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$5,264
pledged of $30,000pledged of $30,000 goal
90
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, October 30 2013 11:21 AM UTC +00:00
$5,264
pledged of $30,000pledged of $30,000 goal
90
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, October 30 2013 11:21 AM UTC +00:00

About

Okay, so it's not exactly a true story, but Junie's story is one that we see all the time.   Child star gets famous, turns into a sex-symbol by the age of 16, has a rebellious streak and then a total breakdown, gets married, gets divorced, gains weight, loses weight, kisses a girl on camera, and maybe finds Jesus or gets a job hosting a reality series to help promote other child stars.

Junie Spoons: Before and After
Junie Spoons: Before and After

I've always personally been interested in our national obsession with celebrity culture and how the media coverage of these working children's lives shape their identity and development as adults. The Britneys, the LiLos, the Christinas, the Mileys and Amandas – it's become an American tradition. So I decided we needed to make a movie about it...

Using puppetry with custom-made dolls, DOLLHOUSE is a feature-length psychologically surreal portrait of Junie Spoons, a child star whose premature rise to international pop fame and her strained relationship with her abusive mother drives her to insanity by the age of 18.    

The story is told with scenes from Junie's life, contrasted by the media's perspective - celebrity news magazines, fan clips, and interviews with the people who claim to know the "real Junie" – forcing the audience to question their own involvement in the fall of a child star.  A commentary on the cult of Celebrity and the superficiality of the pop world, DOLLHOUSE brings a fresh perspective to a story we all know, love, and choose to keep at arm's length.  

HERE'S A QUICK SYNOPSIS...

Rising to international stardom by the age of 13, mini pop diva Junie Spoons quickly experiences the empty space behind the tinsel as she is forced to grow up in the limelight as a Hollywood entertainer and sex-symbol.  Increasingly unable to negotiate her need for identity and selfhood while also meeting the demands of the "machine" of the entertainment industry and her stage mother's greed, Junie's world slowly spirals out of control as she gets more and more desperate to have a life of her own.  

This is very moving piece about one girl's struggle, but let's not forget – it's also super fun...

DID I SAY WE'RE USING DOLLS?

YES, we are MAKING the dolls.  The dolls you see in the images and videos are dolls that I designed, sculpted, and styled in my 1 bedroom apartment (unbeknownst to my landlord, so keep it hush hush - lots of chemicals and three legged frogs cropping up from my home-made laboratory...just kidding...no but seriously...don't say anything...)  

Custom-Made Junie Spoons Doll
Custom-Made Junie Spoons Doll

The dolls are custom-made for two reasons: 1. Legal.  In order to use the dolls you buy in the store, you have to license them from the companies that make them, and no doll company on the planet wants to see their dolls having sex, doing drugs, getting plastic surgery, or attacking paparazzi... plus, we save money from licensing fees.  2. Form and Function.  Our dolls need to be able to do certain things that a lot of dolls can't withstand.  They need to be rigged for movement, and their faces need to be altered, depending on the "state" of the doll in the scene.  This requires a much stronger doll than I think even Mattel's military division produces... 

(Can YOUR dolls pose nude like this?!!)
(Can YOUR dolls pose nude like this?!!)

My dolls are made with a plastic resin that can be drilled and sawed and their faces are made with polymer clay which can be adjusted as our heroine goes through growth spurts, drug binges, and plastic surgery.   Here's a picture of what Junie's face looked like while I was sculpting it:

Also, it's just kind of cool to have our own brand of doll!

LET'S TALK STYLE... 

Sure, Todd Haynes did the doll/Superstar thing before me, but rather than use the dolls in a representational way, my dolls will be used in a more “performative” way...  

My past work with dolls (yes, I've done this before) has been aimed at creating the emotional experience of the doll, using the camera angles and camera movement, staging and performance-specific puppeteering to create the illusion of the “acting” doll.

Still from "Operated by Invisible Hands"
Still from "Operated by Invisible Hands"

The animation will be non-traditional, meaning we will not be using stop-motion but rather “animating” the dolls with puppeteers. I find that I can get a better emotional performance from them when they are being handled in real-time by live hands. They have a kind of frenetic, “living” quality this way, which is necessary for creating the psychological/emotional experience of our protagonist, Junie. 

Still from "Sometimes" Music Video
Still from "Sometimes" Music Video

Additionally, I will use composites, slow-motion, POV shots, and other effects to create Junie's internal perspective of the external world as she falls deeper and deeper into madness throughout the picture.   You can see the music video for "Sometimes" in its entirety at this link: https://vimeo.com/42003430 and you can view an excerpt from "Operated By Invisible Hands" here: https://vimeo.com/73417598

TO CREATE THE WORLD OF THE MOVIE

Working with the production designer and the cinematographer, we will design and shoot a miniature world that closely resembles our own.   By using different media formats – HD, SD, camera phones, Youtube videos, etc. the film will evoke the sense of hyper media that we have become accustomed to consuming daily.

ANOTHER THING THAT'S SUPER COOL ABOUT THIS PROJECT:

The songs are all ORIGINAL!  

I am collaborating (for the fourth time) with composer Jean-Olivier Begin (winner of the Student Emmy for "Best Composition" in 2008 for our first film collaboration "Operated by Invisible Hands, also a doll film) to create pop singles that resemble the music of the Top 40.  

Jean-Olivier Begin, Composer
Jean-Olivier Begin, Composer

(Rumor has it that in honor of the tenth anniversary of her first hit single, Junie is re-releasing a remastered version of "Dollhouse" so check back for an announcement very soon!!!) 

HOW CREATIVE PEOPLE GET STUFF DONE...

They have Producers... and we have quite the amazing producer duo on this job... 

Robert Profusek (Holy Rollers, The Girl Is In Trouble) thinks this is just crazy enough to work...

Robert Profusek, Producer
Robert Profusek, Producer

And Amy Thompson (Lend a Hand for Love) admits that she made her Barbie and Ken Doll "do it..."  

Amy Thompson, Producer
Amy Thompson, Producer

Good-lookin' team, right?  But we're about brains here, and both Rob and Amy carry credits that include films that have won awards at the Student Academy Awards, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, the Princess Grace Awards, the Gotham Awards, and have been accepted to the Tribeca Institute, IFP Narrative Labs, Sundance Institute as well as Africa First with Focus Features.  They're not messin' around when it comes to scheduling, budgeting, and cracking the whip in post to make this film festival-ready, so that we can take it out to the world and share it -- most importantly, with YOU... 

AND THAT'S ME...  

Nicole Brending, Writer & Director
Nicole Brending, Writer & Director

I won't bore you with the details of my credentials - you can check out the bio on my profile.  But I am film professional.  I work as a screenwriter in film and television, and have directed several narrative and experimental shorts.   I LOVE MAKING MOVIES, and, while DOLLHOUSE will be my first feature-length film, I can say that I have abundant experience working with dolls.   My doll short "Operated By Invisible Hands" won several prestigious awards at festivals around the world, and I'm SO excited to get the opportunity to work with dolls on a much larger scale, in a much grander world, in a more meaningful capacity, with the possibility of bringing them to a wider audience than ever before...  Because they're so freaking lovely to watch... 

HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THIS IDEA INTO A REALITY...

As I said in the video, we've already received support from the Jerome Foundation (www.jeromefdn.org) but it's only a portion of the money we need to make this film as badass as it should be.   

THAT'S WHERE YOU COME IN!!!

10, 20, 2000 bucks - IT'S UP TO YOU!  But if you want to help support slightly experimental, totally insane, independent feature-filmmaking, NOW'S YOUR CHANCE!!!  Help Junie escape the dollhouse!  Donate to our film before it's too late!   If we don't reach our goal by the 30 day marker, we receive NOTHING!  Even small contributions make a huge difference, so don't worry about being a baller.  (But if you are a baller and you like to be discrete, you can donate anonymously, too!)   

For additional information and updates, follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DollhouseTheMovie) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/4EVRJunieSpoons).   We'll also be updating our FAQ section as they are asked, so let us know if you have questions - someone else may have the same question - and we'll be happy to answer them!

IF YOU AREN'T READY TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION, please consider posting our kickstarter link to your facebook or twitter page...

In the words of Junie Spoons:  "I'm not crazy.  I love you."  It's true, you guys.  We're not crazy.  We love you.   xoxo

Risks and challenges

As I said previously, we are making the dolls and the sets which can be challenging, not just in terms of time and skill (we got the skillz), but rather in being able to afford the proper materials that will give us the results that we need so that we don't short-change some of the key elements of this film that make it so cool. This is why we are raising money on Kickstarter. We've already done some fund-raising with the Jerome Foundation, but according to our budget, it's not enough to make the film without cutting corners that would mean a much lamer movie. And we don't want to do that.

In terms of commitment and finishing the piece, I have never gone half-way with any of my films and you can rest assured your money will be used for the film and that the film will be finished. We like to consider ourselves professionals, and so we offer your our professional promise to make your donation worthwhile. I have had several shorts screen at many festivals around the world, winning awards at Academy-Qualifying festivals, as well other honors. We take this filmmaking situation very seriously and if we don't finish this film, we'll eat our shoes... like really expensive shoes, with patent-leather and platforms. We're not kidding around about this movie. DOLLHOUSE or bust, baby.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    As a thank you for contributing at the FAN LEVEL, we will send you a page torn out of Junie's actual diary and updates on the project as we progress!

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    For the GROUPIE LEVEL contribution, we would like to offer you a free download of Junie's original hit song, "Dollhouse" - WARNING: Song is very catchy!

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    In addition to getting the previous rewards, at the ROADIE LEVEL you can also snatch up a DVD of the final film when it's completed and ready for festivals!

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    You're not really a "sub-lebrity" but at the B-SUB-LEBRITY LEVEL you can get all that, PLUS Junie Spoons-Approved Lip Plumper, to keep your lips looking good and over-collagenated!

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    We know what you are and what you want. Which is why when you contribute at the STARF**KER LEVEL, we'll also throw in a Limited Edition, Pre-Worn, Unwashed, Monogramed Junie Spoons Thong, so you can tell all your friends you "did her."

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    For the people at ENTOURAGE LEVEL, we want to make sure you feel as special as you are, which is why we'd also like to offer you a special thanks in the credits, and a drunk-dial voicemail from Junie herself! (Not that you haven't gotten drunk-dialed by her before, right?)

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

    For SOURCE-CLOSE-TO-THE-STAR LEVEL, we know it's difficult being "close to a star" which is why we'd like to offer a free Psychiatric Consult (free screenplay consultation) by Junie's personal psychiatrist Dr. Brundig (Nicole Brending) in addition to a special thanks, DVD, and all the other goodies previously mentioned... If you don't have any problems (screenplays), might we also interest you in a signed copy of the DOLLHOUSE screenplay? (We know you have a screenplay. Admit it.)

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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    Being at the TIMBERLAKE/JAY-Z BALLER LEVEL can be lonely - all that fame makes it difficult to know who to trust -- which is why we'd like to offer you an original Junie Spoons doll, complete with pills and hangover sunglasses, to keep you company during those long days at the top.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    If you're coming in at the RICK-RUBIN-RECORD-LABEL-MOGUL" LEVEL and the doll, the dvd, the panties and the consult are not enough, we'd also like to give you Executive Producer (EP) Credit in the film, as well as tickets to the premier!

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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    For the special folks at the YOU'RE F**KING CRAZY LEVEL, your crazy ass will also get to enjoy a date with the director where she can dish some Hollywood dirt over dinner (dinner applies to Minneapolis, NY, or LA only). Can you handle it?

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Funding period

- (30 days)