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My Friend John is a story of childhood creativity and imagination and how it should be protected from the corruption of adulthood.
86 backers pledged $2,502 to help bring this project to life.

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                                                   The Story

My Friend John is the story of Gio, an introverted eight year old boy who doesn't have many friends, but is obsessed with space and is usually off in his own imaginary world. On his sixth birthday, Gio receives a Toy Astronaut. He names the toy astronaut, John, and from that moment on, the two become best friends. Gio and John are an inseparable pair, and for a time, things seem completely serene. Gio's father, Eulow, the epidime of the old fashioned ways of family hierarchy, aggressive in his own rule, does not agree with Gio's friendship with an inanimate object, nor his friendless life, or childish imagination. More and more, Eulow takes this frustration out on Gio, chasing Gio farther and farther away from reality. Soon, Gio will find out just how strong his mind can be, and how real John really is…

                                                     The Film.

Inspired by great fantasy films like Pan's Labyrinth, E.T. The Extraterrestrial, and Spirited Away, My Friend John is a short film that delves deep into the world of a child's imagination, exploring the idea of how strong imagination and creativity can really be.

Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" one of the main influences on the film.
Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" one of the main influences on the film.
Pans Labyrinth by Guillermo del toro
Pans Labyrinth by Guillermo del toro
E.T. The Extraterrestrial by Steven Spielberg
E.T. The Extraterrestrial by Steven Spielberg

Not only is this film inspired by films like the ones listed above, it is also, and probably mostly, inspired by the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.

Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes.
Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes.

In our society,  growing up, getting older, and becoming an adult, can sometimes mean losing our imaginations. 

The Importance of Family, Love, Imagination, and Creativity, as well as those mentioned above, are the themes we plan to explore in My Friend John. But we also want to get across the message that-

A child's imagination and creativity is something that should be preserved and nurtured.

                                      What are we going to do?

My Friend John will be made directly from a child's perspective, meaning our main character Gio. We see everything from his point of view, and everything that goes on in his life, will be projected onto you, the audience.

The film will have its own sense of fantasy to it. Colors that are extraordinary to every day life, Dialogue unique to fairy-tale language, Locations that are out of this world, and above all, A REAL ASTRONAUT SUIT IN THE FILM, which will be donated by The Cradle of Aviation Museum!

Isn't that awesome?

Not only that, but we want to express the themes as clearly (and metaphorically) as possible, and also, try to bring that feeling we have all had when we were children. That feeling of wonder. The wanting and longing to explore the unknown. 

                                          Student Filmmakers!?

We are all a collective of young film students from Long Island University, CW Post.

Here are some awkwardly beautiful photo's of the main crew of the film!

The Director!
The Director!

Henry Arroyo is the Writer/Director of My Friend John. He has directed and written several short films, all of which have given him the knowledge, practice, and determination needed to see this film through to the end, with the best result. He has had poetry published in "Four And Twenty Magazine", and is a past member of the Tribeca Film Fellows Program. He has worked on many past projects with close friend, Cinematographer, Andrew Barell, Producer Jessica Reyes, and Script Supervisor Pete Barell.

Below is the latest film from Henry Arroyo, shot by Andrew Barell.

The Cinematographer
The Cinematographer

 Andrew Barell is the Director of Photography for My Friend John. The older of the Barell brothers, he is a student and lover of the arts.  Originally planning to study graphic design and illustration in College, he decided last minute to give film a shot. At a young age his father Steven exposed him to film makers like Alfred Hitchcock.  Because of his visual background, Andrew was drawn immediately to cinematography at school. He has worked on dozens of short and thesis films and continues to explore the technical side of film making.  Close friend and collaborator Henry Arroyo has worked with Andrew on several films before and is working even harder now to create a beautiful and memorable short film, "My Friend John".

Bellow is Andrew Barell's Cinematography Reel.

The Producers!
The Producers!

 Ava Gramin ( Left) is a Swedish filmmaker with a great passion for space and science. With a background in engineering and a passion for writing, she hopes to bring a unique edge to each film set she is on. Her organization skills obtained through past research work will come to great use as a co - producer of this film.

Jessica Reyes (Right) is the producer for the film, My Friend John. Her organization and leadership skills, as well as her enthusiasm, has made her qualified and an essential part of planning this production. She has worked on several short films doing editing, camera work, and casting. She recently did extras casting for an independent feature film called Pebble of Love which wrapped up it's principal photography last August. She is dedicated and excited to push this production forward along with her hardworking and talented team.

The Editor!
The Editor!

 Samuel Gordon has been a filmmaker since he was a wee lad, and has worked on many films in Europe and in the US. He is the editor for this project and will be using the skills he has accumulated editing over the years to make “My Friend John” the best short film of 2014.

The Art Director!
The Art Director!

Mabel came to the US in pursuit of the American Dream. She started studying film two years ago, and since the has developed significantly as a filmmaker. She is extremely excited to work on “My Friend John” as the Art Director. This is a momentous production to her, particularly because she will have the chance to express her own fascination with astronomy. Plus, she feels inspired to work with a child's POV. Furthermore, she is thankful for the opportunity of cooperating with such a talented crew. For now, It is one small step, but hopefully, it will be a giant leap into her future as a filmmaker.

Script Supervisor!
Script Supervisor!

Pete Barell is the Script Supervisor and assistant production designer for My Friend John. The younger Barell has worked on over a dozen short and thesis films making sure continuity is consistent. But his skills do not end at script supervising. Pete has sold his photography and published his poetry in "TeenInk Magazine" (circulation of 500,000) as well as to other anthologies and galleries. He is the current Arts and Entertainment section editor of the award winning LIU Post Pioneer. At LIU, he is a sophomore building towards his B.F.A. in Film.

Considering the we are still in school, our desire to further our mastery of the craft is as intense as it can possibly be. We really want this, and  as students, paying tuition, loans, etc, We don't have the money we need to make this project exactly what we want it to be. If this could be done with no money at all, we would do it. We have considered every possibility, and Kickstarter is the best outcome. 

We worked hard to build the set that you see in our video!
We worked hard to build the set that you see in our video!

The beauty of student films is that our stories are different from most films, and are made from the heart. Our goal is to make a film that shows how absorbing and beautiful, films made by students of the craft can be, and make something special that resonates with people in a positive way while at the same time keeping it as professional as humanly possible.

                                     Why do we need the money??

Every film needs a certain amount of money to get somewhere. Unfortunately, our film is no different.

With the money that we make from this Kickstarter, we will be able to,

1. Rent professional camera equipment that we want, to get that specific look on screen that we need to tell that story the way it is imagined. Not only this, but there is a certain standard that must be met with film quality that changes it from a cheap student film, to a professional project. 

We have a 5D Mark II, But if we reach our goal, we'll get something even better! For example, a "Red Camera". The same camera used to film, "The Hobbit".
We have a 5D Mark II, But if we reach our goal, we'll get something even better! For example, a "Red Camera". The same camera used to film, "The Hobbit".

2. Worry less about transportation for actors, and food supplied to all cast and crew members, and more about getting the best work out of everyone on set.  We'll be able to have enough money to set aside for meals and gas money. This takes a lot more stress off of budgeting problems.

3. More money that will go to the art department of the set, adding to  the physical look of the film. For example, money will go towards set decoration, as well as money going towards paying for the daily rental fee's of the actual astronaut suit that we will have on set.

4. Locations. We need money to pay for a daily rate going towards locations. Depending on what space we find, it could cost an arm and a leg to pay it off when we need it, or a minimal cost which would lessen its impact on the budget. Either way, we don't have the money ourselves to pay for it. 

The money from the Kickstarter isn't just extra funds for us. It's actually a huge part of this film, as without it, all the things mentioned above will not be affordable. We'll have to cut things out. Once things begin to get cut out, the true look of the film begins to diminish, as well as the professionalism. That's something we are trying hard to avoid, and the only way we can truly avoid that is with your help! 

All the money goes to the film. Nowhere else.

                              When will the film be done!?

We're planning on shooting the film late January, early February of 2014! 

After shooting, we will then start post production, and go from February through April, hopefully getting the film out late April, early March!

The latest would be early May for the release of the official film!

                                                     The Goal

We have set the goal to the lowest possible amount needed to get what we need out of the film. But that doesn't mean we can't do more. 

The more that is raised, the more we can put into the different departments on set, as well as handling festival submissions, and adding more to the rewards that you guys receive from this project.

$2,000 - The film is made exactly how we wanted it! One small step for man, One giant leap for Gio…

$3,000 We will be able to produce more art for the film. Meaning that we can delve not only ourselves, but you, the backers and audience, into an even greater fantasy world. We will also be able to rent better camera equipment, lenses and all.

$4,000 - With this amount of money, we will be able to pay for the daily rental of a better house. We will be able to pay for most (if not all) festival submission fees. We will be able to add more rewards, giving you guys more, as an appreciation of your desire to see this film get made even better than we had imagined. We will be able to put more into the DVD extras, and even get more drawn art for you all.

$5,000 - we have absolutely NO BUDGETARY PROBLEMS LEFT. We will be able to concentrate fully on the film. Story, look, tone and all. We will be able to pay for the daily rate of a beautiful house for the story, we will be able to get the best camera set we can, lenses and all,  all of the art department problems will be solved, set decoration, paying for the daily rental of the astronaut suit and if we need more, we can get it.  We will be able to rent out better lighting equipment for on set purposes, post production will be heavily funded, giving us the tools we need to make the film look even better after shooting has been completed, festival submissions will be handled, we can make more rewards, giving you guys, the backers, more. Added dvd extras, more art rewards, and our eternal gratitude for all the help you've given us.

                                                Thank You

This story is very close and dear to us as filmmakers (even if we are still students), and as people. With the help of you guys, the backers, we will be able to give this story to all of you, in the greatest way possible, because that's really what this is all about. It's about sharing something special with others, and hoping that you've at least made somebody feel something. 

Visit Our Official Page at http://www.myfriendjohnthefilm.com

NEW UPDATE!

Every backer will get a special place on our "Backer Appreciation Page" of our official website! myfriendjohnthefilm.com

So when the film is done, you can show and prove to all your friends that you were truly apart of something wonderful!

Risks and challenges

You know, we could write here that we don't get any money if the kickstarter does not reach it's goal. And though that is a risk, it is not the biggest risk we find ourselves face to face with.

The biggest risk we have, is failing to make this story everything that it can be. If we don't reach the kickstarter goal, we will not be able to do everything that we imagined for the film. In that respect we really are like Gio. If we aren't able to do what we imagined for the film, we will not be able to completely express what this story is truly about. As artist, we think that is the biggest risk we can have with any project.

As we get closer to shipping out the rewards for our backers, we will update you on how everything is coming along. That includes, how the crew is doing, how the film is coming along, and everything else about the film.

If you have ANY questions, comments, or concerns, please email us at MyFriendJohnFilm@gmail.com

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    Space Enthusiast! -

    You get a thank you in the credits of the film, exclusive access to online features such as our private Instagram with behind the scenes photos and videos of the making of the film, as well as the comfortable feeling of knowing that you paid for an astro-expresso for one brave space explorer on set!

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    Space Cadet! -

    You're getting into the rhythm of space exploration! For that you get a thank you credit in the film, as well as a password to the early digital screening of the film and an invitation to the first screening of the film at our school, Long Island University, CW Post!

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    Space Explorer! -

    You're knowledge of space exploration is amazing! As a reward, you get a thank you in the credits, a password to an early digital screening of the film, an invitation to the first screening of the film at our school, Long Island University, CW Post, AND a digital copy of the script!

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    Captain of the Ship! -

    Wow! You're a real leader! Space is nothing to you! For your expertise you get a thank you credit in the film, the password to the early digital screening of the film, a digital copy of the script, an invitation to the first screening of the film at our school, Long Island University, CW Post, AND a hardcopy of the actual film, along with DVD extra special features!

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    Astronaut! -

    You don't need a ship. You explore space in your own suit! Touch the stars if you can! Even if you don't reach them, you'll get a thank you in the credits, an exclusive password to the early digital screening of the film, an invitation to the first screening of the film at our school, Long Island University, CW Post, a digital copy of the script, a hardcopy of the film in DVD format with extra special features, a physical copy of the script, with a note from the director AND a postcard sized print of one of four of our artists' drawings, inspired by the film! No gravity? No problem! We'll also give you an awesome "My Friend John" space satchel (that's really a tote bag) to hold all your space gear!!!!!!!!!

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    Super Astronaut! -

    Not many people know about Super Astronauts. We do. They've touched stars and high fived the sun! You would know, You're one of them! As a reward you'll get a thank you credit in the film, an exclusive password to the early digital screening of the film, an invitation to the first screening of the film at our school, Long Island University, CW Post, a digital copy of the script, a physical copy of the film, in DVD format with extra special features, a physical copy of the script, with a note from the director, a postcard sized print of one of four of our artists' drawings, inspired by the film, AND a 12 x 18 sized physical film poster, all held in the beautiful "My Friend John" tote bag!

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    Ultra Astronaut! -

    Thats right. There are Ultra Astronauts in the world. You're living proof. You've leaped all of jupiter's moons, eaten supernovas as meals, conquered galaxies, and met every alien life form there is! That should be reward enough, but just in case it's not, you'll get ALL OF THE ABOVE, as well as an official "Ultra Astronaut" T-Shirt, and an added scene written by the director with you being the main character! So that you can act out your own space journey at home.

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    Astronaut Zombie! - Dude. You went so hardcore as an Ultra Astronaut, that you got swallowed by a Blackhole, and came back as a Zombie Astronaut! Don't feel bad. It's actually pretty awesome. Instead of rewarding you with alien brains, you'll get ALL OF THE ABOVE, but your movie poster will be signed and framed by the cast and crew and instead of one postcard sized art print you will get two!

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    Cosmic Hero! -

    It can't be… i-it is! It's the Cosmic Hero! Only tales have been told of you, you've slain space dragons, conquered foreign universes, and brought peace amongst the galactic realms! As payment for such heroic deeds, you will get ALL OF THE ABOVE, as well as a "Making of My Friend John" physical book, containing art, character bio's and more! AND If your heart desires, a framed picture of you as a Cosmic Hero, will be in one of the shots in the film!

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    The Space God… -

    Only our ancestors know of you. For most, you don't exist. To us, you're everything. We sacrifice to you in the name of all space and wisdom, ALL OF THE ABOVE, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT, as well as an invitation to an early private screening with the cast and crew and dinner afterwards, your choice.

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Funding period

- (30 days)