"An Illusion in Red & White" Post Production
"An Illusion in Red & White" Post Production
In the 19th century, a farming family slowly disintegrates after two children witness their father brutally murder their mother
In the 19th century, a farming family slowly disintegrates after two children witness their father brutally murder their mother Read more
AN ILLUSION IN RED & WHITE is a psychologically twisted crime drama set in Upstate New York at the turn of the 19th Century. Starring Brett Rickaby (Dexter, The Crazies), Hans Howes (There Will Be Blood) and talented newcomers Dartanian Sloan and Anjolie Nieman, the film is based on the short story written by Stephen Crane (The Red Badge of Courage), scored by Grammy nominee Tift Merritt (2004's Tambourine) and written for the screen & directed by J.A. Conway.
As far back as I can remember, I've been obsessed with movies. So, in 2008 I decided to come to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California and start making my own films. I soon realized that the best films tend to be stories that we have some sort of personal connection to, which is how I came to make An Illusion in Red & White. I discovered the curious four-page short story about a grisly murder and an unconventional cover-up back when I attended Virginia Tech to study creative writing and psychology. Not only was I immediately drawn to the story's exploration of how fragile memory is, but also how sometimes we can trick ourselves into believing something because it's the less painful option. Next thing you know:
I’M MAKING A MOVIE CALLED AN ILLUSION IN RED & WHITE
Simply put, Southern Virginia is a picturesque treasure of Appalachian beauty that was begging to be captured on film. So, after many, many months of meticulous planning, I decided to bring my film to the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Giles County Virginia (about 20 miles west of my alma mater, Virginia Tech). Over a two-week period, the wonderful people of the county pulled out all the stops to help myself and my dedicated cast & crew re-create the late 19th Century in a house that was actually built over 150 years ago:
I'm also happy to say we managed to snag some pretty talented actors to fill out the Jones' family of Crane's grotesque tale. Brett Rickaby plays the family's patriarch, Jones:
Brett's a veteran character actor that's been a part of films like Zodiac, The Crazies and this summer's Seth MacFarlane blockbuster A Million Ways to Die in the West, as well as TV shows like Dexter and True Blood.
Dartanian Sloan, a talented newcomer, plays the elder son, Freddy...
And the younger daughter, Lucy, is played by Anjolie Nieman, another fresh new talent.
We were also lucky enough to be a part of Panavision's New Filmmaker Grant program, which allowed us to shoot on 35mm film. Considering the use of film on major motion pictures has been fading recently, I'm extremely happy we went the extra mile and decided to capture the landscape this way. The final image is spectacular, and we've had nothing but excitement about how the film looks in test screenings!
AWESOME! THE FILM'S IN THE CAN...WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN HAPPENING??
Well, long story short, we've been editing and sound designing the film for what seems like an eternity. Most of our biggest challenges and roadblocks seemed to come up around the same time, adding up and delaying our post schedule.
HOWEVER, I'm happy to say we've also had some pretty awesome things happen during this time frame. For starters, we got some of our post sound work done by an Emmy winning team at NBC/UNIVERSAL.
We also managed to bring aboard this pretty awesome composer:
TIFT MERRITT • SHE'S BEEN COMPARED TO LEGENDARY ARTISTS like Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris, and in 2004 she was nominated for a Grammy for her album Tambourine, so needless to say I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her. I was shocked to learn that she had never composed a film score, but ecstatic when she agreed to breach new territory and do the music for IRW. After our first meeting, I immediately knew she would embody the rustic aesthetic I'd been striving for and elicit the emotional weight of our scenes with her music. In other words, I knew for sure I had something special on my hands!
SO, WHY KICKSTARTER? WHY NOW? WHY $7,500?
I wanted to try and finish the film while strictly adhering to our original budgetary plan as much as possible, so I tried to hold off on any additional crowdfunding. However, speed bumps, hiccups, roadbloacks or whatever you want to call them always unexpectedly pop up no matter how formidable of a contingency plan you have, so I realized I'd need to reach out to others to raise the final chunk of funding in order to close out post-production.
NOW WE NEED YOU because we still have hard costs related to sound design, music, mix, subtitles, festival submission fees, and...is your head spinning as much as mine? It get's really complicated!
WHAT IF WE EXCEED OUR KICKSTARTER GOAL??
THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!! If you help fund this project beyond $7,500, you'd help pay off our remaining production expenses. Plus you'll help send this film to more festivals around the world and help us increase viewership, which is the most important thing for longevity in the world of entertainment!
We went at it alone, traveling to Virginia, renting equipment, hiring a professional cast and crew. Some payments were deferred, others were covered by short-term loans, which (as I'm sure you can imagine) all add up.
Beyond all of this, you'll be contributing to the early development of (hopefully!) a feature film, which this short will be an early sneak peek into it's potential.
FINISHING AN ILLUSION IN RED & WHITE
WE RECENTLY RECORDED OUR ORIGINAL SCORE with Grammy nominated musician Tift Merritt and Grammy winning pedal steel guitarist Eric Heywood at Sonic Fuel Studios, a studio started by film composer Christopher Lennertz (Horrible Bosses, Ride Along).
We'll be sharing more details about this session in future updates!!
Next up, we'll be recording some additional dialogue with our actors, editing our music, finishing out our sound editing, booking our final sound mix and packing together the film in preparation for film festivals!
ALL THIS FOR A SHORT FILM???
YES!! The path towards the completion of An Illusion in Red & White has been anything but conventional, but this long and challenging journey is almost done. We hope you'll join our adventure as we wrap up post and release the film!
YOUR CONTRIBUTION MEANS SO MUCH!
Thanks in advance for even reading this far! At the risk of sounding like every other Kickstarter campaign, we're giving away special gifts connected with the project, but we're talking SUPER ARTSY REWARDS...Eight (Yes, EIGHT!) different custom designed movie posters to choose from!!!
Seven of our posters will be designed after photos of the late 19th Century and will contain the photos below:
We also have an additional poster that we're currently designing (More on that soon!) Additionally, donors will get access to behind-the scenes footage, DVD or Blu-ray copies, music AND a few surprises along the way!
Since this is our 2nd time on Kickstarter, if you helped out our first campaign, then don't worry! We kept good records of everyone who's helped us through the process and we'll never forget your support...Soooooo, If you decide to donate again, whatever your first contribution may have been, we're going to upgrade you to the next donation level automatically!
ULTIMATELY, WE JUST WANT TO ENTERTAIN!
The subject matter of the film is dark, dreary and down right difficult at times, but these complex familial issues provided the canvas for what I hope is a compelling story, and hopefully has set the stage for an eventual full-length feature film. But first, we need to finish the short!!
Whatever the future holds for this film, though, I hope it will grab audiences and provide an emotionally charged journey into the lives of this simple farming family.
John Conway and the entire IRW Team
Risks and challenges
From small things like software glitches all the way to huge things like our camera arriving to the location two days after we were supposed to have started shooting, when it comes to risks and challenges, you name it and we've probably already dealt with it. The purpose of this campaign is to try and avoid any further complications. We've come to expect the unexpected and now we're more determined than ever to make sure this film is finished and shared with the world!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (11 days)