Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
“A is for Aye-Aye” is a short film, an alphabetical journey that creates phantasmagorical new worlds from found images.
In a new short film that mixes live action with animation, a young girl brings 100 years of images to life when she befriends an aye-aye, a lemur from Madagascar, in the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection.
In a new short film that mixes live action with animation, a young girl brings 100 years of images to life when she befriends an aye-aye, a lemur from Madagascar, in the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection.
94 backers pledged $15,187 to help bring this project to life.

About

A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure

$15,187

94

THE CONCEPT

An “abecedarian" is defined as a person learning their ABCs, or a beginner in all things. My film will combine live action and animation to make use of both concepts, referencing the structure of an abecedary (or alphabet book) and evoking the boundless imagination of a “beginner in all things.”

Beautiful title card designed by animator Sabina Hahn and available as a carry bag in our gifts section.
Beautiful title card designed by animator Sabina Hahn and available as a carry bag in our gifts section.

THE COLLABORATORS

The actress, director, and casting director Natasha Yannacanedo is working with me on casting and performance for the live-action portions of the film. I am also very excited to be working with animator Sabina Hahn and composer Greg Karnilaw on this project. DP Juan Carlos Borrero is now on board, and our Associate Producer, Nick Barranco, has been hard at work for a few months now on A is for Aye-Aye. Together, we want to bring you the layered story of a young girl who wanders into an adult world and makes it her own, using the power of her imagination to create new worlds.

THE INSPIRATION

"A is for Aye-Aye" is inspired by The New York Public Library’s Picture Collection, located in the Mid-Manhattan Library (http://www.nypl.org/locations/tid/45/node/63128 ). The Picture Collection’s alphabetically organized folders of over 1 million image clippings have been providing inspiration to artists, historians, fashion designers, and filmmakers since the collection opened in 1915. A large part of its eccentric charm is the fact that its system of organization has changed little since the collection’s inception, which makes it an immensely rich scrapbook of visual culture filled with odd juxtapositions like “Avian development” and “Automata.”

N is for Nurses, Newstands, Niagara Falls and Nigeria, click to see more stills on our Facebook page.
N is for Nurses, Newstands, Niagara Falls and Nigeria, click to see more stills on our Facebook page.

THE STORY

A is for Aye-Aye opens with live-action footage of a nine year-old girl who walks down Fifth Avenue, past the majestic lions of The New York Public Library, and wanders into the Picture Collection. She takes a seat among adults studiously searching through piles of clippings and begins to examine a pile of folders on the desk in front of her. As she looks through them, she is sucked into an animated world created from the images in the folders; a world which pulls her through the alphabet and out the other side. This digital animation will be created using juxtaposed cut-outs of figures and settings from the Picture Collection. As the girl flips through various images from folders beginning with the letter A, she comes to the folder “Animals: A-L,” which contains a 19th Century engraving of an aye-aye, a lemur from Madagascar. The aye-aye suddenly jumps off the page and into a print from “Bathing beaches – 1899 & earlier,” where a Victorian bathing beauty shrieks and runs away, followed by the aye-aye, who bumps into a burglar held at gunpoint in an early Colt revolver advertisement (from the “Burglary” folder). In the confusion, the aye-aye escapes to “Castles: Germany,” where dancing “Costumes” from various eras are dancing. A “Dirigible” takes the aye-aye into a “Desert,” and the aye continues into a series of alphabetical worlds formed using images from the collection. Knights Knitting In Krygystan (K), Gauchos at Gibraltar (G), as well a  Nurses and Newstands in Niagara Falls (N), are just a few of the alphabetical worlds the aye-aye will traverse.

At the end of this short film, a door will close in an image from “Zoological Gardens”, and the girl will find herself back in the real world, walking back up Fifth Avenue. As she passes the library's lions again, we see that a small procession of animated figures (the aye-aye, bathing beauty, burglar, a gaucho, a hypnotist, and Ice truck, etc.) are following behind her. Most of the procession will find their way into the main library as the aye-aye hops into the picture collection portfolio carried by the young girl, who walks down the avenue and out of frame.

Amazing plates donated by John Derian Company
Amazing plates donated by John Derian Company

GIFTS

In addition to digital downloads and DVDs, we have some other unique gifts for supporters We have the support of great donors like John Derian Company, who have donated 10 beautiful alphabetical plates, each decoupaged by hand onto handblown glass! Madiba Restaurant will host an exclusive screening of the completed film for donors of $150 or more. For $250, you can buy a letter and your name (or a friend's if you choose) will be prominently featured in the credits - "The Letter Y is brought to you by Your Name Here. And, for only $500, Managing Librarian of the Mid-Manhattan Library's Art & Picture Collections, Billy Parrot, will give you a behind-the-scenes tour of the Picture Collection, a truly amazing experience for any lover of print culture and visual ephemera.

WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN MAKE A IS FOR AYE-AYE A REALITY

I plan to complete this film in time for the official celebrations of the Picture Collection's centennial in 2015. With your contributions, I will shoot the live action portion of the film, work with animator Sabina Hahn to create the animation, record the music composed by Greg Karnilaw, and edit the piece together in time to present it as my own birthday present to the Picture Collection. Please support us at any level and help us get the word out about this project. Thank you for your support!

Risks and challenges

All film projects encounter obstacles, and part of the excitement of directing and producing is solving them on the fly. But, every bit of preparation you do also helps.

My production team will be of extreme importance as I meet any challenges along the way. I have a very capable Associate Producer, Nicholas Barranco, working on the project and two fantastic student interns, Forest Erwin and Alex James. With the help of Casting and Performance Consultant Natasha Yannacanedo, Animator Sabina Hahn, Composer Greg Karnilaw, Editor Chris Arnold, and a community of Kickstarter backers, we will create an amazing film inspired by the New York Public Library's Picture Collection.

I have been researching images for this project since 2010, so I'm confident we can complete A is for Aye-Aye by the end of 2014. Problems and delays could occur, however, with outputs and with integrating live action footage and animation. Again, research and preparation should help us avoid such issues, but if we do encounter such delays, I will be sure to keep donors in the loop and to provide a revised time frame.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Receive a digital download link for "A is for Aye-Aye".

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    FOR LIBRARIANS ONLY
    This is a special reward category to show how much we appreciate the work librarians do.
    Receive a download link to the completed film, PLUS a special thanks in the film's credits, and one A is for Aye-Aye button.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Receive a digital download link for "A is for Aye-Aye" and THREE custom Aye-Aye buttons.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Receive a DVD copy of "A is for Aye-Aye" plus a digital download link for "A is for Aye-Aye" and 3 custom Aye-Aye buttons.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Receive a DVD of "The Hand of Fatima" (http://www.thehandoffatima.com), due out in November 2010 Featuring amazing extras from interviews with Donovan, Lenny Kaye, Ned Sublette, and many others, plus more music shot on location in the village of Jajouka. Also receive a digital download link for "A is for Aye-Aye" and THREE custom Aye-Aye buttons.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get a digital download of A is for Aye-Aye plus a signed copy of Love: An Index by poet Rebecca Lindenberg. Vanity Fair said it was “An A-to-Z collection of poems that are passionate, plainspoken, elegiac, and lyric as they capture the moments of a life shared.” And Jane Hirshfield called it “an utterly startling, muscular, heartbreaking book.” It’s actually much better than that. And we have 10 signed copies from the author to give as donor gifts!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Beautiful reusable canvas bag featuring A is for Aye-Aye title card image designed by Animator Sabina Hahn.Also receive a digital download link for "A is for Aye-Aye" and THREE custom Aye-Aye buttons.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    14 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde, a 7-DVD Boxed Set! These originally sold for $100 and feature hundreds of films from makers including Eisenstein, Walker Evans, Lois Weber, Man Ray, Orson Welles, and many others! Plus download link for A is for Aye-Aye.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Receive a signed 13.5"x 24" print of one animation still from the film plus 3 A is for Aye-Aye buttons. See possible stills at our Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/aisforayeaye
    Also receive a digital download link for "A is for Aye-Aye" and THREE custom Aye-Aye buttons.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Invitation to an exclusive director's screening of the completed film and one drink at Madiba Restaurant in Fort Greene. Also, receive a digital download link, DVD copy of "A is for Aye-Aye," three buttons, one 13.5"X 24" signed animation still and an invitation to a private screening with the director in NYC.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A signed copy of Anthology co-founder Mekas’ book JUST LIKE A SHADOW, which features incredible prints of frames from Jonas’ Bolex footage of subjects ranging from Yoko Ono and Lou Reed to a fabulous ginger cat. This gift also includes a beautiful black Anthology Film Archives tote with the text in Anthology co-founder George Maciunas’ script. Plus a Download link for A is for Aye-Aye and an invitation to our preview screening at Madiba Restaurant in Brooklyn.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    John Derian Alphabetical decoupage plate. Derian's decoupage is handmade in their New York studio using reproduced imagery from John Derian's vast collection of antique and vintage prints. Trained artisans cut and collage our designs onto handblown glass plates. Plates are 3"x10", and we have the letters C, F, I, M, N, P, Q/R, T, W, and Y. (2 plates are pictured on our Kickstarter page, please email us for an image of one of the other letters.) Also includes invitation to private screening and one drink at Madiba Restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Buy a vowel. (Or a consonant, if you prefer.) Be very prominently featured in the credits for Abecedarian with a large title filling the whole screen for a few seconds that reads “The letter A is brought to you by…. (your name here).” Buy one for yourself: “The letter J is brought to you by John Doe.” Or to honor a friend or relative: “The letter G is brought to you by John Doe’s Grandma.” Also, receive a digital download link, DVD copy of "A is for Aye-Aye," three buttons, one signed animation still and an invitation to a private screening with the director in NYC. 11 Letters were purchased in our previous campaign (Thank You 2010 Backers!). At the start of this campaign we have the following letters left:
    A, B, D, E, F, H, I, K, N, O, P, S, T, U, W, and Y!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Screen the movie of your choice at New York's Anthology Film Archives for 70 of your closest friends. Anthology has state of the art projection in film and video. Through their generosity, we are able to offer you this screening of ANYTHING YOU CHOOSE (and provide) for less than half the cost of taking your 70 friends to the movies at full ticket price. Also, receive a digital download link, DVD copy of "A is for Aye-Aye," three buttons, one 13.5" x 24" signed animation still and an invitation to a private screening with the director in NYC. (Time and date of screening to be arranged at the mutual convenience of Anthology and winning Kickstarter backer.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Receive an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the Picture Collection with Billy Parrot, Managing Librarian, Mid-Manhattan Library, Art and Picture Collections.

    Also, receive a digital download link, DVD copy of "A is for Aye-Aye," three buttons, one 13.5" x 24" signed animation still and an invitation to a private screening with the director in NYC.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    This reward makes you an Executive Producer.
    You will receive this title in the film's credits.
    You are also entitled to any and all of the rewards at lower levels that you request - a Letter of your choice in the credits, a print, an invitation to the private screening and a library too! Of course, DVDs, digital downloads and a totebag will also be yours!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (33 days)