TROOPER - A Film About And For Veterans
TROOPER - A Film About And For Veterans
TROOPER is a feature film about two veterans, a father and son, helping each other to heal the wounds of War.
TROOPER is a feature film about two veterans, a father and son, helping each other to heal the wounds of War. Read more
About this project
TROOPER is a feature film seeking funds to complete post-production and self-distribute so we can get the film into the hands of our core audience, veterans and their supporters. The film has been shot already, it just needs to be finished and to get out there!
THE SCOOP BEHIND TROOPER
PLAY OUR THEME SONG WHILE YOU READ
Murphy O’Shea, an Iraq Veteran, has a hard time re-adjusting to society upon his return from a long tour. His world crumbles when he discovers his father, Bill, a Vietnam Veteran, is dying. “Trooper” is a story of a father and son, two veterans from two very different Wars, helping each other to get through each day, and heal the wounds of War.
With your support, we will finish post-production, launch our website and self-distribute. Costs include picture clearance report, music clearances, stock footage, final mix, mastering, DVD authoring and duplication, marketing, legal fees, and website creation and development.
WHO IS CHRIS MARTINI (WRITER/DIRECTOR/STAR)?
Chris Martini is a Filmmaker from Dallas, TX, now living in Brooklyn, NY. Chris has one narrative Feature Feature Film under his belt, TROOPER, a Feature Documentary, TELOS, and a Short Film, THE STONE CHILD, that did well on the festival circuit and aired on PBS Channel 13 in NYC.
WHO IS LORI RENWICK (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)?
Major Lori D. Renwick received her Active Duty commission through ROTC at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and has continued her service with deployments while on Active Duty to Bosnia, Qatar, and Afghanistan. After eight years of active service she transitioned to the New York National Guard and deployed to Camp Bucca, Iraq. She is currently on deployment working with AFRICOM in Stuttgart, Germany. Lori became involved with TROOPER after returning from Iraq in 2008 and participating in NYU’s Veterans’ Writing course to deliver important messages of invisible pain and damage felt by deployment. “My primary goal as one of the Executive Producers is to provide a voice for veterans unable to describe their invisible pain to their families and help them all to heal.”
WHO IS RICHARD LEVINE (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)?
Richard Levine makes his feature film debut in TROOPER as both actor and Executive Producer. He comes to the film world by way of the theater, where he has worn the hat of actor, director, producer, stage manager, and artistic director. Richard is pleased to work on a project that recognizes the service and sacrifice of true heroes.
WHO IS BETH AMY ROSENBLATT (PRODUCER)
Beth Amy Rosenblatt has an extensive history in the art and business of filmmaking and putting music to picture. She's worked on such films as Disconnect, Cadillac Records, Secretary, The Cider House Rules, Down in the Delta, Welcome to Sarajevo and The Beautiful Country ...... in addition to the Academy Award Winning movies, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Slingblade, The Postman (Il Postino) & Good Will Hunting. TROOPER is the one she's most proud to be a part, for our Veterans and how our movie has already helped so many of these folks feel understood and cared for.
TROOPER FACEBOOK PAGE:
TROOPER TWITTER PAGE:
TROOPER IMDB PAGE:
TRIPLE MARTINI PRODUCTIONS TWITTER PAGE:
TRIPLE MARTINI PRODUCTIONS BLOG:
TRIPLE MARTINI PRODUCTIONS ON PINTEREST:
TRIPLE MARTINI PRODUCTIONS ON YOUTUBE:
TRIPLE MARTINI PRODUCTIONS ON VIMEO:
CHRISTOPHER MARTINI'S IMDB PAGE:
TRIPLE MARTINI PRODUCTIONS WEBSITE:
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT TROOPER
"A film about redemption and love told through the darkness of PTSD".
- Rev. Bill McDonald (Founder The Military Writer’s Society of America. Author of “A Spiritual Warrior’s Journey”)
"This movie is neither for the war or against it. It is 100% for the troops."
Christopher Neff (Former Lance Corporal, USMC, Infantry OIF 2003-2005)
"Someone once said that "War is Hell" referring to the actual combat situation. Many times the hell begins after the tour of combat is over. Chris has done a great job portraying that in TROOPER. In the film we see a father and son who fought in different wars both struggling to come to grips with the changes war has made in their lives and those around them. In watching the film the combat veteran realizes that he is not alone in his struggle and those around him understand a little better why he is as he is. Now let the healing begin."
Ed Beesley (Marine Vietnam Veteran and Author of "Lucky Enough")
"I was blown away by Chris Martini's "Trooper." It stirred a myriad of emotions in me that, as a veteran, I haven't felt before. It's a powerful yet sensitive film that hits its mark like a freight train, then provocatively presses further on points about veterans easily overlooked. Viewers will identify with this story; it bridges the gap between two generations of military service. Every veteran—no—every American, should see this film."
LTC Raymond (Ray) Morris (U.S. Army Special Forces (ret) and award-winning author of The Ether Zone U.S Army Special Forces Detachment B-52, Project Delta)
Military Writer’s Society of America
National Gulf War Resource Center
Work Vessels for Veterans
BIRTH OF THE PROJECT
I edited a documentary, GULF WAR SYNDROME: KILLING OUR OWN, about Gulf War veterans and it changed my life. It really opened my eyes to the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make, and the problems facing our world. While editing the documentary, combing through hours and hours of footage of combat veterans, lives destroyed, my friends and family told me that I seemed "different".
WRITING OF THE SCRIPT
Because I had all the research in my head, from editing the documentary, the writing of the script was short (three weeks). My head was saturated with images, facts, emotions. It all came pouring out onto the page.
SCRIPT FINALIST, ROME INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL -- ITALY
I did something I had never done in my life. I stopped writing. No obsessing over the script for years -- the script was finished. On a whim I sent it to the first script competition that came my way, the Rome Independent Film Festival, in Italy. The script made Finalist and I learned a good lesson in writing -- the script is just a blue-print. If the story is important, timely, it will resonate. If it needs to be made, it will be made.
USING YOUR OWN MONEY
I had been editing comedies for National Lampoon (for Allan Donnes, President, and Jerry Daigle) and for the first time, I had some money in my pocket. Thank you Allan and Jerry!!! I decided to make TROOPER!!! I needed a first feature film under my belt (I only had a short), and why not (well, there are a thousand reasons not to haha!). I would use my own money (breaking the Golden Rule of filmmaking).
RICHARD LEVINE (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER) - SECOND INVESTMENT
Enter Richard Levine. Richard Levine, actor, father, ad agency creative, was the very first person I met at NYU film school (we actually met on orientation day twenty years ago!). It was at a Yankees game over a hot dog that Richard told me his interest in making a movie. Richard had seen my success with THE STONE CHILD, I pitched TROOPER to him, and Richard decided to invest, coming in with the second investment (with the blessing of his wife who was expecting the first of their two kids).
MAKING A MOVIE!!!
We were making a movie!!!
GIADA DOBRZENSKA (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER) - THIRD INVESTMENT
I met Giada Dobrzenska, a very talented filmmaker, artist, performer at boarding school in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where I grew up. Giada was very keen on investing in this timely film and she came in with the third investment, and would play the role of Lily Kilmer.
I would use my awesome cinematographer, John Rotan, who shot THE STONE CHILD, to shoot the film. Chris Koch, my Emmy Award Winning re-recording mixer from THE STONE CHILD, would do the post-production sound and music, and my composer, Hershel Yatovitz, of Chris Isaak and Silvertone, would do the theme song and other music. Hershel did the score for THE STONE CHILD.
BUY A PLANE TICKET
My advice to young filmmakers, even before you get the money. First thing, buy a plane ticket for someone on your crew, in this case, John Rotan. That way, you will make the film no matter what. It forces you to do it. You are not going to let the ticket go to waste! So you actually make the film to justify the plane ticket, and you "will" the film to happen!
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
We went with the first camera we could get. John brought his Panasonic.
I KNEW THE LINES
We didn't have a lot of time, so I decided to play the lead. I was the only guy who knew the lines! I wrote it. Had no idea this would be the biggest undertaking of my life (acting, directing and producing!).
THE MIND OF THE VETERAN
TROOPER is a story about father and son Veterans and the majority of the film takes place at a house in Brooklyn. While location scouting, we could not find our house, our central location. I was starting to get worried because the "train" of production had already left the station -- there was no turning back. A chance meeting between our line producer, Chris Roth and Dwight Zimmerman (writer of military books), led us to our location, Murphy's house. Dwight, a military fanatic, loved the idea for the film and let us invade his life for months.
14 days. The hardest 14 days of my life.
ANYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG, WILL
Wireless microphones falling in the toilet. Crew threatening to quit on me. Acting and directing while I was sick with the flu. Losing locations on the day, from friends. The list goes on....?!!@# Making TROOPER was the hardest thing I have ever done, ever. You can only make a no-budget independent film once in your life -- trust me.
THAT'S A WRAP
I needed some R&R (at least five years)...
It was weird I have to say -- looking at myself. My editor, Rodney Calhoun put the film together, thank you Rodney! Since I am an editor, I did a re-cut until I couldn't take looking at myself any longer.
NEVER PUT IN MUSIC YOU CANNOT CLEAR
I put in the very same Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan songs into the film and I fell in love with them...they became a part of the film...big mistake. What was I thinking?
VETERANS DON'T DO THAT
The most wonderful thing about making a movie is that it brings you closer to the people (the community) you are depicting in the movie, be it for me, Veterans in TROOPER or the Native-American community in THE STONE CHILD. You make many friends and the film becomes a truly wonderful experience and becomes an important part of your life and development. But along the way, talking to Veterans, I realized that my story had a major flaw. In Act 2 of the story, Murphy, the lead character, decides to "fight the government". After talking to countless veterans about the story, I realized that most veterans simply would not do this. I had to change the second half of the movie! So, just when I thought I was done, I had another half of a film to shoot over again. I spent the next three years running around the city by myself with a camera and no crew, doing the sound myself, shooting scenes with the actors. Each film is a great learning experience.
MAX MARTINI, MY BRO -- AS "FINN O'SHEA"
Max starred on CBS' "The Unit", won rave reviews for his role as the father who gives it all in "Pacific Rim", and is being considered for the next Batman in "Man of Steel 2". Max plays Finn O'Shea, Murphy's older brother and a stoic soldier still on active duty in Iraq.
Re-shoots even involved flying to LA, getting an abandoned army base for free, thanks to my brother, a humvee and combat gear and recreating Iraq for no money (Thanks to Matt Sigloch, we LOVE you!!!!! http://www.sigloch-mt.com/ ) and shooting my brother, actor, Max Martini (THE UNIT) to play Finn, Murphy's brother who is still in Iraq.
GARY SWANSON - THE ACTORS STUDIO
Gary Swanson, the wonderful actor and the other lead of TROOPER is also an acting teacher at The Actors Studio here in New York. He was the first person I showed TROOPER to. I had no idea what the film was, since it was so close to me on so many levels. Gary told me after the screening "We have something". Gary quickly arranged a screening of TROOPER at the Actors Studio. Title cards were in the cut for missing scenes that I had not shot yet. I was nervous. I thought I was going to get eaten alive by a liberal audience of intellectuals. Richard and I looked at each other during the screening. We heard tears and laughter from the audience. A lot of laughter. They loved the film, they loved Gary as he brought so much needed humor to TROOPER. Veterans came up to me after the screening. They were all blown away. Roberta Wallach, actor Eli Wallach's daughter, was in attendance. She was the first to express her love of the movie. I couldn't believe it. Finally, after all the hardship, there was a glimmer of hope.
NOTE: Robert Walden, actor, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, was in attendance at the screening. Robert played our VA doctor and was instrumental in helping us find nearly all the wonderful actors that we see in the film. Thank you Robert!!!
FILM FESTIVAL REJECTIONS
We were rejected by all the major Film Festivals.
SUNDANCE AND TRIBECA
We received a rejection letter from Sundance, but it was written personally by Trevor Groth, the head of the festival. Trevor loved the film and regretted having to reject it, but he recommended us to Tribeca. We couldn't believe that we were even close to getting into Sundance. We spent months talking to a programmer at Tribeca. She told us that they loved the movie but wanted to know if we had cleared the music rights for the Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan songs! We had not!!! I repeat, never put music in your film that is not cleared. We had to clear the Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan songs now, since it was contingent on us getting into Tribeca. We needed more money...
LORI RENWICK (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER) - FOURTH INVESTMENT
Enter Lori Renwick. Lori is a veteran and I met her at the Veterans Writing Workshop at NYU in NYC. Lori is a Major in the National Guard and served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Apache pilot. Lori loved the message of Trooper and decided to invest. We were all thrilled!!! We needed money to clear music!!!
DWIGHT ZIMMERMAN - MILITARY WRITER'S SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Dwight Zimmerman, our location owner set up a screening of TROOPER at the Military Writers Society in Florida. This was the first time that we had screened the film specifically for veterans. Becca Bryan, our lovely and awesome publicist was there! I was sweating bullets before the screening. The room was filled with veterans. The lights went up after the screening. I had no idea how the veterans would react. It was in that room, thanks to Dwight, that we met some of our biggest allies, Vietnam Vets Ed Beesley, Hodge Wood, Bill McDonald, Brenda and Ray Morris. They loved it. They had never seen a film that dealt with veterans from two wars, a father and son, dealing with the same issues, PTSD, health care, trying to re-adjust to civilian life.
BILL MCDONALD - HOPE
Rev. Bill McDonald, Vietnam vet and award winning author, came up to me after the screening. I remembered him before the screening because he shook my hand and it seemed that he was studying me like he knew something I didn't. He loved TROOPER. He said to me, "Chris, it is a great film but it needs hope at the end". It was so weird that Bill said that, because at the airport in New York, on my way to Florida, there was a guy wearing a t-shirt that read "Got Hope??!!" and the guy kept walking past me, displaying his t-shirt to me, as if I needed to read it. Done. I flew back to New York City and re-shot the ending of the film to give the story and Murphy, the main character, and all veterans -- much needed -- hope.
After the MWSA Screening, we experienced a domino effect of Veteran support. Suddenly many veteran groups wanted us to screen the film for them...
NYU SCREENING FOR IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETS
JOHN JAY COLLEGE SCREENING -- IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETS
Allies -- Christopher Neff, Conrad Cho, Anwar Elboustani.
GULF WAR VETERANS REUNION -- DALLAS, TX
Allies -- Dave Winnet, Denise Nichols, Mark Anderson.
Ross Perot in attendance!!!
Interview with American Free Press:
VETERANS RAVE ON YOUTUBE:
Huge veteran support and following on Youtube -- “You told my story”.
See all the comments on our Trailer:
BETH ROSENBLATT (PRODUCER)
While editing at MTV, I had the pleasure of working with Beth Rosenblatt. Beth has done the music supervision on a number of huge films like GOOD WILL HUNTING and CADILLAC RECORDS. Beth agreed to help produce TROOPER and clear the music.
101ST AIRBORNE REUNION SCREENING - BRENDA AND RAY MORRIS
Two of our biggest veteran supporters, Ray Morris, and his wife Brenda, were responsible for setting a screening up for the 101st Airborne, at their "Snowbird" reunion in Florida. They were even so nice as to pay for our trip!! The love and support of the veteran community through this whole experience has been tremendous. Lori and I flew down to Florida. We had veterans from all Wars coming up to us after the screening. They expressed their love of the film. One World War II veteran came up to me and told me that he had "never cried in a movie about war, until TROOPER". I was forever marked by his words.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND BOB DYLAN
I was sitting in the screening for the 101st when I suddenly got a hundred text messages, from Richard, from Beth. Beth was able to get "Festival Rights" for Bruce Springsteen's "Devils and Dust", and Bob Dylan's "Let me die in my Footsteps", for free!!!!! Both Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan gave us permission!!!! I think I cried. We immediately told Tribeca that we had cleared the songs for "festival" use. All we had to do now was wait...
REJECTION FROM TRIBECA
After all that, we were rejected by Tribeca. There were other programmers there that were not on board with TROOPER, and ultimately the programmers who were fighting for us, lost the battle. That year, almost all the US films selected had some kind of studio backing, the rest were foreign films. But we were so happy to make it that far, almost getting into the Tribeca Film Festival. It reminded us that we have a "winner", and never to give up.
PHILADELPHIA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
Took us. Our first Film Festival!!! Thank you Philly!!!
GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL
Took us. Our second Film Festival!!! Thank you Garden State!!! I won the Renaissance Man Award!!! We will forever remember Garden State Film Festival for providing us with our first real festival helping hand...
WHERE ARE WE AT WITH THE FILM NOW??
Veterans love TROOPER and we can’t get it distributed. We have to finish the movie and get it out to our veterans and the public who loves and wants to see our great film!
TOM CRUISE IS NOT IN IT
We don't have Tom Cruise in our movie and it is not a multi-million dollar special effects bonanza. We can't get into the major film festivals or get the film distributed, but it is a great film and it deserves it's shot at the title, like Rocky.
NO FILM LEFT BEHIND
So many veterans have told us that TROOPER means more to them than any other film they have ever seen about the war or "Coming Home". We need your help getting TROOPER out there.
HOW HARD IS IT TO GET A FILM DISTRIBUTED?
Making a Feature Film with little money is a feat in itself, but once you are done shooting, unfortunately the real work begins. How hard is it to get a film distributed? Well If Zach Braft, Hal Hartley and Paul Schrader, an Academy Award Winner are on Kickstarter, what does that tell you? And they have "names" to back them up. It tells you that you need help if you are going to go it alone. Besides, who wants the studios meddling with your "creation".
THE STATE OF INDEPENDENT FILM
Hollywood, film festivals and distributors are all connected and it is almost impossible to get a film financed and distributed today, without major bucks or stars. John Cassavettes is rolling over in his grave. The film festivals have deals with the studios and agents, they already know the films they are going to take before submissions are open. Fear drives the studio and distribution system. Nobody will take risks with great films, out of the fear of not making big bucks. The reality is, the general public craves good, original, stories like TROOPER.
I am getting weekly emails from veterans who are asking for a copy or where they can see the film. They need TROOPER. We need to get TROOPER to them. We can’t stop until we bring this great film to the veterans and the public. And we need your help to make this happen.
KICKSTARTER - LAST HOPE
The Producers and I, over the past four months have spent countless hours emailing over 2,000 film distributors all over the world. Out of all the distributors that we emailed, we only got a small handful of bites, and so far, nothing reeled in. It is hard for a distributor to see the impact that TROOPER has on an audience, unless they were at the screening, seeing the audience affected in "real time". We have no options left. We must finish the film and self-distribute ourselves. This is why we are here. This is why we need you!!!
Risks and challenges
Well, the good thing is that we already have shot the movie. Now our biggest challenge will require making the film available to our core audience. We have to get the film to them, to you, and it will require a lot of work.
As soon as the project is funded we will work quickly to finish post-production, clearances, music, so the film will be ready to be distributed. We have done a lot of work already, the picture is locked, and we have already done the majority of the sound mix and the film is already color corrected, all we need to do is clear any outstanding music (like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan for "all media"), remove any footage or audio that is not cleared. Then we need to duplicate and make the film available in a variety of formats.
We will then work on building our website and making the film available online, through iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and all the other online distribution outlets. Our website will then point to all of those outlets, increasing the availability of TROOPER.
Our next effort, and this will be the majority of the work, will be advertising and marketing. We will contact a majority of veterans groups and ask them to link our film site on theirs, and advertise the film. We will ask to access their mailing lists, etc.
We would also like to tour the country, military bases and military communities, screening TROOPER at local theaters and sellling DVD's.
It will be a lot of work to get TROOPER out there, but as you can see, we have put in considerable work over the years to get the film where it is now, so what makes you think we are going to stop working now?
We have amassed a huge "grass-roots" veteran following. The momentum is still going and we are very confident that we will get the film to our audience, with your support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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