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The Act of Leaving is a brutally honest feature film about home, those we leave behind, modern cynicism, and learning to hope.
The Act of Leaving is a brutally honest feature film about home, those we leave behind, modern cynicism, and learning to hope.
99 backers pledged $5,636 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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What's the story?

The Act of Leaving is a feature film about an idealistic young man who rejects the conventions of society in favor of a life of freedom, travel, and adventure... but that’s just the opening sequence. Our story really begins when Chris (26) runs out of money, gets sick, and has no choice but to return to the dismal suburban wasteland of his youth. Chris’s swift descent from the mountains of Central America to his parents’ dank basement leaves him saddled with feelings of failure, shame, and cynicism. All he can think about is escaping back to his life of adventure, but first he must come to terms with the family, friends, and town he is so desperate to leave behind. The Act of Leaving is a brutally honest film about home, those we leave behind, modern cynicism, and learning to hope.  

Why should I support this project?

You’re not investing in a pipe dream. We have shot over half the film already, and are really proud of what we have done so far. We have scraped by without funding to this point, but we absolutely can’t finish it without your help! 

If you value artistic expression, gritty DIY filmmaking, and relatable stories about the messiness of real life, you should support this project. Over the past year our dedicated cast and crew have generously donated countless hours of their time, simply because we believe in what we are doing. We are pushing to make this film be as high quality and truthful as it can be. You can rest assured that we will pour everything we have into making this film great.

What is the money going to be used for?

Three Roundtrip Tickets to Costa Rica - An essential motif in this film is going to be contrast. Specifically, the contrast between Chris’s desolate hometown and flashbacks to his exotic traveling days. (Think epic mountaintop sunrises, crashing waterfalls, bustling markets, etc.) We need your contributions so we can fly to Costa Rica and film these vital scenes in all their vibrant glory. 

Renting a Bus - We also have several scenes which take place on a bus, and after several failed attempts to sneakily film on a Greyhound, we’ve realized we need to bite the bullet and rent a bus for filming.

One Roundtrip Ticket from Seattle to Philadelphia - Our director ever so rudely decided to move across the country in the middle of filming, and we need to buy him a roundtrip ticket from Seattle to Philadelphia so he can come back and finish what he started. 

Other Expenses - 
Audio Postproduction
Musical Scoring
Producing DVDs
Festival Entrance Fees
Minimal Gear Rental (we own all the essential gear)

What’s the plan?

We are planning an intensive 2 week shoot in the middle of May 2014 to finish shooting all of the scenes which take place in Chris’s hometown. We are hoping to film the traveling scenes in Costa Rica in November 2014.

Who Are We?

WRITER/DIRECTOR/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Caleb Schnarr
PRODUCER: Tanya Nash
STORY CONSULTANT/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Stephanie Righetti

CAST:
Christopher Caldwell
Ellen Herder
Kara Cowley
Aaron Fehon
Melanie Chiara
Ben Barnett
Mary McCollum
Daniel Gardam
Roslyn Taylor
Cabot Doering
Elyjah Doering

special thanks to the following people who have helped out so far in various invaluable capacities: Reade McCardell, Ash Genzlinger, Natalie Thomas 

More from writer/director Caleb Schnarr about his approach and style:

“The job of an artist is to always deepen the mystery” Francis Bacon

My story ideas often stem from confusion and a desire to explore some sort of tension in my life. With The Act of Leaving I wanted to explore and challenge my own fantasies about strapping up my backpack and ditching society. When I was a kid I devoured books like My Side of the Mountain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Robinson Crusoe. Even as I grew up, I still attached a lot of idealism and purity to this fantasy about being a rustic solitary traveler. At some point I began to realize that by constantly thinking and talking about my desire to up-and-leave, I was carrying a lot of pessimism about society and a lot of callousness towards the people I would be leaving behind. The Act of Leaving was my way of complicating the simplicity of my escapism and taking an honest look at my own cynicism. What I hope to achieve with this film is a realistic story of incremental growth; a story about someone taking that first small step out of a dark and hopeless place so that they can go out into the world with the possibility of hope. 

Risks and challenges

One of our greatest challenges so far has been coordinating the schedules of cast and crew who all have their own busy lives outside of this movie. We have allotted 2 weeks to finish domestic filming, and we are working hard to get our ducks in a row so that we can be organized and efficient during our shoot. The fact that our director now lives in Seattle puts extra pressure on us to wrap filming in those two weeks while he is in Philadelphia. Luckily our cast is a very dedicated group, and they are all incredibly committed to seeing this project through.

For most of us this is our first time working on a feature film. In our shooting so far we have learned a lot and encountered many of the beginner's bumps and bruises already, so we feel very confident in our abilities moving forward.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    THANKS! We will put your name on a thank you list on our website: theactofleaving.com

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    TICKET TO PRIVATE SCREENING - One ticket to a private theater screening of the movie in the greater Philadelphia area + your name on our website

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    HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD - We will send you a link to download the movie in HD + ticket to private screening + your name on our website

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    DVD - A DVD copy of "The Act of Leaving" delivered to your address + HD digital download + ticket to private screening + your name on our website

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    MOVIE POSTER - A limited run 11x17 movie poster delivered to your address + DVD + HD download + ticket to private screening + your name on our website

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS - Your name will appear in the credits under "Special Thanks" + movie poster + DVD + HD download + ticket to private screening + your name on our website

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    INVITATION TO THE WRAP PARTY -
    Eat, drink, and chat about the movie with the cast and crew during our wrap party following the May 2014 shoot + your name in credits + DVD + HD download + ticket to private screening + your name on our website

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    BE AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - You will be officially credited as an executive producer for the film + invitation to wrap party + your name in credits + movie poster + DVD + HD download + ticket to private screening + your name on our website

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Funding period

- (21 days)