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An independent animated feature film by the creator of "Consuming Spirits."
An independent animated feature film by the creator of "Consuming Spirits."
590 backers pledged $70,750 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$70,750

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bright frontiers space station
bright frontiers space station

The Orbit of Minor Satellites is my new digital 2-D animated feature film, which takes you to the richly imagined world inside the mind of a troubled sanitarium inmate.

It’s a dark story about love in a time of darkness, shot starkly in black and white to better convey the dislocation of my main characters, the psychiatric patient and the doctor who treats her, and the imagined inhabitants of a forgotten Cold War space station on a moon of Saturn.

I’m thrilled to share with you that Sara Karloff, the daughter of my personal film hero Boris Karloff, has given me permission to use clips from her father’s radio performances for the voice of another major character in the film, a 100-foot-tall talking bison named Roger Ashley Norton.

Roger Ashley Norton and Boris Karloff
Roger Ashley Norton and Boris Karloff

"The Orbit of Minor Satellites" is a film that has been brewing for many years, and first came together thanks to a Creative Capital Grant. I’ve focused over the past two years on writing, preproduction, experimentation, and animating labor, bringing together an incredible creative team who will work with me to complete the film over the next two years.

With your pledge, I will complete "The Orbit of Minor Satellites” by late summer of 2019, entering it first in major live action festivals and then in animation festivals. It will be theatrically released in early 2020.

This is my second major animated feature film. Consuming Spirits, which was funded with a Rockefeller Foundation Film Fellowship and a fellowship from The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, was completed and released in 2012.

A.O. Scott, in a 2012 review in The New York Times, called it “remarkable” and said it "is a work of obsessive artisanal discipline and unfettered artistic vision. You have never seen anything like it… Mr. Sullivan’s pictorial wit and storytelling brio are delightful in ways that cut against the harshness of the story without blunting its deep ache."

Tasha Robinson, The Onion AV club. "Watching Consuming Spirits is like surrendering to hypnosis, or to a particularly haunting dream"..."Consuming Spirits has hidden depths". 

About the Film 

The Orbit of Minor Satellites is a story of two very distinct and separate worlds that are connected by the most unlikely threads. The character Derwood Richards is a controversial psychiatrist who treats Rosemary Hamm at his private sanitarium. 

Rosemary has created an imaginery world of a space station located on one of the Moons of Saturn, in a forgotten corner of the solar system. She conjures a romance between a doomed astronaut and a cosmonaut that mirrors her difficult earthbound existence.

Our talking bison is the moon's only native inhabitant, a sulferdioxide breathing giant who yearns for lost loves. 

The Orbit of Minor Satellites is a hand drawn 2-D feature animation, independently produced by Chris Sullivan and his battalion of animators. 

The film is hand drawn, digitally composited over painted backgrounds, models, and live action actors.  As with all of my films, it is strange in form and content,  my characters are misguided, but follow their strange paths to a place of peace, and empathy . 

Academics awaiting the lecture
Academics awaiting the lecture

As in The Orbit of Minor Satellites, we all orbit around a larger celestial body of some kind. An emotional parent, an over achieving sister, or brother, a history, a place, and perhaps the most common, the strange unreachable person that we hoped we would be. In orbit around our potential selves, at some point we escape the gravity of that planet, and drift into outer space either in relief or permanent longing.

Budget

Assistant animators, background artists Compositors, $42,000

Musical composition and performance, recording $8,000

Actors/ voice talent. $20,000

 

 

        

     

The Team 

Amazing Animation Team 

Orbit of Minor Satellites Animation team past and present
Orbit of Minor Satellites Animation team past and present
 
 

 Director,  and Actors 

Chris Sullivan is the creator, writer, director, lead animator, and sound design. His previous animated films include Master of Ceremonies, Landscape with The Fall of Icarus, and Consuming Spirits

T.J. Jagodowski, who portrays the character Derwood Richards, is a comedian and actor who has appeared in movies such as Stranger Than Fiction, The Ice Harvest, No Sleep Till Madison, Get Hard and the television show, Prison Break. He is most recognizable from the long-running series of improvised Sonic Drive-In commercials featuring himself and Peter Grosz.

Silvia Abelson  portrays Rosemary Hamm and Olga Liavanova. Graduate in Art and Theater from Beloit College She has performed the film,  in Opera Is Always On The Table,  and  the  play by DETROIT by Lisa D'Amour. spring 2016 . 

Jared Larson plays the characters Hershel Browning and John Torrington. He is an improvisational actor with Chicago's I.O. Annoyance Theater, and has performed in Crimes Against Humanity, Busters Mal Heart and Neighborhood Food Drive.

Bris Karloff- The Voice of The Buffalo - Frankenstein-The Raven-Drury's Bones-Bedlam-The Scorcerers-The Grinch That Stole Christmas- hundreds more.

Music

I will be working with Chicago-based trio Artemisia, who will sing in both English and Russian, I also compose music, and that will be a part of the film as well. Musicians will sing and play standard and prepared instruments. Sarah Noel McConnell will be recorded singing in a natural acoustic spaces.

Here is a clip of Wild Geese, an Ian Tyson Sound sung by Sarah Noel McConnell with Chris Sullivan on Guitar. recorded in an apartment stairwell. This song plays at a tragic moment on the space station.

For Your Contribution to this Project you will receive  original drawings like these,  not scans but actual pencil drawings. framed.  Also there are story boards, backgrounds, and many other awards, please check them out in the pledge awards section. 

Ink Background paintings by Chris Sullivan
Ink Background paintings by Chris Sullivan

 

story board narrative tryptic
story board narrative tryptic

 

story board narrative tryptic
story board narrative tryptic

 

    Original signed Pencil Cells from the film. 

 

Risks and challenges

One of the main risk and challenges is that an animated feature
Is like a car in pieces in the garage until it all falls into place,
So it is hard to get a sense of the film before it is completed.
The kinds of films that I make are not defined so much by character goals, but the subtle, very human elements that surface in the everyday, and in moments of crisis, because of this, my scripts do not read like a classical three act structure. They unfold instead as oddly and surprisingly- the object of desire is not obvious until the end. And even then it is elusive. Therefore my films sneak up on you. It is the kind of cinema I want to make, like John Cassavetes, Jane Campion, Dennis Potter, Charlie Kaufman. But it is not the kind of cinema that stands a chance in a producers' script mill. On the other hand, I have great expectations for this film, and plan to reach theaters across the state with it.
To me the true challenge is to create a film that has importance, power, beauty, and emotional impact. And to me it is a responsibility. I can see the film in front of me, and it has its own will and its own power. I just have to listen to it and guide it.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Website & Facebook Thank You

    Your name listed on our upcoming website's sponsor page.

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    Original Pencil drawing in frame

    hand drawn final line drawing from the film
    lightly framed, and delivered to you.

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    digital download. original pencil cel.

    digital download of film after theatrical run.
    and a pencil drawing over background.
    drawing will come in 2017.

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    digital download, film credit.cel.

    Your name will be on the film end credits as a honored supporter. you will also get a drawing , and digital download. drawing will come earlier.

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    New! Original signed storyboard

    We'll select an original hand-drawn 4- x 6-inch sketch from the film, plus a digital download of the completed film.

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    Original signed trio of storyboards

    Three in a set of hand-drawn 4- x 6-inch storyboards created and signed by Chris Sullivan, plus a digital download of the completed film.

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    An afternoon in the Animation studio

    spend 4 hours in our animation studio, with me Chris Sullivan, and the Orbit of Minor Satellites animators, lunch included.We can even put you to work if you like, doing some animation. We will show you around, and do something special that day. children welcome . you will also get photos with the animation team.

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    Signed watercolor background

    These original hand-drawn and painted backgrounds are used prominently in the film. Signed by Chris Sullivan along with a digital download of the completed film.

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    Portrait

    Chris will work from a photo you provide to create an original signed 11- x 14-inch portrait on white Vellum of you or a friend, relative or imaginary talking Bison of your choice..

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    Associate Producer

    Be an Associate producer of “The Orbit of Minor Satellites.” Your name, along with up to four other co-producers, will be listed prominently in the opening credits. We’ll also send you a download of the film upon release and up to 10 tickets to be Chris’s guest at one of multiple US screenings when the film is completed (Travel, food and lodging is the responsibility of the backer.).

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    Co-Producer

    Be the Co-Producer of “The Orbit of Minor Satellites.” Your name, along with up to two other co-producers, will be listed prominently in the opening credits. We’ll also send you a download of the film upon release and up to 10 tickets to be Chris’s guest at one of multiple US screenings when the film is completed (Travel, food and lodging is the responsibility of the backer.).

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    You in an original animated clip

    Be the Facebook star of your own animated clip. Chris will shoot footage of you in Chicago or use a video clip submitted by you of up to create an original 20-second animation of you interacting with the surreal characters of “The Orbit of Minor Satellites.”

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    Executive Producer

    Be the Executive Producer of “The Orbit of Minor Satellites.” Your name will be listed prominently in the main title of the opening credits. We’ll also send you a download of the film upon release and up to 10 tickets to be Chris’s guest at one of multiple US screenings when the film is completed (Travel, food and lodging is the responsibility of the backer.).

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Funding period

- (27 days)