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After years of captivity in an isolated cabin, Stephen takes drastic measures to escape his violent world and his terrifying captor.
After years of captivity in an isolated cabin, Stephen takes drastic measures to escape his violent world and his terrifying captor.
85 backers pledged CA$ 5,275 to help bring this project to life.

About

Ellie – A dark suspense short film project video thumbnail
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CA$ 5,275

85

WE ARE CLOSE TO THE END! ONLY HOURS LEFT!

We are less than $200 away from our $5000 STRETCH GOAL that will make Ellie even better, sweeten the rewards (want Polaroids from the shoot?), and do something nice for the volunteer crew.

Click on the Updates link to see recent updates and learn about the stretch goal! 

Reminder: For only $35 you will get exclusive daily updates next week, direct from the film set, via a private Facebook group.

About Ellie

Ellie is a story of an adolescent boy Stephen and his fragile plans to escape an isolated country house where he's been forced to lived for many years, under the control of its brutal and unpredictable owner Davis

A BlueCat Screenplay competition reviewer said the following about the story:

Ellie is a short film that manages to, in a small amount of time, create such impressively fascinating characters, and atmosphere, that one can’t help but want to know and see more. The mysteries abound in the story – from who Ellie is, to what Stephen might be lying about, to what Davis’ role is in these children’s lives. It is disturbing, but gripping all the same.

My goal is to capture the darkness of the house, its secrets, and the isolation of its inhabitants.

Why Should I Contribute?

I am a 16-year-old award-winning filmmaker who's been making short films since 2012. In just three years, my storytelling and cinematography skills have grown immensely and garnered international awards. 

For me, filmmaking isn't a hobby, it is my future career. My previous films have demonstrated my ability to create great short films with limited funds, volunteer cast and crew, and an entry-level DSLR camera. With Ellie, I'm levelling up the production quality. Ellie will be my next step towards excellence in filmmaking, and I want it to be spectacular.

Over the past year I've saved money to purchase a Canon C100 cinema camera, and from previous shoots I have accumulated a range of sound and camera gear. My family has foregone our summer vacation, and put the equivalent funds towards renting a river-side cottage in beautiful rural Quebec that will serve as the location for the week-long shoot. I have a great crew that is volunteering their time and expertise.

But, to make Ellie a reality, I need your help.

Ellie is my first production hiring professional union actors (ACTRA), and shooting on professional equipment. 

Despite the gear that I already own, I need to rent several prime lenses, and lighting equipment, to ensure that Ellie looks incredible. I will be working again with composer Dave Johnson so that the story and visuals of Ellie are supported by an awesome original score. 

The people and the equipment are ready. Together, with your help, we will create a fantastic film!

What if the Kickstarter isn't Successful?

The Kickstarter goal of $3000 represents one-third of the total film budget. See the "What's the Budget?" section for more info.

If we don't meet our funding goal and the Kickstarter campaign isn't successful, the Ellie shoot will continue, but I'll need to cut costs by reducing equipment rentals, such as lighting, which will affect the quality of the final product.

And worse, the lack of funding will impact my next film, which is in the early planning stages and expected to shoot in late 2016. I may need to downscale or delay that film, if Ellie isn't fully funded.

Who Are You?

Morgana McKenzie – Writer, Director, Cinematographer

I wrote Ellie in the summer of 2014 under the mentorship of Emmy award-winning writer/director John Jacobsen, as part of my project at Prodigy Camp in Seattle.

Morgana operating her Blackbird Stabilizer, on the set of "We All Go the Same" in September 2014
Morgana operating her Blackbird Stabilizer, on the set of "We All Go the Same" in September 2014

My films have screened internationally at over 40 festivals, winning 18 awards. In 2014 I was awarded the Best Emerging Female Filmmaker Award at the world's largest film festival for filmmakers under 24: NFFTY (National Film Festival For Talented Youth). In 2015 I was awarded Best Director Under 25 by the Ottawa Independent Video Awards.

Here is a sample of my short films. Unfortunately, because many remain under consideration by film festivals, I cannot publicly share the entire films.

If you'd like to see any of these films in their entirety, please contact me.

You can watch more of my work at my website morganamckenzie.com

Warren Etheredge – Executive Producer

Warren Etheredge is a multi-talented writer for screen and stage, a screenwriting mentor, producer, and film analyst. Warren's skills as a cultural conversationalist are always in demand, and he's interviewed over three thousand people in publications, on stage, and as host of the Emmy-nominated television series "The High Bar".

Morgana first met Warren in 2014 when she attended Prodigy Camp in Seattle. A regular mentor at Prodigy Camp, Warren instructs the filmmakers and writers in attendance on the importance and value of story in film, and provides feedback and insight on the campers' screenplays.

Dave Johnson – Composer

Dave Johnson is a musician, composer and sound designer working in Nova Scotia. He began adding his unique musical twist to short films, videos and online projects thirty years ago, during his early art college days. For nearly a decade he has worked on award-winning video games, most frequently with Halifax’s Silverback Productions. Although a gifted guitarist, the instrumentation will vary greatly, depending on the particular needs of each project. In games, as well as in his film work, he often combines music composition with sound design to create uncommon sonic palettes.

Besides his audio work, Dave has a history as a visual artist, maker of funky furniture, graphic designer and sign maker. His work has been collected by the Canada Council Art Bank, Nova Scotia Art Bank, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and private collectors around the world.

Who is the Cast?

I worked with casting director Ilona Smyth of Smyth Casting and selected the following three ACTRA performers:

Sebastian Labissiere as Stephen / Jeff Lawson as Davis / Grace Zanichkowsky as Sadie
Sebastian Labissiere as Stephen / Jeff Lawson as Davis / Grace Zanichkowsky as Sadie

Sebastian Labissiere

Sebastian has been acting since the age of 6, when he played a munchkin in a school production of The Wizard of Oz. He later played the lead role in St. Joseph Catholic High School's Production of The Ashgirl in 2012. Sebastian continuously works and strides to perfect his craft through both workshops and private training. He was in the Lifetime Film "Betty and Coretta", and was recently cast in Drug Free Canada's secureyourmeds.ca campaign.

Jeff Lawson

Jeff has had the great fortune to act for theatres such as the National Arts Centre, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Alberta Theatre Projects, and The Globe Theatre (Regina). In TV and Film, he has had roles for MTV, CBC, Bravo, and Lifetime. Other career highlights have been doing voices for cartoons, guesting with Crush Improv and being in a handful of short films. Jeff is even more fortunate to have his other career, as a Drama teacher at Canterbury High School.

Grace Zanichkowsky

Grace lives in Ottawa, where she is an active actor and is currently in grade 9. Grace took up acting 3 years ago, as it is her passion, and where she sees herself in the future. She has recently filmed a Lifetime thriller movie “Killer Crush” and is the current face for Drug Free Canada's “secureyourmeds.ca” campaign.

Count me in. Tell me more!

Location

The shooting location is near Chénéville, Quebec. It’s an isolated three-level cottage far away from any cities, surrounded by trees and grassy hills, sitting beside a gentle river. In the film, the house is a character of it's own: beautiful and inviting on the surface, while concealing its hopeless and frightened inhabitants. 

Tech

My Canon C100 cinema camera, shoulder rig, SmallHD monitor, and Atomos Ninja recorder.
My Canon C100 cinema camera, shoulder rig, SmallHD monitor, and Atomos Ninja recorder.

For this film I am going to be using the Canon C100, with Zeiss and Sigma prime lenses. On my previous films, I’ve used Canon’s entry level T4i and the Canon 5D. I learned my craft on my T4i, and was successful in getting beautiful images out of an entry level camera. 

Stills from "GIFTS", "We All Go the Same", and "Kurayami no Wa"
Stills from "GIFTS", "We All Go the Same", and "Kurayami no Wa"

For “Ellie”, I will be using the C100 not only to step up my cinematography, but as well for the low lighting that my T4i can’t achieve. It’s important to set a mood that provides dramatic shadows, and creative lighting. I’ve chosen the C100 knowing that it can provide exactly that.

Beyond the camera equipment I own, I will be renting several prime lenses, lighting equipment, and both shotgun and lav microphones to so that Ellie looks and sounds great.

What's the Budget?

The total budget of Ellie is $9000. My Kickstarter goal is to raise one-third of the total budget. The major items in the budget are: 
  • Location rental
  • Professional actors
  • Score and sound design
  • Equipment rental
  • Wardrobe and makeup
  • Transportation
  • Food for cast and crew

Risks and challenges

A common enemy of any project, including films, is time. Over the past year I've become skilled at creating shot lists and storyboard panels, and estimating the time required to shoot a scene. In my music video "We All Go the Same" I managed a shoot day that started with three hours of prosthetics and makeup, and successfully made it through an aggressive shot-list with 40 shots. However, Ellie will have a less aggressive shooting schedule.

In the weeks leading up to the Ellie shoot, I will be rehearsing my cast and refining my shot-list and storyboard panels based on the rehearsals.

Plus, unlike my previous two films which were shot mostly in outdoor locations and were impacted by weather, Ellie is entirely set indoors.

Ellie is incredibly well-planned, and I know it will be a successful (and fun) shoot for the entire cast and crew.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 10 or more About $8

    ETERNAL LOVE

    A thank you and shout-out from Morgana on social media, our eternal love and gratitude, and a guaranteed hug and high-five if we are ever in the same place.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $19

    DIGITAL GRATITUDE

    Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo, months before it is available to the public. And, your name in the film credits!

    *PLUS*
    - Thank you shout-out from Morgana, love and hugs.

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    29 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 35 or more About $27

    SECRET HANDSHAKE

    Get an insider view of the production! Access to the private Facebook group used by the cast & crew to communicate during the production.

    *PLUS*
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out from Morgana, love and hugs.

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    7 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $39

    SCREENING AND POLAROIDS

    Two passes to the local Ottawa screening.
    Two unique on-set "Polaroid"(*) photos.
    Screenplay autographed by cast & crew.

    *PLUS*
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

    (*) By "Polaroid" we mean Fuji Instax instant photos.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 75 or more About $58

    DANCE MONKEY

    One IOU for a consultation with Morgana. Want input on a story idea, or help writing a letter to Aunt Selma? You get a one hour consultation with Morgana, via email, Skype, or carrier pigeon. (*)

    AND...
    A cool personalized video message to you, or someone you choose, by members of the cast & crew. (**)

    *PLUS*
    - Two passes to the Ottawa screening.
    - Two unique on-set photos
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

    (*) Carrier pigeon not included.
    (**) Be nice! We won't record a message that is mean or inappropriate.

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  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $77

    SINGULAR DIARY OF AWESOME

    Receive the one and only production diary from the week-long Ellie shoot, containing handwritten information, jot notes, and doodles from Morgana and the cast and crew.

    *PLUS*
    - One consultation IOU
    - Two passes to the Ottawa screening.
    - Two unique on-set photos
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 125 or more About $97

    SOUND AND SIGHT

    Early access to the awesome original score by Dave Johnson.
    An art-print (up to A3 size) film-still of your choice.(*) You pick the moment in the film, we'll print it.

    *PLUS*
    - One consultation IOU
    - Two passes to the Ottawa screening.
    - Two unique on-set photos
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

    (*) Shipping costs additional.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $154

    AT YOUR SERVICE!

    Morgana will collaborate with you, on your project, up to four hours. Need fresh eyes on a screenplay? Assistance with editing a scene? Ideas for a colour palette? Whether you're in pre-, post-, or production, she's got your back.

    *PLUS*
    - Access to the original score.
    - Art-print film still of your choice.(*)
    - Two passes to the Ottawa screening.
    - Two unique on-set photos
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

    (*) Shipping costs additional.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 300 or more About $232

    VISIT THE SET

    - Are you in Ottawa? Can you get to Ottawa? If so, we'd love to welcome you to a half-day set visit on Wednesday August 26th. See how the cinematic sausage is made!
    - Not in Ottawa? No problem, we'll send you a little package of Canadiana, containing items you'll only find north of the 49th parallel.

    *PLUS*
    - Up to four hours of collaboration with Morgana.
    - Access to the original score.
    - Art-print film still of your choice.(*)
    - Two passes to the Ottawa screening.
    - Two unique on-set photos
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

    (*) Shipping costs additional.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 500 or more About $386

    WARREN ETHEREDGE CONSULTATION

    - Working on a feature script? Need help from a pro? This reward gives you one feature script consultation with professional storyfinder, and Executive Producer, Warren Etheredge – founder of The Warren Report and host of the Emmy-nominated show The High Bar. This consultation has a $675 value.

    *PLUS*
    - Access to the original score.
    - Art-print film still of your choice.(*)
    - Two passes to the Ottawa screening.
    - Two unique on-set photos
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

    (*) Shipping costs additional.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1,000 or more About $772

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    - You become an Executive Producer, with your name appearing in the end credits of the film and on IMDB!

    *PLUS*
    - A half-day set visit on Wednesday August 26th, or a little package of Canadiana.
    - Up to four hours of collaboration with Morgana.
    - Access to the original score.
    - Art-print film still of your choice.(*)
    - Two passes to an Ottawa screening.
    - Two unique on-set photos
    - Access to cast & crew Facebook group.
    - Your name in the film credits.
    - Private access to watch Ellie on Vimeo.
    - Thank you shout-out, love and hugs.

    (*) Shipping costs additional.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
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Funding period

- (22 days)