A feature-length odyssey through teen cinema, 1995–2004.
Something amazing happened in 1995.
After half a decade in the wilderness — with nothing but memories of happier, John Hughesier times to cling on to — the teen genre was suddenly and dramatically reborn, in a blaze of movies that combined wit, wisdom and an invaluable disregard for what had come before, to make a mockery of everything Hollywood thought it knew about its teenage audience.
Over the next ten years, more teen films were produced than in any other period before or since. They made more money at the box office than those of any other era. They left an indelible mark on the genre that still governs how teen movies are made today. But perhaps most importantly, they helped shape the world and everything in it for an entire generation.
And yet, today they linger on the fringes of every fawning, nostalgia-tinged, Breakfast Club-obsessed chronicle of teen cinema. Well, not for much longer.
Beyond Clueless will be the first major study — in any medium — of the teen movie revolution that occurred in the ten years that separated the releases of Clueless in 1995 and Mean Girls in 2004. Part historical account, part close textual analysis, part audiovisual mood piece and part head-over-heels love letter to the teen genre, the film will examine more than two hundred films released during this decade-long idyll, in terms of their characters, themes and what they had to say for themselves.
No punches will be pulled in the search for teen movie truth.
The Legal Bit
The hundreds of teen movie clips that will make up Beyond Clueless will be cleared for use under a copyright exemption detailed in the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which states that ‘[using] a work for the purpose of criticism or review ... does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work has been made available to the public’.
This will allow us to make the film without spending a small fortune on clearances. The same technique has been used by many successful documentaries in recent years, including Mark Cousins's The Story of Film and Kirby Dick's This Film Is Not Yet Rated, both of which had healthy lives at festivals, in cinemas and on DVD.
We're raising the entire budget through this campaign.
We've got loads of great rewards to offer funders, so if you want to see Beyond Cluelessas badly as we do, please consider backing the project.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
With such a small, close-knit group working on the film, our biggest challenge will be completing each stage of the project — research, writing, recording and editing — on schedule. Like other recent documentaries about movies (including Room 237 and The Story of Film) we think Beyond Clueless will make for a perfect festival film, which is why we're aiming to meet a number of submission deadlines towards the end of 2013. Even a month's delay will mean sacrificing entries from our festival wish list.
Getting the film into these festivals will be an even bigger challenge. With so many low-budget, independent films fighting for just a few select spots at each festival, we'll have to fight tooth and nail to bring Beyond Clueless to a wider audience. On the other hand, one of the great things about funding the film here on Kickstarter is that it allows us to find an audience for the film right now, in the earliest stages of its production. That way, whatever Beyond Clueless's fate, we know we'll be able to show the film to those who matter most: the people who helped make it a reality.
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