Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A conceptually and visually bold film about the random and bizarre encounters of two estranged Vietnamese-American brothers.
A conceptually and visually bold film about the random and bizarre encounters of two estranged Vietnamese-American brothers.
Created by
63 backers pledged $6,051 to help bring this project to life.

About

Sway of the Knife project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$6,051

63

ATTENTION FRIENDS!

Although we've reached our goal, the ideal vision requires more funding than what could have been comfortably asked for on Kickstarter.  If you're still interested in contributing to this project following our deadline, please get in touch with the project creator directly at the email below:

vpham_57@hotmail.com

Thank you everyone for all your love and support!  It's been a helluva ride!

Watch Everything You Need to Know and Then Some in Our Pleasant and Clever Promo Video

Enjoy An Excerpt from Sway of the Knife

SWAY OF THE KNIFE   

A Tumble Across Memory While Holding the Sharp Blade of the Unconscious

The Project

Sway of the Knife is a 30-minute experimental short film that I’ve written and intend to direct and act in. The film borrows liberally from both my experiences as a Vietnamese immigrant and my strange and tenuous relationship to a mentally ill half-brother to create a conceptually bold and visually challenging narrative about two estranged Vietnamese-American brothers, “Michael” and “Khanh.” The story revolves around their random, bizarre, and comical encounters with each other. Their mysterious relationship is carefully disentangled backwards in time to finally be knotted into a startling configuration under the light of the present. The inverted chronological structure will be interwoven with a style of lyrical, stream-of-consciousness “documentary” filmmaking that is largely inspired by Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil. This bricolage of images is the interstitial space between their encounters and, together with the narrative, the film will be a unique amalgamation of dramatization and documentation that obscures the line between fact and fiction.

The Impetus 

Owing to both the complex theoretical nature of this project and its self-reflexivity, my intentions are stretched between two poles: the creative/intellectual and the social/personal. The design of this project is, in essence, a series of creative-intellectual problems. One of the most challenging problems is using the inverted time chronology and the blending of documentary and narrative styles in conjunction with the camera movement to create a theory-specific kinetic film experience. Nowhere has the residue of trauma been more explicit and cathartic than in the stories I want to show. I aspire to understand more meaningfully the ways in which my most primordial drives are being expressed through the artistic process. On a practical level, the project stands as a graduating point in the trajectory of filmmaking endeavors that build toward self-sufficiently produced feature-length projects.

The Abstraction 

At its core, philosophy is nothing more than choosing and developing values and acting upon them. In that sense philosophy is simply living life. If art is an imitation of life then art is a form of philosophical expression. Perhaps it is my profound reverence for this personal truth that gives rise to Sway’s experimental spirit. If ultimately life is a ground of perpetual disclosure, consciousness is a finite blossoming of non linearity, and Being is broken and uncontainable, then this project takes the statement, “art imitates life” seriously on a fundamentally philosophical level. The conjoined cinematography and conceptual design is a kinetic nebula: a simultaneously amorphous and palpable experience which agitates and unravels the viewer’s sense of time and reality. Structural and cognitive categories such as "documentary," "narrative," "fact," "fiction," "real," and "imaginary" first take shape as binary opposites and are gradually dissolved into the void of logic. 


If “art imitates life” then this film is a psychoanalytic house of mirrors. I have taken my most prodigious and acrid fears, madness and loneliness, determined their locus in both my real and imagined history, and fashioned out of them a story that is kaleidoscopically reflective in form and content. My estranged and deranged half brother who wanders the streets, the impenetrable anxiety I feel for having once traveled in his body, the truths that have slipped through my fingers and cut open the webbing, and my perpetual struggle to run across the concentric circles of traumatic memory toward the strained vision of otherness; these are the real elements that beautifully smudge the contours of existence, life, art, text, and subtext. 

The Proof 

In addition to the 6 minute proof-of-concept project, “An Excerpt from Sway of the Knife,” above,  we successfully completed a 13 minute short film at the end of 2010 called Shining God. It is a surrealistic, absurdist film that I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in for roughly $800. Shining God is a testament to myself and my team’s abilities to successfully complete a project from conception to public exhibition. Although the current project is much larger in scale, the first work’s minuscule budget in relation to the final product should clearly evidence our tenacity, ingenuity, and unapologetic belief that while money is absolutely necessary it does not necessarily guarantee “good art.” We feel strongly that given these considerations, there is tremendous potential for Sway of the Knife as both a work of art and a universal story of cultural and historical conflict, family, trauma, and self-identity.

The Grand Minutia 

Estimated Project Budget: $14,000
*Confirmed In-Kind Donations: $4200
**Other Sources: $4600
Kickstarter Goal: $6000

We are asking for the above amount to cover the following hard costs:

  • Equipment Rental
  • Art Supplies
  • Crew Rates
  • Talent Rates
  • Color Correction
  • Marketing
  • Exhibition Fees

*Confirmed donations of time, labor, and supplies from some very talented artists and technicians
**Monies earned from previous fundraising efforts and personal savings

The Epilogue

We sincerely appreciate your time and effort in sifting through all of this information.  We hope that you've found something worthwhile in it even if you're not in a position to contribute at this time.  If there's anyone else you know that might have an interest in our project, please pass it on.

Our Deepest Gratitude and May You Live Strong and Stay Hungry!

FAQ

Q: CAN WE EXCEED THE GOAL?

A: Yes, that would be awesome!

Q: IS MY PLEDGE AMOUNT PUBLICLY DISPLAYED?

A: No. Only you and the project creator are able to see the pledge amount.

Q: IF I'M NOT IN THE U.S., CAN I STILL PLEDGE?


A: Yes, you can pledge from anywhere.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MONEY ISN'T RAISED IN TIME?


A: If our goal isn't met before the deadline, we won't receive any of the pledges. Your credit card will not be charged.

Still have questions?  Feel free to contact me directly!

vpham_57@hotmail.com

CREDITS

1 Minute Trailer - Edited by Andrew Heckman

Promo Video -  Produced in Collaboration with Collective 47 and Shot by Collective 47; Edited by Joe Jiang

An Excerpt from Sway of the KnifeStarring Dennis W. Fitzgerald, Coltron James, and Vu Pham; Shot and Edited by Joe Jiang.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A: Special thanks on Facebook and a smile in our hearts :)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    B: The above and a free digital download of the movie

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    C: The above and a director signed DVD of the movie

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    19 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    D: The above and 2 director and cast signed on-set photos

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    E: The above, director and cast signed movie poster, and an invitation to the premiere (travel expenses not included)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    F: The above and writer/director signed copy of the script

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    G:The above, special thanks in film, and director delivers coffee and pastries to you anywhere in the Portland Metro area!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    H: Includes everything in 'F', special thanks in film, and director and cast signed limited edition print film poster! Wowee Zoweee!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    I: Includes everything in 'H' and you will join the director for *lunch in Portland where he'll buy you an exquisite Vietnamese meal at an esteemed local joint of your choice! Yum Yum!

    *Travel expenses not included

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    J: Includes everything in 'H' plus regular project status updates from production, and you and a guest will join the director for *dinner at his home where he will cook for you the most fabulous Vietnamese meal followed by an evening of mayhem and debauchery (the good kind)! Yum yum and then some!

    *Travel expenses not included

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    K: Includes everything in 'H,' Associate Producer credit, regular project status updates from the director, and a *day on set as "King" or "Queen" where you will experience filmmaking in all of it's glory, hang with the cast and crew, and share in the spoils of war (consumable deliciousness of both the healthy and not-so-healthy sort). HOT DAMN!

    *Travel expenses not included

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

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

    L: Includes everything in 'H," regular project status updates from the director, plus an Executive Producer credit and a *day on Set as "King" or "Queen" with all the royal standards and amenities! ARE YOU F-ING SERIOUS?!

    *Travel expenses not included

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    M: Includes everything in 'H' plus an Executive Producer Credit, regular project status updates from the director, and a *day on set as "King" or "Queen"--but wait, there's more! You'll also get to STAR IN YOU OWN VIETNAMESE STYLE KARAOKE POP MUSIC VIDEO WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY VU PHAM! It will be featured in the "Special Features" portion of the DVD and ensure your totally righteous place amongst the immortals of world history! HOLY MOSES ON A MOUNTAIN TOP!! SIGN ME UP!

    *Travel expenses not included

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)