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A Catholic schoolgirl plots to murder her best friend's abortion doctor.
Shortly before her graduation, a Catholic schoolgirl plots to murder her best friend's abortion doctor.
Shortly before her graduation, a Catholic schoolgirl plots to murder her best friend's abortion doctor.
84 backers pledged $8,421 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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ZEALOT: a teenage crime drama

$8,421

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***$10,000 STRETCH GOAL***

We are so excited to have met our original goal! Let's continue the forward momentum to double it from $5000 to $10,000.

If met, we can more reasonably afford the following:

  • believable, climactic high school graduation ceremony with graduation robes, hats, and tassles
  • a necessary hospital location for a scene between Lucy and the doctor
  • good food for our hard-working crew and cast
  • a composer for the film score
  • gas money!

CHECK OUT MORE PROVOCATIVE STORIES like ours on our Facebook page.

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STORY

Lucy is an unassuming Catholic schoolgirl—book smart, quiet, devout. Two weeks before graduation, she discovers that her best friend recently had an abortion. As Lucy struggles with her friend’s decision, the morality problem she’s using as the basis for her valedictory address becomes an obsession. Soon, Lucy finds herself plotting to kill the doctor who performed her best friend’s procedure. 

Lucy becomes fixated on her plan (and how to cover her tracks), and finds herself traveling down a dark path, away from everything she’s worked for. Will she be stopped? Will she get caught? Will she be redeemed? All will be told in Zealot.

Back our project and be among the first to find out...

experimenting with test footage
experimenting with test footage

IS THIS A FAITH-BASED FILM?

No, this isn't a faith-based film. We do, however, want to ask our viewers an important question: is a religion different than its followers? As a graduate of three Catholic institutions (high school, college, grad school) the differences between the Catholic church and the cultures that the schools can breed fascinate me.

Our friend RJ Moeller at Acculturated has some wise words in his article on Good vs. Bad Faith-Based Films:

“At some point, people of faith have to start making things that other people 
actually want to see. Whether we’d like to acknowledge it or not, that will involve delving into gritty, real-world material...

“The elevator pitch for a movie about Crime and Punishment would render it 
rejected by most Christian parents and leaders: An axe murderer is redeemed through his relationship with a prostitute?... Even at private Christian schools, it is a beloved piece of fiction...

“We don’t need films that are safe, we need films that are good.”

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DOGME-STYLE FILMMAKING

Though we won't fully follow the "Vow of Chastity," we want to shoot it in the von Trier / Vinterberg Dogme 95 style—a style we believe both fits the limitations of our production and one that is poetically appropriate. Although von Trier himself argues against having had a financial motivation in creating the rules of Dogme 95 manifesto, the idea of limiting a filmmaker to use of base-level camera equipment, natural light, and found objects in a location drastically reduces the price of a standard production; von Trier essentially forges a path for a low-budget filmmaker with this controversial document that inspired an international film movement. “In short,” critic John Roberts argues in an article in the New Left Review, “[the manifesto’s] message is simple: you do not have to be rich to make interesting films.” 

We're not rich, so this works for us.

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THE BECHDEL TEST

This script has seen a few eyes, and a common comment is, "there are too many female characters in this script." We think that's a load of crap.

Here's what Wikipedia says: "Originally conceived for evaluating films, the Bechdel test is now used as an indicator of gender bias in all forms of fiction. Almost half of all contemporary films fail the test."

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FILM INDEPENDENT INCUBATOR LAB

As a part of the Film Independent/LMU Incubator Lab, Zealot has access to a wealth of production services and equipment free-of-charge, including:

  • camera equipment
  • lighting & grip equipment (pssh, not that we want it!)
  • sound equipment
  • production insurance
  • post-production facilities

The program is co-curated by the School of Film and Television and Film Independent, the nonprofit that champions independent filmmakers and perhaps is best known for producing the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Incubator Lab participants are provided with countless educational opportunities and mentorships from established film professionals as they develop their first post-graduate project.

Zhang Yu and Ana on the set of AUDREY
Zhang Yu and Ana on the set of AUDREY

THE TEAM

James Mackenzie, writer/director

Ming-Tzu Lee, producer

Rachel Brethauer, writer/script supervisor

Zhang Yu, director of photography

Michael Mazzo, 1st assistant camera

Andrew Salerno, production designer

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THE CAST

Ana Lucasey, Lucy // the criminal

Keana Marie, Rachel // the best friend

Ken Ashton, Ralph // the love interest

Maurice Whitfield, Investigator Brinkworth  //  the suspecting authority

Tara DiNinno, Mavis // Rachel's other best friend, not Lucy's

Sherry Driggs, Carol // Lucy's unsuspecting mother

MORE CAST ANNOUNCEMENTS TO COME

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Production will begin in May and will run for five weekends. Before then, we are working our butts off to secure locations, finish casting, and to get as many uniform skirts as possible.

BE A PART OF SOMETHING GREAT!

By backing us, your help will go toward costumes, key props, gas/transportation expenses, location expenses, feeding our cast and crew during production, hard drives for the footage, and much, much more.

Risks and challenges

This kickstarter budget won't cover all the costs of production and post-production, but we've been saving our pennies for months knowing this film was going to come around the corner.

This production is truly a team effort. We have all worked together on various projects over the last four years—it's encouraging to know the people you work with on such an familiar level, and this intimacy helps inspire creativity (whether it's on a character, story, visual, or technical level).

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    THE NOTE-PASSER.

    You think notes are a thing of the past? Think again. We'll write you a personalized movie poster postcard! Nothing says "thanks" like a handwritten message.

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    THE BOOK NERD.

    We'll e-mail you a PDF of the shooting script on the day of the movie's film festival release. It's a digital page-turner + NOTE-PASSER.

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    THE SLACKER.

    Watch it first, read it later! We'll e-mail you a special Kickstarter Vimeo link of the film + BOOK NERD + NOTE-PASSER.

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    THE SUBCULTURE GEEK.

    Get a full report of how our movie abides by (or doesn't follow!) the Dogme 95 rules and how it passes the Bechdel test + SLACKER + BOOK NERD + NOTE-PASSER.

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    THE JOCK.

    Get a "Special Thanks" in the end credits (our Hall of Fame) and a limited edition Theophilus High long-sleeve red THEO shirt, similar to the shirt made in the film (see picture under STORY section) + SUBCULTURE GEEK + SLACKER + BOOK NERD + NOTE-PASSER.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    VALEDICTORIAN.

    Take charge! Editing is writing the final draft of the film, and we want to involve you in the process. We'll send you two edits of the film as we progress through the editing process along with an online questionnaire for you to fill out so we can gather your impressions for feedback. You're good at tests, right? + JOCK + SUBCULTURE GEEK + SLACKER + BOOK NERD + NOTE-PASSER.

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Funding period

- (21 days)