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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
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!
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!
1 Minute Trailer - Edited by Andrew Heckman
An Excerpt from Sway of the Knife - Starring Dennis W. Fitzgerald, Coltron James, and Vu Pham; Shot and Edited by Joe Jiang.
- (30 days)