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Remember McElwee’s epic road movie Sherman’s March, the film that started it all? See how Ross got started. New film: In France.

Remember McElwee’s epic road movie Sherman’s March, the film that started it all? See how Ross got started. New film: In France. Read More
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This project's funding goal was not reached on March 8, 2012.

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About this project

Photographic Memory, a documentary film directed by Ross McElwee

Photographic Memory is the latest road movie by renowned filmmaker Ross McElwee—director of Sherman’s March and Bright Leaves—in which he returns to the roots of his involvement with the camera.

The story line...

The filmmaker finds himself in frequent conflict with his son, who is no longer the delightful child the father loved, and seems to be addicted to and permanently distracted by virtual worlds, social technology and dreams of hitting it big. As his son goes about “finding himself”, so does McElwee look into his own past for answers: how was he “finding himself” in 1972? And so, camera in hand, he undertakes a journey to the coastal town of St. Quay-Portrieux in Brittany where he worked as a wedding photographer’s assistant at age 24 –about the same age his son is now. He also hopes to elucidate some of the mystery around his former employer, the photographer Maurice, who also cast himself as renaissance man and womanizer.  And then there is Maud: Ross’ first muse, and with whom he had a fleeting romance nearly 40 years ago… 


This film is rich with emotion, confrontation and revelation. During this bold investigative process, he discovers the parallel lives of Maurice, the tribulations of Maud and creative ways of reaching out to his son. Photographic Memory is a meditation on the praxis of photography and film, selective remembrances of mentors and lovers, and the fractured love of a father for his son.

The pitch…

The film has been entirely shot, edited and mixed. And it has premiered: at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, no less. And it was very well-received… Since then, we have been snowed under by emails of people asking “Where can we see this film?”   So, in order to push for theatrical release and distribution, we must provide costly digital formats of the film, organize screenings, send promotional materials and travel to festivals to promote the film…

But through Kickstarter’s platform, those of you who wish to engage in dialog with Ross McElwee, or those who love documentary filmmaking in general, or those who just want to be involved in the screening of a great movie project, will contribute.  So this movie must be made accessible to a mainstream audience!

Where will the money go?

-  Creation of HD Cam master video tape and dubs 

-  Screenings

-  DVDs, packaging,...

-  Travel to film festivals and other screenings

-  Website maintenance

-  Creation of a Poster

And so you know, should we surpass our goal of $12,000, the quality of the products will simply go up and up. In other words: the more backers we get, the more beautiful and shiny the packaging and the poster printing will be, and the more screenings we will set up!

Director's Statement

Raising a teenage son is far more difficult than making a documentary film, but to attempt to do both simultaneously is madness. In Photographic Memory, I try doing both. At first, I imagined my film, shot in a French village where I had found work as a wedding photographer 38 years ago, might be a kind of Proustian meditation on lost love, the accuracy and fallacy of memory, and what it means to take a photograph. My son would have none of this. “That’s so boring, Dad!“ So I placed scenes of him throughout the film, and now it is not so boring. In fact some moments in the film are fairly outrageous. But if I may say so, it’s still stubbornly Proustian. - Ross McElwee 

                                               THANK YOU!


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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more
    About $1.00 USD

    1 backer

    Thank you! Every dollar counts!

    Estimated delivery:
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more
    About $10 USD

    6 backers

    Your name on our website as a supporter!

    Estimated delivery:
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more
    About $25 USD

    1 backer

    Ross will send you a Photographic Memory Thank You card, signed by the Filmmaker!

    Estimated delivery:
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more
    About $35 USD

    12 backers

    Be the first! See the movie! We will send you a limited edition DVD of Photographic Memory, signed by Ross McElwee.

    Estimated delivery:
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more
    About $50 USD

    3 backers

    Your name is going on the Photographic Memory website and our St Quay Films Production website as Post-production Contributor. You also get a signed Thank You card from Ross.

    Estimated delivery:
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more
    About $70 USD

    3 backers

    You will receive a signed limited edition DVD of Photographic Memory and a printed press kit (from the Venice Film Festival).

    Estimated delivery:
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more
    About $85 USD

    2 backers

    Wear the film. Watch the film. You will get a comfy 70s style t-shirt screen-printed with one of the Black&White photos used in the movie, as well as a signed DVD and a press-kit.

    Estimated delivery:
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more
    About $100 USD

    2 backers

    Screening! Watch the film in a Boston-area theater with Filmmaker Ross McElwee and producer Marie Hartness. There will be a Q&A session after as well and we will thank you on our website. And you will get a one-of-a-kind Photographic Memory t-shirt! You must provide your own travel arrangements. A minimum of 25 participants is required.

    Estimated delivery:
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more
    About $500 USD

    1 backer Limited (5 left of 6)

    Private Screening! Watch and discuss the film in a more intimate setting with the filmmaker Ross McElwee and his producer Marie Hartness in the Boston area. In the film, Ross enjoys oysters and white wine, as will you. We will also give you a signed DVD, a comfy t-shirt and a press kit. You must provide your own travel arrangements.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)