THE POLYBIUS CONSPIRACY project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$73,107 pledged of $100,000 goal
backers
By Jon Frechette
$73,107 pledged of $100,000 goal
backers

About this project

THE LEGEND

Polybius was an arcade game that was said to have briefly appeared in several arcades around the Portland, Oregon area during the early 1980s. People who claim to have played the game--or, in most cases, know someone who knows someone who did--say that the machine caused a number of side effects ranging from anxiety and depression to night terrors, suicide, and even sudden death. Some believe Polybius was a product of the CIA's controversial MK-Ultra program, an experiment in mind control targeting youth. Others believe it may have had extraterrestrial origins. And though the game's mysteries are vast--theories range from men in black to imported Nazi science, to a recalled Tempest prototype--no one has ever been able to confirm the cabinet's existence. Many agree it was nothing more than a hoax, perpetrated on internet forums...but even these claims lead to strange and sinister findings.

THE PROJECT

Loaded with a couple of cameras and a few dollars, over the past year we've been interviewing arcade owners, game designers, journalists, enthusiasts, and tour guides to name just a few. They've not only helped us explore whether or not Polybius was real, but also shined a light on the numerous truths, gray areas, false memories, tales, and hoaxes from the golden era of arcade games.

Influenced by filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, and Rodney Ascher, we plan to dive into the chronology, testimonials, and psychology of the legend; an intersection where urban mythology and dark secrets meet the arcade scene. Was the game real? Was it fake? What was its purpose? And why, as avid fans of both gaming and urban legends, does finding the truth even matter to us in the first place?

We just lost a significant financial backer, so we've decided to crowdsource the remaining funds to complete the project. We want to make a film that is not only entertaining, but smart, nuanced, provocative, mysterious, and--above all--one that does the Polybius legend and its many fans justice.

WHO WE ARE

The Filmmakers:
After a tenure at Miramax/Dimension Films, TODD LUOTO became Shorts Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival from 2007-2011. A writer/director/producer himself, Luoto’s work has played at the Tribeca, SXSW, Slamdance, and AFI Film Festivals, among others. Having served as a film juror worldwide (SXSW, Tudou, Krakow International, Outfest, etc) and once a former writing partner of noted sci-fi scribe Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Total Recall), Luoto joined Fox Digital Studio in 2012 where he has been producing low-budget features and pilots for the digital space. 

JON FRECHETTE studied film production at Chapman University, where he was the recipient of the Cinetech Most Promising Filmmaker award. His work has been featured at film festivals such Cinevegas, Silver Lake, and Tribeca.

The Producer:
DYLAN REIFF is a writer/performer and event producer based out of Portland, OR. He is the co-founder of Kickstand Comedy Space and is best known for building Immersive Experiences and Living Theater Events like the cult classic “The Future Shock” and the Stanley Film Festival’s Immersive Horror Game. He is a lifelong gamer, lover of the 8-bit revival, and currently plays pinball competitively around PDX.

THE CAMPAIGN

Your contribution will help with crew expenses, equipment, insurance, travel, post-production, and licensing clips and photos. We thank you for joining the team, and look forward to sharing this strange and unique arcade adventure with you!

Press start to begin....

GOALS

Our $100K goal reflects the minimum amount of backing we need to be able to complete the project. As is typical with many Kickstarter campaigns, exceeding our goal will help immensely in a myriad of ways, all of which will be reflected in the final product. Quite simply, more money will help us make a better movie.

We'd like to further motivate our community of backers with the stretch goals posted below, available to anyone who contributes to our campaign, regardless of the reward tier. We thank you very much for your support!

Risks and challenges

Filmmaking is a beast, but we've assembled a capable team that will be able to deliver the very best movie possible. The biggest challenge and risk from you, the backer's standpoint, is whether or not we'll be able to finish the film and deliver the rewards we've promised. Assuming we are able to raise the required funds, we should have no issue delivering these to you. Worst case scenarios include delays due to scheduling, which in turn could postpone the fulfillment of these rewards, but we promise to keep you posted along the way!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    DIGITAL TRADING CARDS

    Learn more about the mystery with a PDF of digital trading cards (stick of stale gum not included), plus updates about the film.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    SPECIAL THANKS

    Special thanks in the film's end credits, plus digital trading cards and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    37 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

    A digital download of the film, delivered after our festival and/or theatrical run, plus special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    101 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY

    A limited edition Blu-Ray of the film featuring exclusive content, delivered after our festival and/or theatrical run, plus special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 62 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    POLYBIUS T-SHIRT

    A limited edition Polybius T-shirt, featuring expert interpretation of what the game artwork might have been. Please specify your size when ordering. Plus you'll get special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    28 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    INT'L BACKERS: LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY

    A special reward tier for our amazing international backers (outside of US and Canada): a region-free Blu-Ray featuring exclusive content! Plus special thanks in the end credits and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    POSTER & DOWNLOAD

    A limited edition Polybius poster, plus a digital download of the film and special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    T-SHIRT & DOWNLOAD

    A limited edition Polybius T-shirt (please specify your size when ordering), plus a digital download of the film and special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    11 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    T-SHIRT & BLU-RAY

    Both the Blu-Ray and T-shirt (please specify size), plus special thanks in the end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    POSTER & BLU-RAY

    Both the Blu-Ray and poster, plus special thanks in the end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    INT'L BACKERS: T-SHIRT & BLU-RAY

    A special reward tier for our amazing international backers (outside of US and Canada): a region-free Blu-Ray featuring exclusive content, and a T-shirt (please specify size). Plus special thanks in the end credits and updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    PRIVATE SCREENING

    You'll receive an invitation for you and a guest to a private screening of the film in LA or Portland and tickets to a reception/after party (travel & accommodations not included), plus you'll get a download of the film and special thanks in the end credits!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 15 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    POLYBIUS HOODIE & DOWNLOAD

    Creep around town in a limited edition Polybius hoodie. Please specify your size when ordering. PLUS a digital download of the film and special thanks in the end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    ALTERNATE REALITY GAME

    Welcome to the conspiracy! The filmmakers, including Dylan Reiff of the Stanley Film Festival Immersion Game, will create a year-long Alternate Reality Game designed to thrill and puzzle you, and by selecting this option you'll receive a customized ID badge which grants you full access to the mysteries of the Polybius Conspiracy. Embark on a journey into the unknown in this immersive gaming experience, featuring special prizes and a chance to uncover the truth. PLUS you'll receive special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    SHORT FILM CONSULTATION

    Have you made a short film? Do you hope to play film festivals? Donate to our campaign and Todd Luoto, who was a Sundance Programmer for 5 years, will watch your short film, and give you candid feedback and helpful advice on how to navigate the festival circuit. We'll even post your trailer or a link to your film on our Twitter page to help you promote it. Plus, you'll get special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    SCREENPLAY CONSULTATION

    Jon Frechette, who has worked as a senior story analyst for companies including Miramax/Dimension Films and New Regency, will read your screenplay and provide helpful suggestions for how to improve and market your project. Notes can be delivered over Skype or coffee if you live in Los Angeles. Plus, you'll get special thanks in the film's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    ALTERNATE REALITY GAME BUNDLE

    A year-long membership to the Alternate Reality Game, plus a super limited edition T-shirt (please specify your size) and your choice of the Blu-Ray or poster. Because you're so awesome, we'll also invite you and a guest to a private screening and after part in LA or Portland (travel & accommodations not included).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    POLYBIUS ATARI GAME BUNDLE

    All of the rewards included in the previous tier, plus an actual, playable ATARI 2600 simulation of POLYBIUS. This is a major collector’s item and very, very hard to find. We'll also throw in a curated selection of vintage ATARI games to go with it!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    INT'L BACKERS: ALTERNATE REALITY GAME BUNDLE

    A special reward tier for our amazing international backers (outside of US and Canada): a year-long membership to the Alternate Reality Game, plus a super limited edition Hoodie (please specify your size), a region-free Blu-Ray featuring exclusive content, and a poster. You'll also receive special thanks in the end credits!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    RETRO GAMER

    All of the rewards included in the Polybius Atari Game Bundle, plus a family pass to the 2016 PORTLAND RETRO GAMING EXPO (travel & accommodations not included), a Skype session with Polybius experts, a 1980s Mystery Box, and an invitation for you and a guest to a special Portland screening of the film.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  21. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

    Hey Mr. or Ms. ASSOCIATE PRODUCER! Not only will we credit you on the film and on IMBD, we're also going to show you an amazing weekend in Portland! You get all the rewards included in the Alternate Reality Game Bundle, plus we'll treat you to an Underground Tour, a box (or two) of Voodoo Donuts, coffee with Polybius experts, a night out at one of Portland's best restaurants, free arcade games at Ground Kontrol, and a family pass to the 2016 PORTLAND RETRO GAMING EXPO! (Travel & accommodations not included)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  22. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    Hey, Mr. or Ms. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER! You get all the rewards included in the Alternate Reality Game Bundle, plus you’ll be able to join the filmmakers to weigh in on cuts of the film, be treated as a VIP at the after party, get a credit on IMDB, and join us onstage at film festivals and screenings. PLUS, you’ll get your very own EDITION-OF-ONE POLYBIUS ACTION FIGURE, featuring YOU as a sinister Sinneslöschen operative!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (22 days)