About this project
First and foremost, thank you for checking out the "We Grew Up Here" Kickstarter page! We truly appreciate it.
We hope you like what you see and that you'll take a few minutes to read about our project and share this with your friends and family.
Who We Are
We are Kevin Pickman (Writer/Director), Andrew Neel (Writer/Producer), and Stefeni Tormanen (Writer/Producer), a group of driven, passionate filmmakers looking to create this project in the true spirit of independent and DIY filmmaking.
Collectively we are the founders of 15 in the Dark, a Chicago-based collaborative arts organization that seeks to create and promote excellent art, movies, and music.
About the Project
The idea of a town disappearing has been bouncing around in Kevin's head for years, and the three of us worked together to turn this concept into a concrete feature-length script that could be made (and made well) at a micro budget level. We've sent the script around to a wide range of friends and mentors, and although everyone reacted to the idea differently, they all agreed on one thing: This is a unique, intriguing, and original concept, and if the project can get even a small amount of funding, it would make a captivating movie.
"We Grew Up Here" follows Liam (played by Eric Michaels), a musician from a tiny Kansas town called Tanglewood, who moves to Chicago to escape the decaying town and a failed relationship. He lingers on the memories of his past with his ex-girlfriend and musical partner Lauren (played by Kate Schell), who is now engaged to another man.
When Liam's last connection to Lauren disappears, he discovers that both Lauren and his hometown seem to have vanished. He packs his bags and heads back to Kansas to find them.
Our goal was to take a science fiction idea and pare it down to its essential, barebones elements, allowing us to focus on the character and his journey.
"We Grew Up Here" is about coming to grips with the fragility of comforting memories and facing the past with honest eyes. It's for anyone who has felt lost, like they were searching for something imaginary in the real world.
The lead characters Liam and Lauren will be played by Eric Michaels and Kate Schell from the band Paper Thick Walls. The movie's soundtrack will be comprised of music from their band's 2011 album, "A Thousand Novels," plus some new tracks, and a brand new song written specifically for "We Grew Up Here." We've also cast the supporting roles with some of Chicago's own outstanding talent.
Check back here for updates about our incredible cast.
"We Grew Up Here" will feature handmade pieces of art called shadowboxes. These intricate creations illustrate a specific scene from a larger story and they are highlighted throughout the movie.
One of our reward tiers ($500) includes the privilege of owning one of these handcrafted designs (an unpolished shadowbox sketch is illustrated below).
You can make this movie a reality.
We believe we have a pretty special story here, and we've already received more encouragement and support than we could have hoped.
The three of us and our rapidly growing team have already invested countless hours of time and energy into this project (from rough drafts, to casting, to shooting a Kickstarter video with the most adorable children ever), but now we need the funds to carry out the production portion of the film.
We will be shooting "We Grew Up Here" in the summer of 2012, but we need at least $15,000 to make this happen. Funds will be used to cover expenses such as hard drives, lights, microphones, and editing equipment.
We're even factoring in expenses like fees and postage for festival submissions, because we want this project and the great music of Paper Thick Walls that it was inspired by to go as far as possible.
If this project reaches the goal we've set it will help us make this a reality, but for this movie to thrive we need your support to push the Kickstarter campaign as far as it can go.
This is where we beg and plead for your help.
We are offering a plethora of rewards (Don't believe us? Just look to the right!) as signs of appreciation for your support. We are not joking when we say that every dollar counts - it honestly does!
And if you don't have the means to donate, please share our project with your friends, family, neighbors, teachers, coworkers, mailman, barber, and everyone else you know. Anytime you help us circulate this page you are bringing this project one step closer to fruition!
To raise the funds to make this phenomenal film a reality.
Ideally, in a year we will be touring the country on a movie/music tour with Paper Thick Walls and we'll stop in your town so you can watch the movie and hear the band's beautiful songs.
Most of all, we want to create original, meaningful, and interesting art. With your help, we can and will.
Director of Photography
We are very excited to have Cody White on board as the Director of Photography for "We Grew Up Here" shooting on the RED Scarlet X. Check out his 2011 reel below.
Paper Thick Walls
You may have noticed this project mention Paper Thick Walls (PTW) a few times. If you are asking yourself who or what PTW is, then you should definitely get over to their website and check out some of their music (right after you donate to this project of course). "We Grew Up Here" was inspired by and will heavily feature the music of PTW.
PTW is currently on tour following their time at SXSW 2012 in Austin. You can view tons of photos and interesting stories from their adventure on the band's Facebook page. You can also check out this wonderful live performance of "Liar's Lawyer" shot and recorded by the wonderful Audio Tree crew last summer.
What you need to know about Paper Thick Walls:
This Chicago-based act is fronted by Kate Schell (VH1's Songwriter of the Year in 2005) and Eric Michaels, and bolstered by the amazingly talented trio of Roger Sherman, Andrew Sabo, and Jacques René.
Paper Thick Walls presents an elegant mix of deep, reflective, and at times haunting music. Their almost orchestral arrangement of a variety of instruments frames and compliments the profound fictional story lines that the band portrays through their lyrics.
The Vinyl District says that they "tap into the recesses of your mind, recalling past loves with their lyricism, stirring the ghosts that idly exist. They paint a cinematic sound, creating music that orchestrates life perfectly. Theirs is the music that is truly crafted—not just composed in a manner to lay down some sick beats or a hook that’s going to lodge itself unlawfully into your mind. Paper Thick Walls’ sound is that of the Midwest meeting the South in a harmonious blending of fiddle, acoustic guitar, keys, upright bass, and drum set."
In the words of Rock NYC:
My verdict, then, is that Paper Thick Walls’ “A Thousand Novels” is quite good. Not only are their compositions very nicely crafted, with the band displaying a penchant for a number of musical styles, their storytelling will keep you entertained and often contains elements of that darkness that lends a haunting quality to a song. Take a look.
Here is a music video created by Kevin and Stefeni of 15 in the Dark for Paper Thick Walls:
To support us on Kickstarter, you would need to have a credit or debit card connected with Amazon (they handle the payment processing for Kickstarter), and you can support us that way by clicking the [Back this project] green button on the top right of this page. If you don't have either a credit or debit card or aren't comfortable using these options, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you information for sending a check or money order to help support the film.
We plan to start principal photography at the end of May 2012, and with your help we'll be able to make that happen.
Kevin, Stefeni, and Andrew all grew up in small towns, and they've seen firsthand how the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs and the shift to urban employment has affected the population and personality of small towns. We wanted to explore this idea on an individual level, tackling the impact of a relationship ending on a person's memories of their hometown.
We Grew Up Here is a fictional movie unrelated to the band, although Eric Michaels and Kate Schell will be starring the film and providing music for the score. Many of the characteristics of the songwriting and storytelling that Paper Thick Walls create have been incorporated into the screenplay for the film.
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