MUSIC CITY is a narrative feature length film set in New York City. It's a love note to New York, with drama, laughs, inspiration, and characters drawn from real life. And the music! Breathtaking music from all genres, with a focus on classical.
The film pays homage to New York, its diversity and character, and to music. It is a film
for music lovers, musicians, and anyone who has ever fallen in or out of love.
MUSIC CITY is a film to inspire and entertain and lift spirits.
Among the characters
are Walter and Marcie, employees at the Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria, Queens. Walter is a reclusive
loner who relates better to the intricacies of a piano’s complex workings than
to people, and Marcie is just plain lonely. Across the factory floor two
generations of craftsmen struggle with the hardship of a loved one with a
substance abuse problem, while across the river in Manhattan, a young piano
virtuoso is on a meteoric rise to fame and fortune. But it’s a rise that may
force him to give up the woman he loves. And in a quiet neighborhood, a grandfather
and his grandson bond over music. These and the other stories and characters
who inhabit this world are the bedrock of MUSIC CITY. Equally as important is
the carefully-chosen music which will be allowed to resonate through every
Music’s potency and ability to elevate our emotions will stand in the
spotlight, and whether it comes from the score or is performed on screen, it
will color the film with a deepness of tone and feeling.
Where did the idea come from?
MUSIC CITY is inspired by a short film I wrote and directed a few years ago called "Common Practice." In it, I touched on the theme of music's universality and the power it has to bring people together. For almost two years the film played at festivals all over the world (including Sundance), and seeing firsthand how people responded to the story and were inspired by its message, it gave me the confidence to write MUSIC CITY. MUSIC CITY is my way of expanding on the themes and characters in a way that will reach a wider audience.
Here is the short film (it runs about 10 minutes):
Why $27,156 exactly?
Two reasons: One, it's an homage to W.A. Mozart, who was born on January 27, 1756 (27-01-56 for our international friends); and two, we genuinely need about $25,000, which is about what we'll net after Kickstarter and Amazon's fees.
Victor Hugo said it best... and it's a truth that we have all experienced so many times in our lives. Music is our companion in our most triumphant moments and in our darkest hours. It is a living, breathing thing that has the power to move us beyond words, and it is just as potent live as it is through thin, tinny headphones.
I don't whether it was the first time I saw "The Magic Flute" live, or seeing the movie AMADEUS when I was a kid, but I've had a deep love for classical music. I am genuinely in awe of the great composers who wrote the music, but also of the extraordinary musicians who play it. Last year, as I was writing MUSIC CITY, I began to take piano lessons simply as a way to learn more about my subject. But I fell hopelessly in love with the instrument, and if I'm lucky, for one hour every day I get to forget about the stresses of making a film and drift away by myself into music. I wish I'd played as a child, but better late than never. The piano will be a part of my life forever, and I have this experience to thank for it.
The relationship between music and cinema is one of the most powerful, and I feel like I only scratched the surface with COMMON PRACTICE. Now -- with your help -- I am ready to take it to the next level.
Here are just a few of the selections that will be used in the film. I listened to these non-stop as I was writing.
While classical music is integral to the film, other genres are just as important. Hip-hop, rock, pop, and jazz are all represented in MUSIC CITY.
Another reason I love New York. This is from a recent Saturday in Central Park:
Steinway & Sons
MUSIC CITY is not about Steinway &
Sons per se, but a good part of the movie takes place in their
extraordinary factory in Astoria, Queens. When I approached Steinway
a year ago and told them I was beginning to write a screenplay
revolving around characters who either worked at the factory, lived in
Astoria, or somehow had a connection to music in their lives, they were
immediately receptive to the idea, and they've been very supportive
while we've been putting the pieces together for the film.
Steinway's support has been instrumental in getting MUSIC CITY as far
along as it is. Because of them, we will be able to shoot in the
factory and in the venerable Steinway Hall on 57th Street. Their
collaboration brings verisimilitude to the scenes where craftsmen and
women are at work, and to the locations where the movie will be shot. We
are thrilled to have 160 years of Steinway's passion for excellence
behind us, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
For those wondering, Steinway does not have an editorial say in the film's narrative, nor have they asked for one.
Since we have a good chunk of our production financing in place, our intention is to shoot the film this summer. We will edit as we go, which allows us to submit a cut for
consideration for the Sundance Film Festival. As an alum for my short
film "Common Practice," which is the basis for MUSIC CITY, I believe we
have a very good shot at getting in. One, because MUSIC CITY will be a unique and beautiful film, and two, because Sundance has a long history of showcasing their filmmakers as their careers progress.
premiering at Sundance would be a dream come true and complete the
circle begun with "Common Practice," the festival circuit is as robust as
it's ever been, and there are many other festivals at which we'd be
honored to play. One of them is the Tribeca Film Festival, one of the
coolest and exciting festivals in the country. Maybe my ultimate dream
comes true and I get to bring MUSIC CITY to both of them!
How you can help
need your help to see MUSIC CITY become a reality. We will begin
prepping the movie in July, and shoot in August and September
in New York City. We have raised the majority of the budget but we need a
few dollars more to "kickstart" pre-production. The money we raise on Kickstarter will initially be used for:
budgeting & scheduling
and all the million little things that add up in prep
To the extent we raise more, the money will then be used to augment our production and post-production budgets. This will allow us to get many things, including renting better equipment, paying more location fees, affording higher quality post production, and throwing an EPIC WRAP PARTY for our amazing cast and crew (and our generous donors at the $500 level)!!
We are extremely fortunate to have one of our backers agree to match whatever we raise on Kickstarter, so please give as much as you can since it will be doubled!
Who we are
Bringing the right people together is one of the most critical steps in making a movie. That goes double for independent films. We are working hard every day to bring the best of the best on board, and so far we've succeeded.
Here is a little bit about some of the people involved with MUSIC CITY:
Marcos Efron (Writer, Director, Producer) Award-winning
filmmaker Marcos Efron was born in Buenos Aires and raised in Texas. After
earning a finance degree Marcos worked as an investment banker in New York but
eventually chose to tackle more creative endeavors. Following the premiere of
his short film “Common Practice” at the Sundance Film Festival, Marcos made his
feature directing debut with “And Soon The Darkness” for Studiocanal and
Abandon Pictures. The film stars Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban, and
Academy-Award nominee Adriana Barraza. Marcos' experience producing and directing feature films, documentaries, short films,
music videos, and commercials, combined with his deep-rooted
personal and professional relationships with world-class artisans in the film
industry, ensure that “Music City” will be produced to
the highest artistic standards.
Stephanie Levy (Producer)
Stephanie is an award-winning producer who most recently produced the independent feature film DAVID,
winner of many prestigious awards, including the Ecumenical Prize at the
Montreal World Film Festival, Special Jury Award at the Napa Valley Film
Festival, and Best Narrative Feature at the San Luis Obispo International
Film Festival. DAVIDwas filmed entirely on location in Brooklyn,
and Stephanie was instrumental in completing the film on time and well under
budget. With over 25 years experience,
Stephanie is an experienced negotiator with valuable connections to
talented cast and crew.
Stephanie is also a committed animal advocate, developing community educational
outreach programs and producing short films and PSAs designed to raise
awareness for the compassionate treatment of animals. Stephanie is also producing MIDWAY, a visual feature length journey into the
alarmingly sad effect of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean.
David Kaplan (Executive Producer) An independent film industry veteran, David previously served as a film finance executive at the New York-based consulting
firm Cinetic Media. During his time at Cinetic, David structured
film financing on a single picture basis -- collaborating with producers, filmmakers
and financiers to create opportunities for investment that made both creative
and financial sense. David also consults for
established independent film companies in order to help them analyze opportunities, grow
their respective business, and make informed decisions based on constantly
changing market factors. Prior to joining Cinetic, Kaplan served as the Director
of Development at Killer Films, shepherding many projects, including
HBO's "Mildred Pierce," Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black's
"What's Wrong With Virginia," and upcoming films from Ramin Bahrani
("Goodbye Solo"), Sebastian Silva ("The Maid"), and John
Krokidas. David currently serves as an independent film finance and
distribution consultant, working in-house at Joshua Astrachan and Lucy
Donnelly's Locomotive Film Partners.
Jonathan Montagu (Co-Executive Producer) Jonathan is new to the film business but he has a broad range of experience raising financing in other sectors. He successfully raised over $125
million in venture financing for Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc and Nimbus
Discovery, LLC. Jonathan is a Founder of Arpolex Pharmaceuticals
and IGAN Biosciences, which successfully licensed its lead product to an
undisclosed pharmaceutical company. Most recently, Jonathan served as an
Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atlas Venture, a leading venture group focused on
media, technology and life sciences venture investing. Jonathan began his career
at the Boston Consulting Group and produced the sell-out production of Black
Comedy at Oxford University in 1999.
Christopher W. Johnson (Cinematographer) Christopher is an award-winning cinematographer
who travels the globe shooting television commercials, feature films, music
videos, network promos, and documentaries. His diverse skill set allows him to
work in all mediums of acquisition, whether from the air, in a studio
environment or scenes involving multi-layered visual effects. This varied and
unique set of experiences is brought to every shoot and provides directors and
producers with a very seasoned collaborator. Recent work includes the Baja 500
(filmed in 3D), commercials for Air New Zealand, the Moving Still Image
campaign for H&M/Versace, a documentary about Ang Lee for FOX shot on
location in Taiwan, and “The David Steinberg Comedy Series” for Showtime. His
accolades include winning the International Cinematographers Guild’s (ICG)
award for Best Cinematography for Marcos Efron’s film, “Common Practice.”
Jennifer Euston (Casting Director) Jennifer has been a casting director for 17 years
and currently conducts New York film searches for Disney, Dreamworks, Paramount,
Universal Studios, and Sony Pictures. In the past year, Jennifer has cast three independent
films including Bachelorette, Sleepwalk With Me and Revenge
For Jolly! which premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals in 2012. Recent casting credits include Cop Out, Furry Vengeance, The Other Guys, and
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Additionally, Jennifer was responsible for New
York-based casting for Bridesmaids, Super 8, Friends With Benefits, and How
Do You Know. Jennifer’s television experience includes Girls, Veep,
and The Pacific for HBO. For The Pacific, Jennifer received an Emmy
Award for “Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special” as well as
an Artios Award from the Casting Society of America. Jennifer began her career at
Universal Studios in Los Angeles and attended New York University, Tisch School
of the Arts, majoring in Cinema Studies.
MUSIC CITY is an ensemble piece, and our aim is to hire as many great actors from New York as possible. We've begun to put together an outstanding cast, and several of the more major roles have been filled with some very well-known names. As much as we'd like to announce to the world who these wonderful actors and actresses are, we have to wait a little bit longer until deals are inked and everything is formalized. Hang tight though, because we will be making all our announcements via Kickstarter and Facebook, and you will all be the first to know!
Please add $8 to each reward for international shipping charges for CDs, script, etc, and $30 for the director's chair.
Can you contact us?
Absolutely! Feel free to send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org We check it everyday (honest!).
This is something Kickstarter is working on, and we will soon begin accepting PayPal. In the meantime, please email us at email@example.com in order to arrange payment. And don't worry, you will still get the reward!
Thank you! You're going to get exclusive EMAIL UPDATES and PHOTOS throughout production, plus our eternal GRATITUDE and the satisfaction of helping an inspiring film see the light of day. How cool is that??
If you loved the short film, you'll love this reward. In addition to the exclusive updates, you'll also get a signed DVD of Marcos Efron's Sundance short film “Common Practice,” the inspiration for MUSIC CITY, plus a shout-out on the "Thank You" page of our website.
You're the best! And now you'll be the most stylish on the block with your limited-edition MUSIC CITY "Skyline" logo T-SHIRT (in addition to everything from above). And it comes with a personalized THANK YOU CARD signed by the filmmakers.
Clear your shelves because you're getting a big box in the mail! In addition to all of the above, you'll get a DVD or BLU-RAY of the film when it’s released, an official CAST & CREW GIFT (in addition to the T-shirt at the $50 level), and a copy of the screenplay signed by writer/director Marcos Efron.
"The Connoisseur" Charge your iPod because in addition to all of the above, you'll get "SYMPHONIES ON A STEINWAY," a 5-disc CD set from Steinway & Sons’ own record label, ArkivMusic, and a CD or digital download of the movie’s SOUNDTRACK when it’s released.
"The Auteur" Call the shots in style! You get all of the above plus a GENUINE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR with your name embroidered onto it, and a signed 8x10 print made from a frame of your choice taken from the movie.
"The Musician" Grab this one fast because there's ONLY ONE! In addition to the rewards from every previous level, you get a PRIVATE TOUR of the extraordinary Steinway & Sons factory in New York for you and up to six guests, where part of the film is shot and pianos are still made by hand.
Step onto the red carpet, because you get all the above plus a PRIVATE SCREENING of the movie for you and your friends, with the filmmakers and available cast in attendance, with a Q&A session to follow. *Must be within 100 miles of either New York, NY or Los Angeles, CA.