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A roach violinist in love with a woman inhabits the brain of her husband in order to be with her. Seeks post funds! Read more

Los Angeles, CA Shorts
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This project was successfully funded on June 18, 2011.

A roach violinist in love with a woman inhabits the brain of her husband in order to be with her. Seeks post funds!

Los Angeles, CA Shorts
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About this project

Josephine and the Roach is a surreal, offbeat short film about a cockroach who falls in love with the woman whose apartment he infests. 

As Josephine practices her accordion, the delicate strains of a violin waft in from beyond her kitchen wall. She replies in kind with her accordion. They engage in musical dialogue, passing a melody back and forth as lovers would exchange vows of love. Little does she know, she's been playing a duet with a cockroach.

Roach, in order to be with his true love, inhabits the brain of her brutish husband, Moe. Manipulating him like a three hundred pound sock puppet, Roach woos Josephine. 

Thanks in part to the amazing generosity of the Kickstarter community, we have completed filming "Josephine and the Roach"! We now face a long, expensive, and roach-infested post production process.

A large portion of the money will be used for the visual effects centered around our roach protagonist.

Our puppet, created by Lino Stavole at the Creature Company, is a truly unique creation-- the first live action puppet of its kind to be made entirely by parts printed from a 3D printer. His limbs are controlled by metal rods which attach to magnets embedded in his limbs. He has several detachable heads, each portraying a different emotion. 

The post funds will be used for:

1. Digitally erasing the rods and rigging used to control Roach, along with the puppeteer, who often shows up in the background.

2. Adding animated antennae to Roach. Antennae were too difficult to puppeteer as a physical effect, so we are adding them digitally.

3. Additional compositing and visual effects. Effects include an elaborate opening dolly shot that travels through a miniature New York Skyline, into Josephine's window and through her apartment, and into a hole in her wall leading to Roach's bachelor pad. 

4. Paying musicians and audio technicians for the musical score.

5. Making DVDs.

6. Publicity and film festival submissions. 


Myself and the core of Team Roach have been working on this film for over a year, with no compensation outside of the respect and gratitude of Periplaneta americana everywhere. What keeps us going is the knowledge that this film is something special. A tea-drinking, violin-playing roach protagonist? Check. Romantic insect/human fantasy sequence? Check. Experimental open brain surgery? Yup. We've got that too.

In order to give the film the professional polish, lush orchestral score, and far-reaching festival run it deserves, we need to get the Kickstarter community involved once again. In return for your support, you'll receive one of our one-of-a-kind rewards, along with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you help out a six legged friend.

Get a copy of the Small New Yorker! Or your very own Josephine and the Roach water bottle!


Jonathan Langager (cowriter/director), is a filmmaker, animator, composer, pianist, and all around nice guy based in Los Angeles, where he attends the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts graduate school. He has brutally slain hundreds of cockroaches, but now feels remorseful and ready to make amends. An example of his animation and music can be seen here:

Joe Swanson (cowriter) tried pre-med, but sidetracked himself by staging elaborate plays starring costumed lab mice. His opus The Adventures of Mr. Whiskers and Sir Cheese-A-Lot was a critical triumph among bored lab-dwelling undergrads. An alum from the USC graduate screenwriting program, he has penned many short films which have gone on to garner numerous awards, including two Student Emmys for Short Comedy, and the 2010 USC Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting.

Christie Hagenburger (producer) returned to her SoCal roots after almost 10 years in Seattle working in technology. A current USC MFA production major, Christie is focusing on writing, directing and producing projects.  She just finished a short documentary on a Seattle based hospice run by Buddhist monks.  She enjoys working on "Josephine and the Roach" because of its unique blend of mixed media, rich texture, compelling storyline and the most handsome roach ever!

Damon Stea (producer) is a prolific director and cofounder of Mindfruit, an artist collaborative responsible for the creation of countless short films, music videos and documentaries. He has created commercials for high profile companies such as and Stella Artois, and worked with musicians and artists across the west coast. His work is screened at festivals internationally, most recently at the SXSW film festival in Austin. He once shot an entire film on a flatbed scanner. It was awesome. Much of his work can be viewed here:

Joshua Tate (producer) is a current USC student who has directed and produced many student projects, including two short documentaries that appeared at South by Southwest. His short documentary, "Forgotten Lives," has been screened in political and educational events throughout the State of Texas, inspiring Texans to take action against the inhumane treatment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Texas Institutions. He loves odd, grotesque films, including those that involve musical cockroaches.

Damain Horan (Director of Photography) An award-winning cinematographer from Houston, Damian moved out to Los Angeles in 2007 to join the production program at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. He has served as cinematographer on "The Kiss Stays in the Picture", a short from Coca-Cola's Nationwide Refreshing Filmmaker Contest. He was recently selected to shoot a short on behalf of Sony to showcase the new prototype of the Sony F3. Damian is now a fourth year graduate student emphasizing in cinematography. He has studied under such legendary cinematographers as the late William Fraker. He and his wife are living happily ever after in California. Damian lives by his favorite movie quote: “Almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”

Josie Azzam (Editor) is from Lincoln, Nebraska and her name is short
for Josefin rather than Josephine, unfortunately. She worked as an
editor of television documentaries at a PBS station before attending
the USC School of Cinematic Arts with an emphasis in Editing. In
Summer 2010, she edited 13 episodes of the TvOne sitcom "Love That
Girl!" and, every night, Giant Cockroaches come out and climb into her
empty Redbull cans and take-out to surprise her. Editing Josephine and
the Roach is both delightful and catalytic.

Jonathan is under the gracious mentorship of Michael Taylor, the Chair of Film and Television Production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He maintains a career as a producer of both studio and independent films. His credits as a producer include Bottle Rocket (1996), Phenomenon (1996), and Instinct (1999), among many others. As an executive at United Artists and Orion Pictures, he was involved in the supervision of numerous projects, including The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Amadeus (1984).


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    Pledge $1 or more

    7 backers

    The director will forget to clean his kitchen, thus providing sustenance for his apartment's hungry roach population.

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    32 backers

    Previous award, plus a copy of "The Small New Yorker," the premier periodical of urbane arthropods. The tiny magazine (a little bigger than a postage stamp) includes poetry, illustrations, and articles written exclusively for cockroaches.

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    Pledge $15 or more

    32 backers

    A digital download of "Josephine and the Roach."

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    67 backers

    A copy of the DVD, signed by the director.

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    18 backers Limited (2 left of 20)

    A copy of the DVD, signed by the director, plus the limited edition "Josephine and the Roach" water bottle! Water never tasted so good. Hurry and donate before they run out!

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    10 backers

    DVD and poster. Plus, a video of a personalized song (about any topic of your choosing) written and sung to you by the director. Precise tonality not guaranteed.

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    2 backers

    DVD, poster, and a drawing. Let your imagination go wild, and the director will draw it for you. Examples of previous drawing rewards:

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    0 backers

    DVD, poster, drawing, and a Sponsor credit. Two tickets to the premiere in Los Angeles!

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    2 backers All gone!

    DVD, poster, drawing, and tickets to the premiere in Los Angeles. Plus: become an Executive Producer! Your name will be front and center as this film makes the festival rounds and lands an Oscar for best short film...

Funding period

- (30 days)