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A new film by Matt Porterfield (HAMILTON, PUTTY HILL) about family, love and letting go. Shooting in Baltimore this summer.
A new film by Matt Porterfield (HAMILTON, PUTTY HILL) about family, love and letting go. Shooting in Baltimore this summer.
481 backers pledged $42,394 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Dear friends, present and future, near and far,

I find myself in a position to ask for your support. On August 1st, I hope to begin production on my third feature film, I USED BE DARKER.

It’s a project I’m very proud of, my first co-written screenplay, featuring more awesome Baltimore locations, an amazing cast, and many of the same creative talent responsible for my first two features, HAMILTON (2006) and PUTTY HILL (2011).

Once again, this production will be shot 100% in Maryland by my long-time collaborator Jeremy Saulnier. I'm pleased to be working with Steve Holmgren (UnionDocs) and Eric Bannat (The Wire), and welcoming producers Amy Dotson (SWEETHEARTS OF THE PRISON RODEO) and Nashville-based Ryan Zacarias (Nomadic Independence Pictures) to the team.

Here’s the synopsis:

When Taryn, a Northern Irish runaway, finds herself pregnant in Ocean City, MD, she seeks refuge with American relatives in Baltimore. But Aunt Kim and her husband, Bill, have problems of their own: they’re trying to handle the end of their marriage gracefully for the sake of their daughter Abby, just home from her first year of college. What follows is a story of family revelations, people finding each other and letting each other go, looking for love where they’ve found it before and, when that doesn’t work, figuring out where they might find it next.

My co-writer, Amy Belk, and I wanted to tell an honest story about divorce, each of us having gone through it ourselves. We wanted to honor our experience, what we learned about how complex and full of life even the dying of a marriage is, how it is a beginning as much as it is an ending, for the couple concerned, and also for the people whose lives they touch.

It was equally important that the story not be narrow in scope. What really amazes us about relationships is how everything is happening all at once: the community, the family, changes when two people separate, but it does not stop, even for a second, having troubles and triumphs of its own.

How to tell it right? How to account for melody and harmony, discord and resolution, improvised riffs and aching silences?

Music plays an important part in this film. Pinned to Amy’s bulletin board is a little scrap of paper asking the question: When you are uncertain about what your heart feels, do you sing songs that help you transcend the need for certainty? We wrote the parts of Bill and Kim as working musicians because we wanted them to embody this in an active, creative way. We tailored the roles for Ned Oldham and Kim Taylor because their music and presence do so powerfully.

Several drafts in, we discovered Hannah Gross and Deragh Campbell, young actors whose relationship in the real world mirrored that of Abby and Taryn in a way that got us really excited. Their screen tests were explosive. Their understanding of their characters was uncanny from the start, nuanced and deep.

We believe that with the cast and crew assembled, I USED TO BE DARKERwill be a visually and sonically beautiful, emotionally powerful film. We hope it will inspire new ways of seeing the most difficult aspects of relating, that it will be a reflection of life on screen provoking thought, presenting possibility and providing hope.

Our total production costs are just over $100,000. If we can raise $40K or more with your support, coupled with first-money-in from private equity investors, we can keep the cameras rolling through August and get DARKER in the can. We are confident that if we are on a healthy pace toward reaching our goal by month's end, we can begin shooting and ultimately reach our goal when this campaign expires, mid-way through production.

I was overwhelmed with the amount of community as well as national and international support we received with our last campaign. The ask is higher in this case, as it reflects our project's needs, but we've created a variety of exciting incentives we hope you can connect with. 

The magic of this project is in the collaboration that will occur when all our talent is assembled in Baltimore the first week of August. I sincerely hope you will join us in the effort to bring it all to life.

Let’s Don’t Stop,

Matt Porterfield

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    A “Thank You” in the credits of the final film.

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    The above + limited-edition postcard when the film comes out sent to your address.

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    The above + temporary I USED TO BE DARKER tattoo sent to your address.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    10 Presenter-Level Friends of the Festival memberships to Maryland Film Festival. Admission to all MFF exclusive screenings, all year round. Admittance to the Filmmaker's Lounge. Screening vouchers for the 2011 Film Festival. Opening Night Gala and Closing Night tickets, and name regognition in the 2011 Film Festival program and website

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    The above + I USED TO BE DARKER t-shirt designed by Mike McNeive of Baltimore's own Drexler Design http://drxlr.com/

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    I USED TO BE DARKER DVD, signed by Matt Porterfield (following commercial release).

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    Original 9''x12'' artwork drawn on set by I USED TO BE DARKER's make-up artist Miranda Pfeiffer, whose drawings appear in the film.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    I USED TO BE DARKER DVD + PUTTY HILL/HAMILTON double-DVD signed by Matt Porterfield (upon release by Cinema Guild in November).

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    The above (excluding DVDs) + 1 Matt Porterfield signed, original 20"x27" photo print from DAYS ARE GOLDEN AFTERPARTY, winner of the 2011 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.

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    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    The above (excluding DVDs) + a limited-edition soundtrack from the film + an I USED TO BE DARKER guitar pick + a mini-poster designed and signed by Matt Porterfield.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The above (excluding DVDs) + a limited edition print of an on-set photograph taken by Joyce Kim, Andrew Laumann, or John Jones.

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    Pledge $275 or more About $275

    Build your own 20 DVD collection from The Cinema Guild’s fantastic home video label. Titles include Jia Zhang-ke's 24 CITY, Agnes Varda's THE BEACHES OF AGNES, Andrew Bujalski's BEESWAX, Claire Denis' 35 SHOTS OF RUM, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash's SWEETGRASS, Pedro Costa's NE CHANGE RIEN, and many more. Coming in November to the line-up will be a double-DVD of Matt's previous films PUTTY HILL and HAMILTON. For more information on the collection go to cinemaguild.com ($600 retail value).

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    The DARKER team will consult on your Kickstarter campaign.

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    Pledge $475 or more About $475

    The above (excluding DVDs) + a pass to a special preview screening before our world premiere of the film, hosted by the Darker team or associates (Baltimore, Nashville, NYC, LA, or Paris).

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    Pledge $525 or more About $525

    The above (including DVDs) + signed, vinyl copies of records by three of the artists/musicians appearing in the film, Kim Taylor, Ned Oldham, and Dope Body.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    The above (excluding DVDs + vinyl) + four chances to visit the set of DARKER around lunch to meet the team and see the shooting – if not in Baltimore area, will be skyped in.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Matt Porterfield will tattoo your initials on his arm. He chooses the font. And we'll throw in the DVDs.

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    Pledge $1,250 or more About $1,250

    One-of-a-kind copy of the book, TRASH HUMPERS, by Harmony Korine featuring original photographs from the film. Autographed and will include original artwork (painting or drawing) by Korine on the inside cover!

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    An original script from HBO's groundbreaking, now-classic Baltimore-based drama THE WIRE, autographed by the show's creator David Simon.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Levels $5-$750 (excluding DVDs + vinyl) + opportunity to sit in four times on the daily screenings of rushes during production in Baltimore + 2 VIP tickets to our Baltimore wrap party.

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    Pledge $1,850 or more About $1,850

    Winter Vacation Getaway. 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bath, villa sleeps 6 max. Family or group vacation home located on the prestigious North Shore of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Pool, hot tub, swim-up bar. Mid-December to Mid-April upon availability. ($3200 retail/Airfare not included.) And we'll throw in a guitar used in the film.

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    Matt will DJ your party or host a karaoke bash in Baltimore, or worldwide, if transportation and accommodation included.

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    Levels $5-750 (excluding DVDs + vinyl), plus brief appearance in the film.

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    Nomadic Independence will produce/mentor your short or music video, 2 day (8 hrs/each) in Nashville, or worldwide if transportation and accommodation are provided.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Matt will shoot music video for your band or band of choice, if they agree, 2 day (8hrs/each) shoot maximum (production budget not included) in Baltimore or worldwide, if transportation and accommodation are provided.

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    Pledge $9,000 or more About $9,000

    Levels $5-750 (excluding DVDs + vinyl), plus VIP tickets to attend the film’s festival world premiere screening and party (not including transportation and accommodation)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    All levels $5-$750 + visit the set for a week (transportation and accommodation not included) + attend the festival premiere + receive an Associate Producer credit in the film + Matt Porterfield will tattoo, "Special Thanks, (your full name)" on his arm.

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Funding period

- (30 days)