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$8,910 pledged of $250,000 goal
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By Stephan Berwick
$8,910 pledged of $250,000 goal
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About this project

Lou Reed, Hong Kong film legend, Mike Woods, and famed Tai Chi master, Ren Guangyi in make-up, with the owner of the St.Paul, MN, Golden Thyme cafe, used as an important location for the Final Weapon short film shoot. (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)
Lou Reed, Hong Kong film legend, Mike Woods, and famed Tai Chi master, Ren Guangyi in make-up, with the owner of the St.Paul, MN, Golden Thyme cafe, used as an important location for the Final Weapon short film shoot. (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)

'Final Weapon' was an act of deep artistic passion to the great, Lou Reed.  When he first read the initial script for the original Final Weapon short in 2010,  (about a martial art that when employed renders the user invincible for twenty minutes than dies), he saw the great potential we brought to fruition, melding his music with the powerful Tai Chi of his famed martial arts master, Ren Guangyi, in a visceral expression of authentic Tai Chi, never before captured on film.  

Ren Guangyi battling Mike Woods in Final Weapon. (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)
Ren Guangyi battling Mike Woods in Final Weapon. (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)

Recognizing the martial arts as one of the highest forms of human expression, Lou once said in an interview that he viewed martial arts as the ultimate form of modern dance - a seldom explored aspect of Tai Chi that with my co-producer and Tai Chi adept, Jose Figueroa, we brought to realization.

From my background under masters known for their approach to martial arts as high art, coupled with my action film experience in Hong Kong, I created the film short, 'Final Weapon', choreographing Lou Reed's music to the dynamic, yet real-world performance of Tai Chi executed by Ren Guangyi. (See trailer for the original short film below.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvZq4a_Xkkw

To that, Lou generously contributed his music, allowing me to freely choose whatever songs from his whole catalogue that I felt underpinned the story.  His prescient generosity spoke volumes about Lou's unbridled support to creativity and how willing he was to nurture new ideas and different forms of expression.  

As you can see in the below links of a panel discussion with the Film Archive Anthology founder, Jonas Mekas, Lou was so pleased with how his music was handled, the unique music direction created for Final Weapon became the hallmark of the film.

-- Final Weapon screened at the Film Archive Anthology's 'New Filmmaker NY Series' with a fascinating panel discussion featuring Archive Anthology founder and film critic pioneer, Jonas Mekas and Lou. (See video links of the discussion below, which were shot informally.)

Part 1:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5SEO_wocWs

Part 2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv4v8bs10v4

-- The film was nominated for two awards at the Action on Film Fest:  "New Action Lead" for Ren Guangyi and "Best Action Sequencing".

-- The short was also featured at the Museum of Moving Image's 'Fist & Sword' series, curated by film producer, Warrington Hudlin.

-- Final Weapon enjoyed a very popular screening at the Coney Island Film Fest.

-- Internationally, the short screened at the Estoril Film Fest in Portugal and the International South African Film Fest.  

Building off the creation of the short film, I eventually completed a feature length script about a tortured relationship between a father and daughter, with roots in China's past, and framed by a carefully chosen selection of over a dozen Lou Reed songs spanning his career.

Setting up an action sequence in Final Weapon.  (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)
Setting up an action sequence in Final Weapon. (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)

Your support will make you a part of music and film history like no other. For those able to donate $500 or more, your pledge rewards will include an extremely rare, never before distributed, collectors DVD, seen below.  And for those only able to contribute even just a dollar, you will be honored as one of our "Final Weapon Soldiers".

Packaging wrap for Final Weapon short film, collectors DVD, which includes the behind the scenes piece.
Packaging wrap for Final Weapon short film, collectors DVD, which includes the behind the scenes piece.

We were ready to launch on Kickstarter weeks before Lou's untimely passing, (click "News" on Lou's website for the Kickstarter notice:  http://www.loureed.com/go/), which has made the Final Weapon team all the more committed to preserving and expanding the vision that Lou Reed inspired in us.

Lou Reed on the set of Final Weapon. (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)
Lou Reed on the set of Final Weapon. (Photo by Dave Pabarcus)

Risks and challenges

Because of the amazing team we assembled that worked on the short film, we anticipate being able to meet the challenges that come with independent film making.

As a high quality action motion picture, with a precise musical scoring approach unique to the film, we anticipate high demands in visual and sound editing. To that, we plan to earmark the highest percentage of the funds raised for multi-carmera use, editing, and other important post-production work.

We have also had much discussion about casting, which I foresee as a potential challenge. For example, one of the key characters in the film is a young woman in conflict with her father, demanding both physical martial arts skills, as well as sophisticated acting chops, both of which will be challenging to find in the right person.

Also, one of the opening scenes in the feature length script is set in China at the turn of the last century. If we can raise enough funds to shoot on location, wonderful, but the scene can be shot domestically, if need be.

But again, with our seasoned and highly diverse team, I am confident we can produce a truly unique action film that will be remembered as a homage to Lou Reed like no other.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    We need as many of you as possible! At this pledge level, you will drive support to this labor of love. And you will be listed at the end credits of the film as part of our much valued "Final Weapon Soldiers" group.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    We've kept the short film and posters under lock and key for three years! As a supporter of Final Weapon - the feature film - you can now enjoy these collectible items.

    At this much appreciated pledge level, you will receive advance notice of any debut screenings and a color, framable print of the original burning book poster that debuted with the short film, back in 2010 - a true collectible for any martial arts and Lou Reed fan.

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    At this pledge level, you will receive the foregoing rewards and a digital copy of the rarely seen, original short film as our thanks!

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    At this pledge level, you'll receive the foregoing rewards, as well as the very rare poster featuring Lou Reed's Tai Chi instructor, Ren Guangyi and Hong Kong film legend, Mike Woods, along with a digital copy of the original short film!

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    At this pledge level, you will receive the foregoing rewards, a collectors DVD of the short and behind the scenes films, and your name will appear in the credits of the feature length film under, "Thanks to".

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    At this generous pledge level, you will receivel the foregoing rewards, as well as complimentary passes to any debut public screenings, and your name will appear in the credits of the feature length film under, "Directly supported by".

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

    At this elite pledge level, you'll be credited as a "Contributing Producer" (signed release required), and will receive all the foregoing rewards, as well be brought in as a formal member of the "Final Weapon Circle" that will entitle you to two invitations to the set and entrance to all debut, public screenings.

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    At this even more elite pledge level, you'll be designated an "Associate Producer" (signed release required), and will receive all foregoing rewards, as well as entitle you to four invitations to the set, and VIP access to all debut, public and private screening events.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    For this most elite level of support, you will be warmly designated as a "Producer" (signed release required) - credited at the opening of the film - and will receive all the foregoing rewards, as well as entitle you and two (pre-approved) guests to exclusive, all-access, set privileges.

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Funding period

- (30 days)