About this project
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Mike Garcia and The Cruz - Keeping Santa Cruz Weird!
"Mike Garcia and The Cruz" is a USC comedy-thriller-noir, 16 minute, short thesis film from director Christopher Guerrero of the "The Hipster Games" and creator of "Bill Murray Appreciation Day". Inspired by such films as Alex Cox's Repo Man, James Merendino SLC Punk and the Coen Brothers’ classic The Big Lebowski, "Mike Garcia and The Cruz" is a wild ride through a crazy world of College Chancellors, Anarchists, Punk Rockers, Goths, Hipsters and Derby Girls set against the enigmatic Santa Cruz, California (of Lost Boys fame).
Kickstarter gives the ability to bring YOU into the collaborative film making process, and interact directly with the people it is made for. USC does not pay for thesis films. All funding comes from student loans or people like you! You are not just funding a film, you are making a dream a reality!
We have some amazing rewards! T-Shirts! Trucker Hats! Blu-Rays! Maybe you’re interested in coming out to set and seeing how a movie is made? We'd love to have you as a guest!
THE COMIC BOOK!
If we make more than $18,000 we will commission a comic book (that we will give out as a digital download to every contributor) from the amazing comic book artist Kane Lynch! (check out the poster he made for us below)!
If we surpass $25,000 we will expand the comic and create a physical book for different donation levels. If we surpass $30,000, we'll do even crazier things! If we raise over $1,000,000, we will make a feature! Anything above that we will work on new amazing rewards!
"Mike Garcia and The Cruz" is a comedy about Mike Garcia, a Santa Cruz punk rocker and computer technician trying to make sense of the crazy world around him. Anarchist-poser bureaucrats cast off their imaginary chains and steal the Chancellor's laptop, entangling Mike in the middle. With the help of a Roller Derby girl, Mike's gothic-gamer roommate, and an overweight-hipster ecstasy dealer, Mike quests to retrieve the Chancellor's stolen laptop with the help of his misfit crew. Will Mike save his job? Will the anarchist conspirators be brought to justice? One thing's for sure, before the end, things are going to get weird.
Hi everyone, my name is Christopher Guerrero, writer-director of Mike Garcia and the The Cruz, and I wanted to give you a little background on this project. This film is a passion project, which evolved from a story I wrote over 7 years ago while attending the University of California, Santa Cruz. It is heavily influenced by Punk music, film noir, 80's punk movies like Repo Man, Coen Brothers’ comedies like The Big Lebowski and the1999 indie classic SLC Punk. It is a re-imagining of the typical college film, looking at subcultures not well examined in popular culture: punks, goths, anarchists, and the LGBTQ community. The movie can be explained simply as a love letter to Santa Cruz.
I grew up in Selma, California. Selma’s claim to fame is being the “Raisin Capital of the World” and the closest major city is Fresno, in the middle of California’s San Joaquin Valley. Growing up in a small rural community was difficult for someone who didn’t fit into the normal mold, let alone a Punk kid who wanted to buck the system. I had always dreamt about escape, and Santa Cruz provided the best opportunity for a completely new experience.
I left Selma to attend UC Santa Cruz - it was the only school I wanted to attend - and it changed my whole world. It was amazing not having to defend my beliefs to everyone around me, to be surrounded and supported by like-minded people with interesting approaches to seeing the world. It is also one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Redwoods, beaches, and wild landscape were a change from the poor, rural landscape of Selma.
Santa Cruz isn’t just a place inhabited by one type of person, it’s filled with many vibrant characters with radically different perspectives on life. It’s a hippie town where Silicon Valley tech moguls go to live and Punks go to retire. I had many fun, bizarre, and weird experiences while living in Santa Cruz: I fell head over heels in love, dealt with depression and a broken heart during my time there. For years I attempted to combine these collected experiences into a funny narrative, which captures the mood and magic I felt while living in Santa Cruz. Of course, no one story can capture my experiences in Santa Cruz but "Mike Garcia and The Cruz" helps capture my personal snapshot of Santa Cruz during this period. This snapshot, I hope, will delight and entertain you.
We are all about DIY (Do It Yourself)! It's just more punk that way!
The money raised through this Kickstarter campaign will be used to help pay for many of the hard costs associated with making this film, including food, housing, actors, transportation to Santa Cruz from Los Angeles, camera/production equipment, post-production and festival fees. Your money will help make this project amazing!
Filmography and Press
The Hipster Games
- Front Page Yahoo News - ‘The Hipster Games’: ‘Hunger Games’ video spoof goes viral
- The Washington Post - The Hipster Games
- The Huffington Post - The Hipster Games: 'Hunger Games' Spoof Reveals What Hipsters Would Miss The Most In Nature
Bill Murray Appreciation Day:
- LA Weekly - How a USC Film Student Tried to Get Bill Murray to Star in His Film -- By Creating a Bill Murray Holiday
- LA Times - USC students hope for Bill Murray on Bill Murray Appreciation Day
- LA Weekly - Bill Murray Appreciation Day - Slideshow
- LAist - USC Student Launches 'Bill Murray Appreciation Day'
We are always excited to hear from you! Got any thoughts? Are you in a band and you want to send some punk music our way? Hit us up, we are always happy to hear from you. Also like us on our Social Media pages, spread around the chaos!
Christopher Guerrero - Director
Born Fresno, CA and raised in Selma, CA 'Raisin Capital of the World'. Mr. Guerrero received his bachelor degree in Film at UC Santa Cruz, and is currently a graduate student at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. Mr. Guerrero founded Wyoma Films in 2007 to create feature films. Some of his work can be found here.
Will Goldstein - Producer
Born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Will grew up listening to The Beatles and watching Indiana Jones. He earned his BFA in Film Production from the University of Arizona, and is currently completing an MFA in the same area of focus at USC's School of Cinematic Arts.
Colin Reeves-Fortney - Producer
Graduating from the University of California in 2008 with a degree in Film and Digital Media, Colin spent several years after graduating advising the campus television station. He left for a brief stint in visual effects, and in the past year edited his first feature, was production manager and field producer for a web-series pilot, and a line producer on a low budget feature filmed around San Francisco.
Alex Parker - Cinematographer
Born and raised in Libertyville, IL, Alex received his undergraduate education in Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. At Illinois, he developed a growing interest in photography and cinematography before moving to Los Angeles in 2009 to study at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. In 2012 he earned an MFA in film production with a focus on cinematography.
During his time at USC, Alex shot a variety of projects ranging from both dramatic and comedic fiction to documentary, commercials and music videos. Recent achievements include the USC advanced production, Paulie, which won the Panavision Grand Jury Award at the Palm Springs International ShortFest as well as Best Comedy at the LA Shorts Fest, and the webseries Thoroughly Melted Minnie, which was created for Subway’s Fresh Artists competition.
A lover of film since an early age, Alex is also constantly inspired by music, photography and nature.
Matthew Andrews - Production Designer
Matthew graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a bachelors degree in film production. With a background in construction, he found the art department the most suitable place for him within the industry. He has been freelancing as a production designer and art director for the last two years, while still making his own films on the side.
Jordan Ledy - Editor
Born and raised in New York City, Jordan Ledy has performed in all aspects of filmmaking. During his studies at Columbia University, where he earned a BA in English Literature and Jazz Studies, Jordan studied in Florence, Italy, where he lived with an Italian family and fell in love with the Italian language and culture. Upon graduation, Jordan began working at Ghost Robot, where he assisted independent producer Joshua Zeman and post-coordinated two feature films: the narrative film Against the Current (Sundance 2008) and the documentary film Cropsey (TriBeCa Film Fest 2008). He has gone on to direct several international documentary films, including Beyond Shepherd’s Field, the story of two Chinese orphans living in an orphan village near Beijing, and What is Ya-Ka-May?, a short film on the eclectic music scene of New Orleans, which garnered over 170,000 hits on YouTube. He also edited the USC thesis doc Cyberbullied and produced The Red Woman, which won the 2010 Bel-Air Film Festival's Best Audience Student Feature award. Jordan is a current MFA student at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and hopes that his films instill a passion for fine arts and foreign cultures in their audiences.
Check out Jordan's Kickstarter for his upcoming documentary, "It's Better In Italian"!
Nicole Marie Milakovich - Casting Director
Nicole Marie Milakovich, a native of Miami, Florida, earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and MFA Degree from the University of Southern California in Film and Television Production. Currently, she is employed in the Adult Theatrical department at The Osbrink Agency in beautiful Universal City, CA. With a strong background in comedy, she has had a blast working to bring together an amazing (and hilarious) cast for "Mike Garcia and The Cruz."
Glen Baker - Social Media Director and Music Contributor
Glen setup an interview with and then interviewed Jane Seymour and Willie Nelson on national radio when he was 11 for the non-profit radio show, Kids' Productions. Won the 2004 Best Layout Design for school newspapers in the California San Joaquin Valley at the National Scholastic Associated Press Competition held at Fresno State University. Went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English from Oberlin College. In 2012, Glen landed a commercial production deal with Sun-Maid Growers of California for Wyoma Films. Glen manages web development and social media for Wyoma Films.
Check out Glen's song "Funk Magic Overdrive" on the Kickstarter video at 36 seconds in!
Check out Glen's other music:
Tom Abrams - Faculty Advisor
Tom Abrams is an award-winning screenwriter and director whose work has won prizes in both the United States and Europe, including an Academy Award Nomination, a 1992 Emmy Award for the children's television series, "Rugrats" and the Prix du Court Metrage in Cannes.
Primarily a screenwriter, Tom’s scripts include HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL for Warner Bros., THE CAPTAIN'S WIFE for Fox 2000, THE AMERICAN PRINCESS for New Line Cinema, THE BATTLE OF ONO for John Woo, METAL MACHINE for James Jacks at Universal, and GAMEBOY CHARLIE for Bruckheimer producer, Chad Oman. His most recently produced project is SMOKING ACES: ASSASSIN’S BALL for Universal Pictures.
Tom is also an international film consultant who’s worked in more than 15 countries and is a tenured film professor at USC in Los Angeles.
Daniel Merrill - Composer
Daniel Merrill writes music for film, games, and everything in between.
His music can be heard in releases by clients including Nickelodeon, SEGA, and Sifteo, and in films by a variety of talented young directors.
Merrill lives in LA and can often be found wandering the hillsides of Silver Lake.
Tyler Parkford - Music Contributor
Tyler Parkford is a Los Angeles-based artist whose past musical work has ranged from cerebral landscapes to the bluntly innate. Though mainly being the lead singer and writer for the psych band Mini Mansions (Domino Records / Ipecac Records), Parkford has broadened out to write arrangements for bands like Autolux, and an array of side-ventures including his most recent exploration between past and present: "MISTER GOODNITE". Being a long-time fan of 70's weirdo pop and art-punk, Parkford (amongst others) will arrange a series of lofi compositions for Chris' piece that toggle between Dead Kennedy abrasiveness and baroque tragedy.
Luke Ruegger - Graphic Artist
Son of the executive producer of many Warner Bros cartoons, Luke has grown up with the animation industry. He has spent the greater part of his life drawing cartoon characters outside and inside his classes. He graduated from Pepperdine University in 2012 with a BA in Television and Theatre Production. Meanwhile, he acted as the Art Editor, drawing comics for the school newspaper The Graphic. He writes, he draws, he acts, he animates, he does it all - and with style!
Kane Lynch - Comics
Kane Lynch is the creator of the comics The Relics and Baby Kane, as well as the upcoming Aerial Structures. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, he currently lives in a shuttered garment factory in Oakland. Kane will be commissioned to create a comic book if our $18,000 goal is met.
Risks and challenges
The project, like so many others before it, is going to be constrained by three options, “Fast, Good and Cheap,” and we can only pick two. $10,000 dollars is the minimum amount of money that we need to make this film, thus with that amount we will be constrained to Good and Cheap. Which means it is going to take a lot of time to finish this project.
"Mike Garcia and The Cruz" is going to be a challenging film to make. Santa Cruz may be a small town, but it acts like a major metropolitan city. It’s also a tourist city and is very expensive to work in. Our biggest challenge is going to be finding reasonable housing in Santa Cruz for everyone to stay in.
We are looking to have the film completed within a 12 month time frame after the end of principle photography. This film needs to be completed so that I can gain my MFA. The shooting schedule could be delayed due to previously mentioned issues, but the goal is to start principal photography at the end of June and begin post-production shortly after. There could also be scheduling problems with post-production. Everyone is a student, but that does not mean we are not professionals. Combined we have many years of experience, and we are confident that we can tackle any challenge.
General cost breakdown:
3k Room and board
2k Props and locations.
2k Equipment, Camera and Lighting
1k Post Production (Digital Effects and Color Correction)
Once the Kickstarter goal of $10K is surpassed, a new "stretch goal" will be set. With additional funding, "Mike Garcia and the Cruz" will be an even more amazing punk rock comedy thriller! If we surpass $18,000 in funding we will commission a comic book adaptation of the film that we will give out as a digital download to every contributor. If we surpass $25,000 we will expand the comic and create a physical book for different donation levels. If we surpass $30,0000, we'll do even crazier things! If we raise over $1,000,000, we will make a feature! Anything above that we will work on new amazing rewards!
The new budget will allow for higher quality cameras and lenses, better housing accommodations, more SAG actors, more shoot days, better locations, enhanced special effects and color correction.
THANK YOU for supporting "MIKE GARCIA AND THE CRUZ"...
With your help, we can make this crazy vision a reality! It’s been a piece I’ve been working on for many years and I’m excited to share the weird and wonderful world of Santa Cruz with you!
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