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Nick Ray, cineaste, Hollywood rebel and outcast, seeker, humanist, teacher--meet them all!

ACTION! a full-length documentary, will be the last film of three produced by The Nicholas Ray Foundation in honor of Nick Ray's 100th birthday. 

Meet the project team, and take a peek at the facility
Meet the project team, and take a peek at the facility

On any list of the 100 Best Movies of the 20th Century you’re likely to find at least one directed by Nick. Rebel Without A Cause, In A Lonely Place, Johnny Guitar, Bitter Victory, Savage Innocents, Lusty Men—these are classics. In the three films of the Nicholas Ray Centenary Project we introduce you to the equally brilliant but less well known work of the last years of this filmmaker's life, after he left Hollywood and became a teacher. 

In ACTION! you'll encounter Nick's charismatic presence as he shares his knowledge of what he called "the cathedral of the arts." He'll offer you, in his own words and voice, behind-the-scenes accounts from the sets of his classic films, along with insights as to how and why he did what he did in those memorable scenes—at the Planetarium in Rebel, for example.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Charlie Levi.
Copyright (c) 2011 by Charlie Levi.

He'll share specific techniques of the craft—how to move with the camera; how to direct the non-actor; how to handle props; how to work with sense memory—along with his vast experience and insights from a very full life in the arts. Nick's way of teaching belongs to the tradition going back to the guilds of the Middle Ages in which a craftsman, having mastered his craft, passes it on to his apprentices. He transmits in his teaching that elusive quality—wisdom—acquired through hard living, working, loving, and the willingness to own one’s mistakes.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Charlie Levi
Copyright (c) 2011 by Charlie Levi

The first film and centerpiece of the Nicholas Ray Centenary Project is Nick's last, groundbreaking, unfinished, feature, We Can't Go Home Again, freshly restored and reconstructed.

In the second, a full-length documentary, Don't Expect Too Much, I investigate Nick's impact on his student crew and their impact on him; his vision for the film; and why the film was never finished. Both films premiered as a special event at the Venice Film Festival 2011 and screened a month later at the New York Film Festival. 

Once completed, ACTION! will join the other two films of the Centenary Project, creating a unique film triptych that is at once a portrait of the artist, a narrative, a document of the times, and a teaching tool.

Approach:

ACTION! will be edited mostly from Nick’s film, video, and audio archive—tens of thousands of feet of picture, and hundreds of hours of audio recordings of interviews, classes, lectures, private conversations, journal entries, and an oral history—with supplementary footage licensed from the studios or acquired through research. 

Copyright (c) 2011 by Charlie Levi
Copyright (c) 2011 by Charlie Levi

As Nick said repeatedly, no one makes a film alone. It's always a collaboration. We're asking you to join us in this adventure. 

To launch the project we need to raise at least $35,000 to help cover the costs of transferring Nick's film and audio archive to digital media. The digitization of these materials is essential to their preservation, as well as to the editing of our film.

Once ACTION! is completed, the entire archive will be made available to the public online.

The Nicholas Ray Foundation is a tax-exempt 501-(c)-3 educational institution. All contributions are tax-deductible. Any funds raised over the target amount are deeply appreciated and will help advance production.

Feel free to contact us through Kickstarter or our website with any questions. 

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF OUR REWARDS:

The rewards we're offering, apart from the DVDs of ACTION! and
We Can't Go Home Again and Don't Expect Too Much, include objects that once belonged to Nick, that he left to me, and which we now offer to you as thanks for your help in bringing this project to life. These items are personal items, including Nick's red jacket worn in (and not cleaned since) We Can't Go Home Again, his leather-bound shooting scripts, some of which are signed by cast and crew, and a handmade (probably a studio mockup) poster for Rebel Without A Cause. Other rewards include dinners and private screenings with our production team.

Original Scripts, Posters
Original Scripts, Posters
Nick's red shirt shown worn by him in the film We Can't Go Home Again
Nick's red shirt shown worn by him in the film We Can't Go Home Again
DVD, We Can't Go Home Again
DVD, We Can't Go Home Again
James Dean - Rebel Without a Cause poster
James Dean - Rebel Without a Cause poster
Original poem by Nicholas Ray
Original poem by Nicholas Ray
Nick Ray's awesome multi colored designer one of a kind shirt
Nick Ray's awesome multi colored designer one of a kind shirt
Rare Spanish poster for JOHNNY GUITAR (24" x 36")
Rare Spanish poster for JOHNNY GUITAR (24" x 36")
Blu-ray of the Criterion edition of BIGGER THAN LIFE
Blu-ray of the Criterion edition of BIGGER THAN LIFE

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

One challenge we anticipate is in licensing clips from Nick's Hollywood films. We have riveting audio of Nick speaking at length about what he did in his films and how, and we'd like to run that narration over the clips to which he refers. If we were to license up to 30 minutes of clips for our 100-or-so minute film, it could exceed our budget or limit the amount of clips.

This film is intended as an educational tool and it's being produced by a not-for-profit educational foundation. We will propose to the studios that our film will attract interest to their films, and that their support of our film by lowering their licensing fees is in their own interests.

Another challenge we face is in restoring footage and audio that's now over 40 years old. We have, however, met similar challenges in restoring We Can't Go Home Again and, with your help, are confident we can do the same for this project since we're working with a top-notch film restoration crew.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    8 backers

    You will receive a color reproduction, 8½” x 11”, of Nicholas Ray’s watercolor illustrating his vision of multiple image, and our gratitude.

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    8 backers

    You will receive a one-time digital download of ACTION! and our gratitude.

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    2 backers

    You will receive three 4” x 6” postcards of each of the three Ray Foundation postcards and our gratitude.

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    0 backers

    You will receive a limited edition 24” x 36” poster, your choice of one out of three, and our gratitude.

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    11 backers

    You will receive the DVD of ACTION! and our gratitude.

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    13 backers

    You will receive one Blu-ray Collector’s Edition DVD of WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, a 24’ x 36” limited edition poster, and our gratitude.

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    8 backers

    You will receive all three limited edition 24” x 36” posters and a THANK YOU in the film credits.

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    8 backers

    "PARTY GIRL PACKAGE": you will receive a copy of the book I WAS INTERRUPTED: NICHOLAS RAY ON MAKING MOVIES and the blue-ray DVD of ACTION!, both autographed by Susan Ray, all three Ray Foundation 4” x 6” postcards, and a THANK YOU in the film credits.

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    1 backer Limited (8 left of 9)

    You will receive the PARTY GIRL PACKAGE, complete, and a DVD or Blu-ray of the Criterion edition of BIGGER THAN LIFE

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    5 backers

    "REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE PACKAGE": You will receive the full triptych of autographed DVDs (WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, DON’T EXPECT TO MUCH and ACTION!) and a copy of the book I WAS INTERRUPTED: NICHOLAS RAY ON MAKING MOVIES, both autographed by Susan Ray, and a THANK YOU in the film credits.

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    8 backers Limited (6 left of 14)

    You will be invited to the private pre-release screening of ACTION! at Cineric’s screening room in New York and a fine dinner with the film's director Susan Ray and its producers Eric Nyari and Oskar Mielczarek; and a THANK YOU in the film credits. (Sorry, we can't cover your transportation to New York City!).

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    2 backers

    You and a friend will be invited to a private screening of ACTION! in Tokyo with a talk about Nicholas Ray by director Amir Naderi, a fine dinner hosted by producer Engin Yenidunya, and a thank you in the film credits. (Sorry, we cannot offer you travel to Tokyo!)

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    2 backers Limited (6 left of 8)

    You will receive a rare Spanish poster for JOHNNY GUITAR (24" x 36") plus the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE package, complete.

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    1 backer All gone!

    You will receive a hardcover limited edition screenplay of LIGHTNING OVER WATER (NICK’S MOVIE) illustrated throughout with screen shots and signed by Susan Ray; the PARTY GIRL package, and a THANK YOU in the film credits.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    1 backer All gone!

    You will receive Nicholas Ray’s personal leather-bound script of BED OF ROSES, the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE PACKAGE, and a THANK YOU in the film credits.

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    You and a guest will be invited to the New York premiere screening of ACTION! and the private afterparty with director Susan Ray and the ACTION! team, and will receive two (2) REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE packages, and a thank you in the film's credits.

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    1 backer All gone!

    You will receive NIck's leather-bound script of THE LONG DENIAL, the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE package, and a thank you in the film's credits.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You will receive Nick's leather-bound script of KNOCK ON ANY DOOR, signed by many of the cast and crew (including John Derek); and the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE package, complete. This reward has collector's value!

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You will receive Nick's leather-bound script of YOUR RED WAGON (a.k.a. THIEVES LIKE US or THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, 1948), plus the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE package, complete. This reward has collector's value!

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You will receive the famous red jacket worn by Nicholas Ray in WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN (and not cleaned since), the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE PACKAGE, complete. This award has collector's value!!!

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You will receive an original poem by Nicholas Ray, typed and hand-signed by him and the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE package, complete.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You will receive the Shirt of Many Colors custom designed and made for Nick by Phyllis Santis of EXPRESSMORE! and worn by the director in WE CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN, plus the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE PACKAGE, complete.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You will receive a rare collector's item mounted poster (24” x 36”) from REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, the REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE package (in the blu-ray edition), complete, plus a special DINNER in New York for you and a guest with Susan Ray and producers Eric Nyari and Oskar Mielczarek.

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Funding period

- (30 days)