Jules of Light and Dark is an emotionally riveting police procedural that follows the aftermath of a mysterious small-town tragedy and the journey of its two survivors, Maya (Tallie Medel) and Sally.
Ben, a loner deputy assigned to the case, races to unravel the mystery and finds himself at odds with his own dark secrets, which hold him back.
Growing up, I never saw a relatable depiction of a queer character on television, or in film. It was such a mystery to me as to who a gay person was and how he fit into the world. I never related to the sitcom gay friend character, and when I would encounter him in "realistic" drama films, he was always represented as a victim. While it was easy to sympathize with this character's struggles, I never wanted to be him. Yet the victim narrative has persisted as the dominant character trope in the fictional representation of queer experience. It's a story that continues to be retold, even as we have moved into the current era of much greater LGBTQ acceptance. As aware of this as I am, I'm not interested in making films purely for political reasons; rather, I am interested in creating movies about people I can relate to.
I've always been drawn to character study in my films, and I feel like that was the driving force behind deciding to write a police procedural. I wanted to write a story where for every scene spent on finding out who the culprit is, we find out just as much about the detective. My reference points for imagining the world of Jules of Light and Dark are a combination of various character studies and cop dramas: Morvern Callar, The Piano Teacher, Blue, Prisoners, Top of the Lake, and Prime Suspect (UK).
There are a lot of fun perks associated with this campaign, one of my favorite being a coloring book for adults, featuring page after page of iconic TV detectives. For each detective there is a fact sheet that lists out revealing character stats, such as:
- The number of people who met Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) the night of their murder
- The average number of on-screen cigars Columbo (Peter Falk) needs to smoke before cracking a case
- The number of suspects Detective Tutuola (Ice-T) has punched before filing charges against them
- The number of times DS Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) burns her dinner in a microwave
NEW! For all contributors of $20 and up, backers will receive a 3 month subscription to FANDOR so you can watch all of Daniel's previous short films.
Jules of Light and Dark is a two-time Austin Film Society Grant Recipient, and was a participant in the AFS Artist Intensive Workshop.
Producing Partners - Artless Media and Paperlyte Films
Writer/Director Daniel Laabs has directed 5 short films. They have been awarded jury prizes at the SXSW Film Festival (8 in 2011), Dallas International Film Festival (EASY in 2014), and Dallas Videofest (sleet/snow in 2009). Jules of Light and Dark is a two-time recipient of an AFS Grant and was a participant in the 2013 Austin Film Society Artist Intensive Workshop.
Producer Cameron Bruce Nelson is a 2014 IFP Narrative Labs Fellow who has written, directed, edited, and produced several short films that have screened on the U.S. festival circuit. His award-winning first feature, Some Beasts, was chosen to participate at the U.S. in Progress-Wroclaw and was the recipient of an Austin Film Society post-production grant. His producing credits include Frank Mosley's Her Wilderness and Daniel Laabs' Jules of Light and Dark. He lives in Oak Cliff, TX.
Producer Judd Myers is a filmmaker based in Dallas, TX. He got his start working as a PA on Daniel’s short film, EASY. Judd has since gone on to make his first short film, SON, which premiered at the 2015 Maryland Film Festival and was awarded a Special Jury Prize at the Oak Cliff Film Festival. He’s currently producing Sai Selvarajan’s Audible Static and Daniel Laabs’ Jules of Light and Dark.
Producer Jeff Walker is a producer and cinematographer. He previously collaborated with Daniel on the short films EASY and 8. Jeff's most notable work to date was on Shane Carruth's Upstream Color (2013), where he served as a Camera Operator and hand-crafted many of the film's special camera effects. He has also directed a number of short films, including Rubbish Hook (2011), which won a jury award at the Dallas Videofest.
Producer Adrian Testolin and Daniel have produced 13 shorts together including all of Daniel's short films. Adrian is a fixture on Texas productions from big budget television such as HBO's The Leftovers and AMC's Halt and Catch Fire to independent features such as the forth coming Willie Nelson vehicle Waiting for the Miracle to Come. Daniel and Adrian have been dreaming of making a feature together since film school.
Risks and challenges
JULES OF LIGHT AND DARK is going into production on January 7, 2016, and these Kickstarter funds are a vital part of our production budget. Every cent will go towards making the best film possible.
We are shooting in the heart of the Alleghany Mountains in Central Pennsylvania. It gets very cold there in January and we have a lot of exteriors. Your donations will help us provide our cast and crew with cozy housing in the evening and plenty of hot food to keep our spirits up.
We also understand it's very difficult for a small independent film to make a huge impact, but we believe that starting a community here on Kickstarter will help us reach a larger audience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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