Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 7, 2012.

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A missionary walks into a bar...

A Guatemalan cobbler asks a missionary:

- If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?
- No, says the missionary, not if you did not know.
- Then why, asks the cobbler, did you tell me?

We're Kickstarting, or crowd funding, a 20 minute short film. Short synopsis: Steven Castle, a wayward missionary, is caught in an endless spiral of sin and repentance; but today’s going to be different. Steven’s just arrived in Guatemala and he’s hell bent on getting holy.  (more detailed synopsis further below...)

Get 'em to the Guate!

We’re packing up our gear and our passion, and bootstrapping our way to Antigua, Guatemala to make Steven’s story real. We’ll be shooting on location in and around Antigua from the Parque Central to Cafe No Se.

Some reference pics we shot in Guatemala.
Some reference pics we shot in Guatemala.


But will I be supporting a quality film? 

Our primaries are six award-winning professional DC filmmakers -- shooters, writers, directors, producers, and actors -- combining our talents to bring our shared vision to life. Independently, we've won film festivals, and done projects for media outlets like National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, MTV, ESPN, and Dreamworks. Collectively, this will be our first fiction film and we're setting our sights high for the future. Also signed on to contribute to the film is an extraordinary band of artists, musicians, actors, fixers, proprietors, and production specialists. Many of us have lived and worked in Guatemala and we have deep affections and appreciations for the place, the people, and the project. Check out the links at the bottom right of the page to see more of our work.  

Left to right: Rob Shore, Ian Fay, Nick Fitzhugh, Chris Keener, Matt Tanski and Nathan Golon.
Left to right: Rob Shore, Ian Fay, Nick Fitzhugh, Chris Keener, Matt Tanski and Nathan Golon.

¿Por Qué?

Porque spiritual and sweet, dark and funny, The Garden of Steven tells the story of Steven’s struggles with the biggest questions of life. And his story is just like ours. We’re all trying to get it right, and most of us end up making the same mistakes over and over again. Don’t make the mistake of letting this film go unfunded. Get out the guilt and give to The Garden of Steven.

How to 'get out the guilt'

By raising $30,000, in 30 days and 30 nights, we can rent the gear, make the trip, and hire local Guatemalan cast and crew to help us produce the film on a shoestring budget in time for Sundance submission. By contributing you’re not only participating in making the film; you’re getting some great stuff, and helping support Guatemalan artisans. All of the Guatemalan rewards in the sidebar are locally made handicrafts, many of them one-of-a-kind. Click any one of the pledge amounts you can swing, and we'll thank you with the corresponding stuffs. 

What your contribution goes towards:

  • Getting U.S. cast and crew to Guatemala and securing Guatemalan cast and crew
  • Renting camera, lighting, and support gear for a 10-day shoot
  • Simple, shared accommodations and food for cast and crew
  • Permitting and location fees
  • Props, costumes, and set design
  • Finishing costs to get us ready for theaters: colorist, sound mix, graphics
  • Rewards that give back to the local economy:
Hand-painted tin 'retablos' are one of the artesian crafts available as a reward. These fascinating folk parables play a big part in the Garden of Steven.
Hand-painted tin 'retablos' are one of the artesian crafts available as a reward. These fascinating folk parables play a big part in the Garden of Steven.
Dark and stormy Maximon dolls, handcrafted in Guatemala. This gluttonous folk saint causes some mischeif in The Garden of Steven.
Dark and stormy Maximon dolls, handcrafted in Guatemala. This gluttonous folk saint causes some mischeif in The Garden of Steven.
Some hand-made Guatemalan textiles which we will hand-select for you!
Some hand-made Guatemalan textiles which we will hand-select for you!
One of the recycled-plastic tote bags available as a reward. These things are tough enough to carry our extension cords to set, and stylish to boot.
One of the recycled-plastic tote bags available as a reward. These things are tough enough to carry our extension cords to set, and stylish to boot.

How to use Kickstarter

On the right-hand side, you'll see the list of Pledge Levels. Kickstarter makes it possible for you to donate to our project in exchange for some great rewards we've picked out, involvement in our project, and our undying gratitude. Pick a contribution level that feels right, click, and you can send us a pledge through Amazon Checkout. Please note that we'll only receive the funding if we meet our goal.

More about the Film, Por Favor.  

Ok, here's a longer synopsis: Steven Castle wakes up every day trying desperately to do right, but can't seem to stop smacking straight into wrong. Armed with competing tastes for drink, women, and scripture, he heads out to pound the pavement of Antigua, Guatemala. A shepherd in search of wayward sheep, Steven meets a young sage, a puckish saint and, finally, the irresistible Magdalena. When she invites him to a seedy watering hole where the 'locals hang out,' Steven starts his journey on a quixotic spiral to the depths. Can he find a soul to save other than his own? Before it's all over, Steven will have a whole new host of spirits to answer to.

What else

In addition to thanking you for reading this far, a thousand thank yous to the volunteer operators who made our Get the Guilt Out Telethon a blast: Meghan Keener, Cameron Archer, Evelyn Smith, Alice Corcoran, Nora Rappaport, Erik Herring, Drew Bollinger, Ryder Haske, Luke Meinzen, and Steven Mercado. Special thanks to the Affinity Lab shared workspace in DC. 

FAQ

  • - We set a goal ($30,000)

    - We set a deadline (July 7th)

    - You pledge whatever you can to help us reach that goal. We give you awesome rewards in return.

    - You spread the word to the people you think would also love to get involved and help make the film a reality. If we reach (or hopefully, exceed) our goal by the deadline, your credit card is charged, we get our funding, and you get the reward you chose.

    - If we don't reach our goal by the deadline, your credit card is NOT charged, and the film goes un-made. But let's not let that happen!

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  • We're looking to have a festival submission cut in mid-September, and a final version for the masses by Jan. 2013.

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  • Sure! Why not. Kickstarter will allow as much money as is given before the deadline. Additional money beyond the goal would allow us much more flexibility in producing this film and allow us to submit it to more film festivals and attract the interest of a larger distributor.

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  • YES! Once you donate to our campaign, you may want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount. To do so, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our campaign page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a new incentive.

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  • It's one of the goals of the production to give back to the local economy in Guatemala. In addition to using Guatemalan cast and crew members, we're excited about supporting local artisans through our rewards. We're working with reputable, conscientious local advisors to source these goods properly.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    5 backers

    High-five for Five! A warm thank-you for being a supporter of our project. We'll keep you updated on our progress.

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    38 backers

    Receive an HD digital download of The Garden of Steven (HD TGOS). You helped make it. Now watch it.

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    59 backers

    (HD TGOS) + A small handmade souvenir + behind the scenes (BTS) featurette of our Guatemalan adventure. Someone is bound to lose a limb.

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    42 backers Limited (8 left of 50)

    (HD TGOS & BTS) + Locally made, stylish, and extremely durable recycled plastic Guatemalan tote bag. Shame your fellow Whole Foods shoppers. Ira Glass would kill for one of these things.

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  • Pledge $85 or more
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    2 backers

    (HD TGOS & BTS) + Garden Of Steven Seed Bag from the Seed Savers Exchange. Start a garden of your own, no matter what your name is.

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    31 backers

    (HD TGOS & BTS) + A TGOS original, illustrated, religious tract (RT) by our Art Director Cory Osborn. Steven hands these out on the streets of Antigua in the film.

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    8 backers

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT) + Ian Fay's voice on your personal voicemail. This man makes Carl Kasell and James Earl Jones sound like Kathy Griffen and Bobcat Goldthwait.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    11 backers

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT) + A colorful hand-woven Guatemalan textile (scarf, blanket, bedspread, or the like), procured in the markets by our ever-stylish Costume Designer.

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  • Pledge $350 or more
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    2 backers

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT) + A blown-up original photo from one of our lovely locations as shot and selected by Director of Photography Nathan Golon.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT) + A one-of-a-kind, hand-painted 'Retablo'. Folk art masterpieces done on tin. The subjects of these range from the every day to the devilish. Either way, they're gorgeous. Our main character Steven finds these tantalizing and so do we.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT) + A handmade Maximón doll. Maximón is the folk saint of western Guatemala and the original Man In Black. As a puckish, hedonistic holy man, of course Maximón shows up in The Garden Of Steven.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    8 backers

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT) + An Associate Producer (AP) credit in the film + A marked-up copy of the director's shooting script + a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted 'Retablo' + an invite to our first screening party.

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  • Pledge $2,500 or more
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    0 backers

    (HD TGOS, BTS, RT, & AP) + Ian Fay (the sweaty pastor from the kickstarter video) will officiate your wedding. (And stay for the reception to charm and distract your mother in law for the duration of the evening). If you're not tying the knot, pick any of the previous incentives instead and, regardless, come to our first screening party.

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT & AP) + You are cordially invited to the only day of shooting we'll be doing in the U.S. for The Garden of Steven. Come see the studio madness first-hand and earn that Associate Producer credit. Then celebrate with us at our first screening party.

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    (HD TGOS, BTS, & RT) + Executive Producer Credit + Expenses-paid travel with the Team to Guatemala to shoot the film or to our festival preview. You are a super hero and we bow before you.

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Funding period

- (30 days)