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Darius lies about having survived a mass shooting in order to elicit sympathy and attention from his family.
101 backers pledged $6,633 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$6,633

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the story

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.

"Darius in lights" promo-photo by Evan Mays
"Darius in lights" promo-photo by Evan Mays

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?

Aurora, Colorado move theater shooting - 2012
Aurora, Colorado move theater shooting - 2012

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.

dad reaction

filmmaker

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

"My Brother's Wedding" (1983)
"My Brother's Wedding" (1983)

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. 

I don't know what to directly compare this to. I am excited about it because it doesn't remind me of anything else that I've seen. Ok... how about, it's like Uncle Buck meets Caché. Ew, gross.

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)
My Daughter's Boyfriend (2014)

MY DAUGHTER’S BOYFRIEND (2014)  2 million YouTube Views, Vimeo Staff Pick 

Stepsister (2012)
Stepsister (2012)

STEPSISTER (2012), Played at Cannes Film Festival, San Francisco Int’l Film Festival, among others. Vimeo Staff Pick

the cost

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.

cast/crew

DARIUS WILLIAMS - DeMorge Brown

"Pauline Alone" 2015
"Pauline Alone" 2015

 ERIC the stepdad - Eric Dadourian

"Alone At The Top" 2015
"Alone At The Top" 2015

BETH, ex-wife and mother - Beth Lisick

My Daughter's Boyfriend (2014)
My Daughter's Boyfriend (2014)

 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/Fandor FIXshorts

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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    A special "THANK YOU" on the film's website, as well as updates on its progress and screenings.

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    THREE MONTHS OF FREE CINEMA!

    A three-month subscription to Fandor.com

    You can access thousands of handpicked, award-winning independent films, from around the world of all lengths & genres. Support great cinema: half of your membership fee goes back to the films you watch. (US & Canada only)
    Watch my previous work on Fandor.com!

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    DIGITAL STILLS/WALLPAPER

    Access to the highest resolution digital photos– from both the film and behind-the-scenes. Turn any of them into your computer's wallpaper or print them out and make your own bootleg merch.

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    Receive week-early access to the "I Was There Too" TEASER TRAILER and a personal "THANK YOU" in the CREDITS of "I Was There Too."

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    "SUPER TIGHT" CINEFAMILY SCREENING PARTY

    Located in Los Angeles.

    Get an advanced ticket to a screening of "I Was There Too" at Cinefamily's "Super Tight" comedy & arts showcase. Fun party, too! More info as the night approaches.

    Early access to everything and a personal "THANK YOU" in the CREDITS of "I Was There Too."

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    PIN and POSTCARD

    Get a super hip and collectible "I Was There Too" pin and postcard.
    Limited quantities!

    A"Thank You" in the credits, as well as early access to everything.

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    CASSETTE/DIGITAL MIX TAPE

    Mix tape of the music that inspired the film. These will be deep grooves that I hand-pick from my private record collection. Some of these tracks might end up in the film, but all of them will be tunes that were played turning the writing process and/or on set.

    Handmade cassette mixTAPE and a digital copy of it for reference.

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    GROUP PHONE CHAT with DeMorge, Eric, and Myself.

    A phone call lasting at least 20 minutes with all of us. We are here for you and open to discussing the following: relationship problems, unresolved issues with your parents, sexual anxiety, creative funks, or a topic of your choosing. Ultimately, we are here to listen.

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    TOTE BAG!

    Beautiful "I Was There Too" tote bag. Head off to the farmers market in style.

    Strictly limited quantities!

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    OWN THE DRAWING THAT STARTED IT ALL...

    DeMorge Brown will give you the drawing of his character that he based his performance on. This will be torn out of DeMorge’s personal and very private notebook. Few have ever laid eyes on it and now, you will own it.

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    SIGNED, LIMITED EDITION DVD and DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

    - hand-made, extremely limited. cover will feature a print of the infamous "Darius" drawing.

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    OFFICIAL POSTER AND PHYSICAL COPY

    Official Movie Poster of the film. It will look super slick and cool. Ready to hang above your work station for artistic inspiration.

    And you get the physical copy of the DVD and digital download.

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK.

    A signed copy of behind the scenes stills from the film. These will be hand selected by myself and the wonderful photographer, Evan Mays.

    These aren't your ordinary BTS photos. For reference, Evan shot our beautiful Kickstarter promo photos.

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    CO-PRODUCER CREDIT & Let's go to the MOVIES!

    Official "co-producer" credit on IMDb and the film. And...

    You and I will go to any movie of your choosing in the greater city of Los Angeles. I don’t know why this costs $500. It really shouldn’t. But, then again, you might be a total stranger. I guess I value the security risk of my personhood to be around $500.

    AND a "thank you" in the credits" plus pin, postcard, and early access to everything.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF THE FILM
    Wow, you are now an Executive Producer of "I Was There Too."

    Official credit on IMDb and the film.

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Funding period

- (31 days)