During an altercation at his daughter’s soccer game, Darius Williams attacks a teenage referee. This is the final straw for his ex-wife’s family. Darius is carried off the field and barred from attending any more games. He takes a trip to the mall to get a “forgive me” gift for his daughter. Upon arrival, he discovers that the police have just barricaded every entrance due to an emergency situation at the theater inside the mall.
Once home, Darius learns the full extent of the tragedy– there was a mass shooting inside the movie theater, leaving four people dead and many wounded. Darius studies the online news and photos, soaking up every detail. Then, the idea hits him: pretending to be a survivor might win favor and sympathy from his family, granting a clean slate and a fresh start. Spurred on by such fantasies, Darius drives to his ex-wife’s house and readies himself for the biggest lie of his life.
why make it?
Constantly on our minds and covered in the media, mass shootings have become a horrifying daily reality in the United States. To say they are routine is truthful, not callous. Though the story of my film is framed around one such tragedy, I Was There Too purposefully circumvents the political rhetoric of gun violence. Rather, it is about what happens afterward. I am interested in how people react to such tragedies. And how, even at such a vulnerable time, someone might wish to exploit the good will of family and strangers alike.
I Was There Too is grounded in comedic fable: cast out of society, the buffoon reemerges in disguise and seizes power as a self-appointed king. These classical roots give rise to a newfangled comedic form– one that transgresses morality and undermines the family bond. This film refutes tonal levity and superficial jokes. Instead, laughter comes as a nervous reflex to the stirring feelings of anxiety, pain, and self-imposed guilt.
Joey Izzo is an award-winning writer/director whose work has been screened at top festivals worldwide, including Cannes Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and San Francisco International Film Festival. His latest short film, My Daughter’s Boyfriend, garnered over two million views on YouTube, earned a Vimeo Staff Pick, and has been written up on Indiewire, Fandor, Short of the Week, and No Film School, among others. His previous short film, Stepsister, was included in Cannes’ Cinéfondation Official Selection. Joey’s dry-humored and naturalistic style developed after years in the experimental film world. Highlighting this period, Bare Room was made in collaboration with the New York composer and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient John Zorn. It premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2011.
look and feel
I Was There Too balances a raw documentary spirit and intimate cinematic detail within a controlled modern form.
Hopefully, this film will be something that honors the restrained naturalistic integrity of my cinematic hero, Maurice Pialat. And perhaps I'll steal a few things from the master of familial (dys)function, Mike Leigh. Charles Burnett's My Brother's Wedding left an indelible impression on me, especially "Pierce," the film's morally conflicted, underachieving hero. Ruben Östlund's films were a recent breakthrough, encouraging me to push my sour humor into a darker terrain.
If you just have know more and don't mind spoiling everything for yourself, you can access the full I Was There Too "look book" here.
In reality, it'll be most similar to my previous shorts. (See below)
previous short films
MY DAUGHTER’S BOYFRIEND (2014) 2 million YouTube Views, Vimeo Staff Pick
STEPSISTER (2012), Played at Cannes Film Festival, San Francisco Int’l Film Festival, among others. Vimeo Staff Pick
We need to raise at least 10K in order to make this film. Thankfully, Fandor has selected this film to be a part of their FIXshorts initiative. Through a joint partnership with Kickstarter, Fandor will match the funds we are able to raise. (more info on Fandor's FIXshorts initiative)
The money contributed to this campaign is going directly into the costs of production– camera package, lighting package, sound, location rentals, props, costuming, background actors, and food. Trust me, we are being frugal as all hell. The biggest line item in here is probably the cost of feeding the entire cast and crew for 5 days. These costs add up.
DARIUS WILLIAMS - DeMorge Brown
ERIC the stepdad - Eric Dadourian
BETH, ex-wife and mother - Beth Lisick
additional cast coming soon!
This film is going to be made by a handful of people who are all contributing their time, resources, and work for free. I'm forever in debt to them for their generosity and service.
Thanks for donating and sharing. It truly means a lot to me. These films are hard to get made, otherwise. The big fat cats down here in Tinseltown think you only want to see lightweight, branded content with minor celebrities. But we know better.
Last, please support the other Fandor FIXshorts projects, as well.
Risks and challenges
This film will be made. That much is guaranteed. Its potential for success is speculative, but I think we've got a hell of a shot. I’ve made three other short films, all of which have found significant audiences, both online and in major international film festivals.
One of the hardest things about making a short film is securing some kind of distribution, once it’s completed. But here’s the good news– Fandor and the FIXshorts program guarantees distribution through their wonderful VOD service. This gives us a significant leg up and a fantastic place from which our film’s distribution can grow.
Though it’s possible to recoup an initial investment on a narrative short through international/domestic sales, it’s not a realistic goal for any filmmaker. So if it happens, great. And if not, no biggie.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)