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A Slamdance screenplay award winning short about two teenage boys breaking curfew the night before one of them deploys to Afghanistan.
A Slamdance screenplay award winning short about two teenage boys breaking curfew the night before one of them deploys to Afghanistan.
131 backers pledged $9,488 to help bring this project to life.

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Thank you for your support! We are thrilled to say: WE ARE MAKING THIS FILM! Please keep supporting us towards our reach goal: $10,000.

What is Ethan and Eli about?

Ethan and Eli is a short narrative film about two teenage boys breaking the local curfew to enjoy their final moments of adolescence, the night before one of them deploys to Afghanistan. As the night goes on, Ethan and Eli find it’s not just Eli’s imminent deployment, but their increasingly different ideals that are threatening to pull them apart forever. It's a snapshot of a brief moment in a long friendship, set in a small Georgia town. It’s about the boredom, absurdity and confusion of adolescence.

Ethan and Eli is a story about war and kids who are too young to know what they really believe, but just old enough to make decisions that affect the rest of their lives.

Why make this film?

Well, the script won second place in the short category in last year’s Slamdance Screenplay Competition, which was pretty cool!

More importantly though, this film is incredibly close to my heart. I wrote the first draft of Ethan and Eli back in 2009, and it’s based on a true story that happened to my brother and a good friend of his. We grew up in a small Georgia town with a curfew of 12 midnight for anyone under 18, which is pretty typical for that area. Since Eli’s character has already enlisted in the military and gone through basic training at 17 (legal with parental consent) he and Ethan find themselves in this really strange legal (and emotional) gray area between childhood and adulthood. Eli is old enough to go to war but too young to be out past midnight in his own town.

Ultimately I hope to tell a personal and honest story of being a teenager in American suburbia, with war steadily creeping into your experience of the world. Like many characters I’m drawn to, Ethan and Eli are caught between leaving and staying, and they struggle to articulate their own beliefs and desires. I hope to avoid political cliches about war and the military, and about the kids themselves. Instead I want to reflect accurately that very teenage sense of not knowing much of anything about the world but suddenly being called to declare your position in it. Ethan and Eli also deal with a lot of what they’re going through by cultivating a weird, shared sense of humor, and that makes this story really fun to tell.

How’s it going so far?

It’s going really well!

Since placing 2nd at Slamdance last year, I’ve assembled a pretty awesome team of cast and crew. Here are some of things we’ve been working on:

Cast:

I decided to work with as many “real Georgia kids” as possible, including my own younger brother, Nathan Albright. He’s not playing himself, but is playing the character Eli, which is based on someone he knows well. It’s been really rewarding working with him to shape that character and the world of this film in general. And don't worry, there's still a baby face under all that beard.

Andrew Blevins, another Georgia native, is playing the character Ethan. Andrew and Nathan are good friends in real life and I love the way their natural chemistry comes out in the characters they’re playing. Each of the young actors I've cast has a strong connection to the setting and the material. They understand this world because they grew up here, and in a big way, this story is their story.

Andrew Blevins who plays Ethan
Andrew Blevins who plays Ethan
Nathan Albright who plays Eli (plus his adorable grandma)
Nathan Albright who plays Eli (plus his adorable grandma)

I’m also talking to a number of incredibly talented actresses for the part of Rhonda, Ethan’s mom, but I can’t say anything just yet!

Crew:

John Silva is our awesome Cinematographer. John won praise at last year's South by Southwest and Atlanta Film Festivals for his work as cinematographer on writer/director Danny Madden's feature-length film, "Euphonia." He is also a native of Peachtree City, the town where I grew up, and I’ve known him since we were kids.

Ethan and Eli's Producer Ben Dwork is best known for his work producing reality TV, with credits on MTV, TLC and Discovery, among others.

Music:

Trappers Cabin is an amazing Georgia based one-man musical machine driven by Joel Nettesheim. He was named “One of the Top 10 Great Unknown Artists of 2007” by NPR and his work has been called “pretty mind blowing … and one of the best left field surprises of 2008” by the Onion. Joel will be contributing music to the film and we are super excited about it!

Locations:

The film will shoot in and around a big suburban house in the small town of Stockbridge, and in Peachtree City, Georgia, the town where I grew up.

inside our main location
inside our main location
and the classic Georgia woods outside
and the classic Georgia woods outside

What is your Kickstarter goal? What will the money go to?

Our minimum goal is $9,000. This is the bare minimum amount we need to get this production moving and into post production. Everyone associated with this film has donated their time and energy (and for some of us pretty much all our money!) to this project. So your contribution goes directly to the hard costs of filmmaking, like renting vital camera, lighting and sound equipment, production design, truck rentals, wardrobe, meals for the cast and crew, and insurance. It really adds up!

Can you exceed your goal?

Heck yes! And we really hope we do. $9,000 only covers part of the overall budget of the film. Additional funds will be needed for post-production costs like color correction, sound mixing sessions, and festival costs like a print of the finished film and submission fees.

How much can I donate?

Any amount is helpful! Donate $1, $10, $100, or $1,000! And hey, if you’re thinking of going big, you’ll be named Executive Producer for only $2,500!

Really, projects like this are built on the strength of lots of regular people donating and then helping to spread the word. So give what you can and then tell your friends about it!

(AND THANK YOU SO MUCH!)

What happens if the goal isn’t reached in time?

If we don’t reach our goal in time, we don’t get any of the money. That’s what makes Kickstarter so unique (and maybe a little nerve-wracking) as a fundraising platform. We’re serious about this budget and we believe in this project, enough to take a big risk to do it right.

Are there other ways to help (aside from donating?)

Yes! First of all, help us spread the word about this project by liking us on Facebook, tweeting about our Kickstarter page, or just plain old telling your friends about us. We really appreciate it!

Also, as such a small production, we would love to hear about any goods or services you have to offer (equipment? gift cards? got a van you could loan us?). Seriously. We want to hear from you. Email us at ethanandelifilm@gmail.com.

Wait, is that footage from the film? Are you shooting already?

Nope! The footage you see in the video above is just some mood footage I (Katrina) shot with some buddies in the woods. And in case you're wondering, we are pretty sure that’s a gopher.

What are your plans for the finished film?

We hope to bring our Slamdance Screenplay Competition winning script back to Slamdance as a finished film. We’ll be submitting to a number of festivals around the country and of course we dream of getting picked up for broadcast by one of the few outlets for short films. Eventually you will find our film living on the awesome film hosting site Vimeo, and backers who donate $100 or more will also get access to a free “sneak peek” download of the film, before it’s available to the public. We also truly hope this short will open doors to make a feature-length version of this story.

What about those rewards?

These are just a couple samples of Georgia based Artist Joel Rosenburg's awesome hand-drawn Ethan and Eli themed postcards. More to come! 

artwork by Joel Rosenburg
artwork by Joel Rosenburg
artwork by Joel Rosenburg
artwork by Joel Rosenburg

Contact

Email us at ethanandelifilm@gmail.com, or connect with us on facebook. We look forward to hearing from you.

Risks and challenges

Filmmaking is an inherently risky adventure and everything about it is a challenge. With a number of outdoor scenes, weather could always be an issue and with such a small budget, there’s a pretty small margin of error on things like equipment malfunctions and plain old mess-ups. But we’ve been planning for months and have a couple more months of planning to go, and we’re really excited and ready for this challenge. Thank you for taking a risk with us!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    Our gratitude! Plus exclusive project updates.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    All of the above plus:

    "Special Thanks" in the credits of Ethan and Eli.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    All of the above plus:

    Ethan & Eli postcard featuring original hand-drawn artwork by Georgia based artist Joel Rosenburg.

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    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    All of the above plus:

    An exclusive all-Georgia-bands digital "mixtape" curated by former WUOG college radio DJ, Ethan and Eli star, and all around cool guy, Nathan Albright.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    All of the above plus: Invitation to a private "Sneak Peek" screening and reception at Brooklyn's The Shed.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    All of the above plus: a full-size glossy "Ethan & Eli" movie poster featuring hand-drawn original artwork by Georgia-based artist Joel Rosenburg and signed by the director.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    All of the above plus:

    An exclusive "sneak peek" download of the film as soon as it's finished.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    All of the above plus:

    2 high-quality prints of production stills, signed by the director.

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  9. Select this reward

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

    All of the above plus:

    Original, matted, hand-made collage by Brooklyn-based artist (and Southern expat) Jonathan Durham. (www.jonathandurham.net)

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

    All of the above plus:

    "Executive Producer" Credit.

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Funding period

- (30 days)