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Starring a blind actor, a modern take on the Raymond Carver story "Cathedral" that will benefit organizations that help the blind.
A short film starring a blind actor that will benefit organizations who help the blind.
A short film starring a blind actor that will benefit organizations who help the blind.
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150 backers pledged $20,685 to help bring this project to life.

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CATHEDRALS: A Short Film to Help the Blind

$20,685

150

Update!: We've been written about by the American Foundation for the Blind as well as the Cinema Touching Disabilities Film Festival!

Cathedrals is an exciting adaptation of the Raymond Carver story "Cathedral" using a blind actor, a diverse cast and truly unique sound ideas. This is my passion project, and I've got an amazing team at Sawhorse Productions behind me. I've worked with Matt Damon and Sophie Turner for GQ, but I need your help to make my dream happen. 

Though I've been editing for 8 years, my passion lies in writing and directing, and after honing the script for 2 years, I'm excited to make a small difference in the blind community. We will donate $1000 of future ticket sales to organizations that share the same mission: increasing opportunities for the blind. Check them out:

  • Hearts For Sight Foundation - Increasing employment opportunities for the blind through physical health and well-being. 
  • CRE Outreach - The organization behind Theater By the Blind, dedicated to empowering the blind through performance arts.

1. RAISING AWARENESS FOR BLIND AND DISABLED ARTISTS 

Theater by the Blind
Theater by the Blind

I wanted to cast a blind actor to play the blind character for authenticity's sake. However, while trying to find an actor, I learned how few roles there were for the disabled. I reached out to Greg Shane of CRE Outreach and Theater By the Blind, an organization devoted to empowering the blind through performance arts. He told me most of his actors were living in poverty because Hollywood, as well as the greater workforce, tends to ignore blind people.

And after researching, I found that about 75% of blind people were unemployed, and worse, 30% were living below the poverty line because of this discrimination. I was shocked.

Several years ago, The Miracle Worker hit broadway with Abigail Breslin playing Helen Keller. Instead of hiring a blind or deaf person, they cast Breslin and used her star power to sell tickets. I'm reminded of whitewashing. Producers leverage these artistically challenging roles to get the biggest names they can, leaving actors with real disabilities unable to get cast or make a name for themselves.

Rick Boggs, our lead actor
Rick Boggs, our lead actor

This is why we are excited and proud to have actor Rick Boggs on our team playing a starring role. Rick, who has been blind since age 5, has devoted his life to bettering the lives of others, providing accessibility services to people with disabilities and serving on the boards of nonprofit organizations. His positive outlook in the face of challenges and his work in the realm of both acting and music have helped provide for his children, and inspired him to be a motivational speaker. We are excited to give him the opportunity to empower others who feel a setback from their abilities.

2. FUTURE PROCEEDS TO ORGANIZATIONS

The process invigorated me to bring awareness to and find more opportunities for the blind in the arts (and the greater workforce).Since our goal for the film isn't to make money, we can work towards bringing about a change rather than bringing in profit. By crowdsourcing with Kickstarter, I’m hoping we can do a little part in making not only a good movie, but a little good, too.

If we reach our goal, we will donate $1,000 of future ticket sales to CRE Outreach and Hearts For Sight, organizations that increase opportunities for the blind.

3. OUR CREW, OUR TEAM

Watch the video below to hear about other films we've helped make with disabled actors!

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We have the best team to complete this mission, a team experienced with creating quality films starring actors with disabilities. Our producer Eben Kostbar produced The Hammer (2010) starring deaf actor Russell Harvard as real-life deaf wrestler Mark Hamill. Eben cast not only Russell but many other deaf actors for the film, even learning sign language as part of the production. One of those deaf actors was Michael A. Spady, who later starred in The Championship Rounds (2013), a movie I edited. Our team is passionate about working with people of all backgrounds, creating quality, authentic stories in the process.

Welcome to Happiness (2016), produced by Bay Dariz, directed by Oliver Thompson
Welcome to Happiness (2016), produced by Bay Dariz, directed by Oliver Thompson

Sawhorse Productions, the production company behind the project, believes in my vision and the mission. Since it's a passion project without any branded sponsorship, though, I have to raise the money all by myself. Once I do, I'm confident Sawhorse has the breadth of knowledge to create a stunning film with me. They have over 15 years of experience producing and editing features, documentaries, commercials, music videos, and digital content for clients like YouTube Red, ABC Studios, GQ, Vanity Fair, Cadillac, Google and HP. Also on board is multi-faceted producer Bay Dariz, and Oliver Thompson, the producer and director of the Kyle Gallner indie Welcome to Happiness (2016) and many other flicks. With backgrounds in indie film, documentary and commercials, this is the team I trust to create something phenomenal in a short amount of time and with limited resources. I know not one dollar will be wasted.

Filmmaking is an expensive process, but we'll be cutting costs whenever we can. To make a remarkable film, the length of a TV pilot, here's where your support will be going:

-Crew (cinematographer, camera assistants, grips and production assistants)
-Cast (4 cast members, including Rick)
-Camera, truck, and light rentals
-Location, insurance, and production fees
-Costumes, props and other production design
-Food for the set
-Kickstarter fees and reward fulfillment.

As an example of how we're cutting costs, all the producers are working on this only out of the goodness of their own hearts because they believe in the project. That way, we can keep costs low for YOU, our supporters.

Sawhorse's 2015 company Christmas card. Check out Joe on the left with the sweet milkshake.
Sawhorse's 2015 company Christmas card. Check out Joe on the left with the sweet milkshake.

4. CARVER'S LEGACY

Watch the video below to hear about why it's important to modernize Raymond Carver's story for the screen.

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Another reason why independent film is important is that filmmakers are able to cast the best person for the role, regardless of fame. To make "Cathedral" more relevant to our times, we plan on using a diverse cast, something Carver might've not anticipated when he wrote it in 1982. Having characters with varied backgrounds on screen will lend a modernity and immediacy to the story that will resonate with an even broader audience than the story did. We're excited about the possibilities.

Jindabyne (2006), based on Carver's "So Much Water So Close to Home"
Jindabyne (2006), based on Carver's "So Much Water So Close to Home"

Carver's very important to a lot of people. His writing is touching and understated in a way that really moves many readers. We took the best parts of "Cathedral" and reformed it into a beautifully structured framed story. The dialog now sounds natural and modern. I want to make his work relevant to a generation that values authenticity. By casting a racially diverse set of actors and trying some exciting, novel storytelling techniques, we'll share Carver's work with people who wouldn't normally read a short story, bringing them into his world, and keeping his filmic legacy from ending in a Birdman punchline..

Everything Must Go (2011), based on Carver's flash fiction story
Everything Must Go (2011), based on Carver's flash fiction story

Judging from Jindabyne and Everything Must Go, other Carver adaptations, Carver's stories have their most success when the films are short, and the source material is used liberally. Cathedrals will follow in the sure footsteps of these features while introducing his work to a whole new generation of fans.

Thank you!

If you donate, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Together we can make a difference in the lives of a lot of people.
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Risks and challenges

There are many challenges we must overcome to create this film. Unfortunately, since hiring an unknown blind actor is a "bad investment" for major studios or other investors, it will be difficult to get the funds to create this work and this opportunity without your help.

Film is a collaboration, and there are a lot of people involved. We need money for renting equipment, such as lights, camera, camera gear, for permits and paperwork. We need money for hiring great actors; for the hard-working crew, and for the hard-working crew dedicated to paying that crew. The challenge is going to be squeezing every bit we can out of the money we raise. We'll be shooting 23 pages in 2 and a half days, so I know not one dollar will be wasted.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    PRODUCTION DIARY + SOCIAL MEDIA

    You're now a part of this journey, and I want to show you the process, from start to finish. Each week you will receive my own personal production diary with exclusive tidbits on the latest news and nuts and bolts of filmmaking: the good, bad, and especially the weird.

    + I'll also throw you a shoutout on FB or retweet whatever you like. Maybe you have something you'd like to promote!

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
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    8 backers
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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About $10

    ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

    ALL THE ABOVE +
    The soundtrack will be retro. The soundtrack will be trippy. The soundtrack will be in your iTunes playlist for moody days and introspective nights. Enjoy.

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
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    12 backers
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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About $20

    COMPLETED FILM

    ALL THE ABOVE +
    A digital download of the completed film and a special thanks in the credits and on IMDb!

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Special Thanks Credit
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    LOS ANGELES PREMIERE + AFTER PARTY

    ALL THE ABOVE +
    Sure, sit at home. Grab some ice cream. Watch "Cathedrals" on your computer. OR you can get 2 tickets to see the film at its premiere at a big theater in Los Angeles, and join us at the after-party where we'll mix and mingle and celebrate! Doesn't that sound better? And we can still go out for ice cream after, if we want.

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Special Thanks Credit
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    CUSTOM POETRY

    ALL OF THE ABOVE +
    Little known fact: Ben's poetry has secretly been published under a couple different literary publications. Ben will write a custom poem about whatever topic you like!

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Special Thanks Credit
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Custom Poetry
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SIGNED COPIES OF SCRIPT

    MOST OF THE ABOVE +
    One page of the script used on set SIGNED by the actor who used it!

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Special Thanks Credit
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Signed Page of On-Set Script
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    Pledge $105 or more About $105

    SPECIAL EDITION BRAILLE T-SHIRT

    MOST OF THE ABOVE +
    A special edition Cathedrals braille high quality tee that spells the word "Cathedrals" in actual raised Braille and in English. Definitely a conversation starter! (Especially if you want conversations to start with, "Can I touch your chest?")

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Special Thanks Credit
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
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    Pledge US$ 235 or more About $235

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

    Receive an Associate Producer credit on Cathedrals. See your name in the credits and on IMDb. Thank you for your support!

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Associate Producer Credit
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    5 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    VISIT TO SAWHORSE

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT +
    Maybe you want to meet the team. Maybe you have an idea you want to pitch. Maybe you're another producer who wants to team up. Either way, you'll be invited to visit the Sawhorse Productions offices in Hollywood for a face-to-face with the producing team and me. As a major Kickstarter backer, you'll be like a mini-celebrity there.

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Associate Producer Credit
    • Meeting at Sawhorse
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    INCLUDE AN OBJECT IN THE FILM

    "Everything comes to an end," said someone someone smart, perhaps Buddha or Krishna. That doesn't have to be true, though, when that something is immortalized on the silver screen (especially in digital format!). Whether you have a work of art that you love, an advertisement for your business or a keepsake item, we'll find a way to put it in the film, forever preserving it in its full glory. Please, though, no animals or children. Those are notoriously hard to shoot.

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Special Thanks Credit
    • Associate Producer Credit
    • Include an Object in the Film
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    ON-SET VISIT

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT +
    See how it all goes down! You'll be invited to spend a day on the Los Angeles set (Shooting mid-September). It might get crazy, but you'll meet some of the major team members and be a real part of the journey.

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Completed Film
    • On-Set Visit
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Associate Producer Credit
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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About $1,500

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    Get recognized as an Executive Producer on Cathedrals. You'll have a major card in the end credits and a prominent spot on IMDb. We'll thank you PROFUSELY at our screenings and our social pages and quite possibly be indebted to you forever.

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Executive Producer Credit
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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    VIP PACKAGE

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT +
    You want to support the film and be here for the premiere, but you live in another part of the country. Take the VIP Package, and we'll fly you (from within the U.S.) to Los Angeles for the premiere, pay for lodging at a nearby hotel, and take you to dinner the night of or the night before (we can work out the details later). You've made such a huge contribution, and I'll definitely want to thank you in person.

    Includes:
    • Access to Production Diary
    • Social Media Shoutout or Retweet
    • Original Soundtrack
    • Completed Film
    • Los Angeles Premiere + After Party
    • Executive Producer Credit
    • Airfare, Hotel and Dinner
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Funding period

- (30 days)