About this project
"A man of action forced into a state of thought is unhappy until he can get out of it." -Franz Kafka
Original Love is a story of a family in crisis. The film takes place in one night at a Russian Restaurant in South Brooklyn. The occasion is the anniversary party of a Russian gangster involved in Medicare Fraud, Anton, and his wife of thirty years, Vera. The central character is their son, Danny, 19 years old.
Danny works for his father, and on the night of the party is directed to kill one of the guests, who has been caught stealing from the family. But when Danny walks in on his father with a younger woman, the evening changes course.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
David earned his M.F.A. in directing at Columbia University and received his Bachelor’s degree at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. His film and video work has been featured on MTV, CNN, AOL, Huffington Post, Vanityfair.com, the Sundance Channel and at festivals globally. David is currently developing two feature-length narrative films.
DIRECTOR'S LETTER TO POTENTIAL SUPPORTERS
I was born and raised in South Brooklyn, NY in a Russian immigrant family. My home was in many ways a typical immigrant household: a hotbed of struggle and strong opinions, every conversation a matter of life and death; a revolving door of Russian immigrant friends, friends of friends and extended family; always a party, plenty of Vodka to go around; the Swedish pop group, ABBA, playing over and over and over again on the cassette deck.
My family came to this country in pursuit of the American Dream, and like many first-generation Americans, I inherited my family’s fascination with American ideals, ideals I personally, intensely explored in old Hollywood movies. When I discovered these films as a teenager, I fell head over heels in love with the imagery, the landscapes, the iconography of classic Hollywood cinema. And I quickly discovered that I identified most with movies about outsiders.
I don’t consider myself a melancholy or maladjusted person, but I’ve always identified with the loner, the one with the chip on her shoulder, the one with something to prove, the one on the outside looking in.
Original Love is the story of a gangster’s son who discovers his father is having an affair. It's a film about people on the outskirts: liars, alcoholics, adulterers, thieves, violent people. But it’s really about family, faces—masks; about the moral consequences of a failure to act; about knowing when to walk away.
Original Love promises to be exciting, sexy, violent, tender, funny, and personal.
-David Gutnik, writer/director, Original Love
WHAT ARE YOUR DONATIONS PAYING FOR?
We need your help! For Original Love to happen, 9 principal actors, 20-30 crew members and 40 background extras have to be hired, transported, fed and equipped for 5 twelve-hour days of principal photography. $600 will buy food and craft services for a day. $1500 rents a 15-passenger van and a 20-foot truck for the week. $3,500 pays for our camera and $1000 covers a lens package. We simply can't make this film without your generous support!
Here is a quick breakdown of the budget:
CAMERA & EQUIPMENT: $8,750
TOTAL BUDGET: $25,000
END GOAL: FEATURE FILM
The short film, Original Love, is part of a narrative feature-length script written by David Gutnik, about a Russian crime family involved in Medicare Fraud on Brighton Beach. The feature script examines the uniquely Russian mix of entrepreneurship and lawlessness.
“In the eighties, it was garden-variety doctors and medical-service providers inflating bills. Now the most sinister development is the move of professional criminal entrepreneurs onto the health-care-fraud landscape.” -Bill Mahon, Executive Director, National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association
"Spreading out from their base in Brighton Beach, the Russians have pulled off the largest...insurance and Medicare fraud, in American history, with a net haul exceeding $1 billion." -Robert Friedman, Investigative Journalist
"The Russians wouldn't talk to us. They said, 'What can you do to us after the KGB and the Gulag?'" -FBI agents discussing Russian-Jewish gangsters in Brighton Beach
It’s high time for a film about Russian-Americans that challenges broad popular conceptions and Cold War clichés.
The making of the short film is a critical first step on the path to fulfilling a long held dream to tell this extraordinary, untold story.
MEET THE PRODUCERS
ERIN ABELN – PRODUCER
Erin has been living and working in NYC for the past three years. She coordinates commercial and still shoots for a wide variety of clients including Ford, US Olympic Committee, Raindance Film Festival, Virgin Gaming, and Travel Channel. She is currently producing MADE Fashion Week at Milk Studios. In between projects, she recharges by traveling to new countries.
ASHLEY GRIFFITH – CO-PRODUCER
Ashley is a producer and writer from Orange County, CA. She was the Associate Producer for “Home of the Brave,” the most viewed web series in AOL history. She was also the Associate Producer of a nationally-syndicated television show called “Special Spaces” on PlumTV. Ashley also helped produce documentaries for Current TV and Dan Rather Reports. What most people don’t know is that Ashley was a high-level competitive gymnast for 12 years. Ashley is a graduate of New York University, and currently lives in New York, NY, where she works on films, writes novels and spontaneously cartwheels from time to time.
GERRY KIM – ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Gerry Kim produced the documentary film THE HOUSE OF SUH, which premiered at the 2010 Hot Docs Film Festival, and screened at the Calgary, Starz Denver, San Francisco Asian American, and Sarasota Film Festivals, winning awards at the Hamptons, San Diego Asian, and Philadelphia Asian Film Festivals. The film was sold to MSNBC Films and aired on MSNBC in July of 2011.
Gerry wrote, produced and directed several short films, including TAKE OUT, LIVING THE DREAM, DOMESTIC, and FAIR LAWN. These films have screened at the Starz Denver International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Asian American International Film Festival, and the Chicago Children's International Film Festival, amongst others. LIVING THE DREAM was also awarded the DGA Jury Award in 2012. He is the recipient of the SYFY Channel Imagine Greater Award for the production of the short film GREEN PLASTIC SANDALS. Gerry’s other credited films include RACE TO EXECUTION (PBS); ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED (HBO); BOMB IT; CAMP VICTORY, AFGHANISTAN (PBS); and THE DUNGEON MASTERS.
He is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate Film School and received the Arthur Krim Memorial Award for Excellence in Producing. He also holds a Masters from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and is a member of the Producers Guild of America.
MICHELLE BOOSO – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Michelle is a producer based in New York City. As a professional social connector and event planner, she has developed a wide network spanning multiple industries. As the founder and C.E.O. of The Matchbook, an innovative matchmaking business, she brings to the team extensive experience in project management, event planning, and "getting things done."
A born and raised Brooklynite, Michelle graduated from Boston University and received her Masters from NYU.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please contact Erin Abeln at email@example.com or David Gutnik at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the project. To view more of David Gutnik's work visit moreismore.tv.
"No convention of the gangster film is more strongly established than this: it is dangerous to be alone. And yet the very conditions of success make it impossible not to be alone."
-Robert Warshow, The Gangster as Tragic Hero
Risks and challenges
The filmmaker Sam Fuller said that "Film is a battlefield." Like any combat situation, it's the risks and challenges that you don't see coming that are often the most dangerous: sudden illnesses, freak accidents, extreme weather, interpersonal conflicts between team members. There are unforeseen trials and tribulations every step of the way.
But ours is a battle-tested group of competent and committed filmmakers, and we are confident that at the end of the day, we will weather all storms and deliver a film we can all be proud of.
After the film is completed, begins another campaign: sharing it with the world. We are planning an aggressive festival submission process, including Sundance and Cannes. There are no guarantees for success, but with your support I believe we can create a film worthy of notice.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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