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When having a relationship with a real human being is too hard, where do you turn?
129 backers pledged $12,411 to help bring this project to life.

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SILICONE SOUL- A DOCUMENTARY

When having a relationship with a real human being is too hard, where do you turn?

WHAT IS THIS DOCUMENTARY ABOUT? 

Silicone Soul explores the emotional connection some people have to their synthetic companions and what that means for the future of human relationships. Ultimately, this is a film about love, loneliness, secrets and, perhaps, acceptance. Who are we to judge who…or what…people choose to love?

WHO AM I?

My name is Melody Gilbert and I have been making feature-length independent documentaries for 15 years (click here to see my website with links to trailers for all my films). Some of you may know my films A LIFE WITHOUT PAIN (about 3 kids who can’t feel pain), or URBAN EXPLORERS: INTO THE DARKNESS (about people who explore places most people would never go) or WHOLE (about healthy people who want to be an amputee). Or maybe you saw my very first film, MARRIED AT THE MALL, about people who get married at the largest shopping mall in the U.S., or my doc about the former Vice President of the United States under Jimmy Carter, FRITZ: THE WALTER MONDALE STORY, or my most recent film, THE SUMMER HELP.  All of my docs have been in prestigious film festivals and received international distribution (and most were on Netflix and iTunes). I have also been the producer of several award-winning documentaries, including the recent film festival hit and James Beard winner THE STARFISH THROWERS as well as WOMEN OUTWARD BOUND. My new project, SILICONE SOUL, will be my seventh feature-length film as a director/producer/cinematographer. I’m asking you — the people who know me as a filmmaker or are interested in this subject or maybe you are just someone who wants to support true independent filmmakers — to be part of my newest journey!

WHY AM I MAKING THIS FILM AND WHY NOW?

“I couldn’t imagine how you could possibly make me care about these people. And you did.” — A viewer of the rough cut of Silicone Soul

I have always been drawn to outsiders, underdogs and subcultures. I’ve made films about urban explorers, amputee-wannabes and kids who can’t feel pain (read more about my previous films here). Recently, I became interested in the growing subculture of people who live with and love life-sized and lifelike silicone dolls that look real and feel real. For the past three years, I have delved into this world. It might not be for everyone, but hopefully you’re thinking: “Fascinating.”

John's "wife" Jackie
John's "wife" Jackie

These are the kinds of topics and people I’m drawn to. I'm excited to have an opportunity to tell non-judgmental stories about interesting people who bravely open up and share their secrets and stories with me.

I believe this film will force people to look deep inside themselves and find empathy and acceptance for those who live along the fringes of society.

Here are a few other reactions to the rough cut:

• “You could have so easily mocked, but you chose to tell their story with compassion."

• “All of the characters are extremely interesting.”

• “The way you get these folks to open up and show their genuine love for their synthetic partners was awesome.”

The psychologist and author Dr. Danielle Knafo  (check out her new book on this subject) is the only expert studying this topic and she tells me that in 20 years, synthetic relationships will be normal. Think about that!

Silicone Soul is about people who live with and love dolls, yes. But ultimately, it’s a documentary about so much more. It challenges us to ask questions about who we are and where we are going as a society and portends some difficult questions about the future of human relationships.

In the end, my films don’t tell you what to think, they create conversations. I hope you will consider being a partner with me on that journey with Silicone Soul.

"Davecat" with his "wife" and "mistress."
"Davecat" with his "wife" and "mistress."

 

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

My filmmaking journey has taken me through many phases. This one has taken me back to my roots as a filmmaker, where I work mostly solo. Like most of my earlier films, that means I directed, produced and shot most of the footage (although this time I am sharing the cinematography credit with a talented former student of mine from AUBGIgor Myakotin, a budding documentary filmmaker who recently graduated from The New School in N.Y.) .

We have a rough cut! Your support of this campaign will give the film everything it needs to get closer to reaching the masses:

  • professional editing
  • composer
  • animator
  • sound designer
  • sound mixer
  • color grading

These are among the things that go into mastering and finishing the final cut along with preparations for a world premiere in 2018. (Note: we have interest from a prestigious film festival for the premiere, but I can't say where yet, but it's a very exciting possibility!).

This is the bare minimum I need to finish the rough cut. Most of the team is working for deferred compensation, which means I will pay them when I raise some funds. So please help me pay them!

I am so close, but I need your help to get over the finish line. All contributions come with a reward, which you can see in the column on the right. If I don't reach the goal, I do not get to keep the funds, so it's important to not wait to donate.  

It's not easy for me to ask for help, and I am grateful to each and every one of you.  So I thank you in advance for any contribution.

PLEASE HELP ME SPREAD THE WORD!

If you can’t donate, you can help by spreading the word. Do you know someone who likes to help independent filmmakers? Please share this campaign with them!  Spread the word on social media (and follow and tag Melody on FB and Twitter and Instagram.). And please "like" the FB page for the movie. Also, please share a link to this campaign with your friends via email with a personal message telling them about this project. It’s been proven that successful campaigns happen when supporters share the campaign directly via email and ask others to get involved. Thank you!

THE TEAM

These are the people you will be supporting with your contributions:

Read more about the team here on the Silicone Soul website.

Thanks for your support and for being part of my newest filmmaking journey!

Yours in Docs, Melody Gilbert

John and Jackie visit with a neighbor
John and Jackie visit with a neighbor

 

Risks and challenges

Documentary filmmaking has inherent risks and challenges. One of the biggest challenges is anything that can stall production. Because we’ve completed the filming and the vast majority of the editing, we feel confident we can deliver a finished film in the next six months. All of my previous films have screened internationally at prestigious film festivals and been broadcast around the world as well as on iTunes and Netflix. I am well known for finishing the projects that I start. Fundraising has been the biggest challenge, and with your help we will finish this film and share it with the world and get some conversations started!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Social Media Shout Out

    A shout out on social media to each and every one of you who donates! We appreciate all of you!

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    Digital Download

    When the film is finished, we’ll send you a link so you can watch it in the comfort of your own home. Plus a shout out in social media, too!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Digital Download + One of Melody's Films

    Digital download of Silicone Soul when it’s finished plus pick a DVD (value $20) or digital download of any of melody’s previous films. Oh, and a shout out on social media, too!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Book by Dr. Danielle Knafo

    The next 5 donors of $50 or more will receive a free copy of a new book by psychologist and author Dr. Danielle Knafo (http://danielleknafo.com) about synthetic companions, desire, and technology in psychoanalysis and culture. "The Age of Perversion" is a fascinating read that helps us think about the future of human relationships!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Your Name in the Credits + More

    Watch your name go by in the credits on the big screen + 2 DVDs (or digital downloads) of any of melody’s previous films (value: $40). And shout out on social media, too!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Your name in credits + 3 DVDs

    Your name in the credits on the big screen + 3 DVDs (or digital downloads) of any of melody’s previous films (value: $60). And shout out on social media, too, of course!

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Tickets to the Premiere + More

    Wherever the film makes its world premiere, we’ll get you two tickets to that screening and you can join us as our special guests at our after party! You will also get an on-screen credit, a digital download of Silicone Soul, a Melody Gilbert DVD collection (value $100) and social media shout-out.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Lunch with the Director + More

    Join director Melody Gilbert in Minneapolis or Chicago for lunch (Melody's treat!) where she’ll spill her secrets for telling compelling stories as a documentary filmmaker. Plus, if you have a film you are working on, she'll take a look and offer you feedback. Plus, you'll receive a DVD collection of all of Melody’s films (value $100) (www.frozenfeetfilm.com) +a digital download of Silicone Soul + an on-screen credit, and a shout out on social media, of course!

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

    Director Brings Film to YOU

    The director Melody Gilbert will bring any of her films to your home or community event and stay for a Q&A with your audience and take you and a few friends to lunch or dinner after the screening. Must be within 500 miles driving distance of Minneapolis (unless you pay for the airfare to bring her somewhere else). Digital download of Silicone Soul included for the host along with a "Melody Gilbert DVD Collection" of her previous films (value $100). On-screen credit and thanks on social media, too!.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Associate Producer Credit + More

    Wherever the film makes its world premiere, we’ll get you two tickets to that screening so you can see your name on the big screen as Associate Producer! We’ll also invite you to dinner with the crew on opening night (but you will be on your own for travel/accommodations) because you will be happy to see your name as "Associate Producer" in the credits :). Of course you will get a big social media shout out, a digital download of Silcone Soul along with a "Melody Gilbert DVD Collection" of all of Melody's previous films. You are now an Associate Producer!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Executive Producer Credit

    Admit it! You have always wanted to be an Executive Producer of a movie :). Now is the time. See your name scroll by on the big screen with your name in lights at a film festival. You'll get the Executive Producer credit, 2 tickets to the world premiere (travel/accommodations not included), a big social media shout out, a digital download of Silicone Soul along with a "Melody Gilbert DVD Collection" of all of Melody's previous films. Oh, and enormous gratitude from me.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    NEW! WATCH ROUGH CUT on 11/28 (MSP ONLY)

    Invitation to watch the rough cut with a small group of people in St. Paul. Minnesota, on November 28th at 7:30pm. If you select this reward, you will be notified of the location and other details via email. Come give me feedback before I finish the film! Only 8 seats available!

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Funding period

- (18 days)