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An original crime thriller/dark comedy short written & produced by film students at Emerson College.
32 backers pledged $2,225 to help bring this project to life.

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Kingpin: An Independent Short Film project video thumbnail
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$2,225

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Kingpin is not your ordinary crime thriller, mixing the elements of film noir and black comedy into an intimate, character-driven chamber piece. Taking place on a single fateful night for Mafioso Alfred Nagel, this film chronicles how his plans for retirement clash with a touchy adversary - causing friends & foes from his past to converge on his apartment.

"Many have mixed feelings about movie violence. I don't. I think violence in cinema is one of the most versatile ways to convey interpersonal relationships. It can be dark, it can be dramatic, hilarious, and socially critical all at once. I want to make a film that reflects those feelings."

-Mission statement of this short.

Test Shot - Alfred (Don Tempesta)
Test Shot - Alfred (Don Tempesta)

What is Kingpin About?

The "Honorable Gangster" Film seems to be a subgenre left very much in the past by most filmmakers these days. It isn't considered as sexy as the thrillers we see today both in feature-length and short form. However, this team of filmmakers from Emerson College are intent on dusting off this underused subgenre for a claustrophobic, suspenseful and effectively critical take on the tropes of Gangster films.

Taking place entirely within the space of Alfred's apartment in South Boston, Kingpin explores themes of integrity, morality, and the merits of wisdom in a violent world by turning the home of this former Gangster into a crucible of brutal violence, scheming, betrayals, and battles of wit, all the while walking the line between Gangster Drama and Tragic Farce.

Writer/Director Robert Tiemstra
Writer/Director Robert Tiemstra

From the mind of Robert Tiemstra, an award-winning writer & filmmaker currently pursuing a BA at Emerson College for Directing, this film is scheduled to shoot this September in Boston, Massachusetts. The crew is an exciting pool of up-and-coming filmmaking talent from Emerson College, including Producer Hae Ji Cho, Director of Photography Lei Zhenchuan, Production Designer Nora Hood, and Editor Nick Franco.

The Cast

Test Shot - Jesse (Michael Sinatra) & Alfred (Don Tempesta)
Test Shot - Jesse (Michael Sinatra) & Alfred (Don Tempesta)

Kingpin is supported through a SAG-AFTRA Contract, utilizing a full cast of professional and talented actors from the Screen Actor's Guild of Boston, including Don Tempesta (as Alfred), Michael Sinatra (Jesse), Michael Ryan Palmer (Donald) and Mark S. Cartier (Ron).

"How intimidating is it to work with an actor who has been on set with Martin Scorsese? That's kind of a tough question to answer..."

Our Director, upon learning that our lead actor was in Shutter Island.

The Story

Test Shot - Ron (Mark S. Cartier) and Donald (Michael Ryan Palmer)
Test Shot - Ron (Mark S. Cartier) and Donald (Michael Ryan Palmer)

Kingpin was conceived sometime in 2012 after Robert finished reading a series of plays by Martin McDonagh (the filmmaker/playwright responsible for In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths). Inspired to write something in a similar blackly comic vain, Robert wrote the first draft - an unbroken scene 17 pages long. Described as "Reservoir Dogs meets The Departed by way of In Bruges" (Matthew Tiemstra, Script Consultant), this original screenplay underwent a couple years worth of refining and conceptualizing before getting to where it is now - completely ready for production, with a dynamite filmmaking team behind it.

The only thing in the way now is financing. Your move, potential donors.

Risks and challenges

Making any film comes with a number of risks, and Kingpin is no exception. An extraordinarily ambitious script aesthetically, we will require your help to bring the world of Alfred's apartment to life through Production Design & Cinematography - a task this crew is extremely qualified to handle with the right resources. Thus, your money will be largely going to props, set pieces, and camera/lighting equipment that will allow us to make this film as true to its vision on the page as possible.

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Every little bit counts! Expect a thank you email from the filmmakers, and continued project updates.

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    Exclusive access to a digital version of the film once it is completed, continued project updates, and a thank you email from the filmmakers!

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    You will receive a DVD of the film, with special features including commentary by the filmmakers & other behind the scenes materials! All previous rewards apply.

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    Physical copy of the film, along with a signed cast and crew photo. Special thanks in the credits!

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    Signed shooting script and storyboards, as well as a physical copy of the film & special thanks in the credits!

    Also, you will be invited to attend the premiere screening of the finished film!

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Signed poster of the film, DVD copy of the film, special thanks in the credits, and an invitation to the premiere!

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Signed poster and DVD copy, invitation to the premiere, as well as a random prop from the set (Either some of Alfred's Bullets, Ron's Ledger, or the photo on Alfred's refrigerator)

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

    Thank you for your massive support! You get Executive Producer credit! (as well as Signed poster, DVD copy, and an invitation to the first screening of the film)

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Funding period

- (39 days)