HARD PROMISES is an uncompromising portrait of Anna Clemens, a woman grappling with grief and depression, after the unexpected death of her estranged husband.
During the course of the film we witness Anna struggling with the minutiae of everyday life. Her loss has completely overtaken her world and even the smallest tasks seem monumental.
But as Anna starts to re-connect with the outside world, things begin to turn around. However, the victories are small, and the relapses into mental anguish are gigantic.
Can Anna climb out of this hole and move forward?
HARD PROMISES is an attempt to portray depression and bereavement in a way that is not shown in Hollywood films. These things are true mental ailments, sicknesses that largely go ignored in our society. That's why I wanted to tell Anna's story. Because in a way, it's everyone's story.
WHY THIS FILM IS IMPORTANT
I have dealt with loss and depression throughout my whole life and I can tell you that it is a lonely, unforgiving and scary place to be. When you're in the throes of these dark times, it feels like you will never get out. The smallest tasks feel completely overwhelming, time moves so slowly that you're left feeling lost and absolutely defeated. You attempt to find anything that validates your mental state, your dark unfeelings.
Writing HARD PROMISES was one of the hardest things I've ever done because it made me face things in a very unflinching and unapologetic way. Most movies treat loss, grief and depression as a passing phase, but for people who truly suffer from this mental illness it is not something that goes away. Sometimes it's better, sometimes you're even happy. But the threat of falling back into that dark hole always looms just behind you.
I wanted to show that part of grief and depression. The smallness of it, the minutiae. I wanted to be honest without giving a cookie cutter happy ending. And though our heroin grows and some of her darkness subsides, she will always have this loss.
All in all, I wanted to make a film for people that never felt understood.
CAST AND CREW
I am so lucky to have amassed such an amazingly talented pool of collaborators. We've already cast the film and our actors are absolutely incredible. Behind the camera, we've got a group of absolute killers signed on to make this film a reality!
JEFFREY W. RUGGLES (Writer, Director)
Jeffrey grew up in the Midwest and now lives and works in Los Angeles. For the last ten years he has cut his teeth as a television producer. Using the skills gleaned from his television jobs, he has produced and directed a variety of personal projects including five short films and two features including Bicycle Lane (2009), which was shot on the sly around Los Angeles in five days for $3,000. In 2013, he was an associate producer on Chad Hartigan’s This is Martin Bonner, which won the “Best of NEXT” prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
KELSEY DYER (Producer)
Kelsey Dyer is an east coast native and former music video producer, working for the last six years in post-production for reality television. A firm proponent of the need for creative and meaningful outlets to the daily grind, but more importantly, a woman with a strong, personal connection to family and friends battling to survive anxiety and depression, and equally importantly to those who have not, Kelsey is grateful to be a part of a filmmaking collective dedicated to the artistic, intimate representation of such significant characters and subject matter.
JORDAN BOGDONAVAGE (Producer)
Jordan Bogdonavage is an Emmy Award winning producer who has worked in the film industry for the last 15 years. Some of his previous producing credits include the award-winning programs, Whale Wars for Animal Planet, and Home Made Simple for OWN. He is currently a Supervising Producer for 3Ball Productions, working on the Bar Rescue franchise for Spike.
MARIO PANAGIOTOPOULOS (Director of Photography)
Mario Panagiotopoulos is an Emmy-nominated cinematographer who previously collaborated with Jeff on his short film Queen's Day. He is known for documentaries such as HBO Film's Mapplethorpe. As well as the director of critically acclaimed docu-series True Tori.
JEFF GARBER (Composer)
Hailing from Altadena, CA (via Illinois) J Paul Garber has been quietly making his presence known over the past twenty years with the bands National Skyline & Year of the Rabbit, as well as a burgeoning film and TV composer. Garber moved to Los Angeles in 2001 under the suggestion of producer/engineer/mixer Ken Andrews (Paramour, M83). Andrews and Garber formed Year Of The Rabbit and were successfully signed to Elektra records. An album appeared in 2003 followed by tours with A Perfect Circle and Pete Yorn. After the demise of Elektra Records, Garber trained as an engineer and producer under Andrews throughout the 2000’s. With the release of National Skyline’s 2009’s epic Bliss & Death, Garber drew the attention of several key figures at MTV. The self-released album had several television-worthy songs featured on shows such as The Hills, Jersey Shore, and Teen Mom. Garber went on to provide thousands of music tracks for shows on ABC, NBC, Fox, AMC, and many more. Garber has been awarded SESAC’s Honors In Cable Television for 5 years running. Garber is currently composer for TV Land’s “Lopez” and is assistant composer to Siddhartha Khosla (This Is Us, The Royals) Garber writes and records music in a small studio in his garage in Altadena, CA
NICOLE DUPORT (Actress)
Nicole DuPort is a California native, born in Sonoma and raised in San Diego. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Nicole soon earned lead roles in several award-winning independent films, such as LionsGate’s Tooth & Nail, IFC’s Southern Gothic, and Sonata, which earned her The Jack Nance Breakthrough Performance Award. Nicole has guest starred on numerous television programs - most notably, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS and Rizzoli & Isles. She trained at New York’s Circle in the Square and studies improv and sketch at Upright Citizens Brigade. Nicole can next be seen recurring on Amazon’s The Last Tycoon and playing singer/songwriter Amy Grant in The Erwin Brothers’ I Can Only Imagine, due in theaters Spring 2018.
LIESEL KOPP (Actress)
Liesel has appeared in Equity-waiver plays and indie films, as well as in TV shows such as Masters of Sex, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Parenthood, and Men of a Certain Age. She currently co-hosts a children’s comedic/educational web series (MrClown.TV) created by a former Emmy Award-winning co-executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, and had a blast doing episodes with Allison Janney, Ray Romano, Camryn Manheim, and Domenick Lombardozzi.
While this film is squarely in the "no-budget" world of independent filmmaking, it still costs a lot of money to make movies! Being that this is a small, deliberate, character driven chamber piece, we wanted to make sure that we were truly in charge of making the movie that we wanted to make. We wanted to be honest and true in our artistry! And that's why we're here! To find like minded people that want to be challenged by cinema!
The $12,000 dollars we raise will get us KICKSTARTED into this process! It's going to help us get a great camera package, pay our wonderful actors, feed our crew, secure locations for the film, get us started in post production and ultimately help us find an audience for this film at festivals!
With your help, we can make a truly independent film and put it into the world!
Risks and challenges
HARD PROMISES is not an "easy" film. The subject matter is challenging and so is the deliberate pacing and aesthetic of the story. But the issues we tackle in this film are real. They're not going to go away just because we don't want to talk about them. And this is the exact reason why a film like HARD PROMISES should be made.
In the end, we want to give ourselves the best opportunity to get this film into the world and working in the "no-budget" world allows us to make tough artistic decisions that will truly pay off!
With your help this film will get made and hopefully it will impact someone's life in a very positive way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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