About this project
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
VHS is a "found footage" psychological thriller about the home invasion of a young, newly-wed couple who have recently relocated to a small two-story house in the backwoods of Maine. The entire film is told through the lens of a 1987 VHS camcorder, stolen from the couple, now in the hands of their two deeply disturbed teenage aggressors.
Currently, the film is fully cast and crewed, all that's needed now are the financial resources.
WHY SUCH A DARK SUBJECT?
Because the idea frightens me deeply. I tell stories about what I love most in life or what most terrifies me - comedy and drama - though in this case, a thriller. I find that most people write off this genre as mindless or tasteless (which it often is) - but when it's done right, I think it's one of the best experiences you can have on a big screen.
This story popped into my head a while back and I've been writing and developing it for nearly a year (becoming my sixth screenplay). It was a subject matter (home invasion) that I felt had been tackled several times before, and could have been done much more creatively and intelligently. I became obsessed with the challenge - a very serious challenge - and unique effect of having to write the entire film with only a single camera, always in the hands of the antagonist.
From the outset of this script I had one intention that helped shape a lot of my decisions: "This will be my first feature film that I will independently produce and direct - the jumping off point for my career - this one is not staying on the page." I believe I have succeeded in creating a fresh and intelligent - though very dark - film experience.
A purely tonal choice.
The idea for the film popped into my head when tinkering around with some old VHS home movies from my childhood. The aesthetic is so immediately recognizable and nostalgic that I thought, "Jesus. How disturbing would it be if these happy memories suddenly cut to terrifying or violent events?" I believe shooting on VHS will give the film an even darker and more personally invading tone - upsetting an imagery so many of us have come to reflect fondly upon.
WHAT DO WE NEED?
Preproduction and Production funding.
Although, VHS camcorders and tapes are certainly a lot less expensive than shooting on 35mm or even HD, the complication of transferring it to be viewable on the silver screen is quite costly.
$17,500 is the bare minimum figure to get the film finished and in the can - everyone working purely out of dedication and belief in the project.
I believe we will reach a much higher total budget, as I will be continuing to raise funds through investors and distributors over the next several months, but this is the money needed to guarantee successful production and initiate full-time commitment to the project.
Fundraising, travel, locations, equipment rental, food, entertainment attorneys, contracting, LLC's, conversion, distribution... It all adds up.
(Please don't forget to Facebook, Tweet, and/or email the VHS Kickstarter page to anyone you think would be interested. Your active engagement is immensely helpful!)
WHAT'S THE PLAN?
To continue financing and Preproduction until principle photography begins in late October.
It will be a 28 day shoot in Maine, the majority of the film taking place in a small, two story house in the middle of the woods.
Postproduction will be completed by Mid-December and the film will be prepped to be shot towards every major and minor festival known to man by January / February with the intension of picking up a distribution deal.
ARE THERE ANY BIG NAMES ATTACHED TO THE FILM?
No. But those that are, are well on their way.
To me, this is nothing but an advantage. Everyone is working their absolute hardest to showcase their best possible work in order to make a jumping off point for their careers, and, more importantly to me, an audience can become much more lost in a film if they don't recognize any faces. They're not waiting for something suspenseful to happen, then whisper to their friend, "Hey, is that Nicolas Cage?"
The cast and I all know and admire one another personally and professionally, and have all worked together before. It's a rare thing to be headed onto set with this much chemistry already established.
Finnish by blood, Swedish by birth, Maija was raised in Stockholm Sweden. After graduating from Stockholm Theater Institute, acting conservatory, she began working in experimental Theater (Mammy Blue…). Before long she was co-starring in a nationally syndicated TV show (Karamelli). From there she went on to become a cast member of the most popular kids show in Sweden (Bolibompa). Fleeing Sweden, Maija moved to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. In New York she has worked in short films and music videos (Juju, Metronica, Foggy Days), as well as in theatre (Vincent 1979, Unconditional Love, The Seagull). She is ecstatic to be working with Benjamin Sweet and the rest of the cast on this extraordinary film, with such a kick- ass role.
Bryce was born in Vancouver, Canada where he grew up acting in film and television. His credits include Hell Cats, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2, X-Men 2, Haunting Hour, Skate, The Troop, and Smallville. He spent the last three years living in New York City studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre. Last year he acted with the world renowned Godlight theatre company on there production of John Balls' "In The Heat of The Night." Bryce now resides back in Vancouver where he continues to act and make music with his band RALF. RALF has been recording there first full length studio album through Jellyfish Recordings and should be available by late April. Bryce is absolutely thrilled to be working with Ben again on this new project. "I feel there are almost none in our generation that know how to tap in to the reality of story telling as honestly and as fearlessly as Ben. It's just rare to find."
Just two months after graduating from The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City, Ryan starred as Eric Harris in the acclaimed Off-Broadway production, "The Columbine Project" at The Actors Temple. He also starred in dual roles in the Off-Broadway hit, "In the Heat of the Night", which was nominated for a 2010 Drama Desk Award, and won a Special Drama Desk Award for Godlight Theatre Company. On film, Ryan first worked in John Gallagher’s Beautiful, an official selection at the Oldenburg Filmfest 2009 in Germany and the Chashama Film Festival in Manhattan. Ryan then co-starred in "The Aristofrogs", the trailer for the 2010 Oldenburg edition, and starred in the short film, Enamour, which world premiered at the 2010 Oldenburg Film festival. As of 2011, Ryan stares in the short film, "Inconclusive", having it’s world premiere at the SoHo International Film Festival in April. He’s been cast as the male lead in upcoming horror thriller "Digger 3D", and co-stars and serves as Associate Producer on the romantic comedy, "Sam". He also co-wrote his very first screenplay with John Gallagher called, "Fickle", starring Frank Vincent and Heather Matarazzo, and is currently starring opposite Sandra Bernhard in Ari Taub’s ’79 Parts.
Recently having finished working on the play the play “Hasty heart” as "Digger" with the Glendale Centre Theatre while simultaneously producing a 3D Documentary with production company, Origin Entertainment, John had a busy year in 2010 to say the least. In '09 he graduated from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City, completing the 2 year Meisner Intensive Conservatory Program with teachers Richard Pinter, Ron Stetson and Gary Kingston, “Graduating from the playhouse has opened up a whole new life for me in America. Growing up in the countryside of Australia with my parents and two brothers has given me a huge appreciation for open spaces and the ocean, so having found myself living in NYC and LA, has been quite the adventure. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to work with Ben and this brilliant cast of Actors and crew.”
Winston Moore was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. He moved to New York 5 years ago to study acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. Since graduating he has worked in film and theater, often filling the role of the strange and oddly exotic. In the last two years he has done a wide variety of theater ranging from Classics (The Bald Soprano, The Real Inspector Hound, True West) to Fresh Out of the Box(The Cold House, Sami, Holy Rollers). Winston has worked a number of times with Writer/Director/Producer Benjamin Sweet (Love Drug, Film Spirit, Big Ted & Little Audrey) and looks forward to this project, and more in the future as they both navigate their way to success through artistic expression.
Nicole was born and raised in Colorado, but has always been an East Coast girl at heart. After receiving a BA in Political Science from Brown University, she entered law school at Columbia, only to discover acting to be her true passion. Driven to make a difference in the world, she believes that cultural awareness resides in art and that film has a unique capacity to awaken and transform society. Nicole studied acting with remarkable teachers at The Neighborhood Playhouse, Barrow Group, and T Schreiber Studio. One of her favorite projects to date is "Beautiful", a short film by John Gallagher (Official Selection Oldenburg Filmfest, Germany, and Chashama Film Festival, New York.) Currently residing in LA, she is excited to get back East to work alongside this group of gifted artists on the extraordinary project that is VHS!
They're all brilliant actors, who all share incredible chemistry with one another. I wrote all the parts for them directly after having seen their abilities and character traits over the years. If I had the option to cast anyone in the world for this film, it would be them.
Breaking through is an immensely difficult and painstaking process. But, as with anything else in life, with hard work, dedication, and persistence - it happens. All you need is that first big step. That first feature film. That first lead role.
Help us kickstart our careers.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MONEY ISN'T RASIED IN TIME?
(Don't let that happen!)
We get nothing, and no one is charged - it's all or nothing. Kickstarter will only bill your card upon the successful achievement of the goal.
IS MY PLEDGE AMOUNT PUBLICLY DISPLAYED?
No. We can see it, but no one else.
IF I DONATE, WHEN DO I GET MY INCENTIVE?
Incentives will be delivered as they become available. The film is set to shoot November 2011, so most incentives will become available and will be delivered or fulfilled in the months following.
CAN YOU EXCEED YOUR KICKSTARTER GOAL?
Since this is all or nothing, the goal has been set at the lowest necessary minimum. Like any film, the better the budget, the more freedom and quality becomes available. Exceeding our goal will allow for far superior Preproduction, Production, and Postproduction quality, while making the entire process a lot smoother and less stressful.
A tremendous thank you to all who contribute. You're helping to foster our dreams into a reality.
If you are interested in owning a piece of this film via private investment opportunities please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Private Investment, VHS" as the subject line.
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