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A MORNING LIGHT is a stark, feature-length portrait about extraterrestrial visitation—starring Zach Weintraub and Celia Rowlson-Hall. Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 12, 2014.

A MORNING LIGHT is a stark, feature-length portrait about extraterrestrial visitation—starring Zach Weintraub and Celia Rowlson-Hall.

About this project

SYNOPSIS 

Off duty from his job with the U.S. Forest Service, 30yo. Zach takes up a house sitting gig for his aunt and uncle. Spending time in a remote landscape, he reconnects with his ex-girlfriend Ellyn, working playfully to rekindle their old bond. Gradually, the two begin to experience a series of strange events and unexplainable phenomena.

Countering depictions of menacing beings and fear-based scenarios, A MORNING LIGHT will infer that extraterrestrial visitation stems from an ecological standpoint—nurturing the likelihood of benevolent curiosity.

Verité, atmosphere and experimental form combine in a quiet, psychologically tense exploration that assumes humanity is in its intellectual and spiritual infancy.

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PRODUCTION INFO

September 1-18, 2014 / Oregon • In Association with Borscht Corp.

501c3 Sponsorship by Eastern Oregon Film Festival

Contributions are tax-deductible—read the FAQ below for details.

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WHY MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT EXTRATERRESTRIALS?

My last project MMXIII often had me looking toward the sky—entranced by the colors, beauty, and subtleties I observed; it's a captivating space, and one that's always evolving. Throughout the production I developed a curiosity about celestial bodies, movements, and meaning.

Around this same time, I starting coming across public testimony by a range of individuals, including renowned figures such as the former Canadian Minister of Defense, Paul Hellyer, and Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Mack. Hellyer maintains that the U.S. military has been in contact with a number of extraterrestrial groups since the late 1940s, while Mack—initially a skeptic—ultimately came to trust his clinical judgment over his understanding of reality, concluding that the abduction narratives described by his patients were real.

Related research nurtured my curiosity and I began to question why the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence was being dismissed by the scientific community, academia, and popular media.

I've always been interested in exploring our relationship to the natural world, and considering humanity's damaging ecological impact, began to speculate how this might create a scenario prompting visitation. 

Just as much as this is a project about supposed abduction, it will also investigate the psychological impact of the forest and the disorienting effects of an unfamiliar landscape.

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FILMMAKERS 

Zach Weintraub in YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG / Celia Rowlson-Hall in PROM NIGHT
Zach Weintraub in YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG / Celia Rowlson-Hall in PROM NIGHT

ZACH WEINTRAUB • Actor

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Weintraub is an actor and filmmaker whose performances have been praised by critics in Variety, L Magazine, and Time Out New York. His directorial efforts include Bummer Summer, The International Sign for Choking, and You Make Me Feel So Young, and have screened at festivals worldwide including AFI Fest, BAFICI, Viennale, and many more.

CELIA ROWLSON-HALL • Actor

New York-based Rowlson-Hall is a critically-acclaimed filmmaker, choreographer, and Bessie award-winning performer. Her short works The Audition, Prom Night, and Si Nos Dejan have screened at SXSW and the Borscht Film Festival. She has worked as a choreographer on numerous commercial projects, including collaborations with Vogue, MGMT, and Lena Dunham’s HBO series GIRLS.

IAN CLARK • Writer, Director, Cinematographer, Producer

Named one of Filmmaker's 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Clark received his MFA in Digital Art from the University of Oregon and since 2009 has completed three features and one mid-length short. Recent projects Country StorySearching for Yellow, and MMXIII have screened at BAFICI, Borscht Film Festival, and New Orleans’ Cinema Reset, amongst others. Clark is also a founding member and Programmer of Eastern Oregon Film Festival, and the newly-created Treefort Film Fest—community projects that have been featured by Hammer to Nail, IndieWIre, Tribeca, and Entertainment Weekly.

JIM CUMMINGS • Producer

Cummings is a producer at Ornana. He produced the feature films Euphonia, which premiered at SXSW in 2013, and The Grief of Others—based on the New York Times Bestselling novel. In 2010, he created San Francisco 3D Films where he produces and edits 3D films and commercials. He is an alumni of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

BENJAMIN WIESSNER • Producer

Wiessner studied writing at Emerson College where he began working with the film collective Ornana. He continues to produce and work with story for the group. He produced Patrick Wang's second feature, The Grief of Others, which is currently in post-production. He also helped build a print press/art and literature community organization using only coffee and experimentation; her name is The Operating System.

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 WHY DO WE NEED YOUR HELP?

We're trying to raise $9,000—which constitutes roughly 1/3 of our total budget. Some of you might feel like this is a significant amount of money in itself, while others might feel like it's not nearly enough. In many ways, both perspectives are correct. One of the skills this team has developed over the years is sourcing as many of our needs as possible through in-kind donations. However, there are many parts of the process that simply cost money. Our promise to our funders is that every dollar donated will show up on screen. The more money that you help us raise, the more we can do for this project.

Everyone on the team has earned a reputation of being fiercely independent, bringing project after project to audiences also searching for something authentic. We've cleared our schedules to come together this September, and as a group of experienced filmmakers, the biggest challenge for us will be raising funds. Borscht Corp. has already stepped up and offered a small project grant to help make A MORNING LIGHT.

For the rest of the funding, we will rely on our communities in order to make this project a reality. Let's make this project happen together! Every dollar counts!

We're reaching out and asking for your help, because it's people like you who make independent cinema possible. The biggest hurdle for us will be fundraising, but we've found some amazing locations, a phenomenal cast, and are building a hard-working crew to support them.

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OTHER WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT THE PROJECT! 

We understand that not everyone can donate and we would be psyched if you would share this project on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc! Crowdfunding is an uphill battle, and any help getting the word out and sharing with others is greatly appreciated. 

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THAAAAAAANK YOU! 

Thanks so much for considering this project—we can't wait to bring A MORNING LIGHT to life!

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QUESTIONS? INFO?

If there's anything else you'd like to know, we'd love to hear from you. Additionally, if you're a potential in-kind supporter please get in touch.

Kickstarter Inquiries • Ben Wiessner / bcwiessner@gmail.com

501c3/In-Kind Inquiries • Ian Clark / ian@incproductions.org

Facebook / Twitter

Risks and challenges

Oftentimes, filmmakers will present a list of comparable titles to demonstrate the viability of investment. Increasingly, and because there are literally thousands of small-to-midsize features made every year, these comparisons mean little; independent cinema is simply a speculative endeavor. We believe our project has the potential to be shown widely at festivals, and acquire distribution, but it would be unwise to count on best-case scenarios. However, given today's changing distribution landscape, we are confident in our ability to establish a release strategy that makes sense for the project. With previous works, our team has dedicated themselves to alternative approaches in order to find an active audience for challenging cinema.

Both production and post-production will be difficult, but we trust that the constraints of a DIY approach will nurture creative growth, force us to do more with less, and push us to craft an even better project than the one we have in mind.

We will keep production costs low, invest in grassroots filmmaking, and collaborate directly with YOU! Ultimately, we’re doing this because we aspire to contribute a striking, innovative work of cinema to our community.

Thanks again for considering our project.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • Yep.

    Since A MORNING LIGHT has obtained 501c3 sponsorship through Eastern Oregon Film Festival, all funds raised on Kickstarter will not count as taxable income. This is great for us because it means that every penny can go toward the production. And it's great for you because you have the option of writing off your contribution!

    Want to take advantage of this? Simply report your contribution next April (minus the approximate $ value of the backer rewards you received). We will provide .pdf documentation if requested, including an itemized breakdown of your rewards, total value, etc.

    If desirable, please email us by August 15—include your name, the $ amount of your contribution, and the level of your reward (i.e. DIGITAL PACK XL) in the subject line.

    bcwiessner (at) gmail (dot) com

    Last updated:
  • No.

    The artist whose work will be featured in A MORNING LIGHT wished to remain anonymous during pre-production. However, I want to sincerely thank everyone who has reached out so far and shared their work. Lots of talented people out there.

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    8 backers

    UPDATES • E-mail newsletter with production photos and stories from the set, updates about how and where to see it, and other behind-the-scenes awesomeness!

    Estimated delivery:
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    Pledge $7 or more

    6 backers

    FOR THE CURIOUS MIND • Director Ian Clark will select 10 links that present the most compelling evidence suggesting the existence of intelligent alien life.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $10 or more

    22 backers

    DIGITAL PACK (S) • e-mail newsletter, two super scenic computer backgrounds, a THANK YOU on the official website, and some social media love from some very grateful filmmakers!

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $15 or more

    9 backers

    DIGITAL PACK (M) • Includes the above package, as well as a download of Ian's short work, Searching for Yellow.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $25 or more

    19 backers

    DIGITAL PACK (L) • Receive a HD download of Ian's most recent feature, MMXIII.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $30 or more

    20 backers

    DIGITAL PACK (XL) • We'll share a private, digital screener of A MORNING LIGHT following the festival premiere.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $35 or more

    8 backers

    GO POSTAL • All the digital perks, and a set of custom postcards so you can rekindle the magic with a pen pal.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Only ships to: United States
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    Pledge $50 or more

    18 backers

    DVD • You'll be the proud owner of a shiny, custom-sharpied dvd of A MORNING LIGHT (sent after the festival run).

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $75 or more

    12 backers

    POSTER • You'll receive a custom 11x17" poster signed by the cast and crew.

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    Pledge $125 or more

    5 backers

    DOODLES FROM THE SET • You'll receive a hand-written letter from the set with notes of thanks from cast and crew, conceptual musing from director Ian Clark, and otherworldly doodles by the team. You'll also receive a THANK YOU in the closing credits.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Ships anywhere in the world
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    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer

    VIP FESTIVAL PACK • You and a guest will receive tickets and some VIP treatment when A MORNING LIGHT screens at a festival near you. If it doesn't end up playing in your neck of the woods, we'll send you a custom package with a private screener, popcorn, and some locally-crafted goodies.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    PRIVATE SCREENING • If you're into dinner parties, potlucks, or just love being cozy at home—consider yourself the steward of a special pre-festival screening in your home. Afterward, director Ian Clark will join you and your guests via Skype to share in an intimate discussion. You'll also receive SPECIAL THANKS in the closing credits.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Ships anywhere in the world
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    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    BUILD AN EXPERIENCE • Let’s build an awesome experience together. Tickets to the premiere and a dinner with the filmmakers? Want to spend some time on set, or host a screening that's followed by a group Skype? We’d love to talk and come up with something special for you. Let’s have an adventure together!

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $3,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER • Welcome to the team—you're now an Associate Producer! So often, committed people can bring even more than money to the table. You are helping make this project a reality, and we’d love to have you involved in the making of this film. Let’s talk about how to make this experience memorable for all. Also, you'll be noted in the credits, as well as on the official poster, print and web campaigns.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE

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    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER • Welcome aboard. Holy smokes... You've taken this project to the next level. We are eternally grateful, and humbled by your support. You'll be noted in the credits, receive an individual SPECIAL THANKS credit, and be included on all official print and digital materials. Let's talk about your involvement—we'd love to share rough cuts and will keep you abreast with any developments throughout the production, post-production, and on through stages of distribution.

    +ALL OF THE ABOVE (minus Associate Producer credit)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (21 days)