THE STORY and STYLE
Two years after losing his job as a film editor due to his alcoholism, Avery Wells is pulled back to San Francisco to finish editing a film in which his movie-star sister, Kate, is the lead. Avery's substance abuse and health issues take the back burner, however, after Kate is shot and killed outside a party for the new film. As Avery searches for an answer to why his sister was killed, and as he allows his addiction to cloud his judgment more and more, he begins to realize that his search may just be a reaction to the lies he’s told since falling off the wagon.
The film's visual style takes it's lead from the Nixonian-paranoia thrillers of the 1970's (films that base their context in the eyes of the protagonist) but has it's palette firmly grounded in the foggy, textural esthetic of the city in which it's based.
Americana also illuminates, through the allegory of Avery’s futile search for answers, the problems that alcoholics face returning to their life mid transition into sobriety. It's a story about facing the consequences of an ugly past. As alcoholism is a social disease that often metastasizes over time in invisible ways, Avery's journey to bring to light the circumstances of his sister’s death is threatened both by his personal health as well as his social pariahdom.
We are lucky enough to be working with two incredible actors, David Call ('Two Gates of Sleep', 'Gossip Girl' and 'Tiny Furniture'), playing Avery, and Rachel Brosnahan, ('House of Cards') playing Kate.
The idea for Americana - the death of an actress leading to the success of her last film - has swirled around in my head for almost a decade now. It started as a one-line pitch working at the Writers Guild of Great Britain Program at the ICA in London in 2006. It was the main inspiration for my thesis short film at NYU of the same name. But I’ve never felt that I had a platform to fully flesh it out, to build it into the type of genre film that inspired the idea. Finally, after 32 drafts, five of them page-one rewrites, and two years of fundraising, we’re in the final push.
That’s important to note. This Kickstarter campaign isn’t the beginning of the funding, it’s the gap, it’s the last push to be able to fly to San Francisco and put this story on film. We are on the brink. And in a production of this size, every dollar counts. Every ten bucks is another stand to put a light on or a lunch for a crew-member. This is money being put to practical use, for a film that has had more than it’s fair share of thinking through. We are all ready to make this film.
My father has been a location manager in San Francisco for nearly 3 decades, and has worked on some of the most quintessential San Francisco movies made in the last 30 years – The Joy Luck Club, The Rock, The Game, Zodiac, Milk, Contagion and Blue Jasmine, among others. I’m humbled that we get to apply his talents and his rolodex on this film.
Beyond that, the amount of people lending their services and their spaces to us for filming is overwhelming.
Here are photos shot on a preliminary scout, with producers Matt and Dan standing in, and in some cases chewing the scenery:
T-Shirts and Hoodies from American Apperal, designed by the incomparable Amos Goldbaum!
Risks and challenges
For the past five years, I have been a producer on movies like this, with similar budgets and seemingly impossible goals. And just because I’m directing this film doesn’t mean that the lessons learned on the last films have seeped away. We, my partners and I, as a team, are good at this. We are good at stretching a buck. We pride ourselves on making films with little money into films that look like they had more than enough. But we still need a bit, the financial spire on top, to make it work. By donating to Americana, you’re not only helping to make this film right now, you’re helping in the day to day, the hour to hour.
We are filming a very large film, for a relatively small amount of money. We're confident in our ability to do this, but it requires every little piece of funding we can find and we need your help to do it. You’re an integral part of the process and we thank you so much for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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