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When a famous starlet is found dead in a speakeasy, the gangster who owns the joint decides to investigate - a Pre-Code inspired short
When a famous starlet is found dead in a speakeasy, the gangster who owns the joint decides to investigate - a Pre-Code inspired short
44 backers pledged $16,116 to help bring this project to life.

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Dizzy with That Concept

A pre-code inspired "Whodunnit" short film incorporating elements from the gangster and screwball comedy genres, while consciously commenting, through a contemporary lens, on themes of race, gender, and sexuality so prevalent in these early films. 

Dizzy with That Dame

On April 6th, 1931, at two a.m., beloved starlet Willie Rosemont is murdered in the bathroom of a speakeasy. When the gangster who owns the joint, Ernesto Mangialardi, finds out, he is devastated because, for a hardboiled bruno, he’s a tad bit sappy when it comes to Willie – he is her number one fan. Since calling the police from a speakeasy during prohibition is not an option, Ernesto decides to investigate the crime himself and promises to “throw lead” at whoever murdered his favorite dame. 

Film Poster by Christina Chung
Film Poster by Christina Chung

The Suspects:

Ernesto Mangialardi

Who's to say that Ernesto isn't guilty, himself? Was his idolization of Willie innocent or deadly?

Elsie Showalter 

An up-and-coming film star with a purported public feud with Willie, also begins scrutinizing the murder. The strange air between Elsie, her husband, and Willie, begs the question – is she just being dramatic, or does Elsie know more than she’s letting on? Regardless, Elsie is sure to bury her secrets deeply because she’s …afraid? …selfish? …guilty?

Poots Mcghee

Ernesto’s sidekick and moral advisor sees the world a little differently than most. He’s got a divine respect for life, but a passion for good ‘ol fashioned thievery. He seems to love Ernesto deeply, like the big bully brother he never had, but is it all a front? Does Poots have some secrets of his own, or is he really the gentle giant he appears to be. 

Harley Williamson 

A regular saxophonist at the joint, Harley, appears to have been close with Willie, dangerously close – which already puts him in a tight spot as extramarital interracial relationships aren’t exactly celebrated in 1931. While Harley also investigates the crime under Ernesto’s nose, his relationship with Willie was tense in its final hours – could he have committed a crime of passion?

Concept art by Christina Chung
Concept art by Christina Chung

Floyd Vallier 

The head of Vallier Pictures is devastated by the death of his wife – not only did he lose a wife, he also lost his most profitable asset. While murder wouldn’t have been the most economical decision for this businessman, might it have been a reaction to his growing suspicions about his wife’s whereabouts? 

Joseph Fanbrick 

For Fanbrick, an assistant at Vallier pictures and Elsie’s beau, tonight was supposed to be the night he resolved Elsie’s public feud with Willie and secured a lead role for his wife with Mr. Vallier, but Elsie doesn’t cooperate and Willie’s death sort of puts a damper on things… Unless, now that Willie’s out of the way, Elsie might have a chance to replace her? How dangerous is Fanbrick’s ambition? 

Willie Rosemont 

While it doesn’t seem very likely that this svelte star was capable of stabbing herself to death, if I were you, I wouldn’t put it past her. The woman was nothing if not a wild card, with more secrets than a C.I.A. agent, and I think she’d be delighted to go out with a dramatic BANG! 

Concept art by Christina Chung
Concept art by Christina Chung

Dizzy with That History 

Before Marilyn Monroe, Leave it to Beaver, McCarthy, and World War II, we had a few sweet years where films actually discussed sexuality, violence, gender, drug usage and race to a degree we've struggled to return to in the last thirty years. What I'm referring to is the pre-code era which spanned roughly from 1930 to 1934 - the advent of the "talkie" to the enforcement of the Production code. 

Why make a film concerning this time period? And why now? 

There seems to be an assumption that we’ve slowly been progressing as a nation. With the legalization of gay marriage and rise of influential women in media – it feels as though we’re finally getting somewhere?

But, what if I told you that the first person to win two Oscars for writing was a woman and it was in 1932? Frances Marion won for The Big House in 1930 and for The Champ in 1932. And, what if I told you that cinema’s first same-sex kiss was in 1927 (Wings)? Obviously, it wasn’t easier to be part of a minoritized group in the 1930's, but viewing these films makes you ponder exactly how censorship, the roles of women, and our morals as a nation have changed since 1930, or if that much has actually changed at all. 

I think my connection to these films stems from the freedom they had, and often took advantage of. They’re brave, outrageous, and a bit silly – and it’s about time we parody and pay homage to the Pre-Codes. 

That is our intention in making Dizzy with That Dame. 

Dizzy with That Donation

Baby Face, 1933
Baby Face, 1933

At this point, you may be thinking - Speakeasy? Period piece? That's gonna cost a lotta dough! 

Yes, it's an ambitious and expensive piece - most films are - but with your help, we hope it will be a truly rewarding experience as well. There's no way we would invest ourselves in a film this demanding, if we weren't 100 percent dedicated to this project. 

If you read through this page and decide that this is a film you believe in as well - a film that you want to see, we would be eternally grateful if you would consider making a donation. Every dollar counts - a little salad is better than squat! 

And, if not, you an still help out by spreading the word! Tell your friends and family about the project! Tell your neighborhood mobsters! Tell your pets! 

Here is how the budget pans out:

Note: We are very lucky to film in New York, a city rich with gorgeous and grungy speakeasies, but locations don't come cheap. 

Dizzy with That Crew

BLACK TULIP PRODCUTION, LLC: 

A new, local film production company in the heart of Manhattan. Founder, DonLeone, featuring Keely Schafer. Started in 2013, previously focusing on Post Production, has now expanded. Only daring Music Videos with narrative stories make they cut, or films with a slap of action & whistle of passion are our fancy.  Black Tulip overlaps development to production to post in a delicious package of fun.

More Info or Inquiries: 

E: info@blvcktvlip.com  |  P: 917.475.6977  |  W: www.blvcktvlip.com

DOMINIQUE GUERRA, Writer & Director

In her final semester at NYU, Dominique has been busy writing a feature script, interning at Saturday Night Live, working at NYU, and getting ready to film Dizzy with That Dame. 

The seeds for Dizzy with That Dame were planted when Dominique was a senior in high school and fell in love with writing dark comedies and Pre-Code era films. She had just directed her first film Cuff Love, and realized she wanted to write and direct dark comedies from then on. This decision compelled her to watch more films and eventually, she discovered Pre-Code films. Her mind was blown. She made a video essay about the Pre-Code era for a school project, and since then, the video has been featured on Upworthy and has been viewed over 211,000 times. These are both completely unexpected effects of a little curiosity. 

Her last film, Tied Down, and Dizzy with That Dame, don’t have much in common on the surface as the former is a comedy about a home invasion, but they share a common thread of subverting stereotypes and creating paradoxical characters, an area that Dominique finds rich with comedy. 

Dizzy with That Dame is Dominique’s most exciting project yet – one that she is truly devoted to as it incorporates two of her passions. 

DONALD LEONE , Producer

He desires nothing more than to direct Music Videos & Edit Thrillers, & Produce delicious films –only ones with exceptional writings & a horrifying temptation to step beyond the whirls of reality. 

His Post experience began in 2009, after moving to NYC, starting on his first feature film. He can edit just about anything, and will produce fantasies out of this realm - just ask nicely. In 2013, he founded Black Tulip Productions, LLC,  a film production company. 

PERSONAL SITE     |    IMDB

More info on Black Tulip Productions, LLC

info@blvcktvlip.com    |   www.blvcktvlip.com   |    917.475.6977

STEPHEN ROLL, Director of Photography

In the past four years at NYU, Stephen has served on over twenty films as a director of photography and has directed two short films himself. While he’s originally from New York, he hopes to eventually move west and pursue a career in Los Angeles. When he’s not working on a camera and playing with lighting setups, he’s working on a burrito and playing with his dogs. 

KODY CARPENTER, Art Director

Kody, who’s also a senior at NYU, is the cream of the crop in his area - his stunning costumes can regularly be seen in the Tisch display case. His talents include production design, costume design, and special effects makeup. His experience in period films renders him a perfect fit for this project and we can’t wait to see the world he creates. 

ANA FERNANDEZ, Sound Mixer

 Ana Fernandez is a recent graduate of NYU Steinhardt’s competitive music technology program. Not only does she have an impressive technical knowledge of music and sound, but she also possesses a creative ear. She’s worked on numerous films in both production and post production. 

Dizzy with That Cast 

We are so excited to introduce you to the cast of Dizzy with That Dame!

GARY NAPOLI, Ernesto Mangialardi 

Gary was born ready to play Ernesto. His credits include HBO’s The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst as well as a CollegeHumor short. 

AMELIA WORKMAN, Willie Rosemont

With impressive credits including The Carrie Diaries and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, we’re lucky to have Amelia on board to portray Willie. 

ALEXANDRA PERLWITZ, Elsie Showalter 

With a background of portraying period characters in theatre such as Desdemona and Elizabeth Bennet, Ali was a perfect fit for the role of Elsie! 

CAIRO GEORGE, Harley Williamson

Working in both theatre and film, Cairo brings sensitivity and seething frustration to the role of Harley. 

ZACH MERRITT, Poots McGhee 

Coming from a theatre and improv background, Zach’s interpretation of Poots is subtle, sweet and hilarious. 

JESSE KRUGER, Joseph Fanbrick

He performs weekly at The Queens Secret improv club - his comedic skills made him the perfect choice for Joseph!

ALLEN ENLOW, Floyd Vallier

With credits that include CollegeHumor videos and The Sopranos, we couldn’t be happier that Allen will portray Floyd. 

Dizzy with Those Rewards

We're really excited about all of our rewards, but here's an idea of how the champagne flute will look:

Risks and challenges

Filmmaking is risky business, there's no doubt about that. There's always the possibility of cast and crew dropping out, uncooperative location owners, etc.

We are only working with people we trust and truly believe we can rely on so that we can minimize these risks as much as possible. If a problem arises, though, our director and producers are quick on their feet. They've done quite a few films and know how to tackle a no-show, or a location setback in a short amount of time.

Luckily, since our film takes place entirely within an interior location, we won't need to worry much about weather, unless there is a dangerous storm or something of that nature. If that were to happen - if we felt that it was a threat to our cast and crew - we would move the shoot back.

We can't thank you enough for taking the time to learn about our project. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask them in the FAQ section.

We'd be honored if you considered donating or spreading the word. Abyssinia!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank you for backing me, toots! You will get a 'Special Thanks' in the credits! We will keep you updated and hopefully we'll see you at a festival next year!

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    Holy Harlow! Thanks, pally. You'll receive a 'Special Thanks' in the credits AND an early link to the film!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Oh, boy, we're stuck on you, baby. In addition to an early link and a 'Special Thanks,' and an early link, you'll get a digital clue about the murder before the film is finished. For example - and you'd better not tell the coppers about this - we might email you a photo or a letter that reveals something about one of the characters. Keep it quiet, though, will ya!

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    Hot mama! Thank you for slippin' us some cabbage! In return, you'll receive a PDF of the script, and a small prop from set!

    We don't know what the prop will be, but that's part of the fun of it! Some possibilities include a prop fan magazine, or a bracelet!

    You'll also receive a 'Special Thanks' credit, a digital clue, and an early link!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Oh, boy, we're stuck on you, baby. In addition to the snazzy prizes above, for your very generous stack 'o' lettuce, we're going to send you a special edition DVD, a script with a personal note from the director, and a list of the director's Pre-Code film recommendations.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    You'll receive the above rewards and a personalized thank you video from the crew on set! We're gonna Ruth Chat-terton your head off!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Care to join us for some giggle juice? You'll receive a champagne flute with the poster printed on it! The poster was created by the talented Christina Chung.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Whoopee! That ain't hay! You will receive a clue in the mail - one that will hint at a character's backstory. A perfumed letter addressed to Ernesto, for instance... wait, have I said too much?! AND You'll receive a beautiful 11 x 14 poster designed by the talented Christina Chung.

    You will also receive the above goodies.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Jesus, Mary and Joan Crawford! That's a lotta Lincolns! To demonstrate our gratitude, we will send you a personalized video message from the cast on set - they're gonna Clark Gab-le at you - but it's not going to be all fun and games.

    We're going to give you a character, based on your name, and the cast will accuse you of murdering Willie Rosemont, in character.

    You will also receive the above perks!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Take a little bit of it with you! For your wild generosity, you will receive a large prop from the film, in addition to the above goodies!

    Props might include a fedora, or a whiskey glass.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    We had an inkling that you always wanted to be a big star - a real sweetheart of the talkies. Well, here's your big chance, pally! For your exceedingly generous donation, you can be an extra in our film! Of course, take it into consideration that you would need to be in NYC during the shoot.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Don't blow your wig, but this one's pretty cool! You'll receive an original annotated script, a sheet of original story boards, and a marked up shot list! You'll truly get to see the filmmaking process!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You're the baddest bruno in this joint! In addition to all of the above, you will receive an Executive Producer credit on Dizzy with That Dame! Welcome to the team, Mr. Fancy Pants!

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

    You hardboiled heart-breaker, you.
    In addition to all of the above, the director will send you some of her original artwork from the film, her first draft of the script, other bits and pieces from the process, as well as pieces of the set.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    We're dizzy with YOU! Thank you so much for your very thoughtful, selfless pile 'o' moolah. We'd offer to get revenge on your enemies for you, but we're not real mobsters, so you'll have to settle for:

    All of the above AND you'll have an aces opportunity! If you write a one page scene, the cast will act it out for you on set, and we'll send you the video.

    Obviously, you can't write anything wacky that couldn't take place in a speakeasy. So, bust out your Pre-Code writing chops, and show us what you've got!

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Funding period

- (30 days)