Join our collective unconscious
My name is Dan Schoenbrun. I live and work in Brooklyn.
I've put together a supergroup of a few of NYC's best independent filmmakers -- Josephine Decker (Thou Wast Mild and Lovely), Frances Bodomo (Afronauts), Lauren Wolkstein (Social Butterfly), Daniel Patrick Carbone (Hide Your Smiling Faces), and Lily Baldwin (Sleepover LA).
These are filmmakers whose work is inventive and adventurous, who have been supported by places like Sundance, SXSW, Berlin, Tribeca, and IFP, and who have been praised by The NY Times, The New Yorker, Indiewire, and Filmmaker Magazine. Together they're pretty much The Traveling Wilburys of ethereal, dreamlike microbudget filmmaking.
I'm working with these filmmakers to create a five-episode collaborative web series called collective:unconscious. Each episode will be directed by one of the filmmakers, adapting a dream that another one has had.
It's going to be strange and fun and different, and we need your help to make it happen.
How Will It Work?
First, each filmmaker will write a brief recollection describing a dream they've had. These statements can be as straightforward or as myopic as each filmmaker chooses.
Next, I'll shuffle the deck and assign each filmmaker someone else's dream to adapt.
Each filmmaker will have complete creative control over their adaptation. What they create can be anything. A straightforward read of the dream or a radical reinterpretation. Thirty seconds long or thirty minutes long. Any genre or format -- horror, animation, a musical, even a documentary.
Why Are We Doing This?
In my experience, filmmakers don't have enough chances to play. It's easy to lose years of your life trying to get a large-scale project off the ground. It's hard to find a reason to create something for the sake of creating something.
collective:unconscious is an opportunity for some of NYC's most adventurous filmmakers to experiment with their art outside of a traditional financing structure. To explore the strange middle-space between dreams and cinema, and to do so in an environment divorced from the pressures of the film industry.
Where will the money raised go?
We are raising our entire budget on Kickstarter. The money we raise will be divided five ways and split evenly amongst our participating filmmakers (after Kickstarter fees). The budget each filmmaker receives for their episode will be entirely dependent on how much we raise here.
Real talk: making a film is not cheap or easy. $3,000 (our Kickstarter goal divided by five) is an incredibly barebones production and post-production budget for a film of any length. Part of this experiment is to see just how much support we can get from our various communities on Kickstarter, and let that determine the scope of the project. Or, to put that another way, the more we raise, the more elaborate and ambitious each episode can and will be.
So who's involved?
Five filmmakers whose work I love and respect, who all make films that I feel flirt with representations of the dream state on screen.
Lily Baldwin is a filmmaker and dancer. Her films use choreography in stylized dreamscapes to drive narrative. Recent work includes Sleepover LA (SXSW 2014, Berlinale EFM, NOWNESS), A Juice Box Afternoon (Filmmaker Magazine, HollyShorts, Film Society at Lincoln Center), Sea Meadow (SXSW 2012, ShortsHD's Top 10 Emerging Directors To Watch, V&A Museum London, Art Basel Miami, Best of SXSW at St. Kilda’s). Music videos include Blood Orange: Sutphin Boulevard, The Forms: Fire To The Ground, Joan Osborne. She worked ten years as a professional dancer, performing with The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, The Trisha Brown Dance Company, among other NYC companies. Most recently, she performed with David Byrne on his EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS WILL HAPPEN TODAY World Tour, and in its documentary Ride Rise Roar (SXSW 2011). Presently she's developing a feature, Glass (IFP's Emerging Storytellers, The Screenwriters Colony residency in Nantucket), and two episodic series.
Frances Bodomo is a Ghanaian filmmaker & one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She grew up in Ghana, Norway, California, and Hong Kong before moving to New York to study film at Columbia University (BA) and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (MFA). Her first short film, Boneshaker (starring Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis), premiered at Sundance 2013 and played at over 20 film festivals including Telluride & SXSW. Her second short, Afronauts, premiered at the 2014 Sundance, Berlinale, and New Directors/New Films Festivals. It received the Grand Jury Prize at IFFBoston, Dallas International Film Festival, and New Orleans Film Festival. She is currently developing the feature version of Afronauts (supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, and Spike Lee).
Daniel Patrick Carbone is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in NYC. In 2012 he was selected for the IFP Narrative Labs, Emerging Visions program, and the New York Film Festival’s Artists Academy for his debut feature film, Hide Your Smiling Faces. The film had its world and north-American premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013 and was awarded the Best Undistributed Film of the Year by the National Society of Film Critics. Hide Your Smiling Faces was released theatrically and on cable/VOD in Spring 2014 via Tribeca Film. He is presently in post-production on the feature-length documentary Phantom Cowboys, a Cinereach grantee and IFP Spotlight on Documentaries selection, which he co-directed and shot. Daniel resides in Brooklyn, NY where he co-owns the collaborative filmmaking group and production company Flies Collective.
Josephine Decker, said to be ushering in a “new grammar of narrative” by The New Yorker, aims to spark curiosity and wonder in audiences through lively, spiritually rich character-driven films. Recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Josephine recently premiered her narrative features Butter on the Latch and Thou Wast Mild and Lovely at the Berlinale Forum 2014. Fortunate to be collaborating with artists she admires, Josephine also directs music videos and short content for United Way and other non-profits, creates eco-focused performance art featured at the UN, on NPR, WNYC and The New York Times, and acts. She has starred in films by directors like Joe Swanberg and Adam Wingard, and her acting work has screened at Sundance, Berlinale, Los Angeles Film Festival, among others. She is currently collaborating with producers Mel Eslyn, Lacey Leavitt and Katrina Lencek-Inagaki to write a feature film about the all-female Main Squeeze Accordion Orchestra, of which she is a member, and this spring, she will direct a devised work collaboration written with 15 actors, one of the directors of Pig Iron Theatre Company and some very haunting pig masks. Josephine’s films have screened at MoMA, SXSW, Silverdocs, and about 100 festivals worldwide and aired on PBS, Logo and Netflix. She loves standing in a circle while uttering the primitive yalp with other people and has found many ways to make a career out of this.
Lauren Wolkstein is an award-winning filmmaker and assistant professor of film at Temple University. She was named one of the top twenty-five emerging filmmakers through The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Independent Filmmaker Project’s inaugural Emerging Visions program at the 2011 New York Film Festival. Her short films Cigarette Candy (SXSW 2010 Best Narrative Short, Palm Springs ShortFest 2009 Best Short), The Strange Ones (Sundance 2011 World Premiere), and Social Butterfly (Sundance 2013 World Premiere, Vimeo Staff Pick) have screened at several additional festivals worldwide, including SXSW, Clermont-Ferrand, Hamptons, San Sebastian, Opening Night Maryland Film Festival, AFI Fest, IFFRotterdam, Tokyo Short Shorts, BAM CinemaFest, and are now being broadcast on French television. They have won best film awards from the Hamptons, IFFBoston, Atlanta, and SXSW to name a few. Last year Filmmaker Magazine crowned her as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She is currently developing two feature films (supported by IFP's Emerging Storytellers program) and an original web series. (http://www.laurenwolkstein.com)
Risks and challenges
If you’ve ever read one of these sections before, you know that making a film can be a tough and risky endeavor. There are so many factors at play during every stage of the process — from pre-production all the way to distribution — and it’s no wonder that sometimes even a short film can take years to release. Now, with all that said, consider that we’re trying to make five films instead of one.
We’ve all committed to a formal timetable to create our episodes of "collective:unconscious," and we’re going to all support each other through the entire process. We are very confident that we’ll be able to deliver and release a bold, excellent web series in 2015, even if we won’t be able to know exactly what form that release will take until we know the budgets that we are working with.
Most importantly, we are so excited to have all of our Kickstarter backers be a true part of the process. We want to invite you behind the curtains as we head towards production and beyond, and we will of course be open and honest as unanticipated issues arise. It’s going to be a strange dance, but we think it’s also going to be an amazing one too.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)