Clearwater is a short narrative film set in a convenience store in the outskirts of San Fernando Valley. On this particular night, we meet Dae (20) – a motorized-panda riding transient, who’s just looking to grab a few things when a hawk-eyed manager, two bumbling lawmen, and a kid named Danny show her anybody can be hero…even if they don’t want to be.
The past five years of studying film at some of the most incredible film schools in the world (Columbia, NYU, USC) has led me here, a short about an oddball thief trying to steal a candy bar in the middle of nowhere… and I couldn’t be happier.
Even though we are operating on a tight budget, this story was made to push visual and narrative bounds, while simultaneously being a very human story. We explore identity, expectations, and being an outsider.
The characters are all vivid and larger-than-life. Our setting is hyper-stylized with glowing neon signs, the eccentricities of the American West and its inhabitants. Our story is an allegorical one that forces us to rethink who are the heroes, who are the villains, and how far would we go for someone else?
To create world for this film, we’ve taken a cue from some of the most amazing visual artists of all time: Ansel Adams, Gerda Taro, Jacob Lawrence, and Alma Thomas to give our story a unique visual language that falls in the incredibly capable hands of our cinematographer, Eric Branco. From texture to scale, color, and composition every frame of Clearwater will be a testament to the creativity and attention to detail of our entire team.
Speaking of team, our crew of 14 artisans (cast & crew) will be in two locations for three 12-hour days to bring Clearwater to life. The scope of our final sequence is large and will require the shutdown of a single road, police presence, and a dozen extras to be expertly choreographed through the scene. Our main location of the convenience store will have to be rented and utilized during the store’s overnight hours.
c. Craig Patterson (Writer/Director) is a New Orleans filmmaker and grad student at USC School of Cinematic Arts, has come up with an incredible short that we are planning to shoot over the summer. His last short a GIRL premiered at Austin Film Festival in 2018. His screenplays have also been an Official Selection in Sundance Screenwriters Lab and finished in the top 20% in the Academy's Nicholl Fellowship. Outside of recognition from festivals, he is also the recipient of George Lucas Scholarship at USC.
Carolyn Manetti (Producer) is an independent producer in Los Angeles currently developing feature films, episodic content for television and streaming as well as short content. She is a Co-Founder of CommonMarket Media and is a faculty member at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Previously, Carolyn was a studio executive at New Line Cinema and a member of the creative team responsible for generating 12-15 films a year including Boogie Nights, Austin Powers, American History X, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. While at New Line, she was executive producer on The Cell (Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, dir: Tarsem), Bones (Snoop Dogg, Pam Grier, dir: Ernest R. Dickerson), and Price of Glory (Jimmy Smits, Jon Seda, dir: Carlos Ávila). She also oversaw post production of About Schmidt (Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, dir: Alexander Payne) and I Am Sam (Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, dir: Jessie Nelson).
Rick Porras (Producer) began his career working for Robert Zemeckis on films ranging from Death Becomes Her to Forrest Gump and Contact. He later became a Co-Producer for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, intimately involved in all phases and all ancillary projects. (EA Games, DVD Extended Cut Releases, Merchandising) -- as well as directing Second Unit throughout the trilogy.
In addition, Rick is a story and drama consultant for Sony Interactive Europe, developing VR games and experiences and has directed drama for the Sony Playstation VR game, Blood & Truth.
Melissa Patterson (Producer). The last film Melissa produced, a GIRL, was selected to premiere at 2018 Austin Film Festival. She has also worked for Sephora for over 12 years helping stores increase profits by identifying opportunities. She has received numerous awards throughout her time at Sephora. Melissa got into film production about 5 years ago, by helping her husband’s visions come to life. During this time, she realized her passion for film.
Roy Wood Jr (Executive Producer) His comedy has entertained millions across stage, television and radio. Roy joined Comedy Central’s Emmy-nominated hit series, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” in 2015. In 2017, he was named the new host of Comedy Central’s storytelling series, “This is Not Happening,” which will launch a fifth season next year. His first Comedy Central one-hour stand-up special, “Father Figure,” premiered in 2017. His second Comedy Central one-hour stand-up special, “Roy Wood Jr.: No One Loves You,” premiered January 25th.
Eric Branco (Cinematographer) A native of New York City, Eric Branco was recently named one of Variety's "10 Cinematographers to Watch" 2019. Branco has lensed several feature films including V/H/S (dir. Glenn McQuaid), EMERALD CITY (dir. Colin Broderick), and most recently, CLEMENCY (dir. Chinonye Chukwu), which took home the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Eric and c. Craig have similar tastes and will work together in creating the look of Clearwater.
Mahnoor Euceph (Production Design), known as Noor, moved to Los Angeles from Pakistan with her family when she was eight. In 2017, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a BA in Design | Media Arts and a minor in Film. During her tenure at UCLA, she spent a summer in the Middle East with the Olive Tree Initiative and studied the art market in London at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She also spent a quarter in Pakistan, working for the production company of two-time Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. At home, she worked at 20th Century Fox, United Talent Agency, and UCLA Arts, and completed her capstone project. Her work, “Time Past is Time Present” received the Alfredo Orselli Award in 2017. During her first year at SCA, Noor wrote and directed three short films—comedy dramas about gender roles, political polarity, and immigrant identity.
Risks and challenges
Filmmaking is always a risk, but we have worked hard to mitigate that risk as much as possible. Our project is being supported by some of the brightest film minds at Columbia University and USC through the form of mentors, advisors, and producers. We’ve taken every precaution to ensure the safety of our cast and crew and for the completion of the film.
We begin filming this July. As soon as this film is funded our wheels will be in motion. Should funding take longer than expected, we will shoot over 2019 winter break.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (16 days)