About this project
"Roubado" is my third year thesis project at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. I was first inspired to tell this story when I began an unlikely friendship with a 16 year old Afro-Portuguese photographer on the streets of Cannes, France two years ago. I'm excited to finally have the opportunity to bring this story to life at the number #1 film school in the country.
The film takes place in the South of France. However, we plan to shoot the majority of it in Los Angeles, California.
We currently have a fundraising goal of $23,000, and it is our goal to raise at least $10,000 with this Kickstarter campaign.
The funds donated to this film will help cover the cost of:
- Food for our hard working cast and crew
- Lifeguards to keep our cast and crew safe when shooting in the ocean
- The cost of travel to France for the Director and Cinematographer
- Production design (we will re-create a French style apartment here in Los Angeles)
- The development and transfer of 16mm film
- The rental of special equipment
- Special Effects
- Festival Submission fees
- Kickstarter and Amazon fees (approx $1000 will be deducted from the funds raised)
Investments of any size are greatly appreciated. If you are not able to give at this time, please share our Kickstarter page on Facebook and Twitter for others to see.
I'm excited to share this journey with you.
With love and eternal gratitude,
MEET THE CREW:
Writer and Director
Erica A. Watson is a third year graduate student at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Erica began her journey as an artist at the age of seven, when she first began studying the piano in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. She wrote her first short screenplay at the age of ten, as part of a middle school Creative Video class. At the age of fourteen, she enrolled in the legendary Cass Technical High School, following in the footsteps of Diana Ross, David Alan Grier, Lily Tomlin, and Donald Byrd. It was here that she advanced her skills as a pianist and became a music major. It was also in high school that she began studying the harp and became a member of the Cass Tech Harp and Vocal Ensemble. Cass Tech is the only high school in the country to have a harp program since 1925 in a public school setting. In 2006, Erica continued her journey as a musician and filmmaker at Wayne State University. There she served as a harpist in the WSU Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Wind Symphony, Harp Ensemble, and Wind Ensemble. She also began studying the saxophone.
Erica established a Detroit based film production company with her best friend and cinematographer, called Hyphenation Nation Productions, which produced ten short films between 2007 and 2010. Her directorial debut, “SLAM” (2007), was featured in the 2009 Short Film Corner at the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival. Her films, “Brothers” and “The Majestic Palm” were also featured in subsequent editions of the Short Film Corner. She attended the Cannes Film Festival for the fifth consecutive year in May, with her latest short film, “Embryo.” She is also the producer of “Conversations in Cannes”, a web based interview series that features Black filmmakers who attend the festival and chronicles the advice that they offer to those who aspire to attend. Additionally, her work has been featured in the WSU Moving Media Student Showcase, the Michigan Film Awards, Detroit Docs International Film Festival, Detroit Independent Film Festival, and Campus Movie Fest Student Filmmaker Competition. She has directed a total of 13 short films and 4 episodes of the “Conversations in Cannes” web series.
While at WSU, she was the creator of the “Show Your Love Concert Series”, a talent showcase for local Detroit musicians and poets and the “Spike Lee-A-Thon”, a 3 day Black History Month Movie Marathon honoring Spike Lee. She worked as a Success Coach for the WSU Academic Success Center and as a featured writer for “The South End”. During the Fall of 2010, she completed her Pre-Student teaching at Spain Elementary/Middle School, establishing the school’s first beginning harp program. She also completed student teaching in the harp program at her former high school, Cass Tech. In 2011, she earned a Bachelors of Music from Wayne State University, with a concentration in Instrumental Music Education and a minor in Film. She is currently earning an MFA in Film and TV Production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is 25 years old.
Director of Photography
Tommy “Maddox”-Upshaw’s artistic endeavors began in Worcester, Massachusetts while attending The College of the Holy Cross, shooting black and white stills as well as student video projects, considering there was no film department. He is a reactionary artist who grow up in the inner-city of Boston while experiencing an education far from where he called home, outside the Boston area.
His professional career in the film industry started between his hometown of Boston and New York City as a production assistant at the age of 18. Once on set picking up trash and fetching coffee, he realized he was in the right place. The collaborative role of the Cinematographer sparked the bug and interest upon the first moments of being on set. Soon after he learned the trades of becoming a Grip and Electric, and joined the Massachusetts chapter of the Motion Picture Union (IATSE Local 481).
After a few years of being a studio technician, Tommy applied and was enrolled to The American Film Institute in Hollywood, CA, where he received his MFA in Cinematography. Post graduation he went on to become a Gaffer on countless music videos and national commercials for such clients as Ford, AllState, HBO and many others, before becoming a Cinematographer in his own right. Due to his working relationship as a Gaffer, opportunities were given to make the transition into Director Of Photography by such people as Spike Lee.
In the past five to six years as a D.O.P, Tommy “Maddox”-Upshaw has been given opportunities to lens projects for studios such Sony Screen Gems, Marvel, and Fox Search Light to name a few. Tommy is a cameraman who always aims to collaborate with a Director to bring their vision to light, and to create memorable cinema or moments onscreen.
Before emerging into the film world, Tierney Young’s extensive design background included drafting and space planning. She has worked with Young! Studios, as well as Hartford Animation and Film Institute, whose multi-media services are designed for underprivileged youth and African American and Latino communities. She hopes to create social impact and awareness through cinematic arts and design. Young is currently pursuing her MFA in Film and Television Production. She recently produced an advanced documentary, “Stand” that focuses on a dance crew taking a stand against the poverty and crime in South Los Angeles.
Daniel Willis grew up in Chicago before going on to study English literature at the University of Missouri. While there, what started as casual experimentation with filmmaking ultimately became his primary academic pursuit. He went on to attend the graduate film program at DePaul University where he wrote and directed more than a dozen shorts and his first feature film. In the Fall of 2011, Daniel moved to Los Angeles and currently works in feature development.
Xavier is a recent graduate of The University of Alabama, where he received a Bachelor’s of Film Production and a minor in Liberal Arts. After attending the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, he created the media arts website, “Que The Lights”, which has earned him the distinction of being featured in the University of Alabama’s “Find Your Passion” series and “The Nu Black.” He also works as a freelance photographer for The New York Times and has earned a feature on Rick Sammon’s “Digital Imaging Diaries”, and written for the photography tutorial genius “Digital Photography School.” His film, “Bottom of the Glass” won “Best Drama” at Alabama’s Campus MovieFest Student Filmmaker Competition. It was also featured in the Troy International Film Festival and the Cannes Short Film Corner. His documentary, “Portrait of the Storm: Tuscaloosa, AL” won first place at the first ever student 3D Film competition sponsored by the International 3D Society. He has been interviewed by CBS 42, ABC 33/40, in addition Tuscaloosa Magazine, The Dispatch, and Emerging Magazine. He is currently in the graduate production program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Brian Rhodes is an accomplished artist, engineer, and art director. Hailing from Detroit, MI, Rhodes became a national award-winning artist while attending Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School. He later graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design. He has since worked for companies such as Apple, NASA, Chrysler and GlobalHue Advertising.
Rhodes is the president and Founder of The Vincent Design Group, a brand focused product engineering consultancy based in Detroit, MI. Their past products include the Genesis Alveolar Distraction System; a bone regeneration system that will restore trabecular bone tissue in the mouth for dental implants, and an engineering driving simulator that is used by automotive companies and suppliers for testing.
Rhodes attends the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts Program in the School of Cinematic Arts to develop his skills as an animator, artist and storyteller. His interests range lie in animated and live action cinema, as well as interactive media. His goal is to make highly entertaining content that inspires and educates our society. Rhodes, also interest in research to enhance the cinematic experience through technology.
Risks and challenges
There are many risks associated with the production of any film. The same is true for "Roubado". Fortunately, our production is guided by the extremely talented, experienced, and supportive faculty and mentors at USC's School of Cinematic Arts.
If any problems occur that may affect our production, we will be sure to inform all of our investors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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