Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 21, 2013.

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A new comedy from acclaimed independent filmmaker Richard Dutcher. Produced by the innovative educational experiment PROJECT 23.

THE BOYS AT THE BAR is now shot, edited, and ready for the final stages of post-production! It is ready for submission to festivals and distributors, and it's time to start the marketing! The movie still needs final color correction, music, sound mixing, creation of a key special effects shot, and the designing and manufacture of marketing and advertising materials.

Please watch the video and find out about this hilarious new movie, the innovative new producing/educational model Project 23, and our goals for the movie's future.

We hope to finish The Boys at the Bar as quickly as possible, to screen at a few festivals, and then to open the film in a few key cities, especially Salt Lake City, Utah (the home of Project 23) and St. Louis, Missouri (where the movie is set) before distributing the movie EVERYWHERE and in every way possible - theatrically, on DVD and Blu-Ray, Video on Demand, internet download, etc.

You'll see that our fundraising goal is $30,000. Because we must reach our minimum to get ANY funds at all through Kickstarter, we've set it low. Our real goal is $100,000.00. That's right. One hundred thousand dollars. That's a lot, we know. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but with your support and with the hard work of the producers of Project 23, we can do it!

Please join me and be a part of Project 23 and The Boys at the Bar. Check out the cool rewards. Depending on the size of your donation, you can get everything from a prop used in the film, dinner with the director, a Boys at the Bar director's chair with your name on it, to an actual producer credit on the movie!

Trailer for "The Boys at the Bar"


FILMMAKER MAGAZINE: RICHARD DUTCHER ON PROJECT 23 AND "THE BOYS AT THE BAR"

by Randy Astle  May 14, 2013

Richard Dutcher is one of the most important and accomplished directors that nobody’s heard of. Like many independent filmmakers, Dutcher is a multihyphenate: writer, director, actor, producer, editor. In the process he’s created eight feature films that span genres and styles, including romantic comedy (Girl Crazy), intense emotional drama (States of Grace), gritty gut-wrenching naturalism (Falling), supernatural horror (Evil Angel), elegant formalism (Tryptich), and even a passionate period piece with only one actress (Eliza and I). And since his 2000 film God’s Army he’s become something like the Robert Rodriguez of Utah: the most important filmmaker in a region with a fast-developing indie community. Although the state includes both Sundance and Slamdance in the north and John Ford country in the south, it wasn’t until God’s Army that a multitude of local filmmakers felt ownership for the local film scene and were galvanized to make films, found production companies, run new film festivals, and create a small but robust industry. Hence Dave Boyle, Jared and Jerusha Hess, Ryan Little, Christian Vuissa, Jared Cardon, and a host of others.

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that with his newest project The Boys at the Bar Dutcher’s added another job description to his resume: teacher. He had been informally mentoring filmmakers, enough that in 2011 it made sense to organize a more formal effort in the shape of a guerrilla film school that would produce a single feature film from concept to distribution. “I just put the word out on Facebook,” he says. “And I always said that if I could find 20 students that were willing to do it then I would do it. And I really didn’t think I would. So I was surprised when, at the end, I had 23 people that wanted to do it. So we just organized and started the journey.”

Dubbing themselves Project 23, the group started meeting at night in November 2011 in a law office in Salt Lake City. They began developing a new concept by Dutcher, a comedy that takes place in a single night in an Irish pub in St. Louis. Dutcher describes The Boys at the Bar as “an experimental, ‘conflict-free’ comedy. It’s a kind of celebration of American humor.” The students were put to work organizing preproduction and raising the $150,000 production budget. Actual shooting took place in May 2012, with cinematographer Bill Butler (Jaws, The Conversation, Grease; seen with Dutcher above). With a single location and semi-improvised script, production only lasted a week, and for the past year Dutcher has been guiding his students through the postproduction process.

Because of the ubiquity of crowdfunding, part of that process now includes running a Kickstarter campaign for finishing funds that’s now in its final week. To show his dedication to the film, Dutcher launched a 12-day water fast on April 28 (culminating on “the worst birthday of [his] life”); his daily YouTube updates have become as much a part of The Boys at the Bar‘s story as the film itself (never has an actor relished a slice of watermelon more than Dutcher does in his last post). Health concerns required him to eat before the Kickstarter campaign came to an end, but the Project 23 team is still pushing hard to reach their $30,000 goal.

The film is therefore not finished yet, but can Project 23 be seen as a successful new model for film education and mentorship? “It’s an unqualified success in my mind,” Dutcher says. “Those that [stuck with it] learned how to make an independent film–and did make an independent film.” That underscores the greatest difficulty of the process for Dutcher as a mentor: “The hardest part was keeping some of them motivated. A few of them really didn’t understand the work of a film producer. They thought it would be all glamour and excitement. So when they saw how much hard work, personal risk, and thankless effort they would have to put in… a few of them lost enthusiasm.” Such a response among 23 participants is not unexpected, of course, and Dutcher says he would do it again if possible.

“What I would be incredibly pleased to see is if this story got out there, if someone like Paul Schrader started taking 20 new filmmakers through this process. Or Hal Hartley, or whoever some of the guys are from my generation who stopped making movies. That, to me, would be the icing on the cake. It’s this wonderful, beautiful hybrid–an economic and educational model–and I would like to see it catch on.” He adds the caveat, however, that it should only catch on as long as it remains viable, and with the speed of change in today’s industry that window might not last long. “It might not work two years from now, but then you come up with something else.”

For the time being, Dutcher’s managed to create a feature film, nearly two dozen film producers who can now grow the indie film industry in Utah and elsewhere, and a model for others to follow in other regional centers. At a time when the unsustainability of filmmaking tops Ted Hope’s list of film career hazards, this potential should not be discounted. If we can see similar mentoring arrangements spring up in San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin, Portland, Toronto, or Minneapolis, this new economic and educational model might just spark a small but important paradigm shift throughout indie film.

Richard Dutcher: Sharing his Passion and Talents to Help Aspiring Filmmakers

Filmmaker Richard Dutcher (right) with cinematographer Bill Butler and camera operator Sohrab Mirmontazeri (left) on the set of "The Boys at the Bar."
Filmmaker Richard Dutcher (right) with cinematographer Bill Butler and camera operator Sohrab Mirmontazeri (left) on the set of "The Boys at the Bar."

May 2, 2013 - The Entertainment Journal

For almost two decades, Richard Dutcher has been the writer, producer and director of some of the most highly-acclaimed independent films in the industry. He’s learned the ins and outs of what it takes to get a product completed and into the marketplace. Starting with “God’s Army,” and continuing with films like “Brigham City,” “States of Grace,” “Falling” and “Evil Angel,” Dutcher has raised the bar and set the standard for independent films he’s taken from start to finish.

His latest project is, in many ways, his most aggressive yet. It’s also potentially a game-changer for him, and many of the crew members who worked on it as a labor of love last summer. With “The Boys at the Bar,” he created an opportunity for 23 aspiring producers to learn every aspect of the filmmaking process. It was a dream and a goal of his for several years.

“I was just really examining the way that independent filmmaking has changed so rapidly over the past five years,” Dutcher says. “My films were starting to get bigger and more expensive, but then the economics just dropped out of independent film.”

It led him to thinking about making his next film on a shoestring budget, “because I’m a filmmaker and that’s always been my attitude. Filmmakers make films; with whatever you’ve got, you do whatever you can.”

Dutcher wrote the screenplay for “The Boys at the Bar,” set in St. Louis but filmed “after hours” at the Poundcakes restaurant in Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square. The film follows a group of friends as they joke, drink and celebrate the birthday of one of their own at their local Irish pub. Then he came up with how to make it—he founded his own guerilla film school where aspiring producers could work completely hands-on through the whole process. He just needed to find those “guerillas.”

“So I just put the word out on Facebook,” Dutcher says. “And I always said that if I could find 20 students that were willing to do it, then I would do it. I really didn't think I would. So I was surprised when, at the end, I had 23 people that wanted to do it. We just organized and started the journey.”

A few weeks later, in November 2011, they met for the first time in a law office in Salt Lake City. They called themselves Project 23. Their goal was to raise $150,000 for initial production costs, a goal they met in less than 90 days. Dutcher immersed them in every facet of the process—key crew positions on set, creation of a plan for marketing and distribution, and particularly the fundraising.

“I told them that if you want to be a producer, you have to learn to raise money.”

His reputation within the industry helped land legendary cinematographer Bill Butler to the digital production (Dutcher’s first digital effort). Butler’s credits include “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Jaws,” “Grease” and “The Conversation.” Veteran actor Bo Hopkins came on board for one of the lead roles, as did actress Scarlett Keegan. Other veteran crew and cast members added their expertise and guided the student crew as the film began shooting right on schedule, in May of 2012. The film is set in one location, was shot in the course of a single week and includes a full 25 minutes of improvised material.

“By the end of filming,” Dutcher says with pride, “these students were no longer students—they were film producers.”

There remains one last challenge, however, before “The Boys at the Bar” can go to market. And it’s another example of Dutcher’s passion for his craft in general, and this film in particular. He has begun a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $30,000 to complete the movie.

“It needs color correcting, sound editing and mixing; a score, music rights to purchase, a key special effects shot to be created, and graphics work,” he says. “Candidly, we need more than $30,000, but that’s the goal I’ve set to raise to finish the film.” He has to raise the money by May 19, or none of what has been pledged towards that goal will be realized.

On April 28, Dutcher started a 21-day fast (running through the Kickstarter deadline date), where he will consume water-only until the goal is met. He has no illusions that the heavens will open up and pour money down for the project due to his fast. “My only reasons for the fast are to draw attention to this project, and to help me focus completely on the fundraising efforts,” he says.”

As far as Project 23 is concerned, it's an unqualified success in his mind.

“Those that [stuck with the class] learned how to make an independent film and did make an independent film,” he says. While Dutcher is proud of the film and proud of his students' educations, he also hopes that Project 23 won't stop here.

“What I would be incredibly pleased to see, if this story got out there, is someone like Paul Schrader taking 20 new filmmakers through this process. Or Hal Hartley, or whoever some of the guys are from my generation who stopped making movies. That, to me, would be the icing on the cake. It's this wonderful, beautiful hybrid--an economic and educational model, and I would like to see catch on.”

To contribute to Dutcher’s efforts, visit the Kickstarter website and make a pledge by May 19. A number of gift packages are available for those who contribute to this effort.

Filmmaker Richard Dutcher with the producers of Project 23 shortly before filming their movie "The Boys at the Bar."
Filmmaker Richard Dutcher with the producers of Project 23 shortly before filming their movie "The Boys at the Bar."


Filmmaker Richard Dutcher Starves for His Movie Art

BY SEAN P. MEANS
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
PUBLISHED: MAY 9, 2013 

Courtesy of Audrey Rock. Filmmaker Richard Dutcher, photographed relaxing in front of his Utah County home on May 4, Day 6 of a three-week water-only fast.
Courtesy of Audrey Rock. Filmmaker Richard Dutcher, photographed relaxing in front of his Utah County home on May 4, Day 6 of a three-week water-only fast.

Richard Dutcher is taking the whole “starving artist” idea to a new level.

“I’m hungry as hell,” the Provo-based filmmaker said Wednesday, during the 10th day of a planned three-week “hunger strike” he launched to focus on — and rally people behind — his campaign to raise finishing funds for his latest movie.

“It’s no fun,” said Dutcher, 48. “I don’t recommend you ever do this.”

Since ceremonially eating two orange sections on April 28, Dutcher has consumed nothing but water. He has dropped 19 pounds and lost 2 inches off his belly. He has chronicled his fast in daily dispatches on YouTube.

After 10 days without food, Dutcher said, “sometimes you feel surprisingly well and energetic. And other times you feel like lying down and dying.”

Dutcher’s girlfriend, Audrey Rock, was skeptical at first. “I didn’t really think he was going to do it,” said the writer and former movie critic. “But I had no objections. I said, ‘I’m right behind you. Let’s do it.’ 

“It didn’t get frightening to me until he started to get sick,” she said.

That was on Day 8, Monday, when Dutcher started vomiting. Rock tended to Dutcher, putting wet cloths on his forehead and helping him rest.

“My life right now is revolving around this fast,” Rock said.

Dutcher went on a fast 13 years ago before filming his breakout film, the Mormon missionary drama “God’s Army.” He did it then, in part, because the character he played in the film, an older LDS missionary with a terminal illness, needed to be thinner.

The previous experience “inspired me to think that if I can do it for eight days, maybe I can do it for longer,” Dutcher said.

The current fast, he said, has a different goal: Get pledges for $30,000 on the Internet fundraising site Kickstarter by May 19. The money would go to finish post-production on Dutcher’s film “The Boys at the Bar,” a comedy about St. Louis friends gathering at their favorite Irish bar. As of Wednesday, 176 backers have signed on to give $13,373.

“I thought [the fast] would be a really interesting way to focus everything on this one effort,” Dutcher said. “Also, if the rest of the producing team saw what I was doing, it would inspire them to work harder.”

The producers are a group Dutcher formed called Project 23, which began as a class he taught for fledgling filmmakers. He turned the class into a hands-on experience, running the students through the process of financing and shooting his script.

The movie was shot last year at a bar in Trolley Square, after hours, and has been edited. It still requires finishing touches — including color correction, sound mixing, a musical score, one special-effects shot and marketing — on which the $30,000 from Kickstarter would be spent.

Mounting a Kickstarter campaign “really is work,” Dutcher said. “People have this assumption that people come and just give money.”

Instead, Dutcher and Rock have worked their contacts, via social media and elsewhere, hitting people up to donate.

“You have to personally appeal to each of those people,” Dutcher said.

Kickstarter has generated controversy in recent weeks as some big Hollywood names — people who usually get funded through traditional channels — have used the site to drum up pledges and publicity.

The creators of the defunct TV series “Veronica Mars” last month raised $5.7 million toward a movie version of the show. And two weeks ago, actor and filmmaker Zach Braff, who starred on TV’s “Scrubs” and directed himself in 2004 Sundance Film Festival hit “Garden State,” launched a campaign for his next movie, “Wish I Was Here,” which has raised $2.4 million so far.

Braff’s campaign, in particular, has drawn critics on the Internet, who have accused the actor of subverting Kickstarter’s original purpose.

“Kickstarter allows filmmakers who otherwise would have NO access to Hollywood and NO access to serious investors to scrounge up enough money to make their movies,” TV writer Ken Levine (whose credits include episodes of “M*A*S*H” and “The Simpsons”) wrote on his blog. “Zach Braff has contacts. Zach Braff has a name. Zach Braff has a track record. Zach Braff has residuals. He can get in a room with money people.”

Braff, Dutcher said, “is kind of spoiling the waters and messing it up [for others].”

Dutcher has faced online criticism of his own during his “hunger strike,” Rock said — including “a lot of jabs” about his weight. She’s fought back all of them.

“With my mad writing skills, I’ll just put them in their place,” Rock joked. “They are left speechless, because they don’t want any more of that crap.”

Dutcher is unfazed by it all, she said. “He’s really just been so zen.”

movies@sltrib.com

For more information about Richard Dutcher’s new movie, go to www.facebook.com/TheBoysAtTheBar

Filmmaker Richard Dutcher Ends Hunger Strike

Filmmaker Richard Dutcher has ended his water fast, an effort to concentrate on a Kickstarter campaign for his latest movie, "The Boys at the Bar."

By Sean P. Means | The Salt Lake Tribune

The Provo filmmaker on Sunday called off his planned three-week fast, more than a week early. He began on April 28 to focus his energies on raising money to finish his latest movie.

Dutcher, in a post Sunday afternoon on Facebook, explained that he gave up the fast "due to almost losing consciousness on a couple of occasions, vomiting 7 times a day, and starting to see blood in the vomit."

What Dutcher called a "hunger strike" drew attention to a fund-raising campaign on the website Kickstarter, aimed at raising $30,000 in finishing funds for "The Boys at the Bar." The movie, a bar comedy Dutcher wrote and directed, was shot last year at Trolley Square – but still requires a music score and other post-production touches.

As of Sunday, the Kickstarter campaign has raised $16,277 – with nearly $3,000 of that pledged since an article about Dutcher’s fast appeared Thursday on The Salt Lake Tribune’s website. The campaign ends May 19.

Dutcher said he started vomiting last Monday, Day 8. On Wednesday, Day 10, Dutcher told The Tribune that "sometimes you feel surprisingly well and energetic. And other times you feel like lying down and dying."

X96

The give-away to the highest donor between 8 am and midnight tonight! (Not the candy)
The give-away to the highest donor between 8 am and midnight tonight! (Not the candy)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Most of the risks associated with this project are in the past. Films are often at risk during pre-production and production. But we are now well into post-production. All our work is backed up and protected. All that will slow us down now is the lack of finishing funds. I've taken 7 feature films through the entire process. I'm not at all worried about "The Boys at the Bar." We're close to the finish line!

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    You receive a heartfelt "thank you" from our team. Every little bit helps us very much! We will announce your name at our next Project 23 meeting and give you your own standing ovation!

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    You get a postcard of either Richard Dutcher's "Evil Angel" or "Falling" (your choice) signed by the director. Plus a standing ovation at our next Project 23 meeting!

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    You get your choice of one of Richard Dutcher's films on DVD: "God's Army" (Deluxe Edition), "States of Grace," or "Brigham City" signed by Mr. Dutcher.

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    You get 2 tickets to the Paul Duane Show on Friday May 17, 2013 in Salt Lake City. This is a live on-stage show, which will feature Richard Dutcher on May 17. Think of it as Salt Lake City's live stage version of the Tonight Show. For more info: go to http://www.paulduane.net/show/

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    You get TWO copies of the DVD of the feature film "The Boys at the Bar" upon its release! Both signed by the director. Keep one for yourself and gift one to a friend!

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    You get the DUTCHER 3-PACK, a signed and personalized (by the director) boxed DVD collection containing "God's Army," "Brigham City," and "States of Grace."

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    You get one Guinness beer glass that was actually used in the film "The Boys at the Bar" OR a full size poster of "The Boys at the Bar, The Last Supper," artwork by David Chadwick and signed by the artist and Richard Dutcher. Go to www.theboysatthebar.com to see the artwork.

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    You get one 8x10 photo of cinematographer Bill Butler (Jaws, Grease, The Conversation) and Richard Dutcher signed by both Bill and Richard and personalized for you! Plus a DVD of "The Boys at the Bar" upon its release.

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    You get your choice of any THREE of the following: a DVD of the feature film "The Boys at the Bar" upon its release, a custom, collectible "Boys at the Bar" beer mug, a custom "Boys at the Bar" coffee mug, a "Boys at the Bar" baseball hat, a cast/crew t-shirt, OR a full size poster of "The Boys at the Bar, The Last Supper," artwork by David Chadwick and signed by the artist and Richard Dutcher. Go to www.theboysatthebar.com to see the artwork.

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    You get the September 2004 issue of Playboy with the centerfold signed and personalized just for you by Playboy Playmate and "Boys at the Bar" star Scarlett Keegan!

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    You get one full size movie poster of "Jaws" signed by Bill Butler, the Director of Photography for "Jaws" and "The Boys at the Bar" OR one full size movie poster of "American Graffitti" and signed by Bo Hopkins, one of the stars of "American Graffitti" and "The Boys at the Bar" PLUS a DVD of the movie upon its release!

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    You get 2 tickets to the red carpet premiere of "The Boys at the Bar" in Salt Lake City or the Opening Night Premiere in St. Louis PLUS a DVD of the movie upon its release!

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    You get one St. Louis Cardinals team jersey that was actually used in the film "The Boys at the Bar" and signed by Richard Dutcher and the other Producers of Project 23 PLUS a DVD of the movie upon its release!

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    You get to have lunch with the director, Richard Dutcher. We'll set a date and time with you and then we'll make reservations at a nice restaurant in the Salt Lake City area and you'll spend an hour and half or more talking with Mr. Dutcher about anything you'd like. If you live outside of Utah, but still want this reward, we'll see if we can work it into the festival or release schedule of the film and visit your city.

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    You get one custom full size Director's chair with "The Boys at the Bar" and your name printed on it! The chair will be shipped directly to you. A few days later you'll get your personalized canvas seat back! You will also receive two tickets to the red carpet premiere or Opening Night in St. Louis!!

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    You get to have dinner with the director, Richard Dutcher. We'll set a date and time with you and then we'll make reservations at a nice restaurant in the Salt Lake City area and you'll spend two hours or more talking with Mr. Dutcher about anything you'd like. If you live outside of Utah, but still want this reward, we'll see if we can work it into the festival or release schedule of the film and visit your city.

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    You get your screenplay read, analyzed, and critiqued by writer/director/producer Richard Dutcher PLUS two tickets to the red carpet premiere or Opening Night in St. Louis!

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    Your name appears under the heading "Special Thanks" in the final credits of THE BOYS AT THE BAR! You also get a t-shirt, baseball hat, beer mug, PLUS a DVD of the movie upon its release and two tickets to the premiere or Opening Night in St. Louis!

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    You get your screenplay read, analyzed, and critiqued by writer/director/producer Richard Dutcher. You also will have your screenplay read and critiqued by at least ten Utah writers in a roundtable environment supervised by Mr. Dutcher. PLUS two tickets to the premiere or Opening Night in St. Louis!

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    PATRON PACKAGE. You not only get your name in the credits of the film, you also get 4 tickets to the premiere in Salt Lake or Opening NIght in St. Louis, a BOYS AT THE BAR t-shirt, hat, mug, signed poster, DVDs of not only THE BOYS AT THE BAR, but also GOD'S ARMY, BRIGHAM CITY, and STATES OF GRACE, along with a photo of Richard Dutcher and Bill Butler, signed by both and personalized for you!

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    THE PRODUCER PACKAGE. You get everything in the Patron Package, but you also get a special screening of THE BOYS AT THE BAR at the actual location of the filming, with live comedy before the screening and as many of the cast and crew as possible in attendance. This is a party thrown by us, for YOU, in appreciation of your generosity and support!

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    EXECUTIVE PACKAGE. You get everything in the Producer Package along with a "Producer" credit on the film. You will not only have your name as a producer on a single card (not shared with anyone else!), you will also have an IMDB credit as a producer of the film.

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