Zoe, age 10, is obsessed with making horror films. A deadline for a big horror contest is coming up and Zoe is determined to win. But when her father, concerned about her increasingly gory activities, orders her to stop making horror films and shoot her sister’s wedding week instead, Zoe has no other choice…. To win the contest of her dreams, she will have to turn her sister’s wedding into a horror film.
This film was shot in Portland, OR in the summer of 2015, by a female filmmaker with a dream of making unique, entertaining films outside the Hollywood studio system. The script was a quarterfinalist in Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. In March, we raised $60K to shoot this film. Now we need to raise $40K for postproduction.
Why then, you ask, is our goal $20K? Because two generous backers have offered to match funds. ANYTHING YOU CONTRIBUTE WILL BE MATCHED BY OUTSIDE BACKERS, DOUBLING THE IMPACT OF YOUR CONTRIBUTION!
Whether you are able to spare $1 or, well, $20K, all contributions are invaluable in helping us bring this film to the screen. The more backers we have at any level, the more publicity and awareness this project will receive. Thank you so much for helping us make this film!
Please check out our exciting backer rewards on the side of the screen! To read about ZILLA AND ZOE in the Oregonian, Oregon's biggest newspaper, click here. To like us on facebook, click here. For our table of contents and more information about the film, scroll down.
Table of Contents
Please scroll down to read the following sections ...
1. About the Filmmakers
2. What is Postproduction?
3. Gay Marriage
4. Why We Need More Women in Film
5. Made in Portland
6. Project Timeline
7. Does a $1 Contribution Really Help?
8. Have a Question?
9. The Cast of ZILLA and ZOE
About the Filmmakers
Jessica Scalise is a writer/director/producer who based the semi-psychotic character of Zoe on herself as a child. You can read her bio by clicking on the link near the upper right corner of the screen. She loves Portland, unusual people, stories, and strong female characters. She is so grateful to everyone who made this film possible: the backers, cast and crew, location providers, and the person who invented that really great stainless fake blood, without which most of her possessions would now be red.
Sean D. Brown has been an international cinematographer for the past ten years, working for clients around the globe on commercials, web, television and feature films. He shot ZILLA AND ZOE on the Red Epic Dragon. He enjoys Sundays with friends and loved ones, shooting on film (real celluloid medium format film!), gluten free sweets, great stories and travelling the world.
ZILLA AND ZOE was shot by 35 Portland filmmakers, including head Makeup Artist Amber Arpin, who has also worked on GRIMM and at Portland’s famous haunted attraction FRIGHT TOWN; Costume Director Cindy Taylor, responsible for the stunning bridal/werewolf/zombie costumes featured in ZILLA AND ZOE; and Art Director Rob Taylor who, among other things, built 3 coffins and a jail for this film. Special thanks to Cathedral Sounds, who composed the music for the preview featured here; Chris Buchal, who edited it; and Noah Woodburn, who did the sound mix.
What is Postproduction?
After a film is shot, postproduction is the (expensive) process of getting it ready for the screen: editing, sound mixing, color correction, musical scoring and film festival entries. All funds raised from this Kickstarter campaign will be used for postproduction on ZILLA AND ZOE.
This is a story about a family wedding.... It also happens to be a same-sex wedding.
We were shocked that even in Portland, we were kicked out of a church and protested by anti-gay marriage activists during the shooting of ZILLA AND ZOE.
This film’s theme of accepting ourselves and others for who we really are –whether that means little girls who want to play with monsters instead of Barbies, or people who want to marry the person they love, regardless of gender- is an important one. We believe that breaking through stereotypes and embracing one another for the differences that make us unique will result in a richer, more vibrant, happier and more creative world.
Why We Need More Women in Film
Most women can’t talk for more than 60 seconds without bringing up a guy. It’s been scientifically proven.
Oh sorry, typo. That should read: most women on film can’t talk for more than 60 seconds without bringing up a guy. That has been scientifically proven, or at least calculated. According to the Bechdel Test, nearly half of contemporary films do not contain a single minute-long conversation between two named female characters that is not about a man.
What are the implications? Films, which have a major impact on society, gender relations, and how children form their conception of the world and their place in it, have very few interesting, complex, nuanced roles for women.
How do we solve this problem? We cut to the reason it exists. In the past five years, fewer than 5% of movies were directed by women. Only 9% of screenplays in the same period were written by women. The reason we do not have enough interesting female characters of all ages on the screen is that we do not have enough women behind the cameras, producing, directing and writing them.
Increasing the number of female filmmakers is an important step on the path to a film industry that can regularly produce outstanding, well-written, entertaining films with interesting and multi-faceted characters of BOTH genders.
ZILLA AND ZOE was written, produced and directed by a woman, with a crew on which men and women were equally represented. The film features four strong female leads … and we think you will agree when you see it that they pretty much NEVER "bring up a guy."
Made in Portland
This film was shot entirely in Portland, featuring famous Portland locations like Voodoo Doughnut, the Pecularium and historical First Presbyterian Church. It even features an appearance from the mayor of Portland, Charlie Hales!
The filmmakers are Portland locals, the cast and crew all live in Oregon, and we recruited interns from Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest College of the Arts. (As well as Stanford, Jessica’s alma mater.)
Why do we love Portland so much? The spirit of our film matches the spirit of this amazing city! Keep Portland Weird … Embrace the differences that make us unique.
We also hope that by making films outside of the Hollywood system, funded by real audiences paying for the kinds of movies they want to see, instead of the stories a studio conglomerate chooses to put on the screen, we will be able to transcend traditional Hollywood stereotypes, put more women on the crew, and tell the kind of entertaining, thoughtful, creative stories we love most.
Preproduction for ZILLA AND ZOE took place in the spring of 2015.
The film was shot in July and August, 2015.
Currently we are raising funds for postproduction, while simultaneously editing the film. Postproduction will take place from now through early 2016.
Depending on how fundraising goes, we hope to have a finished film by the spring of 2016. We will then submit it to major festivals around the world … and host a special private screening for our amazing backers.
Does a $1 Contribution Really Help?
To answer this question, Jessica is moved to relate a story about a gumball machine she and her sister discovered as children. It was at the local drug store, and it released 1 gumball for just 1 penny. Later on (probably through malfunction of the machine) it started releasing THREE gumballs for 1 penny… unheard of wealth for a six- and four-year-old! As a result, Jessica grew up making all important financial comparisons in gumballs. $1 could buy THREE HUNDRED gumballs! On Kickstarter, $1 not only brings an additional $1 from our outside backers; it also increases our popularity on the website, adding to how much Kickstarter advertises our project, and to the likelihood that people we’ve never met will learn about the film and contribute!
Have a Question?
We would be delighted to discuss this film with you! Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Ask a Question” to receive a reply within 24 hours.
The Cast of ZILLA and ZOE
Sam Kamerman was born and raised in Portland, OR. Currently, she is a student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Outside of acting, she loves being outdoors: hiking, backpacking, camping and snowboarding. She is also a homebody and loves binge watching movies with her mom.
The Flower Girl
Aida Valentine, age 10, had her first theater experience sitting in the audience of "The Curious Savage" in her footed pajamas and blanky at age 3. She began acting at age 7 as Gretl in the "Sound of Music" and hasn't looked back. When she isn't acting, you can find Aida with a Harry Potter book in one hand and a cheeseburger in the other, having a friendly argument with her brother over whose turn it is to feed the dog.
The Father of the Bride
A Portland native and acting veteran for 30-plus years, Greg James is most recently recognized for his comedic roles in the viral on-line “The Drunk Series.” He stars in TUFF TV's “Combat Report,” has acted alongside Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon in Fox Searchlight's “Wild,” and is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Grimm”. As a father of two, Greg felt at home playing Sal, and is at his personal best when losing at Candyland to his 4-year-old daughter.
Julie Elizabeth Knell began her career in Texas, playing a fairy godmother in a tutu. She got big laughs and never looked back. Theatrical scholarships led to six years in New York and Los Angeles, before she moved to Portland. She also produces, coaches, has an award-winning TV pilot at Netflix under consideration … oh, Possibility is her favorite word.
The Other Bride
Mia Allen was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, which by most archaeologist's standards makes her a unicorn. She has been professionally acting and modeling for 10 years, developing a relationship with cameras that has propelled her interest in shooting photos and creative videos as well as posing for them. The majority of her work can be found on her website, bar napkins and in personal journals filled with photos of Jake Gyllenhaal.
Ethan Atkinson grew up in Portland, OR. He has performed in local commercials and independent films, including "Salt and Silicone," which was screened at Cannes. On the show "Grimm," Ethan played the human version of a violent bear in an episode titled "Bears Will Be Bears," which was surprisingly not about an all-male late nightclub. Ethan is heavily involved in keeping Portland weird.
Taylor Jean Grady is a proud graduate of the Portland Actors Conservatory. Her PAC credits include the Actress in Six Characters in Search of an Author and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. She also recently appeared in the ensemble of Clackamas Repertory Theatre's How to Succeed in Business. She'd like to thank Jessica for writing characters as awesome as Angie and Pat, who may or may not totally deserve their own movie. (Wink wink!)
Grant Davis has co-starred on the TV Series Grimm and played a recurring role on Combat Report. He will be appearing in the feature film Iris premiering in early 2016. Grant received his MFA in Acting from the University of Houston and has done stage work across the US including The Houston Shakespeare Festival and the American Shakespeare Center. He asks that you Please recycle.
Tyler Taft was born in San Diego, California and lived there until age eight when he moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon. The unique cultures of both locations have influenced him greatly, but his retained love for the beach drew him back to California for college. He currently plays lacrosse for the University of California Los Angeles. Tyler started acting a little over a year ago. He has been in several shorts and is currently in pre-production for a web series shooting in Las Vegas. Zilla and Zoe is his first feature film.
Alex Carver was born and raised in Chandler, Arizona. He began acting at the age of 13 as a voice actor. Since then he has performed in theatrical roles including Danny Zuko in “Grease.” He loves the possibilities of acting and the chance to step into another person’s shoes, experiencing life from a different point of view. Outside of acting he enjoys video games, motocross, and hanging out with friends.
Holden Goyette is a 10-year-old actor from Portland, OR. With over 40 acting credits, he has performed in commercials, plays and short films with Dreamworks, the Hallmark Channel, Intel and other companies. Much like “Zoe”, Holden loves to fill his days with making films of his own, playing baseball and making people laugh!
Kurt Conroyd is a dedicated and inventive artist. He stars in the award-winning indie film, Birds of Neptune and is featured in the major motion picture, Wild. A natural comedian, he plays River in the new web-series “The Benefits of Gusbandry.” An accomplished stage actor, Kurt has performed in Chicago at The Gift Theatre, among others. He's also been awarded the Portland Theatre Drammy award for Outstanding Actor. He loves to sing the “Frasier” theme song.
Terry Lybecker started out in stand-up comedy, eventually becoming a nationally touring act. He has also done Improv with several local groups including The Kate Mackey Experience and Daisy Chain. Theater came next with roles from dramas such as MacBeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest to comedies such as Spirits To Enforce and The Actors Nightmare. He also enjoys ballroom dancing.
Kevin Murphy recently moved to Portland, and is very proud that Zilla and Zoe was his first gig in town. Over the past twenty years, he has worked in the theatre on both coasts and was the founder/artistic director for Room6 Theatre in Philadelphia and for The Groundless Shakespeare Ensemble in Los Angeles. He holds a BFA in acting from UCSB and an MFA in acting from Penn State. Favorite scary movie: The Exorcist.
The Pastor's Wife
Danielle Weathers is an actress in Portland, OR. Some favorite stage credits include Bus Stop & Tartuffe--Born Again (Broadway Understudy, Circle in the Square Theatre NYC), The Country Wife & Julius Caesar (STNJ), Much Ado About Nothing (HSF), The Trojan Women (Lucky Devil Theatre Company), 110 in the Shade (Stumptown). Film/TV: Grimm (NBC), The Orestia (Blue Tree), Loose (Greater Good Project), along with various commercials. Danielle is a graduate of the Circle in the Square Professional Theatre School.
The Owner of the Horror Shop
Brian Sutherland is an actor and producer. He recently guest starred on NBC's Grimm and SYFY's Z Nation. He can be seen in the upcoming feature films LadyKiller, Riders of the Storm, and Unshattered. Accolades for Brian include: 2014 best actor (72 hour international film challenge), Filmapolooza 2014 Best Acting Ensemble (I,Charon), and 2012 Best Comedic Actor (Seattle Improv Challenge). When not on set, he is an acting teacher for CGTV in Los Angeles, as well as a teacher in his own studio in Portland, OR. He enjoys family, things that scare him, and a challenging game of tennis.
Jerry Bell, Jr. is a film producer, director and actor. Originally from Atlanta, GA, he traveled the globe as a military brat, served in the United State Air Force, and received his Masters degree in Business. Jerry has performed on Z Nation, Grimm, Leverage, The Librarians, and many commercials. Many recognize him as the #swifferdad in the "Deep Couch Sitting" Swiffer commercial along with his little son. Jerry is the founder of JBJR Productions.
At 19, Brynn Baron escaped Texas to study acting at HB Studios in NYC and landed a role with Jacklyn Smith in "Rage of Angels". After escaping NYC, Brynn earned a BFA summa cum laude from UCLA , did Coppola's "One From The Heart" and "The Monster Squad"- then escaped to Portland. After "Mr. Holland's Opus", "Untraceable" , "Leverage", and countless plays/commercials/webisodes, she now promotes aspiring women in culture through comedy improv and screenwriting.
A transplanted Pittsburgh girl (by way of LA) Patty Yates has been a Portland actor since '97. A fan of improv and stand up comedy, Patty is a 40+ year veteran of the stage, enjoying favorite roles such as Mother of the Bride Mama Vitale in TONY N' TINA'S WEDDING, M'Lynn in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Hannah Mandelbaum in CROSSING DELANCY and her all time favorite Phoebe Reece in FARNDALE.......CHRISTMAS CAROL. Patty lives in the Burns with her husband of 38 yrs and sends love to their four grown children and five grandchildren under 5.
Catherine Melo is a lifelong stage actress. Credits in Portland include Arms and the Man, Romeo and Juliet, Comedy of Errors, and Equus. Favorite roles include Claudia Faith Draper in Nuts, Blanche in Streetcar Named Desire, Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Eleanor in The Lion in Winter. Thanks also to Chuck, Gus and Vinnie for your support and unconditional love. Fact: Loves greyhounds and has been intermittently involved with greyhound adoption for several years. She shares her life with her two greyhound “boys”, Gus and Vinnie.
Eva the Poodle stars as the neighbor's dog, Fifi, whom Zoe kidnaps and shaves to make a werewolf costume. Eva was one of the best behaved actors on set, wagging her tail gently while we clipped off half her fur and added hair extensions.
Risks and challenges
Filmmaking is a complex and challenging process. Every production, from a low budget indie film to a Hollywood blockbuster, experiences its own assortment of obstacles and setbacks.
That said, everyone involved in this film is accustomed to creative problem solving and taking on challenges. We have repeatedly accomplished tasks we were told were impossible, and we find great motivation in tackling difficult problems. The proof? We already shot the whole film! The hard part is over.
Our promise to you is that we will use our combined skills and many years of experience, to do everything we can to get this film made in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner. And we'll communicate with you candidly along the way. Thank you for your support in making this project happen!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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