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A dark comedy about growing up in Western Pennsylvania. A violent and funny forbidden love story in the heart of the Rust Belt.
A dark comedy about growing up in Western Pennsylvania. A violent and funny forbidden love story in the heart of the Rust Belt.
A dark comedy about growing up in Western Pennsylvania. A violent and funny forbidden love story in the heart of the Rust Belt.
401 backers pledged $37,309 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Yinz - A Rust Belt Movie

$37,309

401

WHAT IS THIS YINZ MOVIE ABOUT?

YINZ is an independent fiction film that takes place in Jeremy's hometown of New Castle, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.

It's a unique take on the classic teen coming-of-age story set in the heart of the Rust Belt. The movie's themes deal with loyalty to and betrayal of family, friends, and ethnic identity in the boiler pot of a small town where everybody knows each other.

"Yinz better come with me!"
"Yinz better come with me!"

All the main characters — Brad, Shane, Jonnie, Mindy, and Tommy — are fundamentally broken in an important way and hiding a big secret that’s the key to their identity. When their situations get out of hand, we see the characters go to great and horrible lengths to make sure their secrets aren’t revealed.

YINZ is a dark comedy set in a very specific world, filled with its own language, customs, and biases. In the same way that FARGO (set in the Midwest) and THE SOPRANOS (set in North Jersey) reflect the sensibilities of their regions, YINZ will bring the culture of Western Pennsylvania to life.

Special love and attention will be paid to the hyperlocal “Yinzer” culture of Western Pennsylvania and how it affects the characters in different ways.

WHO'S MAKING THIS MOVIE?

Jeremy Michael Cohen is the writer and director. Hailey Hansard is one of the leads. They're both producing. They've also been dating for a really long time.

John Hermann is the head producer. 

Victoria Hill is an associate producer who's worked extensively with Jeremy and John in the past. 

Bert Gerstnecker is an associate producer based out of Pittsburgh. He's from New Castle and went to high school with Jeremy.

"Safety's on, jagoff!"
"Safety's on, jagoff!"

WHY SHOULD I BACK THIS KICKSTARTER? (OR, WHY THE HELL SHOULD I GIVE YOU MY HARD-EARNED CASH?)

Good question. We think there are a few good answers:

First, as long as you give $25, you’ve pre-bought the movie. It’s a fair deal. You support a movie and some filmmakers you care about, and then you get to own the movie forever. We think it's better to sell you something than to just ask for a handout.

Second, there are a bunch of awesome rewards at higher levels. You can visit set, watch the movie on the day of its world premiere at festivals, or get amazing art inspired by YINZ. We think you'll be thrilled with the rewards we've put together.  

Third and most important is that you will bring an independent movie that you care about into the world. Maybe you love Pittsburgh, or you love movies like YINZ, or you’re friends with one of us filmmakers. 

Regardless of the reason, YINZ wouldn’t exist without you. If you donate, you’ll have helped a bunch of filmmakers who have prepared their entire lives for this moment take their career to the next level. And we’ll be deeply grateful.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I CAN'T BACK THE PROJECT?

We get it. Not everyone that wants to can back the project financially, and we're completely cool by that. If you still want to help out, the most important thing you can do for YINZ is to share the Kickstarter campaign on Facebook and email it to your friends.

HERE’S A SYNOPSIS OF THE PLOT:

In small town Western Pennsylvania, a too-close relationship between cocksure high school student Brad Levin and his troubled guidance counselor Mindy Szyzmanski descends into trouble. Mindy’s jealous ex, Tommy Tomasetti - who is also her boss and Brad’s assistant principal - discovers the affair and threatens both of them.

When Brad’s father, a local celebrity of sorts, goes out of town for a long weekend, Brad schemes with his two best friends, Shane and Jonnie, to get back at Tomasetti.

When their plan to intimidate Tomasetti goes wrong, the three best friends panic, and their relationships break down along socio-economic fault lines. Meanwhile, Brad tries to salvage his misbegotten love with Mindy.

A violent and funny forbidden love story in the heart of the Rust Belt.

WHO’S THIS MOVIE FOR?

The are two main audiences for YINZ.

First, lovers of Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania, and the Rust Belt will have a special affinity for the movie. It’ll be like FARGO, but set in our world of small industrial towns around Pittsburgh.

Second, the movie will appeal to movie fans that like violent but cinematic dark comedies. Especially those ones that take you inside another world. Movies like FARGO, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, GOODFELLAS, and SNATCH. YINZ also has a lot in common with darker “young adult” movies, like STAND BY ME and RIVER’S EDGE.

"Thanks for cooking, Mindy. I needed to chill."
"Thanks for cooking, Mindy. I needed to chill."

A WORD ON YINZ'S "RATING"

Just so we're upfront with everyone, this movie would be rated R if you saw it in a theater or would be on HBO if you watched it on TV. It deals with adult subject matter, and it's not for kids. We don't want anyone to be surprised or offended when they hear crude language or see adult situations. The last thing we want to do is pretend we're making something we're not. If you're not comfortable supporting us because of that, we completely understand and respect you.

IS THIS MOVIE GOING TO BE ANY GOOD?

It better be... And it will be! 

I’m putting my life savings into the movie and am staking my career on it. It's a "bet the farm" project.

I think my experience and training makes it a good bet. I went to film school at USC (The Hollywood Reporter thinks it's the best around), and I’ve worked on seven features in crucial roles (1st Assistant Director or Line Producer). Two of those films just premiered at this year's prestigious Los Angeles Film Festival. And short films I’ve directed have played at festivals around the world.

Big brands — like Acura, Scion, and Reebok, amongst others — have trusted me with budgets three times the size of YINZ’s on commercial productions. On those projects, I’ve been the guy responsible for keeping the production on-budget and on-time. 

I’m a professional filmmaker, and I surely don’t want to waste your time or money.

HOW CAN I HELP PRODUCE THE FILM?

The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to raise $30,000. That’s about a fifth of the total budget of the film. 

See the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) at the bottom of this page for exactly where all this money will go — it’s NOT going to me, it’s going to the production of the film. In terms of movie budgets, $150,000 is TINY. 

The campaign has a hard deadline of 11:59 PM on Wednesday, September 2nd.  

If you decide to help, you pledge whatever you want in exchange for cool rewards (for example, a download of the film when it’s done,  your name in the credits, a tour of set... the list goes on). 

The more you pledge, the better the rewards! Take a look at the column on the right to see what’s available.

If we make the goal by the deadline, your credit card is charged what you pledged (but not until then). We get to make the movie, you get your rewards, and everyone’s happy. 

If we don’t make the goal by the deadline (falling even a dollar short of the goal), your credit card is NOT charged, we get nothing, you don’t get any reward(s), and YINZ never gets made. This Kickstarter campaign is all-or-nothing.

HOW MUCH DOES SHIPPING COST?

All rewards include FREE SHIPPING in the United States. Booyah!

WHEN WILL YOU SHOOT THE MOVIE, AND WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO WATCH IT?

The plan is to shoot YINZ in early 2016. This might be backed up for a few reasons. You can read more in the "Risks and Challenges" section below.

Hopefully, the movie will be done and ready to watch by early-to-mid 2017. One of our rewards is the opportunity "cut to the front of the line" to watch the movie at its festival premiere. Otherwise, you'll get a digital download at the same time the film is finished and released to the general public.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

INTERESTED IN INVESTING?

Why support creativity when you could EXPLOIT IT ;) We're a team of risk-taking entrepreneurs, and we know some other people are, too. If you prefer investing the old-fashioned way instead of Kickstarter, please be in touch.

FOR INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, LEARN MORE HERE AND CONTACT US.

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk we face in producing YINZ is raising all the financing we need to make the movie in addition to the $30K from Kickstarter. The goal of this campaign truly is to "kickstart" YINZ, and we know we'll be able to raise funds more easily after a successful campaign. But if we don't have enough money in the bank to start production and do a professional job in the winter of 2016, we might have to push for a few months.

Another risk we face is scheduling around talent. YINZ is a character-driven story, and we need the right actors to make a great film. If the right talent isn't available when we hope to shoot, we might push back production.

If you're at all familiar with the weather of Western Pennsylvania, you'll appreciate that it also poses a risk for us. If we shoot in the winter (as we hope to), then there's a chance production is delayed by snow and other inclement weather.

Post-production is another challenge. Editing and getting a feature film PERFECT takes a while. We would rather make a really great movie than rush it out the door. We'll also probably be dependent on vendors giving us favorable deals to sound mix and color correct the movies.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    EVERY LAST DOLLAR COUNTS. We really appreciate you kicking in. You've joined the team and helped make the journey possible. We'll give you a shout-out on our website!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    YOU GET THE MOVIE AND LOTS OF LOVE. First off, you've pre-bought the movie, and you'll own it when it's all done. We'll send you a digital file that you can play on an Apple TV, Roku, iPad, or computer. It'll never go bad or get destroyed. You'll also get access to a Spotify playlist that inspired the creation of the story and a thank you on our website.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A HAND-WRITTEN YINZ CARTOON POSTCARD THANK YOU AND ACCESS TO THE SCORE, IN ADDITION TO OWNING THE MOVIE. Hilary Fitzgerald, artist of "Cartoons by Hilary," is designing special cartoon postcards inspired by YINZ. Hailey or Jeremy will send you a personalized, handwritten thank you. (You also get the digital download, Spotify playlist, and website thank you.)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    CUT TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE. You’ve done a lot to help the film, so we want you to be the first to see it!  On the date of our festival premiere, you'll receive a link to an on-line full copy of YINZ that will stay live for a full week. (You also get the digital download, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    YINZERS WRAP PARTY + PERSONALIZED CARTOON BY CARTOONS BY HILARY! Come to the wrap party and boogie on down with the cast and crew. This one is for Western PA folk, and you must be in the Pittsburgh/New Castle area when the movie wraps. In addition, you'll be able to send Hilary a picture (may we suggest high school yearbook photos!) that she'll turn into a personalized cartoon. (You also get the digital download, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    CINEPHILE SPECIAL: BLU-RAY + POSTER BY CARTOONS BY HILARY + PERSONALIZED CARTOON BY CARTOONS BY HILARY For the diehard YINZ fan who can't be around for the wrap party. Instead, you'll get a full-sized cartoon poster inspired by the film and a super high-quality Blu-Ray disc of the finished film. re (may we suggest high school yearbook photos!) that she'll turn into a personalized cartoon. (You also get the digital download, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SET TOUR. Our producers will give you a tour of set during the shooting of YInz. Hang out at video village like a big whig. Schmooze with talent. It'll be a fun day on set of seeing how the sausage is made! (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ATTEND A ROUGH CUT FEEDBACK SESSION WITH DIRECTOR AND PRODUCERS. Do you like input? Do you like the sound of your own voice? (We sure do!) Then come to a feedback session of a work-in-progress of the film. Please note that you must be in LA for this one. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SCRIPT/FILM CONSULTATION. Our fearless writer-director Jeremy Michael Cohen will do a one-on-one phone consultation on your feature script or short film edit and send you written notes! (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SCRIPT/FILM CONSULTATION. Daniel Seco -- now a Junior Manager at Writ Large, previously an assistant at CAA and a reader for the Blacklist -- will do a one-on-one phone consultation on your feature script and send you written notes! If you got the goods, this is a great way to get discovered. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    MOVIE POSTER AFICIONADO. You can't make it to any of the events, but you love full-sized movie posters. After the movie is done, we're going to commision an amazing poster by a top-notch designer that's inspired by Jeremy's favorite movie posters. We'll send a numbered print your way, and we promise it'll make any wall look a little better. You get to decide if you want Jeremy, Hailey, or any of the rest of the cast or crew to sign. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    HUNGRY FOR MORE?!? We'll feed your apetite for food and knowledge of the filmmaking process. Dinner with director Jeremy Michael Cohen, Hailey Hansard, and the producers (in LA or Pittsburgh area only). We'll pick the venue, we'll all eat a lot of food, and we'll pick up the tab. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    YINZ INSPIRED ARTWORK BY NEW CASTLE NATIVE FINE ARTIST CHRISTOPHER KARDAMBIKIS. You'll get one of two pieces of original art from acclaimed artist Christopher Kardambikis, who now lives and works in New York City (see more at www.kardambikis.com). The work will be inspired and informed by YInz and the Western Pennsylvania area. And your name will be listed under the "Made Possible By" during the credits. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    APPEAR IN THE FILM IN A NON-SPEAKING ROLE + A FRAMED POSTER. As long as you can make it to New Castle, PA, during shooting, you'll appear in the movie. Maybe you'll be a cop, maybe you'll be a teacher. We'll make it work. And your name will be listed under the "Made Possible By" during the credits. You'll also get a full-sized, framed print of the final YINZ movie poster. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    NAME IN THE CREDITS + A FRAMED POSTER. We'll send you a beautifully designed poster that's framed, and we'll sign it upon your request. And your name will be listed under the "Made Possible By" during the credits. You'll also get a full-sized, framed print of the final YINZ movie poster. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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

    SPEND A DAY IN THE EDITING ROOM WITH JEREMY + A FRAMED POSTER. As long as you can be in Los Angeles during the editing process, you can spend a day editing with Jeremy and unwind at a nice dinner afterward. And your name will be listed under the "Made Possible By" during the credits. You'll also get a full-sized, framed print of the final YINZ movie poster. (You also get the cartoon poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER. Your name in the end credits of Yinz as an Associate Producer. You'll also get any and all of the goodies above. A poster, a schmooze-fest, a day in the editing room? Your wish is our command, Mr. or Ms. Associate Producer! (You also get the cartoon poster, the framed poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER. Your name in the OPENING and END credits of Yinz. You made this film possible -- it's just as much your film as it is ours. You deserve this. And our eternal gratitude. Plus any or all of the goodies above! Trust us, we'll do our best to make you happy:)

    And, just so you know, anybody who invests after Kickstarter will need to put in $50,000 to earn the Executive Producer title.

    (You also get the cartoon poster, the framed poster, the digital download, the Blu-Ray disc, Spotify playlist, website thank you, and handwritten YINZ postcard.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)