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AUTOMATIC AT SEA chronicles the journey of a young Swedish traveler who finds herself trapped on a fictional island
AUTOMATIC AT SEA chronicles the journey of a Swedish traveler who finds herself trapped on a fictional island
AUTOMATIC AT SEA chronicles the journey of a Swedish traveler who finds herself trapped on a fictional island
217 backers pledged $37,572 to help bring this project to life.

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AUTOMATIC AT SEA a feature film exploring hidden realms

$37,572

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Livia Hiselius in a set still by Zach Lanoue
Livia Hiselius in a set still by Zach Lanoue

Dear Friends,

We've made an unusual film called AUTOMATIC AT SEA and we need your help to finish it. 

(The film was written and directed by award-wining filmmaker Matthew Lessner, whose first feature THE WOODS made history as the first Kickstarter funded film to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.)

Here's our synopsis (if you're into that sort of thing): On a whim, Eve (young Swedish traveler) accepts an invitation from Peter (wealthy heir) to vacation on his family’s private island off the coast of New England. As a series of unexpected delays prevent other guests from arriving, Eve discovers that she has little in common with the increasingly erratic Peter and that something is not quite right on this mysterious island. Gradually the idyllic natural beauty of her surroundings dissolves, and Eve finds herself trapped in an unstable reality punctuated by feverish visions, dimensional shifting and secret pizza.

Breeda Wool and Livia Hiselius in a film still by Aaron Kovalchik
Breeda Wool and Livia Hiselius in a film still by Aaron Kovalchik

An immensely talented international team of collaborators spent a month living and working together on the beautiful and storied island of Martha’s Vineyard to bring writer/ director Matthew Lessner's vision to life. The film has been completely shot and edited and is now awaiting final post work which, with your contribution, will be accomplished.

Here's what some other kind humans have said about the film:

"A wildly imaginative, enigmatic, disturbing, and often hilarious dive into the dark side of love."

"Totally hypnotic and incredibly beautiful, a seriously haunting film."

"Watching this movie feels a lot like you’re loosing your mind."

David Henry Gerson in James Cagney's barn in a set still by Zach Lanoue
David Henry Gerson in James Cagney's barn in a set still by Zach Lanoue

The project was born when actor/ producer David Henry Gerson attended a screening of writer/ director Matthew Lessner’s first feature film THE WOODS at the Sundance Film Festival. David approached Matthew immediately after the screening and told him that he was interested in helping him make his next film. Matthew enjoyed the flattery and thought David looked like a real-life satyr. Thus began a long, strange, fruitful friendship and collaboration.

From producer/ actor David Henry Gerson

“I loved Matthew’s wit and voice in THE WOODS. The dynamic of the people involved, and the collaborative and immersive way it was made really spoke to me. I immediately knew I wanted to build a project with him, and try to evoke a similar environment of creation.”

Matthew Lessner and Aaron Kovalchik in a set still by Zach Lanoue
Matthew Lessner and Aaron Kovalchik in a set still by Zach Lanoue

From writer/ director Matthew Lessner:

"Shortly after we met at Sundance, David invited me out to spend some time on Martha's Vineyard to try and develop a new project.

It was soon agreed that we would make a kind of horror film about the things that were terrifying me most at the time, which were not slashers or monsters, but the inner reaches of my own mind, the unanswerable questions that kept me up at night. Questions like, “Am I really me?” “Do I actually exist?” “Can you ever really know anyone?” “Why are Snickers so good?” “Do I really have free will?” “If so, why can’t I stop thinking about Crystal Pepsi?

AUTOMATIC AT SEA is a film intended to evoke questions. It’s a film designed to make you feel more than think. 

While developing the film we shot a short film called CHAPEL PERILOUS as a kind of test collaboration. Aesthetically and tonally it was quite different from the future feature, but it explored some of the same themes. CHAPEL PERILOUS went on to premiere at Sundance where it won the Audience Award and wound up online as a Vimeo Staff Pick. You can watch it above.

Last summer, we had the good fortune to be invited to participate in the US in Progress, Paris program, screening our work-in-progress edit of AUTOMATIC AT SEA along with 3 other fantastic films. It was an amazing experience and an invaluable learning opportunity. 

AUTOMATIC AT SEA is shot and edited, but in order to finish post-production and bring it to screens your support is essential. (If you’re not of the film world, post-production might not be something you think much of when enjoying a film, but it is essential to creating a polished finished product, and unfortunately it is not cheap.) 

The only reason this film exists is because all those who have been involved until this point were interested in taking a risk on something new and unique. And now we ask you, stranger, to join us. Won’t you?

WHO ARE WE?

We are a group of filmmakers and artists whose work has screened at Film Festivals: Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Venice... on Television: Adult Swim, Canal +, Lifetime, MTV, NBC, PBS... and in Museums: the Pompidou Museum in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in NY... We come from Australia, Boston, Denmark, LA, Martha's Vineyard, NY, Oregon, and Sweden and we ask for your support to complete our film.

CAST:

Breeda Wool (UnREAL, AWOL) Livia Hiselius, David Henry Gerson, and with Malia Scharf, and Evan Louison

CREW:

Written and Directed by Matthew Lessner / Produced by Vanessa Gazy, David Henry Gerson, and Beatrice von Schwerin / Cinematography by Aaron Kovalchik (‘The Eric Andre Show’) / Assistant Camera by Zach Lanoue / Assistant Directing by Joshua Voegelin / Production Design by Morgan Rhebock / Art Direction by Olivia Ives-Flores / Styling by Krissie Torgerson / Sound Mixing by Greg Mailloux / Production Assistance by Emma GoldbergJared Hinton, and Elina Street / Music by Rene Hell / Editing by Nick Ellsberg ('The Tree of Life') 

AUTOMATIC AT SEA tote bag designed by Alina Vergnano
AUTOMATIC AT SEA tote bag designed by Alina Vergnano

 SOME OF MATTHEW'S PAST WORK:

Risks and challenges

Since AUTOMATIC AT SEA has already been shot and edited, we can guarantee that if we successfully fund this campaign the film will most definitely be released (at least in this version of reality). The biggest risk and challenge to the completion of the film is only the success of this campaign.

Our sincerest thanks,

the AUTOMATIC AT SEA team <3

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Welcome to the island. You're one of us now, there's no turning back. . .

    We will send updates, images, and stories about the film as it journeys through post, through the festival circuit, and beyond!

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    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    Photographic proof of Matthew Lessner's encounter with his future self/ Tupac uploaded to the cloud.

    We'll send updates, images, and stories about the film as it journeys through post, through the festival circuit, and beyond!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Advanced HD Download of the film.
    Yours to journey in as you wish.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Exclusive AUTOMATIC AT SEA tote bag (100% heavyweight cotton canvas) featuring screen printed artwork by Italian artist Alina Vergnano + advanced HD download of the film

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A downloadable guided self-hypnosis/ meditation session recorded by Matthew Lessner 13 years in the future + the exclusive advanced HD download of the film, and the cloud.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A limited edition AUTOMATIC AT SEA poster, signed by a past, or future version of Matthew Lessner, and/or members of the cast and crew - your choice!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A thumb drive with the film on it, and our guidance, to host a screening / installation of the film. We will work with you to host a creative event around your screening - at theaters, community centers, to projecting the film on pyramids or any buildings you like!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    An authentic and rare Crystal Pepsi can, used as a prop in the film!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    A rare, original, customized Orbitz bottle, used as a prop in the film. Plus the advanced HD download, plus the guided meditation!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE RAVEN

    A customized Mouse Trap board game, used as a prop in the film - it spent a good amount of time on set next to a 10,000 year old Neolithic stone "Mother Goddess" sculpture and absorbed her positive ancient vibes and virtues!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE KNIGHT

    Dinner for two at the Beach Plum Inn on Martha's Vineyard.

    www.beachpluminn.com

    (travel to the island not included - but good luck getting off the island once you are on it...)

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    THE PELICAN

    A magical feast on the island, at Beetlebung Farm. Join celebrated chef Chris Fischer (see the article on him in Esquire, or the New York Times, or Saveur..) for a day of learning about the island's homegrown ingredients from local farms and fishermen, cooking (if you like), and a fine dining candlelit experience unlike any other in the greenhouse on his family's farm for 4-6 people.
    http://www.beetlebungfarm.com/

    (travel & lodging not included.)

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    THE SWAN

    A room with a view, for two, on the island.

    Stay for a night at the beautiful Beach Plum Inn overlooking the Vineyard Sound in Chilmark, MA.
    http://www.beachpluminn.com/
    (Shoulder season only (excluding July and August - travel to island not included)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    THE CROWN

    An EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT on the film, IMDB, and projected in light. We welcome you humbly as a part of our team, as we journey to festivals and beyond with the film, and extend to you our deepest of gratitudes.

    Dinner with director and producer at film's premiere. (travel and lodging not included)

    Above all, our sincere gratitude for allowing us to do the work we believe in.

    Thank you for your support.

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Funding period

- (26 days)