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The classic Super Mario Brothers video game re-imagined as a modern, superhero origins tale in a noir-injected New York City Read more

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The classic Super Mario Brothers video game re-imagined as a modern, superhero origins tale in a noir-injected New York City

About this project

THE VISION

We're creating a short, live-action fan film based in the world of Super Mario Bros., arguably the most recognized video game franchise in the world. In taking what Bourne did to the spy genre and The Dark Knight did to the superhero genre, we're introducing a dark, grounded, visceral take on a property we've all grown to love. We've taken the legend and mythology and twisted it, setting it in a modern, broken city with believably complex characters.

"Living Legend" - Official Poster
"Living Legend" - Official Poster

THE STORY

We know the man.  We know the journey.  But this isn't about Mario.  It's about his son, Mark.  Years after the quests and adventures, worlds away from the castles and moats, Mark lives with his working class family in Brooklyn during a time where survival is a daily struggle. He's volatile, passionate, and a petty criminal who's constantly searching for his place in life until one night when life catches up with him. His girlfriend is kidnapped.  With the love of his life taken, Mark rallies his brother, Lou, and degenerate group of friends to get her back.  At all costs.  But is this history repeating itself?  Are legends born or made?  Either way... This isn't a game anymore.

THE CAST

In the Living Legend community we often refer to our cast as "Mario: The Next Generation," because while the iconic Mario character still makes an appearance, we've positioned the story around a new crop of young people who share many of the same traits as our beloved Mario, Luigi, Toad, Yoshi and Princess. We've already begun compiling a list of great actors for these roles.

With the help of a quality script and focused vision, we've created detailed concept art to give you an idea of the actors we're considering for these iconic roles:

Mark - Son of the the original legend, Mario -- Concept Art
Mark - Son of the the original legend, Mario -- Concept Art
Alyson - Mark's girlfriend, aka the Princess -- Concept Art
Alyson - Mark's girlfriend, aka the Princess -- Concept Art
Lou - Mark's brother -- Concept Art
Lou - Mark's brother -- Concept Art

THE REASON

If you're asking yourself, "Why are these guys doing this?  Why this project?  Why now?"  The answer is easy...Why not?!  We're fans of the games, just like you, and more importantly we're fans of great movies.  As the number one video game franchise of all time with close to a half billion units sold worldwide, it's safe to say almost everyone's played some version of this masterpiece.  With your help we'll bring this film to life and show the studios how it should be done.  We look forward to giving Super Mario Bros. fans something they can be proud of. 

THE TEAM

We've compiled a talented, award-winning group of people to bring this vision to life.  No stuffy studio execs or geriatric financiers.  We're young, passionate fans like you, who just happen to be kickass filmmakers. We've worked together for years but always find something new in each collaboration. 

Dan Clifton - Director/Producer 

Graduating from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Clifton started as a commercial and music video director in New York. After directing the award-winning short film "For All Mankind" in 2008, Dan formed Cliffbrook Films with fellow Tisch alum David Brooks and the pair collaborated on their first feature "ATM," with Gold Circle Films in 2010. In 2012 Clifton Executive Produced the thriller "Hours" starring Paul Walker, produced the found-footage actioner "The Den" and served as a Co-Producer on the comedy "Best Night Ever."

Jonathan Grace - Writer/Producer

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Jonathan enters the world of screenwriting from a unique perspective.  After graduating from NYU, Jonathan founded the Run It Down Entertainment Group and worked as a songwriter and record producer for artists from J Records, Island Def Jam and Universal Republic.  While music consulting on various indie film projects his interests in entertainment naturally expanded from songwriting to screenwriting. He now brings his unique, visceral, fast-paced approach to storytelling to this timeless classic.

Bernard Hunt - Cinematographer/Executive Producer

Bernard J Hunt, a director of photography specializing in high production visuals, has made acclaim artistically, proficiently, and technologically.An award-winning graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and FAMU the Czech national film school, Bernard began his career shooting commercials, music videos, and later features. Bernard has further developed his career delving into high-end fashion photography with top industry supermodels as well as producing, directing, and co/2nd unit directing narrative and commercial works.  

Vivian Quaid - Production Designer/Concept Artist

Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, Vivian Quaid is a production designer and all-around arts person. She studied traditional art at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and then progressed to teaching herself digital art, favoring a bold, dramatic style. With work on features, episodic television, and commercials, she has experience being a prop master, art directing, and has worked with Dan Clifton and Bernard Hunt while production designing the feature, "The Den". 

Evan Goldman - Composer

Evan Goldman began his career studying under some of Hollywood's elite film composers at the age of sixteen. As an alumni of the composition program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and the ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop, Evan has already won numerous awards for his work in film and television composition. Evan's recent projects include multiple CNN Films documentary shorts, the upcoming TV pilot, DTEC, produced by Samsung and the hit web series "Cops: Skyrim." He has also collaborated on scores for  The Raven and Fast and Furious Six.

Local Hero  - Post Production/VFX House

Local Hero is a full service post production service facility located in Santa Monica, CA.  The Local Hero Team will provide:

  • Workflow Design and Management
  • Onset data management
  • Full 4k Digital Intermediate
  • Dailies creation 
  • Editorial Suites
  • VFX

Whenever a filmmaker embarks on a personal project, it's always good to know you can post and finish the film in the right place.  With over fifty feature credits to their name over the past 4 years, Local Hero will be an integral part of the Living Legend team. 

Lauren Bates-Jaffe - Costume Designer 

L. Bates Jaffe is a seasoned stylist, costume designer, makeup artist and furniture historian from the Midwest of America. She plies her trade in a variety of media, including feature films, independent shorts, and fine art photography, and has done for nearly a decade. She has studied her craft at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, University of St. Andrews, and Pratt Institute. Ms. Jaffe currently lives and works in New York City.

Two Brothers, One Mission - Save the Girl, Save the City
Two Brothers, One Mission - Save the Girl, Save the City

THE MONEY

Between us, the key creatives on Living Legend have worked on over a dozen feature films, commercials, music videos and television series in the past two years. Some of those have had larger budgets but many have been tiny or even micro budget projects where every dollar and decision matters.  Our goal is to have the look and feel of a big, summer, tent-pole film so we'll need to be creative when it comes to stretching dollars. 

We need to create a unique world:

The goal of any producer on any level is to put as much of our budget as possible on screen. We have lofty goals and if not for the talent of our core team - both creative and fiscally - the budget on this project would easily be five times as large. Luckily we have a great, experienced team  who've done it before.  We'll be shooting in 4K using the same Red Epic camera system used in films such as Prometheus, Star Trek: Into Darkness and the upcoming Thor 2 and Elysium.  We've done epic before and we'll do it again.  Check out our previous work.

Where will funds go specifically?

  • Key Props and Set Dressing - Translating many of the iconic images from the Mario world into our Living Legend universe isn't cheap
  • Location - Living Legend takes place in a New York City that is slightly different than our own. Not only does it cost money to use great spaces, but some of them need to be created from scratch! 
  • Camera - We'll be using the Red Epic camera mentioned above, renting a top-notch lens package and employing an amazing camera team  
  • Lighting - To create the stylized shots needed for Living Legend, we'll need a lot of power and even more light 
  • Specific Wardrobe  - A key aspect of creating this new world is making sure everyone looks the part
  • Visual VFX and Color Correction - While we'll be able to capture much of what we need in camera, the real magic happens in post-production  
  • Original Score and Sound Design - Imagine your favorite movies without a heart pumping score and earth shattering effects... oh, you can't? Neither can we!
  • Editorial - No one puts in more hours behind the scenes than the editorial staff and we have a great one onboard

So all in all, we'll be employing the help and passion of dozens of industry professionals to bring these unique versions of Mario, Luigi and the gang to life as you've never seen before.

THEIR WORK

Our team has been writing, directing, shooting and producing films, commercials and shorts for a long time.  Our standards are high and it shows in our work.  See for yourself:

"For All Mankind" dir. Dan Clifton
"For All Mankind" dir. Dan Clifton
"Monster.com" dir. Dan Clifton & Bernard Hunt
"Monster.com" dir. Dan Clifton & Bernard Hunt

THE CHARACTERS

Living Legend, or as we sometimes call it "Mario: The Next Generation," will feature many of the characters we've all grown to love, but adapted to our world. 

Mark, the Hero -- Lou, the Brother
Mark, the Hero -- Lou, the Brother
Alyson, the Princess -- Todd, the Kid
Alyson, the Princess -- Todd, the Kid
Kevin Yoshimi, the Friend
Kevin Yoshimi, the Friend
 

THE VIBE 

You've seen what we're going for with our main characters. You may have also seen some of the work I've directed or that my team has worked on over the past few years. Living Legend will be bathed in a rich Neo-Noir style and I wanted to present a few other examples as well as some storyboard panels. We'll release updates throughout our Kickstarter run!

Official "Living Legend" concept art --Mark, left for dead in an alley
Official "Living Legend" concept art --Mark, left for dead in an alley
"For All Mankind" dir. Dan Clifton
"For All Mankind" dir. Dan Clifton
"The Invizible Man" dir. Dan Clifton
"The Invizible Man" dir. Dan Clifton

CONCLUSION

It is definitely going to be a huge challenge: Writing, scouting, casting, shooting and posting a film that both stays true to the original Super Mario source material and also sets out on its own in a new direction.

Our team has been there before and with the resources, the passion and the talent we have assembled, I know we can create an amazing film experience. BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We really appreciate you checking out our Kickstarter and pledging your support to the project. We're doing this for the fans because we're fans. We can't wait to go into production!

**This is a fan film and is completely not-for-profit. We do not own any copyrights to the 'Super Mario Bros.' name, image or likeness.  No copyright infringement intended.  Copyright owned by Nintendo Co. Ltd.

Risks and challenges

Without a doubt there are many risks when taking on a motion picture project of this magnitude. Everything from production delays to permit troubles. But with dozens of features, shorts, commercials and music videos under our belt, there is no challenge we haven't seen. We've done this before and we we'll do this again. So feel confident in knowing that this will happen. We will deliver.

Beyond the production risks, we owe a huge debt to fellow fans of the original Super Mario Bros. game to create something familiar yet new. Something nostalgic yet refreshing. Trust us, we're aware that both independent and studio-financed films and shorts have been made from this source material, however we're confident that our vision for this franchise is the most unique, most original idea you've seen for the Mario Universe to date.

Creatively, we have a great script and have done the preliminary groundwork, including location scouting, storyboards and concept art. We've also done the fiscal and budgetary work in order to ensure that if we meet our fundraising goal, our team can producer a blockbuster quality film. We guarantee this will be above and beyond the quality and scope of any fan film you've ever seen. Yes, we make big promises, but we keep them. Just look at our past work, all of which we did with a fraction of the proposed Living Legend budget. And if our fellow fans decide to support us beyond our target goal, then an even greater film you shall receive! Please, join us on this journey. Become a Legend!

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Rewards

  • You selected
    $10 reward

    6 backers

    Thanks! You're officially a part of the Living Legend team! You'll be the first to receive updates on the film's progress throughout pre-production and the shoot. You'll know who we've casted before anyone else and of course, you'll receive our deepest gratitude!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $25 reward

    16 backers

    All of the above, PLUS you'll receive a digital download of the film AND an invitation to the premier screening in Los Angeles!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    3 backers

    STAR TIER - All of the above, PLUS the exclusive Living Legend poster & DVD including behind-the-scenes footage and an in-depth look at the making of the film

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $75 reward

    2 backers

    BULLET BILL TIER: All of the above, PLUS exclusive concept art and storyboard drawings from the Living Legend universe as well as a Blu-Ray of the film.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $100 reward

    5 backers

    MINI MUSHROOM TIER: All of the above, PLUS a signed copy of the original script by the key creatives of Living Legend AND a digital download of the films epic original score composed by Evan Goldman

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $150 reward

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    FIRE FLOWER TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom Tier PLUS an invitation to an exclusive "Super Mario Bros" video game party hosted by the creative principals and cast -- Come on, when's the last time you got your butt handed to you on an old school, 8-bit NES?!

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $200 reward

    1 backer Limited (19 left of 20)

    BRICK BLOCK TIER: Remember the bricks Mario used to bust through? Well receive the Mini Mushroom Tier PLUS a custom Super Mario brick tagged with the "M" straight from the set

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    $250 reward

    2 backers Limited (13 left of 15)

    SUPER MUSHROOM TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom Tier PLUS Your Name listed in the "Special Thanks" section of the closing credits of the film along with an official IMDB credit -- Let the world know you had a key part in this groundbreaking film!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $300 reward

    0 backers Limited (8 left of 8)

    BOB-OMB TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom and Super Mushroom Tiers PLUS an exclusive session with the editors of the Trailer for Living Legend -- We all know that the teaser and trailers for any blockbuster are crucial to its success, so see how it's done!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $400 reward

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    GOOMBA TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom & Super Mushroom Tiers PLUS a glossy custom poster (24"xx36") by one of our artists of Yourself (and a friend) as Mario (and Luigi) -- Ever wonder what you'd look like in the Super Mario universe? Not just for the guys, girls look good in overalls too!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $450 reward

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    COIN TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom & Super Mushroom Tier PLUS an exclusive pair of the custom made green converse worn by Lou in the movie.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $500 reward

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    KOOPA TROOPA TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom & Super Mushroom Tier PLUS the exclusive "M" baseball cap as seen in the concept art and movie.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $600 reward

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    MYSTERY BOX TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom & Super Mushroom Tier plus the key "Cube" or "Mystery Box" prop from the set of the film.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    $750 reward

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    MARIO KART TIER: Wanna be in the film? Receive the Mini Mushroom & Super Mushroom Tiers PLUS a visit to the set! Dust off your acting chops because we'll even put you in a scene in the film with an IMDB credit and everything!

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    $1,000 reward

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    UNDERWATER LEVEL TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom & Goomba Tiers PLUS an "ASSOCIATE PRODUCER" credit (on IMDB and in the film). You'll also have a VIP Set Pass with exclusive access to on-set dailies to see how the film is progressing so far. Your voice will be heard DURING the process!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $2,500 reward

    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    UNDERGROUND LEVEL TIER: Receive the Mini Mushroom & Goomba Tiers PLUS an "EXECUTIVE PRODUCER" credit (on IMDB and in the film). You'll also have a VIP Set Pass with exclusive access to on-set dailies and a dinner with the key creatives to discuss. You'll also have a ticket (+1) to the cast and crew wrap party where you'll be the guest of honor!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (45 days)