About this project
We invite you to participate in the making of the Brothers Jarrett's first feature film, THE TAIWAN OYSTER.
If you have ever wanted to be involved (or more involved) in the Film Industry and haven't had the chance, now is the perfect opportunity to take the plunge. Donating to a script (no donation is too small), watching it develop into a film, and being personally connected to the final product provides a rewarding and unique experience that you can be proud of.
Kickstarter is a forum that allows many people to take on a small part in creating a film. The money we raise through Kickstarter will represent a portion of our production budget that will go directly onto the screen. Most of the funds will help pay for camera rentals, crew, and actors (scale will be SAG ultra low budget). In Taiwan, we have an amazing network of friends and business associates. These relationships have already helped us beyond all expectation with many of our pre-production needs (scouting locations, casting, grant writing, housing, transportation, etc.) allowing us to put your funding towards filming. I.E. your money goes directly onto the Screen.
THE TAIWAN OYSTER is fortunate to have a strong team assembled. The producing team of Mark Jarrett, Mitchell Jarrett, Jordan Heimer, and Paul Knaus have enlisted the help of producer Evan Fleischer (Peabody Award winner for Beyond Borders: Personal Stories from a Small Planet) and consulting producer Anish Savjani (Hannah Takes the Stairs, Wendy and Lucy).
A little about the picture:
After the tragic death of a newly arrived Ex-pat, ESL kindergarten teachers Simon and Darin steal the corpse in order to perform the final rites for the fallen stranger. Their quest for the perfect burial spot becomes a quixotic odyssey along Taiwan’s picturesque East Coast Highway, where they encounter welcoming families, violent gangsters, personal demons, and Nikita, their traveling companion. The duty, transport, and dementia fueled by frequent substance abuse, ignites an internalization in all three characters as they define their personal feelings concerning mortality, purpose, burial rites and the concept of legacy.
The film addresses the universal questions that arise when one is confronted with an untimely death, explores the unique cultures of Taiwan, and probes a Southeast Asian Ex-pat experience.
The film is a dark comedy that will stay within the narrative channel markers of the classic American road movie (Last Detail, Easy Rider, Badlands) while visually breaking away from the reigning, retro-The Graduate, "indie" aesthetic that relies heavily on a muted color palette, often predictable irony and 90 degree frame symmetry.
Stylistically, the film will pay homage to Pierrot Le Fou, Tampopo, and American Friend through costume and production design.
After earning a BA from the University of Georgia (Athens), director Mark Jarrett moved to Taichung, Taiwan where he taught English for 3 years. While in Taiwan, Mark co-founded (w/ writer Rob Adams) a literary zine actually called "The Taiwan Oyster." Mark returned to the U.S. in 2001 and began working in the film industry. Producer, Mitchell Jarrett first visited Taiwan in 2000. Both, having established lifelong friendships on the island, have since been back to travel and visit on many subsequent trips. The most recent of which, in March 2009, was to begin scouting and meeting with film commissions about the creation of THE TAIWAN OYSTER film.
So… why Taiwan?
Taiwan straddles the Tropic of Cancer off the coast of Mainland China. Majestic mountains, craggy cliff faces, windblown rice paddies, small townships and a long, rolling, lolling highway lines the Eastern seaboard. A more welcoming corner of the world may not exist. The citizens are generous, accommodating and fun loving.
THE TAIWAN OYSTER is set at the turn of the Millennium (March 2000), thirteen years from the lifting of Marshall law rule. At the time, the Republic of China (ROC) was still developing its identity and a democratic government. Gangsters had strongholds on some of the outlying townships. Referred to by many as the “Wild, Wild East,” Taiwan in Y2K could be an unruly place, especially for wai guo rens (foreigners/outsiders). A perfect time and place to set a road picture where two friends come to terms with their own concepts of death while searching for a serene place to lay the body of a fallen countryman to rest.
Any film coming to life is a bit of a miracle. The time necessary to develop, fund, film, edit, market, and distribute a project is vast. The number of people needed to help properly capture the vision is uncountable. However, the joy in seeing the fruits of immense hard work and uncountable creative ideas come to fruition on screen will be immeasurable. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
If you are interested in learning more about the film please visit our website at www.spoonbillpictures.com
(Although the majority of the cast and crew will be based in Taiwan, some flights will need to be purchased for the principal actors, keys, and producers. So, please contact us if you have air-miles to donate.)
"Lion Dancer" photo used with permission from Magnum Photos