Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 22, 2011.

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A deeply visual character driven story about a family's journey for redemption, forgiveness, love, & hope...oh, and butterflies too.

We are an independent production team working on a feature film called The Monarch of Crystal Falls. In the Fall of 2012 our team, Split Rock Films, will be on location in Crystal Falls, Michigan filming this feature. 

While our Writer-Director, David Zaugh, was completing the first draft of MOCF, he took an inspirational trip back to his tiny home town of Crystal Falls. The above test footage was gathered on this visit, and serves as a small glimpse of what this film will eventually "feel" like.

In just a few short weeks, we will venture out to Crystal Falls as a small group to lay down the essential ground work to make next year's feature production a success. Our team will be filming for several days in October, capturing the breathtaking Autumn landscape of this beautiful Americana town, only this time with a small film crew and the amazing cinematic power of the Arri Alexa 35mm HD Camera; not to mention the eye of our award winning Cinematographer Sean Stiegemeier. Several actors will be volunteering their time with us as well, so that we can demonstrate on screen what the true feel and tone of this story will be. 

In order to facilitate this endeavor, we are seeking donations to help cover our basic equipment, travel, lodging, and food costs for the trip. No one is being financially compensated for this trip, and all monies raised are going directly into the above mentioned areas. As you might imagine, a trip such as ours will certainly carry a larger price tag than the minimum amount we are asking for from our supporters like you (it will actually be more than double this minimum amount). We are obviously hoping to exceed our goal by a substantial amount so that we can fully reach the artistic quality we all so firmly believe lies within this story. In the end though, we believe in putting our money where are mouth (and heart) is, and we have already begun to invest large sums of our own money into this upcoming trip. We have also been blessed by wonderful gifts such as our Cinematographer's gesture of a camera package donation, amazing location donations in Crystal Falls, and the generous donation by our friends KC and HD with their Four Winds RV, to ensure we have safe and accommodating travels.

So what's in it for you, aside from contributing to The Arts and feeling good about being part of something worthwhile? Well........

Both Zaugh and Stiegemeier, are award winning photographers, and will be photographing the experiences of this trip.  Stunning, gallery worthy images are sure to come from both of them, and those will be our thank you gifts to all who help us reach our goal. A collection of images will be presented to you upon our return, and depending on your contribution, a print (or prints) of your choice will be printed at a professional photo lab in Los Angeles and mailed directly to you later this year. 

As we continue our pre-production phase this year and next, we will be focusing our attention on signing additional key cast and creative crew members, as well as independently raising the appropriate amount of financing to bring the heart and vision of this story to the screen. The footage that we film and edit from this upcoming trip will be a key component in our presentation to these groups of people. In fact, at this time we are pleased to announce that four time Emmy Award winning actress Allison Janney has just signed on to be part of our cast. Her presence on screen will certainly bring both a gravity and a levity to the truthful human spirit that is in this story.

And so, we thank you for your interest and support in this passionate endeavor of ours. We genuinely feel it is a story that will not only be entertaining to a wide audience, but one that is truly worth telling, and hopefully one that will in some small way, inspire the hearts and minds of all who experience it.

Below is a synopsis of the feature film.  Also, be sure to visit our website now to get a better idea of the visual and emotional fabric of our film, and also view examples of the beautiful photography work you can expect to receive.  (Updated footage from this Fall's trip will eventually be edited and posted there too).

MOCF Synopsis 

Charlie Morgan, a reportage war photographer, has been back in the United States for little more than a month when he learns of his father’s stroke, and rides cross-country by motorcycle to the family farm in the remote town of Crystal Falls. Upon his return he discovers that his father has now slipped into a deep coma, leaving the family fractured and numb as it attempts to proceed forward with his sister's wedding. Having burdened himself with a profound family secret from childhood, one he has never fully understood all these years, Charlie’s reunion with his family becomes trapped in a dense layer of fog. His interaction with his older brother in particular carries with it a great silent loss of their youth. 

Breaking through the haunting shadows are three dynamic individuals that Charlie encounters, each one of them subtly guiding him towards the answer to a question he didn’t even realize he was asking. A familiar, yet mysterious little boy, transports Charlie back to his own youthful innocence. The two rediscover the rich natural landscape from the memory of his own childhood, only now through the eyes of a dismantled, war torn poet, and armed only with a camera. Sadie Lynn Calloway glides into his world with the spirit and vigor of the young idealistic teenage dreamer he once was. She takes him on a journey that challenges his mind and heart alike, and gives him a second chance with his own ideal self. And then there is Dr. Al, a whimsical pilgrim on his never ending journey up and down the spine of North America, in search of his own lost soul, which he believes lives somewhere in the delicate flight of the Monarch Butterflies. His deep insight and revelation of the magical Monarchs of Crystal Falls helps guide Charlie through his own metamorphosis, and finally realize that in life the most important idea is not how or why certain things happen to us, but rather, what do we do now because they have. 

The story unfolds in a lyrical and poetic tone as it is heavily guided by imagery, sound, and Nature. It breathes slowly, yet deeply, with each character, allowing all of them authentic space and time to exist. It is a story of a splintering family, trapped behind the county lines of a crumbling Americana town, and bound together at times by only the echoing strings of their past, but bound together nonetheless. As they journey through the unknown field of Life itself, they individually begin to ascend toward a greater understanding of forgiveness, redemption, and above all else, Hope; in each other and themselves.

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    Well, at this amount, we can't afford to give you a print, but hey, you'll feel good for helping out! For the rewards below, all prints will be high quality matte finish images on photographic paper.

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    GET YOUR PORTRAIT TAKEN! If you live in Los Angeles, or are willing to travel there at your own expense, our Director, David Zaugh, will photograph you in a PRIVATE STUDIO PORTRAIT SESSION. The location will be in the Hollywood Area at a TBD professional studio address. You will have the ability to pre-select from a selection of seamless backgrounds. You will be allowed one selection of wardrobe (provided by you). A digital roll (36 images) will be taken, and you will be given all 36 images on disc within several days of the shoot. The portraits will be offered on a select date, sometime during the last two weeks of November, first two weeks of December, 2011. A selection of Zaugh's STUDIO STYLE work can be viewed at www.zaughphotography.com

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    You will be able to choose from a "RESERVE SELECT" Gallery of Landscape/Fine Art images that will only be available at this donation level. This is a very limited reward category. You will be able to choose either ONE 48 x 60 Print (printed on "Custom Prestige Paper"), OR up to EIGHT prints, any size you wish, up to the dimensions of 16x20 inches. (All Photos come with Photographer Signature).

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Funding period

- (36 days)