Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 16, 2013.

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Confusion & stress engulf a small all-white town when an African-American stranger appears in the wake of a masked armed robbery.

Bring Hollywood talent to our rural town in Pennsylvania and shoot a crime drama involving racial tension, hair triggers, car crashes? 

Convince a famous musician not only to score the film, but also write and record original songs — lyrics and all? 

Shoot it all in nineteen days?

Are you kidding? 

But... with a lot of help... 

We did it.

Your support and contribution will help ensure that the wonderful performances of our amazing cast, the impressive talents of our core creative team and crew, the masterful work of our composer and the tremendous support we received from our community — which collectively became The Suspect — will be available to a broad audience.  To entertain, to inspire, to start a conversation.... 

Read on to learn more about the project and be sure to take a look at our list of rewards.  We tried to offer a little something for everyone -- you'll find props from the movie, books, music, clothing, artwork and more.  

Thank you for considering The Suspect.

The Suspect was born out of writer/director Stuart Connelly's need to shed light on the ongoing story of racial relations in America, but in a dramatic, new and exciting way. 

With real DIY fearlessness, we set out to raise the money necessary to shoot a high quality independent feature in what amounts to our backyard. We had a lot of goodwill from community leaders, faith from a handful of bold investors (including a personal investment by writer/director Stuart Connelly), a tax credit from the Commonwealth of PA and confidence in the story from well-respected talent like William Sadler (Iron Man 3, Shawshank Redemption), James McCaffrey (Rescue Me, Compliance), Sterling K. Brown (My Idiot Brother, Army Wives), Rebecca Creskoff (Hung, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and of course the mighty Mekhi Phifer (ER, 8 Mile).  All of them willing to take a chance on a passionate, articulate and focused first-time director who believed fiercely in his vision.

With funding in place, we assembled an amazingly talented crew with the skillset, the temperament, the experience and the commitment to storytelling required to make a quality feature film.  Production is not for the meek and we are so thankful for the dedication, energy and expertise that our crew and key vendors brought every day and so readily shared.

Now, coming out the far side, there is a finished, feature film; a thriller with something on its mind. The Suspect.

One of the cash bands specially made for the film. Yours for just a $10 Kickstarter pledge.
One of the cash bands specially made for the film. Yours for just a $10 Kickstarter pledge.

"This is Kickstarter, a place for helping bring embryonic creative projects to life. How you can I help with a finished film?"

That's easy: the film may be done, but the journey isn't quite over yet. 

We put ever penny of our investors' money onto the screen, and there are critical components still to tackle that we don't have the financial resources for. That's where you hopefully come in. To get The Suspect over the line and secure a meaningful distribution deal, to get on the radar of influential decision-makers in Hollywood and beyond.

Who's experimenting on who in The Suspect?
Who's experimenting on who in The Suspect?

We are looking for your help to offset some of the on-going promotional expenses associated with raising awareness for The Suspect. This includes costs associated with entering and attending film festivals, renting space and coordinating industry screening events to allow distribution companies to experience our film, creating and producing a professional press kit and other communication materials.  All key activities to help differentiate The Suspect in the marketplace.

The Suspect has just secured a place in its first major film festival. Our film was selected to be one of five narrative features in competition at the 17th Annual American Black Film Festival in Miami, June 19 – 23.  We are thrilled that the Festival's Grand Jury has nominated The Suspect for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor - Mekhi Phifer and Best Actor - Sterling K. Brown.

We know we are close to our goal of being securely positioned and on the radar of key industry players looking for smart, stylistic films. We are looking for $25,000 to take us to the finish line. Yes, it’s a mere fraction of our film’s budget... but it’s a fortune when your production bank account is circling the drain.

Help us by becoming a part of The Suspect team. The entire process of bringing The Suspect to life has been amazing and we are thankful to have a finished film that looks and sounds incredible.  It is our sincere hope that you will be inspired to support our Kickstarter campaign in whatever way you can and in so doing you will help bring The Suspect to a larger audience. To entertain, to inspire, to start a conversation…. 

And don't forget to connect with us through Facebook or Twitter, and visit our website to stay current with our progress and demonstrate your continuing interest and support. 

Here’s what people have been saying about The Suspect:

"I finally had a chance to watch The Suspect and I want you to know that I was blown away by the storytelling, directing, acting, cinematography, beauty, horror..."

"I absolutely loved The Suspect! And suspense and crime dramas are my favorite genre! I was genuinely surprised by the ending, and was literally asking myself how it was going to end right up until the last scene! Also, I think the music was amazing! I was humming the score all night after leaving the screening. I think you should be really proud of this film, and you made Philly look so beautiful!! I’m so happy for you guys and am excited for the rest of the world to see it too!"

"I found The Suspect's mix of intrigue and social commentary to be reminiscent of Inside Man, The Hurricane, and A Pure Formality. I enjoyed the complexity of this quality film. There was clearly a talented team at work here."

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The vagaries of independent film are vast, and fortunately we've already navigated nearly all of them. With The Suspect, backers don't need to fret about weather, casting, locations, insurance, and all the other details that can derail a film project.

There are of course no distribution guarantees and it is unclear whether distribution companies will want to put The Suspect out on the big screen. But we do know this: festivals are taking notice, our film was well received by foreign buyers at the Marché du Film (a major sales market that runs during the Cannes Film Festival) and the exceptional work done by our entire cast, crew and our post-production partners clearly make the experience of watching The Suspect a positive one.

The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to increase the awareness of our project in the crowded marketplace, to expand our access and exposure and to open doors. With a successfully backed campaign, we know we can accomplish that.

At that point, of course, the film must -- and will -- speak for itself.

FAQ

  • Seems that some of you wonderful backers – and want-to-be backers – are having trouble getting what you want. For example, our great friend wanted to give tickets to the Philadelphia Friends and Family screening to her parents and in-laws but couldn’t figure out how to make that work. Another person wants multiple T-shirts but had the same struggle.

    It seems that you can only make one selection. So here’s what we suggest – after determining what you want, enter the total amount and select an item. Then send a message to us telling us the details.

    For example, if you want to attend the Philadelphia Friends and Family Screening AND score a T-Shirt, put $80 in the amount box, select your item (either the tix or the tee) and send us a message. We know it ain’t pretty but it’s the best we can come up with. For sure, we’ll make sure that you get all of the rewards you deserve….Thanks friends.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    4 backers

    A THRILLER WITH A HAPPY ENDING: A digital download of the film's end title song, "Happy Endings," written by Stephen Coates and stylishly performed by The Real Tuesday Weld (as heard at the end of our project video).

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    13 backers Limited (87 left of 100)

    SHOW ME THE MONEY: A commemorative bank cash band from the film signed by the writer/director with a note of thanks for your support of edgy, grown-up independent film.

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    6 backers

    THE MOVIE POSTER: "The Suspect" one-sheet movie poster created by graphic design powerhouse Lisa Basil and shot by our incredible photographer, Sherry McCracken.

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    17 backers

    JOIN OUR LOCAL FAMILY: Get two tickets to a FRIENDS and FAMILY advance preview of the film to be held in the Elverson / Morgantown area. Date / time / location details to be defined. After the screening, you can stick around to participate in a Q & A session with our writer/director.

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    2 backers

    LEARN THE BACKSTORY: An Amazon Kindle ebook of the novel "The Suspect," written by the film's writer/director Stuart Connelly.

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    14 backers

    ADD IT TO YOUR COLLECTION: The official DVD version of "The Suspect," signed by the film's writer / director. The timing on this award is dependent on the terms of the agreement with an as yet-to-be-defined home market distributor and is subject to change.

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    6 backers

    TRUTH AND FICTION: An Amazon Kindle ebook of the novel "The Suspect" plus the Kindle Single "UPRISING: Understanding Attica, Revolution and the Incarceration State" written by Stuart Connelly and Clarence B. Jones. In UPRISING the authors take on one of the most urgent and least understood civil rights issues of today's society -- prisoners' rights.

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    25 backers

    WEAR IT ON YOUR BACK: Get a custom designed "The Suspect" T-Shirt. You will be able to get the right fit by making your size and style selection once the campaign has successfully completed. All shirts are made of pre-shrunk 100% combed-cotton jersey and the fit is instantly loved.

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    7 backers

    PUT IT ON YOUR BOOKSHELF: Own a first edition paperback of the novel "The Suspect," written and signed by the film's writer/director Stuart Connelly.

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    8 backers

    ADD IT TO YOUR COLLECTION: The official Blu-Ray version of "The Suspect," signed by the film's writer / director. The timing on this award is dependent on the terms of the agreement with an as yet-to-be-defined home market distributor and is subject to change.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    THE LINE UP: One of the prop Entertainment Weekly or People magazines featuring Samuel L. Jackson. The photo features prominently in the film and provides a moment of levity in this dark thriller.

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    7 backers Limited (43 left of 50)

    THE DREAM: Receive a hardback version of the critically acclaimed "Behind The Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation" co-authored and signed by our director Stuart Connelly. This book is Clarence B. Jones' personal account of the planning of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the creation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s now famous "I Have A Dream" speech.

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    20 backers Limited (100 left of 120)

    JOIN OUR FAMILY: Get two tickets to a FRIENDS and FAMILY advance preview of the film to be held in the Philadelphia area this summer. Date / time / location details to be defined. After the screening, you can stick around to participate in a Q & A session with our writer/director.

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    0 backers

    THE HOODIE: In honor of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old gunned down in Florida, and in protest of the trial's outcome, we've decided to add a special reward. Obviously it has not yet been designed, nor do we know how much it will cost to fulfill -- this reward could well cost more to create and get to you than it brings in, but it's something we feel we have to do. Stand up for social justice and pledge for the hoodie today. RIP.

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    3 backers Limited (497 left of 500)

    SIGNED MOVIE POSTER: "The Suspect" one-sheet movie poster — a limited edition, signed and numbered by the writer/director and our incredible photographer, Sherry McCracken. (The earlier you pledge,the lower the number).

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    18 backers Limited (2 left of 20)

    AUTOGRAPHED SCRIPT: A copy of "The Suspect" script, signed by the writer/director and by actors Mekhi Phifer, William Sadler, Sterling K. Brown and Derek Roché.

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    5 backers All gone!

    THE SPECIAL DELIVERY: We know movies fans love to own original props. This reward features the custom designed overnight delivery letter, envelope and check. Each of the five rewards was used in a filmed take in the picture. Several of these were featured in the final cut. All were handled by the lovely Rebecca Creskoff.

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    THE INGENUE: Heather's one-of-a-kind handmade heart-shaped dog-tag style necklace as worn in the film by the talented Lizzy DeClement.

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    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    THE MUG SHOT: You will receive a Polaroid of Mekhi Phifer from the jail cell scene. Each of the five photos was used in a take in the picture. Several of these were featured in the final cut. All were handled by actor Derek Roché. In addition, you will get an autographed script.

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    THE DEPUTY PACKAGE: Hat, name tag, uniform, and work gloves all worn on-screen by actor Derek Roché. Plus an autographed script. (Note: Uniform and hat do not have badges, as they were returned to the prop house.)

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    THE SHERIFF DIXON PACKAGE: You get the sheriff's one-and-only hat, uniform and name tag worn by William Sadler in the film, plus an autographed script. (Note: Hat and uniform do not have badges, as they were returned to the prop house).

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    1 backer All gone!

    THE POLASKI SHERIFF PACKAGE: You get sheriff Pierce's complete uniform and name tag as worn by James McCaffrey in the film. Plus an autographed script and the Kersands University certified check. (Note: Uniform does not have badge, as it was returned to the prop house.)

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    THE OTHER SUSPECT PACKAGE: Own the gray shirt and jeans worn by Sterling K. Brown in the film. Plus an autographed script and a Kersands University business card.

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    THE SUSPECT PACKAGE: You get the Suspect's one-and only ski mask-swim goggles-gloves disguise as worn in the film, plus the one-sheet poster and an autographed script.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    THE DIRECTOR'S PACKAGE: This is the brass ring, folks. Someone out there will get the sleeveless t-shirt Mekhi Phifer wears in the poster and the film (as well as his sports jacket) and the actual videocamera used in the jail cell scenes that start the movie. Plus a money band featured in the film, an autographed script, the signed one-sheet, the ebook and a digital download of Happy Endings by The Real Tuesday Weld. And a 30-minute Skype call with the writer/director Stuart Connelly.

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Funding period

- (30 days)