WE DID IT! THANK YOU FOR HELPING US REACH OUR GOAL! We're so excited we get to make this film for you.
Stay tuned to imgeorgelucas.com for future updates.
Connor Ratliff, a 40-something comedian in New York City, has been playing the iconic role of George Lucas for the past five years at the famed Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (albeit primarily at midnight on Fridays in the satellite East Village space). The show – titled “The George Lucas Talk Show” – didn’t have much hope for success. The premise that filmmaker George Lucas – now retired and without ownership of his Star Wars franchise – would use his free time to start a late night talk show was ultimately a very geeky and niche idea. Bringing that concept to life alongside his CGI creation Watto all while interviewing illustrious guests, commenting on the new trilogy, and reflecting on his past work, raised the show to another level (though Connor would often blurt out mid-performance that it could be cancelled by the UCB Artistic Director at any moment). And yet, it is one of the theatre’s longest-running shows, bringing out a pretty amazing batch of guests (Jon Hamm, D’Arcy Carden, Wyatt Cenac, Janeane Garofalo, David Harbour, Nicole Byer, and so many more) as well as a dedicated and loving audience every month, and is now featured at the main space in Hell’s Kitchen at the prime 7:30pm Friday slot. With write-ups in the Village Voice, special performances at New York Comic Con and SXSW, and a filmed segment on a TV sketch series, “The George Lucas Talk Show” and Connor Ratliff have become beloved fixtures in the New York comedy scene.
And yet, the show is put together every month by only three people – Connor (THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, SEARCH PARTY, DON'T THINK TWICE, THE DISCOVERY), his producer and talent booker Patrick Cotnoir (Marvel Entertainment, THE CHRIS GETHARD SHOW, UCB's ASSSSCAT), and co-star Griffin Newman (Amazon's THE TICK, Showtime's OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT, BLANK CHECK podcast) – who have to handle the set design, costumes, guest booking, prizes, video production, music cues, and ideation of general topics to be discussed, all while juggling their own full-time jobs, other creative endeavors, and personal lives.
As some of those dedicated and loving fans of the show, we’ve been fascinated by how it all comes together every month while always feeling fresh and funny. And because we get to spend so much time with “George Lucas”, we don’t often get to see much of the man behind the white beard, Connor Ratliff himself. As filmmakers ourselves, we felt there was a story behind the comedy show about one of history’s greatest storytellers, and wanted to uncover more about Connor’s empathetic portrayal of him, what it was that motivated him to create this show, and how he’s kept it running for this long (with no end in sight). Thus, we present to you our film, I'M "GEORGE LUCAS": A CONNOR RATLIFF STORY.
- April-August 2019: Filming with Connor, Patrick, Griffin, friends and past guests of the show, and capturing three of the performances
- September-December 2019: Post production
- 2020-2021: Film festivals and wide distribution
WHY WE'RE MAKING THIS
“The George Lucas Talk Show” is a show that brings much joy to its creators as well as its fanbase. Tons of friendships have been formed by show-goers over the past several years, and it even inspired a pair of friends to concoct a bingo game to be played during the show because of their obsession with Connor’s bits, which has now spread to become a fixture for the entire audience. We wanted to match this passion by all involved in creating a film that captures this, while also revealing more to the world about what goes into making it. We believe there is more than what is obvious and apparent, and want to explore the psychology and trajectory of Connor and how it correlates to George himself, as well as the complicated fandom around George and his creations.
WHO THIS FILM IS FOR
This film is for all those interested in a human story about those in the spotlight and those who go overlooked, and what drives each of them and the resulting art they each produce. It’s for fans of comedy, fans of Star Wars, fans of cinema history, fans of human stories, and fans of the documentary medium.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO
The money that you are so generously donating to us goes towards paying for the equipment we are presently covering out of pocket, as well as the upcoming post-production and advertising costs, to get this film to look and sound as awesome as possible and be seen by as many of you as possible. All of what we raise will go towards covering the production costs of making a documentary, and to support the film in its journey towards distribution.
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
We have put together a fine team of filmmakers to capture and shape this project into a compelling documentary, but we can’t do it alone! We’re regular people struggling with daily life in New York City, and unfortunately that means not having a lot of extra funds to cover our artistic ambitions and endeavors. We could really use the support from YOU, our welcomed visitor to this page, to help us make and finish the film. Any amount you can contribute to our production fund would go a very long way in seeing this film reach the finish line of production, and even more so to reach the eyeballs of audiences worldwide. We’ve put together a vast list of rewards that are super fun and valuable, that we hope will also be of encouragement towards your donation.
Additionally, whether you can financially support us or not, we’d LOVE for you to help spread the word about this film to your social networks, as word-of-mouth is often the best arbiter of success. Please post this Kickstarter link to your social channels, and also follow our own handles on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates and bonus content!
DIRECTOR'S NOTE – Ryan Jacobi
Over the last few years, The George Lucas Talk Show has become a low-cost therapy. No matter what chaos might be going on in the outside world, inside the walls of the UCB Theater, Connor Ratliff’s hilarious take on George Lucas offers a mix of absurdist, yet sincere, entertainment along with a sense of genuine joy. It exists for an hour, enjoyed by a cult-like following, then disappears, only to re-emerge a month later.
Attempting to understand Connor is fascinating. Why has he pretended to be George Lucas for more than 5 years? How and why does he utilize a mainstream figure to express his own story? What does he get out of doing this show for free? It’s too enticing to ignore.
After only a few months of filming, it has been surprising and rewarding to witness Connor as a performer and a person, along with his band of talented collaborators. Already, the universal subjects of success and failure, grappling with the past, and learning to live in the moment are begging to be explored.
Thank you for considering to back this project. It is my intention that, like Connor himself, the film will be fun, unique, and sincere. With your help, we’ll be able to realize this story’s full potential and create a little more space for absurdity and joy.
Ryan & Marsh originally approached us (me & Patrick) about wanting to properly film one of our monthly shows, possibly with some kind of comedic framing device. That initial conversation led us to decide to allow them into our actual process in the hopes that something like that might be interesting to watch, a snapshot of a strange NYC-based comedy talk show that has found its level as a well-regarded but peculiar cult comedy event. I think if I wasn't the one doing this show, I might be curious to see a film about it, especially if I was in a part of the country or the world where I was unable to attend the show in person. My hope is that this film will convey what GLTS is and what it tries to be, and that we end up looking good. Then again, a lot of great documentaries betray their subjects and make them look like fools. Please give some money to this Kickstarter and let's find out which kind of doc this ends up becoming!
THE STRETCH GOAL
The funds we’re raising will cover the minimum costs of production and post (such as color grading, sound mix, master, and original music composition), so that no expense will come out of pocket. Anything we can raise beyond that will go to more ambitious production and post, as well as covering additional film festival submissions and advertising.
CONNOR RATLIFF – creator and star of “The George Lucas Talk Show”, a comedian and actor, and the focal point of our documentary. TV credits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange Is The New Black, Search Party, VEEP, Broad City, The Chris Gethard Show, The President Show, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Debate Wars and The UCB Show. Film credits include Don't Think Twice, Coin Heist, The Discovery and Standing Up, Falling Down. He has also appeared on This American Life and the Comedy Bang Bang podcasts. You can hear Connor as the co-host of the podcast "12 Hour Day with JD & Connor" which is a 12-hour long podcast where every episode consists of an uncut and unedited twelve-hour conversation between himself and JD Amato.
GRIFFIN NEWMAN – co-star of “The George Lucas Talk Show”, co-lead on Amazon’s television series THE TICK, and co-host of the BLANK CHECK podcast. Additional credits include OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT, SEARCH PARTY, VINYL, COP SHOW, and DRAFT DAY.
PATRICK COTNOIR – Patrick is the producer and talent booker for The George Lucas Talk Show and ASSSSCAT at the UCB theater in NY. He is currently the Editorial and Talent Producer at MARVEL. He has worked at Saturday Night Live, Above Average, and Sesame Street. He was the talent producer on The Chris Gethard Show on truTV. He was the Talent Coordinator on Comedy Central's The President Show and was a Digital Producer at NBC's comedy streaming platform, Seeso. He owns every season of LOST on Blu-Ray. He’s got a website, please visit it: www.patrickcotnoir.com.
RYAN JACOBI – director and producer of this documentary. Ryan is a filmmaker, writer, and audio producer. He most recently produced and co-edited the feature-length documentary, We Breathe Again, for America ReFramed. He has worked for Sync Sound/Digital Cinema on projects ranging from NBC's 30 Rock to HBO's The Alzheimer's Project, and has collaborations with Murray Street Productions and That Studio. Ryan also produces and co-hosts Not Just a Movie, a film and TV podcast, and is a partner at the production company, Crawl Walk Run.
MARSH CHAMBERLAIN – cinematographer, editor, and producer of this documentary. Marsh is an award-winning filmmaker and content creator based in New York City. He has worked on a variety of projects with a diverse group of clients including Ken Burns, Facebook, NFL, New Balance, AT&T, The Human Brain Project, Brave Trainings, and Vision Maker Media. As a filmmaker, Marsh has directed, shot, produced, and edited a number of documentaries, music videos, and other media. His first feature-length documentary, We Breathe Again, had its national television broadcast premiere on WORLD Channel’s America ReFramed, and played in festivals and community screenings around the world. Marsh is the owner and co-founder of the production company, Crawl Walk Run, and a proud dog parent to Lil’ Lucy Pup.
ANNAMARIA SOFILLAS – producer of this documentary. Annamaria is a television development & current executive and a producer, having most recently built the original programming departments at Gimlet Media's scripted division and at the NBCUniversal comedy streaming service Seeso. Annamaria was the creative lead/co-lead on over 25 original long-form series and over 30 stand up specials, including GLAAD Award-nominated "Take My Wife", BAFTA Award-nominated “Flowers” starring Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, “HarmonQuest” from “Rick & Morty”-creator Dan Harmon, "Bajillion Dollar Properties", "My Brother My Brother and Me” based on the hit podcast, "Hidden America with Jonah Ray", "Night Train with Wyatt Cenac", and “The UCB Show” featuring Amy Poehler. Prior to Seeso, Annamaria had stints at IFC, TV Guide Network, and Focus Features. Annamaria graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA with Honors in Film & Television Production. She is a board member of the HRTS Associates NY.
Risks and challenges
We are taking on a personal risk of self-financing this project ourselves up to this point. Additionally, as a very small crew, every person is vital in making this film come alive, so the burden on each of us is high. Another challenge is the running time, as we’re capturing a lot of footage of the live shows and Connor’s life and currently see this as a short film, but know there is a lot more to be mined here and can see this become feature length. Additionally, distribution is so key in achieving some level of success and financial break-even, and the future costs of submitting to festivals and building up awareness for this film is something we’re going to have to invest a lot of time, money, and energy into down the line.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)