About this project
Join our team! We've wanted to make a movie together since we first got to know each other! We co-wrote the screenplay and have been developing the project for the last two years. It's finally ready and we want you to be a part of making it with us.
embers is set in the future, nine years after the world has been infected with a neurological disease. Similar in effect to Korsakoff’s Syndrome, this disease creates a double amnesia in which past memories beyond early childhood cannot be recalled and new memories cannot be preserved. The infected are forced to live in an endless present.
This is a film about what remains after the end.
Five interwoven stories ask, without memory, how would we learn? love? communicate? What would we chose to do if there were no moral repercussions for any actions?
We follow a young boy as he loses his guardian and searches for a new home beyond the limits of the city. We share the confusion and intimacy of two lovers who wake up no longer recognizing each other but feeling strangely familiar. What will happen when they get separated? We experience struggle from the perspective of a young man in the midst of chaos and violence, where guilt is something forgotten by the next morning. When he becomes the victim, will he change? We see an old professor who can no longer remember how to read even his own books, as he realizes that to learn, he must teach.
Across the world, isolated in a high-tech, subterranean bunker, a girl and her father can afford protection from the disease – but at the expense of all other human contact. She questions the point of remembering your past if you have no future.
Trapped by their circumstances, our characters must find meaning in their lives not in progress through years but in the experience of moments. By looking at a vision of the world without memory, embers proves just how essential memory is to being human, and that our humanity is something that is impossible to forget.
WHY THIS? (A MESSAGE FROM CLAIRE)
Making a movie has been my goal in life since I was in elementary school. Followed closely by having a cat. I've spent the past 10 years training and developing my directing skills first as an assistant and then as a music video and commercial director and editor and I'm ready! I have a great cat, and It's time for the feature.
As you can imagine, choosing what to make your first movie about is really hard - it could be about anything! To try to figure out what's my unique perspective, what kind of story I could tell that is deeply personal to me, I had to question what makes me "me." In trying to describe my individual identity - I kept coming back to memory.
Everything I've experienced in my life so far has shaped who I am today, and many things I've learned or seen or read have inspired my dreams for the future. Without memory, what's left, who would I be? The idea of a world without memory where it is only possible to live in the present is both fascinating and terrifying to me.
Not only is science fiction my favorite genre, but it is the best forum for asking questions about the nature of our world through fiction - setting up a thought experiment like a living diorama and watching how things might play out if the variables were different.
embers is my way of adding to the incredible science fiction that has shaped my world while plunging into my own fears, nightmares, and dreams - my questions about what makes me who I am and what makes us uniquely human.
Your backing of this project is absolutely essential to making it happen! We can't make this movie without you!
embers has a modest budget as far as feature films go, but this is an ambitious project and we need you to make it happen. From years of experience in commercial and music video production, we know how to use a budget smartly and economically, creating production value for the lowest cost possible and making virtues out of limitations - making for a film that feels much bigger than the budget would suggest.
We already have use of an HD camera package that was generously donated to us as well as a company that has come on board to do all of the VFX for the film at an enormous discount. That is the equivalent of $80,000 for free! The $20,000 we raise on Kickstarter from you will be combined with a matching investment so that we can shoot the movie.
Your backing will be used to pay for location fees, equipment rentals, art department materials, and minimum scale for the actors who are generously giving their time to be a part of this project.
After we complete our rough cut, we have other investors who are willing to come on board to pay crew deferrals and finishing costs. But we need your backing first to make it happen!
Raising money on Kickstarter is really important for our project because unlike using purely traditional film financing methods, audience supported financing allows us to make a movie that is more independent, more our vision, and driven by creativity and artistry instead of the box office demands of larger, traditionally financed movies.
It means that we have to answer to less gatekeepers so we can make something that is the realization of our artistic vision instead something decided by a financial committee.
We (Claire & Charles) are a married creative team working together to realize our dreams. We believe that the role of film is not to simply entertain; but to create new images, perspectives, and ways of seeing.
Our crew is made up of professionals who have considerable experience in the film industry, but they are also our friends! This team has grown with us over nearly a decade. We've filmed together all over the world in some of the most geographically and culturally challenging locations. We’ve developed our working communication and short hand, we’ve strategized and problem solved, and – most important – have spent hundreds of days on-set developing our filmmaking skills, talents, and techniques.
We know how to take a modest budget and create a film that is ambitious, stylish, and looks like a million bucks!
Claire attended film school at NYU and graduated from UCLA with a degree in Comparative Literature. She works professionally as a director and editor of music videos and commercials. Her work has been screened in film festivals internationally and featured in magazines ranging from Shoot to Dazed and Confused to Danish film magazine Ekko. See her work at www.clairesquare.com
Sundance Fellow Charles Spano considers himself a follower of the Werner Herzog ideology of “rogue filmmaking” - an expert at guerrilla tactics, renegade budgeting, and filming in adverse conditions. He is an IFP No Borders Alumni, attended the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, had a project featured at the Sundance Producing Summit, and was invited to the inaugural Sundance Catalyst Weekend. His writing focuses on themes of communication and miscommunication, humans against nature, and humans against human nature.
Todd Somodevilla attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He has shot numerous commercials, music videos, and promos for clients including Victoria’s Secret, Verizon, Virgin Mobile, Travelocity, ESPN, and Syfy, and artists including Beyoncé, CeeLo, Will.i.am, Lou Reed, the Gossip, and Iggy Pop. Recently he shot the independent feature Lily & Kat. His short Sea Pavilion, co-written and co-directed with Marysia Makowska, won the Audience Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival. See his work at www.tas-dp.com
Gray Scott is a futurist / technology-philosopher, artist and writer. He is founder and CEO of SERIOUS WONDER™ a futuristic technology magazine and “idea lab" based in New York. He is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists as well as professional member of The World Future Society. Gray is quickly becoming widely recognized as one of the most exciting, and inspiring futurists of our time, speaking and writing on a variety of future technologies including artificial intelligence, wearable technologies, biomimetic design, transhumanism, sexbots, and digital life extension. View his work at www.grayscott.com
Risks and challenges
Any project this ambitious has risks involved, and undertaking an independent film production has it's own special challenges - but overcoming them is part of what makes it so exciting.
PERSEVERANCE - Shooting long hours on location in the ruins of abandoned buildings or out in the woods day after day is physically and emotionally challenging. We will be exhausted. It is going to test our willpower. But we will never give up.
TO USE LOGISTICAL AND FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS TO OUR ADVANTAGE - This is a small movie of big ideas. We don't want to make a cheap version of a blockbuster movie, we want to make a unique, exciting, and challenging independent movie which explores powerful ideas on its own terms. We need to use our financial limitations to inspire creative thinking and problem solving that will make a movie that stands on its own.
TIMING - Independent films not only require a compelling story, but threading the needle on a complex set of logistics. There is always the chance of delays because of location availability or actor schedules. When people are donating their time and services for free, it is necessary to work around their commitments: editorial and VFX can take longer than planned, we might have to wait for a time slot to open up for sound design. Financing can fall through, requiring us to go out and find more funding. In short, things can take longer than planned. But we will finish and release this movie!
TO REACH OUR AUDIENCE - These days with the proliferation of avenues of distribution the question is not how to get an indie film distributed, but how to connect it with it's audience. We have an audience engagement plan using story extensions and cross-platform media to find and get in direct contact with the people who will be fans of this film. We don't want to trick people into seeing this with deceptive marketing or pretending the movie is something it is not, we want to find our genuine audience!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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