Thank you so much for checking out our Kickstarter page for IN REALITY! It's been an incredible, thrilling, and transformative year since I first began making this series and now I'm so excited to finally share this story with you!!
IN REALITY is a digital mini series which blends documentary style interview with stylized narrative to tell the true story of Ann, an average brunette with a wild imagination, who takes you on a journey through her fantastic mind as she investigates an experience with unrequited love.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY:
It felt pretty life or death when I began, as in, “I will die if I don’t make this movie” and I feel more or less the same now (Have I mentioned I’m a romantic?).
It had been exactly one year - a year of misinterpreted text messages, platonic hang outs confused for romantic moments, and constant full body and mind inquisitions of what was wrong with me. I was at the bottom of a deep rabbit hole known as unrequited love and I realized it was up to me to climb my way out. I was curious and confused how I had gotten there in the first place when I supposedly knew better. I decided to investigate the experience and myself. My prompt was to learn “to love more intelligently.”
I was listening to a lot of "This American Life" at the time. I loved hearing the vulnerability of ordinary people telling their stories in their own voices and, at times, figuring things out about themselves as they went. So I began recording myself telling the whole story of the past year to whoever would listen. I figured I would take those recordings edit them down, shoot complementary footage to illustrate the story and come out with a ten minute short film and a pure and cured heart. The ten minute short became three ten minute shorts, but I still didn't think I was going deep enough. So I called in reinforcements.
My friends and former classmates from NYU, Esteban Pedraza and Aaron Pryka (brilliant filmmakers in their own right) offered to help. I asked them to interview me and ask me the questions I wasn’t yet asking myself. I took the four hour interview that resulted and edited it into a logical story structure. From there the three of us wrote and developed a script that recreated, dramatized and fantasized the story beginning to end as I experienced it. The result is a 60 minute story that oscillates between documentary and stylized narrative that feels like Manhattan meets Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge.
WHAT IS IT?
From the beginning I’ve approached this project like an experiment. I wanted to see if it was possible to blend documentary, comedy and drama seamlessly. I was also curious about alternate film lengths and distribution. Is a film still a film if it’s not 90 minutes shown in a theater? I think the answer is ‘yes.’
Our story is 60 minutes long. It’s neither "short" nor "feature" but it’s the perfect length for our story. We have used it's irregularity as an opportunity to explore alternate forms of distribution and storytelling. For a while it was neither "stand alone film" nor "series" but we've settled on series because we feel it can best be shared, watched, and enjoyed on a digital platform episodically. That's how we watch things these days and we're pretty sure you do too.
Recently, we were honored to be a part of IFP’s Screen Forward Lab and were treated to an incredible program of industry talks and mentorship, all focusing on the new frontier of storytelling in the digital realm. Digital streaming is the future and we, as storytellers, are paving the way.
DIRECTING WHILE FEMALE:
Last spring I got really sick of hearing how hard it is for women in the film industry. It felt like everywhere I looked there was another article about the abysmal numbers, (of the 1,300 top grossing films in the past decade only 4% were directed by women), historic failed attempts at gaining equality, rampant gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and other creepy stuff like that.
I have wanted to be a director since I was twelve, way before I knew being female might make that dream harder to achieve. I grew up making absurd short films on a miniDV camera with my family over summer vacations. The patron saints of our household were Roger & Hammerstein, Scorsese, Kubrick, and Fellini.
I may have had crushes on boys, but my first love was undeniably Final Cut Pro. Once I started editing, I couldn’t stop. I often had to be pried away from the computer for dinner only to resume the same position and stay up all night clicking and cutting way. It felt like breathing. I was in control of the universes I created. I could communicate. I could express myself.
So you can imagine why last spring that amazing Sarah Silverman quote kept coming to mind. “Stop telling girls they can be whatever they want when they grow up. I think it's a mistake. Not because they can’t, but because it would have never occurred to them they couldn’t.”
To me, the numbers don’t mean anything about the capabilities of female filmmakers. They mean that the medium is starved for diversity and that we are nowhere near telling the full story about who we are as a society. The only way to resolve this issue is for underrepresented filmmakers to add their voices, take and make their own opportunities and keep making bad ass films.
My favorite films have always been the ones that create elaborate, hyperbolic worlds, with saturated colors, eccentric characters and epically high stakes. They are films that grab you and transport you to another world and don’t let go until the credits roll.
In our next phase of production we will be creating “Ann’s Fantasy Realm” - a physical space where her most elaborate fantasies are played out to the fullest extent of her imagination.
These scenes are an opportunity for me to bow down before the altars of my idols who so powerfully influenced the way I see and experience the world. My spirit animal Baz Luhrmann, my homie Michel Gondry, the incomparable Sam Mendes and the immortal Rogers and Hammerstein all show up in one way or another in these scenes.
WHY WE NEED YOU?
Last year our cast and crew dove in headfirst and gave their sweat and tears to this film and we finished 70% of the production on an shoestring budget. Now after resting and regrouping, we’re ready for the most ambitious and final phase of production. These scenes require more resources and talented collaborators to make the vision we’re dreaming of come true. It takes a village, as they say, and the villagers need to be paid.
All the money raised during this campaign will go straight towards production costs such as renting a sound stage, building sets, equipment rentals, additional crew, props, costumes, food for the cast and crew, hiring a songwriter, choreographer and a team of dancers!
We are so grateful to any support you can give IN REALITY - but if you’re willing to give a little extra, we have some super fly perks to send your way like these dope Reality Check Sunglasses:
Or a What's Your Fantasy? pin.....
Or one of the handcrafted tapestries from Ann's Fantasy Realm!
I knew that if I was going to play myself I needed an incredible cast that I would feel unconditionally comfortable with. I brought in a mix of talented trained actors and non-actor friends who more or less play themselves. I like working with friends and non-actors because the intimacy we have already established with each other allows for spontaneous off-beat and authentic performances.
Miles G. Jackson is the only person in the world who could have played John. An NYU grad, Miles is an accomplished screen and theater actor and I’ve cast him in almost every short film I’ve directed because he’s so damn fun to work with. He’s a pro, he’s an ace and he’s also one of my best friends. He’s currently starring in My Name is Asher Lev at the George Street Playhouse in Jersey. Go check him out if you have a free evening! You will not be disappointed.
Ann Lupo: Director/Writer/Actor/Producer/Editor
Ann is a filmmaker who enjoys creating work she is proud of with people that she loves. She grew up making absurdist comedy short films with her family in Canada and continues this tradition of working creatively like a tribe in her filmmaking today. In 2013, she co-directed and co-produced Documented with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and indefinable Jose Antonio Vargas, which premiered and was distributed by CNN Films in 2014. She is an accomplished editor and has worked with artist Mac Premo on various short films such as the Vimeo-Staff Picked “Bucket Board” video. She received her BFA from NYU Film school. She has a thing for tea, flowers, and leopard print scrunchies.
Esteban Pedraza: Co-Writer/Co-Director/Producer
Esteban directed his first short film, "People I Know,” which won an award in the UK presented to him by Tony Blair in 2010. He pursued a degree in Film through Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and graduated in 2013 after directing a TV pilot, “The Saggy Saddle,” under mentors Gary Shimokawa and Rudd Simmons. His second short film, “The Role of the Husband,” marked his first collaboration with creative and business partner, Aaron Pryka and in 2013 they founded, Movie Time Picture Company. They premiered a short documentary series in 2014 called "The Songwriter,” in Esteban’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. He also directed the third episode of "2040" which was voted as part of the top 5 web series to watch by IFC. His latest Movie Time collaboration,“Deafblind Couple,” will be screening with New Filmakers: NY in 2016.
Aaron Pryka: Co-Writer/Producer
Aaron is a native Michigander who moved to New York to attend film school at NYU. Since then then he has written and produced a handful of short films and documentaries that mean a lot to him. In 2013 he founded the Movie Time Picture Company with partner Esteban Pedraza and their latest short collaboration “Deafblind Couple” will be screening with New Filmakers: NY in 2016. He loves doughnuts, that moment you come up with something really good, and you - in a universal and humanist sort of way.
Nadine Martinez: DP/Producer
Nadine Martinez is a cinematographer, producer, and creative partner at Lumanova Pictures Inc. After graduating from NYU in 2009 she joined the International Cinematographer’s Guild in 2010 and gained a variety of knowledge and production experience by working as a camera assistant on independent films, commercials and major network TV Shows like “Louie,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Project Runway,” and “The Black List.” Her anthropological interests brought her to shooting documentaries like One Wall: Kings of Coney Island, available on iTunes, and Straight/Curve, a documentary about plus size models. But her calling to tell stories is best shown through her short films and web series like “Ted & Gracie” directed by Jena Friedman, former producer of the Daily Show, and the award winning film A Good Lie. When she’s not on a film set, you can find her around Brooklyn walking her three chihuahuas or eating a doughnut.
Holly Meehl: Producer
Holly began her career in publicity at Sony Pictures Classics in 2011 and then transitioned to film development to work for feature director Tanya Wexler (Hysteria). Holly then worked at SALTY Features and is a co-producer on the documentary feature (Dis)Honesty - The Truth About Lies, directed by Yael Melamede, which premiered at Hot Docs and Full Frame Film Festival in 2015. In the same year, she produced a web series called “Young Like Us” which won an audience award at the FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia. She recently launched her own production company, Lunamax Films, and is currently producing a documentary feature titled For The Birds.
Recently our team has grown to include 2 fabulous and creative goddesses....
Freida Orange: Executive Producer
With years of publicity & production experience, Freida joined Rubenstein in 2013. Her clients at Rubenstein include REFINERY29, TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, AMC NETWORKS, SUNDANCENOW DOC CLUB, BOYHOOD, KILL THE MESSENGER & SUNDANCE TV. Prior to joining Rubenstein, Freida worked at PMK*BNC, Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions and Miramax/Dimension Films. She ran film campaigns for film festivals and theatrical releases at PMK*BNC including BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD & CASTING BY; at Sikelia, she was on-set & executive assistant to Scorsese on THE DEPARTED, ROLLING STONES SHINE A LIGHT and SHUTTER ISLAND. Previously, at Miramax/Dimension she handled publicity for narratives and docs including BAD SANTA, KILL BILL VOL.II, THE AVIATOR & FAHRENHEIT 911.
Mary John Frank: Choreographer
Mary John Frank is a choreographer and filmmaker creating dance for film, the web, and stage. Recent works include directing content for Vogue.com, New York City Ballet, and W Magazine and choreographing content for brands including Pull & Bear, Refinery 29, Bonnaroo, American Apparel, and more. Mary John has an M.F.A. in Dance from the Tisch School of the Arts as well as seven years of experience in the film business at studios including Miramax, Paramount, and Warner Bros. In 2011, Mary John received Panavision's New Filmmaker Grant and directed, choreographed, and wrote her first film, EINSTEIN'S DANCE. The film received festival recognition and awards including Best Film Direction at the Women's Independent Film Festival in Los Angeles. Mary John is based in New York and loves collaborating with other artists and brands to create memorable dance content for the big (and small) screens! www.maryjohnfrank.com @maryjohnfrank.
Risks and challenges
We know making a film is risky biz, there’s so many factors - crew, cast, equipment, snow, hail, tornadoes - that could interrupt a smooth shoot. However, our team is extremely talented and tight knit and we believe in this project like crazy. IN REALITY is a passion project for all of us, we’ve put nearly a year of our time and energy into making it happen, the stakes are huge! We can’t let ourselves down and we certainly don’t want to let you down. So believe us when we say, with your support, we will do EVERYTHING in our power to make IN REALITY a reality and something that you’ll want to watch over and over and tell your friends about. Because that’s why we do this, to tell a story you want to share with others.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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