in the movie – who will be billed as such in the end credits of the film.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
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    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
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    Design Your Own Changeling!

    Every changeling has a distinctive look- a “habit” they wear every day that gives them consistency and shows their personality. At this level, work with our costume designers to design a changeling habit. You’ll receive a scan of your custom changeling signed by the designer and director.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
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    • Download of Shooting Script
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    Have Your Changeling in the Movie!

    Your personalized "habit" will be incorporated into the film and featured in a key scene of the movie. Have your style - or the style of a loved one - immortalized in the film for all of time!

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
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    Take Home a Piece of the Film!

    Some props are instrumental in building the world of the film. And you'll get to keep one! Complete with autographs from the Director and Production Designer and a personalized message about the importance of the prop to the story of TWYLT.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
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    BE a changeling!

    Be one of the transformations of a changeling in the film-you'll be a featured (definite screen time) extra for a day and get to experience the glitz and glam of our set!

    **Filming will be in Los Angeles from August to September, 2017. Schedule subject to change. Travel expenses not included.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Name in the Credits
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    Speak Up!

    Have a speaking role in the film. Hang out on set with us for a day and everyone will get to see your acting chops. Your name will be billed in the credits right up there with the stars. Congrats! You've made it!

    **Filming will be in Los Angeles from August to September, 2017. Schedule subject to change. Travel expenses not included.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Name in the Credits
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    The Perfect Dating Profile

    The film deals heavily with online dating culture, and John did a LOT of research to capture that feeling. He's been on every app and website there is, and he's prepared to distill all that sweet sweet insight into making you the perfect profile. Enjoy an hour-long phone interview with John, where he'll figure out the most interesting and unique things about you that are sure to grab the attention of your suitors - up to 1500 words, if you want to get reaaaaaal intimate on the interwebs. You can also take advantage of a custom photo shoot to create that perfect profile picture (California Only).

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Name in the Credits
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    Be A Lead!

    Be featured as one of the faces of Heloise, the romantic interest and lead of the film. You’re name will be built in the credits right up there with the stars, and you’ll also receive a digital download of the film, plus a customized clip of your scene!

    **Filming will be in Los Angeles from August to September, 2017. Schedule subject to change. Travel expenses not included.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Name in the Credits
    • Film Download
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    Associate Producer Credit!

    Enjoy your name featured in the opening credits of the film, plus an private skype session with the director. You can talk about whatever you want! Need advice on your own film project? Have a script you want to workshop? John is all yours! He's also very suggestible. He'll probably cover his face in peanut butter if you ask. You'll also be invited to set for a day - hang out with the producers and be a part of the production!

    **Filming will be in Los Angeles from August to September, 2017. Schedule subject to change. Travel expenses not included.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Name in the Credits
    • Film Download
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    Executive Producer Credit!

    Look at you, big money! With that kind of big-shot Hollywood contribution, you deserve to feel like a Hollywood big shot! Enjoy your name in the opening credits and a private work-in-progress screening of the film at UCLA’s Darren Star Theater, featuring the director and up to 30 friends– Enjoy a special Q&A and help sculpt the final film with your thoughts and advice!

    *Screening will take place in Los Angeles. Schedule subject to change. Travel expenses not included.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Name in the Credits
    • Film Download
    • Visit the Set!
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    Producer Credit!

    The ultimate level of prestige! Your name in the opening credits of the film, plus a private screening of the work-in-progress film in your home with the director. Enjoy a private dinner with John to talk about the film, art, life, whatever you want – with up to two guests.

    Includes:
    • Facebook Shoutout
    • Production Updates
    • Soundtrack Download
    • 30 Day Film Access
    • Snapchats from Set
    • Changeling Pamphlet
    • Download of Shooting Script
    • Name in the Credits
    • Film Download
    • Visit the Set!
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Funding period

- (29 days)