Hello! My name is Amanda Blue Gotera, and I'm the writer and director of the short film Middle Witch. My team and I have spent the last five months getting ready to shoot this coming-of-age epic, and we're excited to invite you to join the Middle Witch family! – A.G.
My sisters and I grew up loving adventure fantasies like The Goonies and The NeverEnding Story, but we never saw ourselves reflected in them. So Middle Witch comes out of a serious need for more and better genre narratives that honor girlhood, particularly the experiences of girls of color.
We're crazy about Middle Witch's hero, teen witch-in-training Tasha Carver. After a giant bird monster snatches her little sister right out of the backyard, Tasha must race to the rescue across a vast wasteland, encountering obstacle after magical obstacle and grappling with her own shortcomings.
Middle Witch is set to start shooting on May 28 and will serve as my thesis film for my MFA from The University of Texas at Austin. We’re currently in the thick of pre-production and have a team of beautiful geniuses on board, but now we need your help to bring the magic of Middle Witch to life!
Middle Witch is an expensive undertaking. Like any film production, we need to pay for locations and feed our crew. But our old-school approach to special effects means extra costs.
Inspired by the elegant optical trickery and traditional creature effects of films like The NeverEnding Story and Return to Oz, we're building the world of Middle Witch with practical tricks, puppetry, and only the most minimal digital effects.
This is why we need your help. Middle Witch is fortunate to have a 2014 Princess Grace Film Scholarship and a production grant from the Austin Film Society, but we’re still short of the kind of capital we need to bring our practical effects to life.
Funding received through Kickstarter will go directly toward badly needed materials. Your support will put talons on our mythological bird, a skeletal structure inside our giant fish, and some real punch behind Tasha's witchcraft.
We've set ambitious goals for ourselves, but with you on board we'll be able to give Middle Witch the magic it deserves!
AMANDA GOTERA (writer and director) is a grad student filmmaker in UT's Radio-Television-Film Department. She loves Die Hard and Spirited Away, and she aims to make accessible genre media featuring women and girls of color and size.
In her time in Austin, KELLY OTA (producer) has produced four short films and written and directed five more. Her own thesis, the nostalgic coming-of-age narrative Eleanor and the Egg, is currently in post-production.
NATALIE SHEA (producer) has worked in production on features and television — including John Ridley’s American Crime and Kat Candler’s Hellion — as well as for the Texas Film Commission and the Austin Film Festival.
The work of JIM HICKCOX (cinematographer) has screened at numerous festivals - international, national, and imaginary. He's proud of his work, but won't say that if you talk to him in person.
JASON VINES (practical effects supervisor) is an actor, improviser, singer, and special effects artist living and working in Austin, TX. He loves creating strange creatures and bloody things that go bump in the night. He also loves bacon.
QIAN ZHUANG (editor) studied communication at Shanghai Jiaotong University before coming to Austin to study film production. She has experience in PR, journalism, and television, but her passion is in telling the stories of others.
Please note: the Middle Witch family is big, and these are only a few of us!
Risks and challenges
Every film production faces unforeseen challenges, and ours will be no different. Along with normal constraints like scheduling and location availability, we'll be contending with the Texas heat, animal actors, and time-intensive FX choreography.
That being said, we've also put together an all-star team of experienced and talented filmmakers who are committed not only to a fostering a safe and efficient production but also to making the best possible film. We've got our bases covered.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)