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A human invited to live among Artificial Intelligence struggles between divided loyalties. Shot in the Czech Republic (Czechia).
A human invited to live among Artificial Intelligence struggles between divided loyalties. Shot in the Czech Republic (Czechia).
202 backers pledged $18,210 to help bring this project to life.

About

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SURFER’S PARADISE—a science fiction pilot

$18,210

202

WELCOME!

SURFER'S PARADISE is a 45 minute Science Fiction pilot for a series. Humans dropped the ball; the planet is destroyed and at war, and the Saperi—enlightened artificial intelligence—are trying to piece the world back together.

“AI are often depicted as malevolent or untrustworthy, so we wanted to put humans under the moral microscope for a change." —producer/star Ben Palacios

The Singularity (noun): The point in time at which converging advances in AI will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.

writer/director Max Gold and cinematographer Stephen Tringali
writer/director Max Gold and cinematographer Stephen Tringali

“Our protagonist has lost his family. He can never go home because home is gone. This feeling of nostalgic desire for the warm past to which we can never return, drives our entire story." —writer/director Max Gold

OUR STORY

...begins 100 years in the future. A post-Singularity world in which AI have separated themselves from humans by building a wall around their own utopian district. The AI New District is lush and safe, while the Old District (where humans live) is plagued by war, famine, and death.

Mari Yamamoto (Kamiko) rehearses fight choreography
Mari Yamamoto (Kamiko) rehearses fight choreography

But the AI allow a limited number of humans to apply to join them in the New District. Ben, a human who lost his family, chooses to apply to live among the AI in the New District. His trial is a process called The Judgement.

"Ben is bumping around this dangerous, confusing new world like an emotional pinball. I was excited to tell a story within the vacuum left by loss that eroticism so often floods in to fill. This manifests in Ben’s forbidden, pan-sexual explorations with his AI hosts, Oscar and Kamiko.” —Max Gold

"Our team was thrilled to take on an LGBTQ+ love story within the sci-fi genre.  It breathed new life into the well-known themes of human/AI relationships.  We asked ourselves, 'What kind of world do we see for the future? What kind of stories do we want to tell?'  And we found our answer." —Ben Palacios

Ben Palacios with Czech producer Tomas Otradovec
Ben Palacios with Czech producer Tomas Otradovec

GOOD NEWS!

Many projects begin from a blank slate, but we’ve completely wrapped production. Meaning, we have already:

  • Written the script
  • Cast international actors
  • Scouted and secured filming locations
  • Designed costumes
  • Built props
  • Shot the pilot for two weeks in the Czech Republic (Czechia)

This fundraising campaign is entirely intended to fund the costs of post-production. These include:

 

These tasks require immense expertise, which is why we’ve assembled an incredible team…

MEET THE PRODUCTION TEAM

production team and actors after wrapping filming in Czech Republic
production team and actors after wrapping filming in Czech Republic

Writer/Director: MAX GOLD is the LA-based writer/director of feature films BEAST and Silicon Beach.  He also directs music videos and commercials.

Producer / Casting Director: MAYA KVETNY (Underworld: Blood Wars, Borgia, The Zookeeper's Wife) is creator/owner of the casting agency Myrnyx Tyrnyx. She casts foreign and local feature films, TV series and hundreds of commercials for the international market. Through diversity, Maya aims to break racial and cultural barriers in the entertainment industry.

Czech Producers: TOMÁŠ OTRADOVEC and PETR SVOBODA, co-owners of Toaster Pictures, a Cannes Lions & Clio & PIAF awarded film and content production company based in Prague, Czech Republic.

Cinematographer: STEPHEN TRINGALI is Director of Photography of films such as Just A Little Bit Longer and #SquadGoals. Stephen's feature-length documentary, Corridor Four, will premiere at the Washington West Film Festival and screen at the Hawaii International Film Festival this fall.

Editor: CHRISTOPHER RUCINSKI's credits include War For The Planet Of The Apes, The Wolverine, and Captain America: The First Avenger.  He also directed the critically acclaimed short film, Dogs In The Distance.

producer Maya Kvetny with her daughter Isabel on set
producer Maya Kvetny with her daughter Isabel on set

Costume Designer: ANGELA AARON (The Illusionists Live on Broadway, Circus 1903) is an international costume designer.  Her creations have performed at Sydney Opera House, London’s West End, and NYC's Broadway.  Angela was recently nominated for the Metropolitan Fashion Award, Costume Designer of the Year, alongside Broadway's Hamilton.

Composer: MATT ORENSTEIN is an LA-based composer, songwriter, and bassist who's work and performances have seen ink in The New York Times, Pulse of the Twin Cities, and the Allmusic Guide.

Associate Producers: BRANT ROTNEM, MAX SILVER (Silicon Beach, The Ice Cream Truck) and JACQUI ANDERS.

MEET THE CAST

Ben Palacios, Alex Fondja, and Mari Yamamoto
Ben Palacios, Alex Fondja, and Mari Yamamoto

BEN PALACIOS (Ben) currently stars as Prince Hans in Disney's Frozen Live, directed by Tony-nominated Liesl Tommy.  Ben has performed across the USA in touring & regional theater including Spank! (50 Shades parody), Sex With Strangers, and Vanya & Sonya & Masha & Spike. Film credits include Love in the Time of Monsters and 10 Year Plan.

MARI YAMAMOTO (Kamiko) is an international actress from Tokyo and London.  Film credits include Bourek, Allure and O Sporos. She was a member of The Flea Theatre in NYC and is currently a member of renowned Seinendan Company in Japan.

ALEX FONDJA (Oscar) is a French actor who's worked alongside Golden Globe winner Idris Elba in The Take.  Film credits include Une Nouvelle Amie and 9 Mois Ferme.

HANA VAGNEROVÁ (Regulator) is an award-winning film, TV, and theatre actress from the Czech Republic. Film/TV credits include The Zodiac MurdersVyprávej and Horákovi. Hana has starred in Czech National Theatre productions such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and Midsummer Nights Dream.

Mari Yamamoto, Alex Fondja, and Hana Vagnerova on set
Mari Yamamoto, Alex Fondja, and Hana Vagnerova on set

Supporting actors include BRIAN CASPE (The Martian, Hellboy), EVA JOSEFIKOVÁ (Vejska, The Devil's Bride), TIMOTHY RADFORD (The Zookeeper's Wife, Britannia)  ZDENEK GLOSER (The Three Musketeers), JANEK GREGOR (Amazon's Patriot, Wasteland), BRANT ROTNEM (Silicon Beach, The After) and JOSEF KARAS (Borgia).

UPDATE: Stretch Goals (Oct 25)

We are truly humbled at the incredible support of our backers. With 22 days left in our campaign, we're already 80% funded! This gives us the opportunity to think ahead, about what additional goals we plan to accomplish if we're lucky enough to surpass our initial funding goal. These are called STRETCH GOALS.

Go BIG or go home.

Because Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, our initial budget for post-production was as conservative as possible; only the essentials. We are confident that our team can pull off post-production at our initial goal of $16,000. But now that we're nearing it, we want to share a vision of an even better SURFER'S PARADISE:

$24,000 = Top-Notch VFX & Sound Design

The cornerstones of killer Sci-Fi post-production are seamlessly integrated Visual Effects and a truly compelling Sound Design. With $8,000 more we'll be able to vastly improve upon the VFX and Sound Design we had originally intended. Specifically, our Director Max is interested in building out:

1) A more complex and immersive sound design of all Saperi (AI) anatomy.

2) Visuals of the Old District, seen in Ben's nightmares and memories, including:

  • FIREBOMBS falling from the sky on Ben's home settlement
  • PATROL AIRCRAFTS monitoring the border between the Old and New Districts
photo for illustrative purposes only
photo for illustrative purposes only

$32,000 = Two Additional Scenes

In addition to Top-Notch VFX & Sound Design, with $16,000 more we'll be able to add and film TWO additional scenes, which otherwise won't appear in the pilot:

1) A flashback sequence of Ben's family in the Old District before they were killed. This will add further emotional depth to Ben's character arc and give the audience a better sense of where he came from.

2) An extra intimate scene between Ben and Oscar. This will give the audience a better idea of the forbidden romance that occurs behind closed doors between human and Saperi. We've got some already, but we always wanted to explore it further.

production still from SURFER'S PARADISE
production still from SURFER'S PARADISE

$60,000 = Feature Film

Shoot for the stars! If we raise a total of $60,000 not only will we be able to afford Top-Notch VFX and Sound Design and Two Additional Scenes, but we'll be able to build out SURFER'S PARADISE into a feature-length film. This includes writing, casting, producing, filming, and editing enough additional scenes to make SURFER'S PARADISE measure up in length for the "big-leagues".

Max has already written a 9-page treatment, so we have tons of content from which to craft a new act and structure our story as a feature film. Plus, you won't have to wait for the pilot to be picked up for series... you'll be able to experience it much sooner as a fully-fledged feature film! Coolest part is, a feature makes an even better pilot/proof of concept to pitch.

Honoring our Commitment

Kickstarter requires backers to have immense trust in creators. We do not take this lightly. Whether we reach any of our stretch goals, we are committed to giving you all an unforgettable experience. We worked tirelessly envisioning and creating the script, we worked tirelessly in the Czech Republic to film it, and we will continue to work tirelessly throughout post-production to ensure we deliver the best product we can. Whether or not we attain our Stretch Goals.

Thank you for believing in SURFER'S PARADISE.

Risks and challenges

Many of the risks and challenges have already been overcome by our highly skilled team, including scouting and securing Czech shooting locations such as "abandoned quarry" and "post-apolcalyptic national border." (We're all still alive, so, it worked out.) Basically, we've done all the legwork... we just need to fund the post-production process. Two elements stand out in particular:

SOUND DESIGN
In order to make our AI characters believable as highly sophisticated humanoid machines, we plan to use intricate sound design to underscore the actors’ movements. This technique was used to great effect in the film Ex Machina. It is crucial to employ a Sound Designer capable of creating this effect in a compelling and elegant way.

VISUAL EFFECTS
The pilot contains a couple of scenes that require visual effects to accomplish pivotal story beats. We must find the right visual effects team that will complement and elevate the raw visuals of the scene.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Great Karma :)

    Every dollar helps. Thank you! You done good.

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    Twitter Shoutout and Follow

    You'll receive a shoutout and a follow on Twitter to thank you for your contribution. Also includes Great Karma :)

    **please note your Twitter handle

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    Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot

    We'll send you an exclusive link to the finished pilot so you can watch it HI-RES before all those plebeians who have to wait for the official release.

    Includes:
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    Downloadable Soundtrack

    You'll receive a downloadable soundtrack by SURFER'S PARADISE composer Matt Orenstein so you can immerse yourself in the world of AI while you're driving/jogging/spelunking.

    Includes:
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Name in Credits

    "Look ma, I'm on TV!" We'll put your name in the credits of SURFER'S PARADISE. You'll go down in history for helping to bring this pilot to completion.

    Includes:
    • Downloadable Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    Naughty Postcard

    In 2014 Ben Palacios did a parody of "50 Shades of Grey" starring Shelley Regner (Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2 & 3). The cast did a naughty photoshoot and had "Spank Harder!" postcards printed to send out while on tour with the show.

    THERE ARE 20 ORIGINAL POSTCARDS LEFT.
    You'll receive a naughty postcard with original pictures of Ben & Shelley as "Christian Grey" and "Anastasia", accompanied by a steamy love note, and SIGNED by both Ben & Shelley.

    Feeling naughty?

    Includes:
    • Name in Credits
    • Downloadable Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    30-min Phone Call with Ben Palacios

    A 30-min phone call with star Ben Palacios, during which you can discuss whatever you'd like... Favorite pizza toppings, deepest secrets, what to name your new pet goat...

    Includes:
    • Name in Credits
    • Downloadable Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    Authentic Wardrobe or Prop Item

    You'll receive an authentic wardrobe or prop item that was worn or used ON CAMERA by the actors of SURFER'S PARADISE. It will be accompanied by a handwritten explanation of the item's significance and why it was chosen. Supplies are limited... don't wait!

    Includes:
    • Name in Credits
    • Downloadable Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Personalized Video Thank-You Song!

    You're so generous, you probably think this song is about you... Because it is! We'll make a certifiably ridiculous musical performance in your honor. There could be maracas, ukuleles, dancers... who knows! Each one will be COMPLETELY different, and all about YOU!

    Includes:
    • 30-min Phone Call with Ben Palacios
    • Name in Credits
    • Downloadable Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    Associate Producer Credit

    An Associate Producer credit on SURFER'S PARADISE. This includes IMDb credit. Congratulations, you're hired!

    Includes:
    • Personalized Video Thank-You Song
    • 30-min Phone Call with Ben Palacios
    • Name in Credits
    • Downloadable Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit & INVOLVEMENT

    An Executive Producer credit on the pilot (IMDb credit included), as well as involvement in post-production. You'll get to see the latest cuts of the pilot as a work-in-progress and speak regularly with Ben Palacios and/or Max Gold to learn about the process. Have you always wanted to be a producer? This is your short-cut to producer-hood.

    Includes:
    • Personalized Video Thank-You Song
    • 30-min Phone Call with Ben Palacios
    • Name in Credits
    • Downloadable Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Link to Finished Pilot
    • Twitter Shoutout & Follow
    • Great Karma :)
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Funding period

- (30 days)