I first discovered Mark Cline's work when I took a road trip to Tennessee in 2011. Driving down highway 81, I noticed several roadside attractions near a town I had never heard of called Natural Bridge. We didn't have time to see most of them but we did stop to eat at the Pink Cadillac Diner and swing by the Natural Bridge gift shop.
I was immediately curious about this town and when I got back from my trip I did a little research and found out that many of the attractions in Natural Bridge (including King Kong) were done by the same artist: Mark Cline.
I contacted Mark about making a short film and he invited me to film an event he was performing at that weekend and we'd see how it went from there. Well, we never looked back. That first day of filming kicked off a whirlwind year. What was supposed to be a short film - a portrait of an artist - turned into a feature length film. I followed Mark all over the state of Virginia and even to other parts of the country as he accomplished major career milestones like his first museum exhibition and a starring role in his first stage play.
But that year was not without tribulations: a massive fire burned most of his main attractions to the ground (he lost The Haunted Monster Museum, Dinosaur Kingdom, and Hunt Bigfoot with a Redneck). This was not Mark's first fire, either: he had a fire at his studio almost 10 years to the day before this fire, and in that fire a great deal of his work was lost forever. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to document these attractions on video before the fire happened, so that people will still get enjoyment out of them even after they're gone.
I also got the pleasure of accompanying Mark on many other unique adventures: from the top of an abandoned building in Waynesboro for a 9/11 tribute (in which we knocked out power to most of the town...), to a motorsports complex in Alabama to install a giant lady in the lake - it's been a wild ride and I had a great time. I hope the audience will have as great a time watching the film and will leave it feeling inspired. I also hope that the film is a venue for Mark's work and performances to live on in perpetuity and to give those who maybe can't get to Virginia or other areas he has work on display a chance to enjoy his unique brand of outsider art.
Why we need your support.
At this point, filming is 95% complete. We're starting post-production on the 50+ hours of footage and I need your help to finish the film and get it out to festivals and distributors. For your support, we have great rewards varying from t-shirts to original art to a one-on-one sculpting workshop with Mark!
I'm super thrilled to announce that Jean-Paul Damé of Fire Horse Films has recently joined the team to edit the film, and the wonderful Matt Jones will be composing the score. And if we BEAT our goal then we can really make the film shine by adding animation to help bring Mark's art to life. We also hope to be able to license footage of media attention Mark has received, license news footage about the fire, submit the film to festivals, market it, etc, to ensure that as many people get to be a part of Mark's story and works as possible.
AND NOW FOR SOME PICTURES OF THE REWARD ITEMS TO HELP ENTICE YOU:
At the $35 level - the last remaining Monster Museum t-shirts:
At the $50 level - a rough sketch by Mark
All sketches at this level through the $150 level are hand-drawn, unique, working sketches. These are drawings that he used in his day-to-day business - many of which later became actual sculptures - so they're not all in perfect condition. Some of them have notes on them or white-out or a cut-out from another drawing pasted on top. Some of them have wrinkles or maybe a corner torn off. They are a wonderful reflection of Mark's creative process - he never stops moving and things sometimes go wrong but the end result is really extraordinary. At the $50 level, they are rough, less detailed sketches. Most are concept sketches for a sculpture he did. Here are a few examples, though every one is unique so you may not get one of the sketches seen here:
At the $75 level - a sketch by Mark
Some of these are concept sketches, too, but they are more detailed.
At the $100 level - a color concept sketch by Mark
At the $150 level - more detailed color sketches by Mark
At the $200 level - Limited Edition Print
At the $200 level, you can choose from one of three prints (please pay attention to which you are selecting). We will have up to 25 prints of each made.
At the $250 level - Limited Edition Color Print
At the $1000 level - A 2-3' Fiberglass Sculpture
At the $2000 level - A Medium Sculpture (approx. 4')
At the $8,000 level - A Giant Sculpture
Last but certainly not least, I would like to take a moment to thank all the people who have made this possible so far: Mark and Sherry Cline, firstly, and their family and friends for putting up with me filming and keeping me aware of events going on in Mark's life; Mike Brinley, my very supportive boyfriend who also served as a PA on many of these shoots and even paid for a few things out of his own pocket; Robert Johnson for letting me use his camera for part of the filming and for your support and advice; George Barber and Dale Siebert at Barber Motorsports for your generosity and hospitality while I was there filming; everyone at the Taubman Art Museum, the Lime Kiln Theater, and the dozens of other venues and towns in which I've filmed Mark; Joe Fab and Melissa Houghton for being amazing advisers and giving me both real-world and emotional support as I undertake my first feature-length film; and to all my constantly supportive family and friends who have been there for me in one way or another throughout this whole process, giving feedback and sending well-wishes.
Risks and challenges
Obviously completing any film has obstacles, both creative and logistical. My biggest concern with finishing this project are certain "fair use" issues with trademarked characters Mark has played or music that I can't edit out, and a portion of the money raised will go to consulting a lawyer on these issues. Other than that, the challenges are just the same creative challenges every film faces: telling a great story and getting the story out into the world, and this is a challenge I'm excited to tackle.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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