About this project
More than two years ago, I began working on an idea to explore masculinity and poetry in a cinematic piece. We gathered a great team (including award-winning cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah) and shot creative interpretations of 35 poems in July, 2013 with an excellent cast of up-and-coming actors. The resulting film (never seen by outside eyes!) was so compelling that our editor Patrick Kennelly suggested that the material was telling us that it wanted to be more than a relatively small-scale art project. After watching it many times, I saw that Patrick was right and decided to develop the project into a full-fledged feature film.
For several months, I brainstormed, then came up with the idea for a story that could interweave with the poetry in a compelling way. I then wrote a narrative script and, surprisingly quickly, we attracted some fantastic, well-known actors to play the new roles, including Patricia Velasquez ("The Mummy" series), Alexander Dreymon (the upcoming BBC America show "The Last Kingdom"), Lydia Hearst ("The Face"), Christos Vasilopolous ("Banshee") and Rex Lee ("Entourage"). Then, we needed to figure out how to finance the additional 12 days of shooting.
That's where you came in! Last time around, we raised more than $40,000 from 291 backers and were able to shoot our feature! Now, as of July, 2015, the movie has been shot. Edited. Picture Locked. It's almost ready to go to festivals and to distributors...BUT...
...we didn't have quite enough funds for the final stages of post-production, like color correction and post-audio work, along with the costs of a digital cinema print. Yes. Even black-and-white films need color correction. :)
As a first time feature film director, I underestimated some of these post-production costs and there were additional funds intended for post-production that had to be used to secure our location for the 12-day shoot and for other unexpected production expenses.
So here's what we need:
$4,500 - Additional ADR/foley work, prep for foreign stems for post-audio.
$2,500 - Film festival application fees, screeners, shipping expenses.
$2,250 - Color Correction expenses (quote).
$2,118 - 4K Digital Cinema Print - 'Guys Reading Poems'
$1,862 - Marketing fees. Reproduction of one sheets, media kits, marketing materials.
$1,500 - Negotiated rate with major record label for the publishing and performance rights to a crucial song for the soundtrack of the film.
$1,200 - VFX. Quote to rotoscope out a few items from the film that we need to remove from the image.
$1,170 - Estimate of the cost of the Kickstarter fees (described as 5 to 8% of funds raised)/campaign expenses.
$900 - Estimate from our graphic designer to adjust graphics, one sheet, main and end titles, end credit scroll.
Total = $18,000
With 'Guys Reading Poems,' you can see that we're ALMOST to the finish line. The additional funding will ensure its swift completion! We've shown the fortitude to come this far and need just that one last push to help us go into the world.
If we raise any funds beyond the $18,000, they will be used to support the marketing of the film. If we raise $50,000 beyond our goal, we'll be able to self-distribute the film theatrically!
I want to pay special tribute to our creative team - including cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah, composer Joachim Horsley (whose original music you hear in this trailer), production designer Nathaly Lopez, costume designer Shpetim Zero, editor Patrick Kennelly and so many other artists who tirelessly worked in front and behind the camera on 'Guys Reading Poems.' It's been amazing! And we're almost there...
Hunter Lee Hughes
Director, "Guys Reading Poems"
Risks and challenges
Luckily for us, the lion's share of work has already been done on 'Guys Reading Poems.' We do not need to shoot anything else. The film has been edited and has achieved picture lock. However, speaking honestly, we've already experienced delays in post-production on 'Guys Reading Poems.' And the prospect of another delay due to workflow issues in post with the color correct or post-audio is possible. But we've learned so far that with filmmaking - perseverance is key. Although we've had setbacks, we've never lost our resolve to make an innovative, aesthetically compelling feature film. And so we believe our determination and willingness to learn and adapt will guide us through any unexpected turns that may happen in these final stages.
The final risk and challenge associated with 'Guys Reading Poems' is...letting go. For more than two years, we've been working on the film, using our imagination and skills to create a worthy, original product from the ground up. I've seen directors hold onto their first features for two years, then four, even five. They'll tell you they're just trying to make the film 'perfect,' that there's just a few shots that still 'bug' them or the rights to a certain pop song might come through any day now. But oftentimes, I find that - like children - it's hard to see your film 'grow up' and enter the world....without you. So after we raise this money, clean up the few remaining tasks on the film, our job is partially to let go and give the film to you - the audience - rather than holding on to it ourselves.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
If we are successful with the funding, we should be able to finish the film in September.
Then, there's a bit of a process applying for film festivals and approaching distributors. We'll submit for festivals in September and most likely will premiere at a festival some time in the first or second quarter of 2016. After we play festivals, the film will become commercially available later in 2016.
Unfortunately, we are not allowed to send out screeners to backers until the film is commercially available. A feature film's 'premiere status' is important and something we have to preserve to make sure the film reaches the programmers, critics and audiences that need to see it!
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