About this project
BLUEBIRD is a feature-length narrative film seeking funding for theatrical distribution in the United States. After a very successful year screening at film festivals around the world, we’re preparing to release the film in theaters across the country. We’ve established an exciting partnership with Sundance Artists Services and Factory 25 to get the film out there, but without the financial support of a traditional distributor, it’s up to us to find an audience. With the help of your contribution, we’ll be able to spread the word, connect with fans of independent cinema, and put the movie on screens large and small. We can’t wait to share BLUEBIRD with all of you!
What is BLUEBIRD about?
BLUEBIRD explores the interconnectedness of a small logging town in the northern reaches of Maine. When Lesley, the local school bus driver (TONY nominee Amy Morton) becomes distracted during her end-of-day inspection, she fails to notice a sleeping boy in the back of the bus. What happens next shatters the tranquility of the secluded industrial town, proving that even the slightest actions have enormous consequences. Stricken by an overwhelming sense of guilt, Lesley’s fragility is further tested by her husband (John Slattery, MAD MEN), a local logger preoccupied by the imminent closing of the town paper mill, and the boy’s mother Marla (Louisa Krause, KING KELLY), a disaffected young woman looking to take advantage of a delicate situation. Shot on location in the stark, frozen woods of Maine’s Katahdin Region, BLUEBIRD fosters a profound sense of place, chillingly capturing the setting’s lonely yet beautiful tone, thanks to the masterwork of cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE). The film boasts a powerful supporting cast including Emily Meade (BOARDWALK EMPIRE), Emmy-winner Margo Martindale (JUSTIFIED), and Adam Driver (GIRLS).
What inspired you to make this film?
As a filmmaker, I’m primarily inspired by environment and atmosphere. I think this fascination is ultimately what compelled me to explore the mythology of where I grew up. In Maine, the dense forest looms ever present, reminding us that nature is king and we are simply at the mercy of its will. I was drawn to stark images found in our northern-most mill towns: a school bus driving down a country highway, a snowmobile racing across a frozen lake, the old paper mill billowing smoke, logging machines tearing down trees... The atmosphere is terrifying and lonely, yet serene and beautiful at the same time. I wanted to make a film that had that same multi-layered feeling. Ultimately, it became a film about how people find meaning and connection despite the growing sense of isolation in rural America. Especially in New England, where the typical disposition of stoicism and denial pushes these characters even further apart. I found that the landscape of Northern Maine was the ideal backdrop to examine how love struggles against the unforgiving chaos of the natural world.
What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing BLUEBIRD?
My hope is that the film is an enveloping, cinematic experience. I want to transport people to a place that they’ve never been, both emotionally and geographically. While the film has a gripping story that drives the film in a narrative way, I’d like audiences to also find meaning in the environment and atmosphere we’ve created. I think a film works best when it’s telegraphing its ideas through light and sound in an almost subconscious way, like a dream.
What has happened with the film thus far?
BLUEBIRD premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival as the opening night film of the Narrative Competition. It had its international premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic where it won the award for Best Actress (shared by its female ensemble) and the Ecumenical Jury Prize. It went on to screen at many prestigious film festivals around the world including Busan (Korea), Stockholm, Thessaoloniki (Greece), Chicago, Maryland, and the Viennale. It had a successful theatrical run in Europe, won additional awards for acting at the Sidewalk Film Festival and the Ashland Film Festival, and was named one of the best undistributed films of 2013 by Variety.
Why are we on Kickstarter?
Despite the success we’ve had on the festival circuit and a few offers for traditional distribution, we felt that the film deserved a more nuanced, grass-roots approach to it’s release. Unfortunately, the support for small-scale adult dramas in the world of traditional distribution is severely lacking these days. Additionally, the financial structure and creative control is less than ideal for filmmakers looking to maintain artistic ownership of their work. We’ve had an incredible time taking this film all over the world and introducing it to audiences, but we didn’t make this film just for film festivals. We believe that there is a larger audience out there who would love this film, if only they were able to see it. Through Kickstarter we’re hoping to raise enough to be able to release the film on a few screens across the country and also make it available on digital outlets, such as iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix.
What is Sundance Artist Services?
BLUEBIRD was a participant in the Sundance Writers and Directors Labs and we’re pleased to be working with Sundance Artists Services on the release. Artist Services empowers independent filmmakers to maintain creative control of their distribution, amplifying their reach and revenue potential in the process. Artist Services gives every Institute-supported film robust access to best-in-class digital distribution deals, creative funding tactics, and marketing support. Since launching in 2011, the program has launched 80+ new and encore Sundance Institute films into the digital marketplace and guided 200+ alumni artists with successful Kickstarter projects totaling over $7 Million. Artists whose work has been cultivated through the program include Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady (DETROPIA), and Shane Carruth (PRIMER, UPSTREAM COLOR).
“Lance Edmands’ debut feature is a quietly affecting indie drama... This gentle, soulfully acted drama has its own distinct identity, bringing a potent sense of place to its wintry Maine locations and a penetrating gaze to blue–collar characters in a depressed mill town.” David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Gorgeously shot on film by cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), BLUEBIRD owes much to the strength of its cast, particularly the deeply empathetic Morton and the angst–riddled Krause... For everyone involved, BLUEBIRD is a strong calling card.” Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“A heart-breaking American indie with a top-notch cast... Edmands does a terrific job of suggesting the growing pain, frustration and guilt coursing through these lives. He draws a particularly gripping performance from Morton and a beautifully subtle one from Slattery... ” Marshall Fine, The Huffington Post
“Bluebird is a well–observed and striking debut about family, connectedness and consequences. Subtle, nuanced and absorbing, Lance Edmands‘ directorial debut BLUEBIRD is a remarkable first feature and wise beyond his and its years... Edmands resists all levels of melodrama and sentimentality in BLUEBIRD and yet the picture is just as arresting and emotional as any drama I‘ve seen this year... a wonderful debut film. ” Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
“Beautiful BLUEBIRD heralds arrival of an impressive new indie voice... For all its lovely scripting and beautiful cinematography (the film was lensed by Jody Lee Lipes, who also shot the similarly striking Martha Marcy May Marlene), what‘s most remarkable about Bluebird is its consistently solid performances, many of which frequently approach just flat–out greatness. Beautifully lensed, beautifully acted, beautifully written, Bluebird is a heartbreakingly beautiful film about the consequences of an ordinary life.” Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects
“Rich in tone and texture, BLUEBIRD is an atmospheric and deeply emotional film that pulls us into the psyche of its characters. There‘s a quiet sense of distress that pervades, highlighting the decay of a logging town in Maine, which feels anachronistic in its stillness yet deals with issues relevant to working class American families everywhere.” Hillary Weston, BlackBook
“The characters‘ varying responses to the accident are painfully muted, terse and frigid like the world around them; when their emotions eventually break through it‘s like ice cracking. Edmands draws strong performances from his cast, especially Amy Morton and Margo Martindale as the mothers of the two families.” Susanna Locascio, Hammer To Nail
Risks and challenges
Releasing a small independent film like ours is a tremendous challenge. We need all the help we can get to connect with an audience that really responds to a film like BLUEBIRD.
Our goal is to raise $35,000, but we can always exceed our goal and raise more! The more funds we raise, the easier it will be for us to both market and distribute the film, and the more cities we can play theatrically.
We'll use your contribution to:
- Create more digital screening copies of the film
- Pay for advertising in newspapers, magazines, and online
- Pay for a marketing and publicity team to advertise the film
- Pay for a theatrical booker to help place the film in theaters
- Print posters, postcards, and other promotional materials
- Create DVDs and Blu-Rays
We are planning releasing the film theatrically this fall of 2014. It will then be available shortly thereafter on iTunes, Amazon, etc. We will be shipping all rewards within 30 days of the BLUEBIRD release.
Aside from donating, there are many other ways you can help. The most direct way is for individuals and organizations to spread the word to audiences far and wide. Like our video at the top of the page and tweet it out to your friends, add us on Facebook, make an announcement at your school, or forward our email to all your friends and family.
You can email us at: email@example.com
We have a website: http://www.bluebird-movie.com
You can follow Lance Edmands on Twitter: @lanceedmands
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