A cold December in New York, 1971. Bastards from the art world, musicians, bohemian intelligentsia and other fascinating characters party on a psychedelic loft apartment. Drugs and vietnamese funk music interact dangerously.
Our protagonist, Elliot, is a songwriter celebrating the release of his latest album – the host of the party. But soon, he will receive an unexpected visit from an old friend, a former member of a radical political group Elliot used to belong to. She demands Elliot to join her in an impossible cause, requesting his help to commit a political murder, with unforeseen consequences...
A History of Wise Men is a dramatic adventure that tests the limits of vice, morality and empathy... Shot using both super-16mm film and digital cameras.
(More details about this below!)
There are films that do not just entertain – they make you reflect, they activate your empathy and they affect you. They touch on aspects of our behavior that we normally don't want to discuss, and for that sole reason they are necessary. That is what we are trying to conceive: a short film that does not just entertain, but that is visceral.
We don't intend to sound grandiose, but that is what we truly and honestly believe in. We don't conform for less. We want to explore empathy through film.
Our official aim is $10,000, the minimum needed to bring A History of Wise Men to life. However, we kindly ask you to join us and to aspire to the possibility of raising $20,000 – the amount estimated to bring this story in all its glory.
With that achievement, we would truly be able to shoot on both film and digital, film a quick scene in a little southern european town, and bring to life beautiful wide shots thanks to the use of prodigious anamorphic lens.
If A History of Wise Men gets more funding than expected, we will be able to get a longer, more impactful story, with better actors, equipment, and décor quality.
We conceived this idea when discussing the benefits of digital cameras (for example, their ease of use for complex camera movements) and comparing them to the qualities of analog film cameras (like their renowned intimate look, marvelous to empathize with the characters on the screen on close-ups), and were struggling to decide which method we would use for this story.
A little eureka moment happened when we asked ourselves "Why not both?". We think it would be interesting to play with the viewer experience and release two versions of the short – one digital, one analog.
Another approach we are considering is to intercut together the footage from both cameras, exchanging the two sources accordingly to the story's needs. As mentioned before, we could use the digital footage for wide shots and sequences with complex camera movements, and intercut it together with the analog film footage for scenes with intense dialogue, bringing up the beautiful film grain in the faces of our protagonists.
The following dates are estimates and might be subject to change:
- Mid-January to mid-February: funding campaign
- February 21st – March 21st: second phase of preproduction, including actors casting, secondary location scouting and crew formation.
- March 21st – April 20th: final preproduction, rehearsals, locking production design, finalized script revision. Delivery of certain rewards begins.
- April 20th – May 10th: Shoot!
- June – August: Editing and postproduction process.
- September: Delivery of A History of Wise Men, first to backers and film festivals.
Risks and challenges
There are two big challenges in this project – both technical and narrative.
Technically-wise, it will be a challenge to shoot using both digital and analog film cameras. Although at the beginning we were thinking of building a custom rig to set up both cameras and shoot simultaneously, this proved to be too ambitious and complicated – particularly because film cameras require a different lighting setup, as they need more light to shoot.
We figured out a way! For each shot, we will first shoot a few takes using digital technology. When we are satisfied with the shot, we will do one last take using an analog film camera. This way we have everything –acting, composition, camera movement– under control and ready to shoot when using the film camera. It's a win-win solution because we won't lose feet of film with bad takes!
This means that it will take more time than usual to shoot each scene, because the crew will need a moment to acclimate the lighting to the needs of the film camera, and our actors will have to make sure that their actions don't differ much from the previous take with the digital camera.
Narrative-wise, we don't want to end up with a cheesy, predictable story – yet we don't want an overdone incomprehensible story either. We'll work with different screenwriters and people from a variety of backgrounds to ensure that our story is:
1. Simple, yet not simplistic.
2. Rhythmic, adhering to a structure, yet not boring.
3. Meaningful, relevant, and adding to the conversation.
Other challenges include negotiating with music rights holders to achieve a unique soundtrack, the production work behind shooting scenes with a large crowd, and the heavy art direction labor required to film a 1970s period piece.
Thank you for your time, and for your trust. Please contact us without any hesitation – our aim is to have a transparent and open dialogue with everyone.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)