Magic Hour is a TV anthology series that features magical and mystifying stories with Queer & POC folks at the center. The show explores identity through the lens of fantasy, science-fiction and horror.
Similar to Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone, each episode will be its own contained story with a beginning, middle and end. The thing that connects all of the episodes together is the occurrence of "magic hour," a time of day when everything looks freaking gorgeous or, in the show's case, a time when parallel dimensions and realities overlap and collide with each other to create remarkable stories that stretch the imagination and shock the senses. When the magic hour begins that's when the real fun starts. Each episode will explore themes like love, belonging, humanity and sacrifice. Stories that will keep you up at night, will make you think, or just creep you the hell out. Tales of robots exploring the gender binary, girls curing addictions, bigots turning into animals and femmes giving birth to celestial beings (to name a few).
The pilot episode, Soul-Search starring Indya Moore (POSE) is a retelling of Frankenstein with a modern twist; telling this classic story through the perspective of the "monster."
Bella was "created" with no clear motive or objective. The man who made her has condemned her a monster. Trapped in a hotel room, Bella decides to break free and brave the outside world in search of meaning. As she roams the bustling streets of Tokyo, she has life-changing encounters with the people she meets. And when she stumbles upon a karaoke bar and meets the owner Eiko, Bella soon discovers a life and love she could have never imagined. But will Bella successfully break free from her creator and find a sense of humanity or will she fall prey to his deadly prophecy?
Soul-Search is an exploration of identity and alienation. The question is: how do you claim your humanity when others try to strip you of it?
WHY MAGIC HOUR?
If you're perusing through this campaign it's probably because you feel like something's missing in the media you consume. You might be like me, a huge horror/sci-fi/fantasy fan who grew up with shows that you loved but lacked the representation you craved; I know I am. I'm starving honestly, for content that not only entertains me but also reflects and represents a truth about my existence as a black femme queer person and for my fam. It's the main reason I became a storyteller and the main inspiration behind this beast of a show, Magic Hour.
I’ve spent a quarter of a lifetime feeling out of place; in school, in the workplace and everything in-between. Being a black, queer woman made me feel alien in the homogenous spaces I found myself navigating. The lack of inclusive stories in the media lead me to question my self-worth and the merit of my opinions and experiences. Feelings of exclusion or misrepresentation made me weary, but it also motivated me to turn my hurt and solitude into something beautiful. As a storyteller my inspiration comes from all of the emotions bottled up within me. So, I harnessed the doubt, fear and passion to create my latest project Magic Hour.
Magic Hour is a mystery/horror anthology series that revolves around the strange, bewitching and fantastical things that happen during that beautiful time of day right before the sun sets or as the sun rises. This world was inspired by my love of shows like The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks and any Guillermo Del Toro film, that succeed in stretching our imagination, building a cinematic universe where the impossible becomes possible. The characters who inhabit the world of Magic Hour will represent a rich variety of lived experiences and identities, putting women, POC and the LGBTQIA+ community at the forefront.
CHE GRAYSON: CREATOR & WRITER/DIRECTOR
Che Grayson is the creator of Magic Hour and the writer/director of the pilot episode, Soul-Search. She is a filmmaker, writer and TED speaker. A graduate of New York University’s MFA film program, she has written, directed and produced while studying under the mentorship of Spike Lee and Kasi Lemmons, one of which is her successful short film Rigamo, which she also turned into a comic book. Che is a 2016 TED resident, a 2017 Sony Pictures Classic’s IFP Marcie Bloom Fellow and a 2018 Directing Fellow with Ryan Murphy's Half Initiative. Che currently works as a comic book writer and Magic Hour is her TV debut as writer/director. On top of her love for film and comics, she also loves her dog, Miyazaki and baking so if you ever feel down she'll bake for you or send you cute doggo pics.
*Warning reel contains some gory content*
INDYA MOORE: STAR
Indya Adrianna Moore is the star of Magic Hour. An actor and model from NYC, they are known for their role as Angel Evangelista in the FX television series Pose. Time magazine named them one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019. They made history as the first trans model to be signed by IMG and WME and the first to grace the cover of Elle magazine.
RUMI TOMINAGA: PRODUCER
Rumi Tominaga is a Tokyo-based producer and writer who specializes in independent films. She utilizes her bilingual skills and multicultural outlook to promote works created by underrepresented creatives that explore provocative and nuanced themes. Rumi’s goal is to continue to support those who are unafraid to articulate their stories and visions, especially those that address the question of identity. Her most recent projects include an 88Rising music video, an Australian short film premiering at Melbourne International Film Festival and Che Grayson’s Magic Hour, starring Indya Moore.
KRISTIN KOUKE: DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Kristin Kouke is a cinematographer whose work has screened around the world, at festivals such as Slamdance, SXSW, the Durban International Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Born and raised in Kailua, Hawaiʻi, her film career has since taken her to China, France, the Cook Islands, Egypt, and currently New York, where she earned her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Film Program.
GIGI DEMENT: PRODUCER
Gigi Dement has produced numerous award-winning films, including God of Love, winner of an Academy Award, making her the first Filipino in history to produce an Oscar-winning film. In the six years since, she produced the indie gem Bastards of Young, and the critically acclaimed feature film Babygirl. Gigi is currently developing several international feature film projects with partner, Tony and Grammy winner, Jhett Tolentino.
ALBERT THOLEN: POST-PRODUCTION PRODUCER
Albert Tholen is a New York-based producer, editor and cinematographer. He is a founding member of New York City-based production company Good Baby Films, where he’s worked as a producer, director, and editor since 2016. The latest short film he produced, The Rat by writer-director Carlen May-Mann, which had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and produced and shot a feature-length concert film, BRMWWV, for artists Jason Moran and Suga Dairo. Albert graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Film Studies and is a 2017 Sony Pictures Classic’s IFP Marcie Bloom Fellow.
In June 2018, principal photography for Magic Hour's pilot episode began on location in Tokyo, Japan. We shot for seven days with minimal crew, an old ALEXA camera and sweltering heat, putting literal blood sweat and tears into the production. It was my first time directing overseas and Indya's first time overseas as well! We had many firsts and learned a lot of valuable lessons that I will take with me as I continue forward with this series.
In September 2018, we did one day of reshoots and pickups in New York City. After that, shooting was officially complete and I began working with my editor, Harry Cepka on the first cut of the film. We had to bring both Indya and Yuuka back to do ADR (additional dialogue recording) for any missing or poor quality sound recording on set. To be honest, this was one of the hardest parts of the process because it required the actresses to essentially act key scenes all over again without having the benefit of being on set face to face with their acting partners.
Throughout the Fall, after weeks working with the footage, cutting down and reworking scenes, I began working with my VFX artist Caio Sorrentino who was in charge of the onscreen special effects. From broken bones to trippy eye effects it was his job to bring the fantastical element to the episode.
And by the Spring I was in full swing with composer Jordan Dykstra for the score, and my fav sound designer David Forshee, and lastly color correction with Company 3.
Even with the assistance of New York University and the passion and dedication of my crew members and talent from Magic Hour this project has been a huge financial lift. With both crew and talent being paid it meant the costs we far beyond your average student film. The reason why is because I wanted to depart from the student-level productions and work with professionals who while they worked for lower their normal rates still deserved pay for their hard work.
Why do we need Kickstarter? Well, we still need the remaining funds to pay for the post-production and distribution costs of this film which include paying the post-production team as well as costs for DCP, film festival submissions and PR packaging. With this money we can finish the pilot with the level of professionalism and care that it deserves. All of us really poured out heart into this story, a story about what it feels like to be alone and the comfort that comes with finding your tribe. I found a tribe with my collaborators on Magic Hour and I'm forever grateful.
Our goal is to raise the finishing funds for Soul-Search so that we can finally put it out into the world and pay our crew appropriately! The money raised on Kickstarter will pay the fees for Editing, Sound Design, Score, Visual Effects, Color Correction, End Credits, Film Festival Submission and Marketing for the film. Shooting this pilot took some heart and some nerve and we don't want it to just stop here. We have so many other stories to explore in future episodes and with your help we can give Magic Hour a real future, hopefully on one of our favorite networks or streaming platforms some day soon *wink, wink*
With $30,000 raised we can successfully pay for all post-production costs to finish the film. For our stretch goals we have even BIGGER dreams. Like opening credits and a theme song, shows like The Twilight Zone and True Blood have these unforgettable and iconic songs and opening sequences and we think Magic Hour deserves that too! With our first stretch we can do that. For our second stretch we get to explore more Magic Hour stories in my beloved medium comics! What's nice is that with this goal unlocked folks in the $15 range and above will receive a digital or print copy on top of their original rewards! And same for the third stretch instead of one episode on your DVD or for streaming you get TWO! And lastly, if we can really reach for the stars and get Magic Hour above $70,000... listen, if we can do that I will take the premiere and private screenings we have an upgrade the hell out of them. Which means they'll be accessible to not just the $125 tier but the $75 backers too because if we have an opportunity to bring more of ya'll in, then let's DO IT.
Risks and challenges
There's always a risk when trying to execute a project this ambitious. There are so many logistical moving pieces that went into bring Magic Hour to life. Fortunately, we have the upper hand because everything we needed to shoot for the pilot we have already shot. Now it's just a matter of making the strongest possible story we can in the post-production phase. We want this to look as incredible and professional as possible not just for investors and executives in the industry but also for you, the audience because you deserve the best version of Magic Hour. We want to make sure that Magic Hour doesn't end here. And that Soul-Search is just the first episode in many more to come. We truly want this to be a series that you can one day soon binge watch in your homes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)