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A narrative feature about an Aussie backpacker who gets to NYC and hatches an idea she thinks can heal America's loneliness epidemic.
84 backers pledged $16,867 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$16,867

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EVER BEEN ON A BUS OR THE SUBWAY AND WONDERED ABOUT THE LIFE OF THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU? Of course you have. It's human nature. Most of us are curious about one another.

Is it any wonder America's in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness?
Is it any wonder America's in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness?

But thanks to smart phones and media-stoked fears, that bridge between the desire for conversation and the connection actually happening seems more difficult than ever to cross. The machines that were supposed to connect us are driving us apart.

You may have heard about the epidemic of loneliness—most notably among young people—we're experiencing in America. Then there's the spike in suicides. I personally have lost no less than three people I cared deeply about to suicide, including my sister, and I've got friends who've suffered far more losses than that. Not to mention the rampant depression, isolation and opioid addiction

Clearly, something is wrong here.

Modern isolation can be soul-crushing.
Modern isolation can be soul-crushing.

WELL, WE'VE MADE A MODEST LITTLE FILM—A COMEDY, NO LESS—THAT TOUCHES ON SOME OF THESE SERIOUS ISSUES. But it's also a movie that offers up a beautifully simple antidote to the scourge of disconnection. An analog solution in a digital age.

My name is Bob Makela and I'm a 57-year veteran of life, a lifelong listener on the verge of finishing my first film. As you'll see from our Kickstarter video, I've been around the block a time or two. I'm a creative sponge who's been on the cusp of making something like this happen for a long time. So I'm eager to offer up this film and the concepts behind it to a culture hungry for help. In our film's protagonist, an Aussie backpacker named 7 Goodwell (Hannah McKechnie), I've created a character who shares many of my beliefs and embodies a few of the key truths I've learned during my time on the planet. A few of them are:

1) Open-hearted traveling nourishes the soul and is a fantastic teacher.

2) Most people are good.

3) By listening we can offer comfort and potential healing to those who are lonely, depressed or bullied. 


Real life listening.
Real life listening.

I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS MOVIE—WHICH ACTUALLY BEGAN AS A TV CONCEPT—AFTER I MOVED TO BROOKLYN IN 2014. My wife Molly and I came from Austin, Texas, one of the friendliest towns in America. So when we began riding the subway, I was struck by how nobody was talking, despite being shoulder to shoulder with a million other lonely hearts. 

I assumed there had to be a certain percentage of people like me—strangers willing and eager to chat with a fellow human. That number turned out to be a lot higher than I ever could've imagined, according to this University of Chicago study. (Most people are ready and willing to talk to strangers, the study reports. And they're much happier after their gregarious rides than the people who sat in solitude.)

Over the years I've experienced countless moments of exhilaration and hilarity, grace and connection, by simply listening. Being present. Giving the other person the respect of my undivided attention. Conscious, compassionate listening can be one of the most powerful, healing gifts we can give to another person. I've learned this time and time again. Talking to strangers actually makes you happy too.

So I created a character—and a story—that reflects these truths. A character who comes up with an idea to help get people talking.

In early 2017, after writing four half-hour episodes that would eventually be re-fashioned into a feature film, we had over 650 actors submit to play our four main roles—despite no pay (for now). We love the actors we ended up choosing, and by the fall of 2017 we were shooting the bulk of the film, mostly in Brooklyn. We flew my cinematographer nephew, Josh, out from California, where he'd been working for three years on the HBO Dr. Dre/Jimmy Iovine documentary, The Defiant Ones, mostly as a cameraman.

We've also been able to get some great music from talented artist friends like Eddie Elliott (whose song plays in the Kickstarter video), Phoebe Kreutz (my wife's cousin), Toby Goodshank and Josh Halverson (who had a nice run on season 11 of The Voice). 

Double Josh — Makela (the cinematographer) & Halverson (the musician)
Double Josh — Makela (the cinematographer) & Halverson (the musician)

BY FEATURE FILM STANDARDS, WE SHOT GREEN THUMBS ON A SHOESTRING. But despite our budget limitations, the film looks great. The acting, the music and the production quality are all solid. Plus the movie has a positive message and an idea that's got the potential to connect strangers, comfort the wounded and build real connections.

And we could use some help getting across the finish line.

We still need to pay for things like a sound mix...color correction...music rights. (There's a Bob Schneider song—"The World Exploded Into Love"—that's perfect for the opening credits.) We need funds for marketing. (We want to distribute postcards with green thumb rings, make more Green Thumbs t-shirts, etc.) We need to pay for film festival entry fees and associated festival costs. (We're hoping to get into many festivals.)

And we've got some cool reward items for those of you who decide to pitch in. Everything from these green thumb rings (see below), to our custom-made Green Thumbs "Real Life Listening" t-shirts. (With new designs to come.)

Thumb Rings & T-shirts!
Thumb Rings & T-shirts!

THE BOTTOM LINE IS, WE CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THE SUBJECTS OF THIS FILM—TRAVELING AND LISTENING. We firmly believe that if more people did these two things with more regularity and gusto, the world would definitely be a better place.

Make that, will be a better place.

We just need to finish making our movie and getting the message out. So thanks for helping us make that happen.

And thanks for listening.

~Bob 

We're listening.
We're listening.

Risks and challenges

While there are obviously many low-budget films being made these days, the good news is we've already finished shooting ours. And we see a crowded marketplace as a huge opportunity—not something to fear. There are more than 60 cable networks and streaming services where our film could land. While that may seem like a crowded field, it also represents a steady need for fresh content. And we're committed to making it happen because we'll be overflowing with gratitude once we hit our goal and we are eager to share this idea with the world. This film WILL get completed.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 7 or more About US$ 7

    Digital Download & Thanks

    Since the main character's name in Green Thumbs is 7 Goodwell, a $7 donation will let you watch the movie on your phone, computer or TV (thanks to a password-protected link to the film on Vimeo) — and you'll get to see your name in the "Thank You" section of the closing credits.

    Includes:
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Thank you" in credits
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    7 Green Thumb Rings*

    We'll send you 7 silicone green thumb rings so you can help us spread the word.

    * Plus the previous rewards.

    Includes:
    • 7 Green Thumb Rings
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Thank you" in credits
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    9 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Soundtrack Digital Download*

    We'll send you a link to download the awesome Green Thumbs soundtrack — and call you out for a "Special Thanks" in the credits.

    * Plus the previous rewards.

    Includes:
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • 7 Green Thumb Rings
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Special Thanks" in credits
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    11 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Green Thumbs T-shirt*

    Tell us your size and we'll send you a custom-made Green Thumbs t-shirt.

    * You'll also receive digital downloads of the film & soundtrack

    Includes:
    • Green Thumbs t-shirt
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • 7 Green Thumb Rings
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Special Thanks" in credits
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Limited Edition Green Thumbs Book*

    We'll send you an autographed copy of the limited edition Green Thumbs paperback book, featuring the screenplay, photos, interviews and more.

    * Plus the previous rewards.

    Includes:
    • Limited Edition Green Thumbs Book
    • Green Thumbs t-shirt
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • 7 Green Thumb Rings
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Extra Special Thanks" in credits
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    Co-Producer Credit*

    We'll feature your name in the closing credits as a co-producer.

    * Plus all the prior rewards.

    Includes:
    • Co-Producer Credit
    • Limited Edition Green Thumbs Book
    • Green Thumbs t-shirt
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • 7 Green Thumb Rings
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Extra Special Thanks" in credits
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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Executive Producer Credit*

    Not only will you be an executive producer, but your name will appear as an executive producer in the OPENING CREDITS.

    *You'll also receive all the previous rewards.

    Includes:
    • Executive Producer Credit
    • Limited Edition Green Thumbs Book
    • Green Thumbs t-shirt
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • 7 Green Thumb Rings
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Extra Special Thanks" in credits
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    Flight to Austin for Private Screening*

    In addition to giving you an executive producer credit, we'll also fly you to Austin for a private screening of Green Thumbs.

    *You'll also receive the previous rewards. NOTE: Once we've met our goal of Kickstarter fundraising goal $15K, we'll begin looking for equity partners as we begin shopping the project around.

    Includes:
    • Flight to Austin For Private Screening
    • Executive Producer Credit
    • Limited Edition Green Thumbs Book
    • Green Thumbs t-shirt
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • 7 Green Thumb Rings
    • Digital Download of Film
    • "Extra Special Thanks" in credits
    Less
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    Ships to Only United States
    0 backers
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Funding period

- (28 days)