Sofi is a short film that sees a group of Houston's most passionate and talented creative individuals collaborating to tell a funny but poignant story about a starving artist struggling with whether or not to throw in the towel on her dreams after a major failure. Her existential crisis comes to a head at her best friend's suburban baby shower, one of the most painfully hilarious social events known to (wo)man.
Sofi is a sequel to Writer/Director Nathan Nix's Young Adult novel The Drifters (though you won't need to have read the book to get the film). He checks back in on his two main characters, Sofi and Nic, 10 years down the road as they enter their 30s.
Based on a short story Nathan wrote called Everybody Reproduces, this short film explores a struggle many people face as they grow older: At what point does a person give up on a dream? And if a person presses on and sacrifices to pursue their dream, what happens if the dream never comes true? Did life pass them by? Are they willing to sacrifice more traditional pursuits like a family, a house, or a community for their ambition? There is obvious value in each of these things, but the time requirements often mean a dream can get pushed to the sidelines. Is there a way to find a balance?
The answer is different for everyone, and it's something Nathan has wrestled with himself. Sofi is his way of both exploring the issue and continuing to pursue his own dream of writing and directing films.
Sofi is a single, struggling painter used to a bohemian city life. When she returns to the suburbs of her youth for a baby shower, she must navigate thirtysomething peer pressure, an ex-boyfriend interested in rekindling things, and the suburban siren call of settling down.
We anticipate that the completed film will be roughly 20 minutes, so it's on the longer end of the short film spectrum.
(We'll be updating the cast list as our project progresses.)
SOFI: Blair Ault
NIC: Amy Grisbee
RYAN: Jon Myles
MEL: Angela Mayans Lee
LANA: Laura Helmers
NATHAN NIX — WRITER/DIRECTOR
Nathan is writer and filmmaker who has been telling stories of his native Houston for over a decade. A graduate of the University of Houston’s journalism program, Nathan’s first foray into movies was with the short film Slice (2004), which was quickly followed by a no-budget feature called This Is a Love Song (2005). These DIY films served as Nathan’s film school and, frankly, were as terrible as most “art" people create at 22. In the decade since, Nathan has focused on writing screenplays and fiction. He published a Young Adult novel, The Drifters, in 2013. Sofi, a sequel to this novel, marks his return to filmmaking.
FILM LAB CREATIVE (FLC)
Film Lab Creative are a full-service production company based in Magnolia, Texas that will handle filming and editing Sofi. Formerly under the umbrella of 31Films, which was founded in 2002 and gained an terrific reputation for its cinematic wedding videos, they launched Film Lab Creative as its own venture in 2012 to focus on commercial filmmaking and corporate films. Over the four years of its existence, FLC has worked with clients such as Phillips 66, Air Jordan, Memorial Hermann Healthcare, BRAVO, TLC, and Arcade Fire. Their collection of directors, cinematographers, editors and animators are all storytellers at heart, and they are passionate about every aspect of their art forms.
Check out their reel:
MEREDITH RICHEY — ARTIST
Meredith is a Houston-based artist whose paintings will be used as Sofi’s art in the film. In addition to showing in galleries around the world, Meredith’s work has played an important role in the Houston music scene lately as many bands and musicians are using her work for their album covers and promotional materials. In fact, our teaser poster for the film (see top) is an adaptation of one of Meredith's paintings. Originally from San Diego, California, Meredith received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Baylor University and her Master of Fine Arts from Houston Baptist University. She is currently living in Houston, Texas and working in expanding her ideas and artwork on memory.
Here's what she has to say about her work:My work is influenced by the idea of memory and how we visually remember an experience or person. I am intrigued by family photographs and past experiences. Over time, a memory becomes hazy, soft-edged and visually distorted. We remember colors that evoke our emotions and silhouettes of the people who have influenced us. My goal for my work is to give permanence to the elusive and distorted qualities of memory. I create these images as though the mind is visually creating them as you are looking at them. The rising of a memory comes gradually and is obscured usually through the time that has passed from experiencing the original occurrence.
LIZ KILGORE — PRODUCTION DESIGN
From an early age, Liz was writing, directing and shooting projects; performing an active role behind the scenes has always been deeply ingrained in her spirit. She studied Broadcast Journalism in college, and then worked as an editor and shooter for a full-scale production company in Houston, traveling the world assisting on projects for PBS, the Bush family and more until an opportunity arose to work on-air in radio.
After nearly a decade of working on-air for a local and then nationally syndicated radio station, Liz rediscovered her first love in film production, this time through art direction. Utilizing the wealth of creativity provided through travel, creative mentors, design and production opportunities, Liz is fascinated by the coordination of elements of light, texture and placement and how they help convey each story onscreen. She’s worked most recently under director Joseph Kahn and her work has appeared nationally through commercials, CMT, Reebok, TLC, The Hallmark Channel and more.
Since the release of Nathan’s novel, The Drifters, Liz has been a huge fan and supporter of his work and is beyond floored to contribute as a member of the Sofi short film crew. (Editor's Note: Nathan promises he didn't write this last paragraph!)
RAZ — COMPOSER & LOCATION SOUND
Michael Razmandi — aka “Raz” — is a Houston-based musician who has played many of the city’s best bands as well as engineering many of their records. A multi-instrumentalist, Raz has performed with Winter Wallace Band, Day Sailor and Poor Pilate among others. As a sound engineer, he has worked on records for Caedmon's Call, Andrew James, Gatlin Elms, The Julys, If the War Should End and his own bands. He has also mixed live sound for Ryan Booth’s popular SerialBox Presents video concert series as well as artists such as Needtobreathe, Leagues and Derek Webb. In the film world, he recently helped run location sound on the Second Films production Past Due.
NATHAN'S TOUR OF HOUSTON: A COLORING BOOK
In addition to the film itself, Nathan wanted to offer an exciting, unique reward that you couldn't get anywhere else. He came up with Nathan's Tour of Houston: A Coloring Book.
Over the course of 44 pages, Nathan takes you to 18 of his favorite places in his hometown. After learning a bit about why each site is significant and what some of Nathan's favorite memories are at these places, you get to color a full 8.5" x 8.5" image of the site or event. Whether you're a kid or just a kid at heart, this coloring book is a fun way to discover Houston.
The tour includes: Jones Hall, Buffalo Bayou Cistern, James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, Astrodome, Houston Art Car Parade, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Morningstar Donuts and Coffee and more!
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
More than anything, we want to make sure the cast and crew get paid on this project. So often artists work for free to get their name out into the world, but we believe these individuals should be compensated fairly for the time and talent they're putting into this film.
Of the $5000 needed to bring this project to life, at least 80% of that will go directly to the cast and crew. The rest will be used for general expenses like catering, props, and any unexpected costs that may arise during production.
I would love nothing more than to raise more than $5000 so I can pay these artists even more and so we can put more money into production design, post-production details, and festival entry fees.
$5 (unlimited) — Thank you! You’ll get access to an exclusive Facebook group that will take you behind the scenes of the film.
$15 (unlimited) — Simple and straightforward — you’ll receive a link that will let you download the film the day after our premiere screening.
$20 (unlimited) — You’ll receive two links: one to download the film and another to download Nathan Nix’s novel The Drifters, of which Sofi serves as a sequel.
$25 (300 available) — In addition to getting a download of the film, you'll receive Nathan's Tour of Houston: A Coloring Book, which has been created specifically for this campaign and gives you the opportunity to learn about and color 18 (20?) of Nathan’s favorite places in Houston. The book will ship in August 2016, while the film download will be available in October 2016.
$50 (50 available) — In addition to the download of the film and the coloring book, you will also receive Sofi: A Screenplay by Nathan Nix, a 45-page, 8.5"x11” paperback book featuring the film’s screenplay and Nathan’s short story Everybody Reproduces, upon which the screenplay is based. You will also be listed in our special thanks section of the film’s credits.
$100 (25 available) — Your contribution will pay the wages of one of our cast or crew members for one of our two shooting days. In addition to receiving the perks of our $50 level, you will receive two passes to the film's screening (including two drink vouchers) and Nathan will make the sponsored cast/crew member hug you if you're into that. You will also be listed in our “Cast and Crew Sponsored by" section of the film’s credits.
$250 (4 available) — Being an Associate Producer means we’ll show you an early cut of the film and listen to your feedback. You will also get an Associate Producer credit on IMDB.
$400 (1 available) — We are commissioning artist Meredith Richey to create an original 24” x 30” painting that will play a key role in the film. By choosing this reward, this one-of-a-kind piece from one of Houston’s most exciting artists will be yours once filming is completed. You will also receive a handwritten letter from Meredith thanking you for your contribution and talking about the thought process behind the painting. We would prefer a Houston-area buyer for in-person delivery, but we are open to shipping outside of Houston (buyer will be responsible for shipping and packaging fees). Contact us if you’re seriously interested in this reward and would like more information on the painting’s content.
$500 (2 available) — Got a million-dollar story idea you've been wanting to turn into a movie or book? Nathan will sit down with you for three one-hour sessions once principal photography on Sofi wraps at the end of July. Brainstorm ideas, troubleshoot areas, outline the story, work on dialogue or tone — wherever you're at, we'll make it better. You retain full rights to the story. Nathan agrees to make no claim of ownership.
$1000 (2 available) — Basically, you’re funding the largest part of this film. You’re the money man (or woman), the studio. In addition to being invited on set for both days of shooting, you will be shown an early cut of the film and have your feedback considered before the next cut (though Nathan still gets the final say). Most importantly, you’ll be invited to any screenings we have as an official part of the crew and will have the option to join us in representing the film at any film festivals we get accepted to (any required festival pass fees not included, nor travel and accommodation, which also applies to the other executive producers). You will also be listed as executive producer on the poster and any other materials that list the cast and crew, in addition to being listed as Executive Producer on IMDB. You will also receive the perks of the $100 level. (Note: You will not actually receive a director's chair with your name on it.)
Risks and challenges
Every film production is a symphony of many moving pieces. Orchestrating them is a gargantuan task. There is always the possibility that a cast or crew member will not be able to make it on the day of shooting for any number of reasons (sickness, car trouble, etc. — general reasons you'd miss work). While every effort is made to cover any eventualities, the quality of the film may suffer if a key cast or crew member is replaced at the last minute or if it becomes necessary for another cast or crew member to cover the absent person's job.
While we are planning every shot in detail and creating a schedule we believe will allow us to complete filming on time, a film set is a strange entity very susceptible to Murphy's Law. If it can go wrong, it probably will. There is always the possibility that portions of the script will have to be jettisoned due to time constraints, resulting in a less than ideal finished film. It's the same risk every movie studio takes whenever they decide to fund a film. Think of all the bad movies you've seen. Somewhere in the process, what was originally written didn't get translated to the screen properly. This is why good directors are paid the big bucks — they know how to shepherd everyone toward the greenest pastures.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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