About this project
CHECK OUT OUR VOD POSTER
Revealed on Kickstarter today for the first time, this one-of-a-kind stunning poster will be offered as a new backer reward!
'Altered Minds' Trailer!
'Dexter's' C.S. Lee wants you to be 'Altered'
Altered Minds’ is a psychological thriller about a tormented son who makes a desperate bid to save his sanity by proving his father experimented on his siblings as part of covert mind-control program run by the US government.
“‘Altered Minds’ delivers a quality mystery; a psychological thriller hidden within the trappings of a familial drama. It’s a walk down a long closet full of unexpected skeletons. This is a solid psychological thriller that keeps you guessing, with more than a few tricks up its sleeves to make for some arresting emotional and physical responses. While the film eventually explains itself beyond most ambiguities, the resolutions offered up don’t disappoint.” -Mark Bell, Film Threat
'Wicked City's' JAIME RAY NEWMAN wants you join the team!
'Ray Donavan's' RYAN O'NAN would love your support!
Director Michael Wechsler wants you to be in the 'Altered Minds' family!
For the last year, we've played at over fifteen major film festivals, won numerous awards, and gotten rave reviews including Screen International, Film Festival Today, and Influx Magazine.
July 2015, the movie was picked up by the international distributor Gravitas Ventures and will be opening theatrically November 20th in ten cities nationwide, including Los Angeles and NYC, and across all Video-on-Demand platforms including Itunes, Time Warner, Comcast.
What better time to show a dysfunctional family thriller than the holidays?! I kid! This is a huge honor as Gravitas distributes such incredible films as the 2015 SXSW Grand Jury and Audience Award Prize Winner Peace Officer as well as movies with Spike Lee, Olivia Wilde, Susan Sarandon and Natasha Lyonee.
'Gossip Girl's' CAROLINE LAGERFELT wants you to support 'Altered Minds!'
Though it's an amazing opportunity, we still have some major expenses related to the delivery and release of our film the film.
We opted out of allowing new investors into the project for this last round of fundraising because it would have depreciated the equity in the film for talent and crew members that donated their time in leiu of a scale pay.
That's where you, our Kickstarter community, comes in.
But more on that in a moment. Let's go back to the beginning...
'Altered Minds' was inspired by my lifelong interest in stories about PTSD (post-traumatic-stress disorder) and dysfunctional families. Having experienced PTSD myself, trauma and lots of therapy in my earlier years, I've always related to characters with a lot of psychological baggage. So it probably comes as no surprise that two of my favorite films are 'Ordinary People' and 'The Celebration.'
'The first few months of writing the script I had a bare-bones premise: one family, one night, one disturbed son who makes trouble for everyone. There was tons of conflict but I didn't have a clue what the story was about.
Alas, I found my scripts "hook" on Youtube. There, I discovered filmed testimonies from victims of mind-contol projects (MKULTRA) that President Bill Clinton allowed to be shared in Congress for the first time. These traumatized people told horrific stories about being used as medical experiments in the 60's and 70's by "shadow doctors," who claimed were working for the United Stages government.
I was floored that such fictional sounding atrocities, could not only be real, but that thousands of people in our country could be still suffering from this. It was in this moment that I also realized this was the key to what was casting its shadow on my own characters in their night of hell. And ironically what has had its hold on me for so long. Truth and fiction are close friends indeed. And as happens too often these days, compelling psychological thrillers, in the vein of Hitchcock and Polanski "WhoDunnit" that would keep the audience guessing at the edge of their seats, are torn from real headlines.
“A dark and moody psychological thriller, there is a chilly and desolate tension to ‘Altered Minds’, a film driven by a jagged sense of atmosphere and a series of grim but impressive central performances” -Mark Adams, Chief Film Critic, Screen International
FILMMAKING IS A HEART OF DARKNESS
That said, I won't sugar coat the process itself of getting this labor of love off the ground. Making this film, I often felt like a Werner Herzog hero doing something that the universe was begging me not to. I was the mad man trying to push a bloated ship up and over a mountain a la 'Fitzcaraldo' So many times the cinematic ceiling caved in. I lost count how often money appeared then disappeared, name cast attached then detached, momentum came in short sporadic bursts then would be replaced by a deafening quiet.
Filmmakers all go through similar odysseys and fight cyclops and mythical monsters to get their works done. And in the end, most love it enough, to come back and do it again and again. Because magic does happen. For me, my magic, was in the form of a man. Then came a long a man named Hirsch...Judd Hirsch.
The "film gods" gave me the greatest hope the day Judd Hirsch said yes to playing the role of Dr. Nathaniel Shellner, a part I wrote specifically with him in mind. His casting acted as a catalyst to draw what became a dream cast.
The film was finished in 2014 and had its world premiere to sold out crowds at The International Montreal Film Festival. Since then we’ve been all over the globe from Portugal, Glasgow and Oaxaca, to Newport, Woodstock and Palm Beach to name a few. And the most incredible thing has been the response. Over and over, the film has shocked and wowed audiences of all ages.
I have had psychiatrists at one screening tell me how powerful the portrait of trauma and familial dysfunction was depicted in the film. Even one person who has endured PTSD said that the film captured the essence of what it’s like to suffer from the silent disease. Strange to say, but that was about the highest compliment I could be paid, having been a sufferer for many years.
“A near flawless script full of love, passion and the dark side of family life, director Michael Wechsler delivers his vision with a simple slap in the face. Wonderful actors and brilliant editing carry the audience down the path of demons we all have, or know someone who does. One can only hope this brings Judd Hirsch back into the cinema world.” -Paul Booth, Influx Magazine
WHY DO WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT?
One of the biggest epiphanies I had making this film was the realization that the filmmaker NEVER STOPS SPENDING MONEY after the movie is finished. There's all sorts of completion and distribution costs that sneak up on you.
The money raised from our Kickstarter backers will fund:
- Major Theaters rentals for week long engagements in NYC and LA
- A publicist-To spread the 'Altered Minds' name far and wide
- A social media expert--To promote us across all the major platforms
- Poster and postcard printing--for theaters and storefronts in the cities we're screening
- Online and print advertising--To promote the release in major newspapers and on film and entertainment websites
- Quality control of HDCAM MASTER--So it can be streamed online and on cable.
“Enthralling psychological thriller with a strong point of view by writer/director Michael Wechsler exploring a sensational subject – mind control.” - Victoria Alexander, Rotten Tomatoes Critic, FilmsinReview.com
What are some of the BACKER REWARDS?
I have spent the better part of the last 6 months putting together these amazing backer rewards. For a description and entire list, look to the right side of this page. Also, there will be new and exciting backer rewards being added throughout the campaign so if you like what you see, there's more film and non-film shwaggery coming your way.
Have a meal with one of our cast members!
"Dexter's" C.S. Lee, "Drop Dead Diva" and "Grimm's" Jaime Ray Newman, "Ray Donovan's" Ryan O'Nan, "Gossip Girl's" Caroline Lagerfelt and "Justified's" Joseph Lyle Taylor--have all donated a sit-down meal with a lucky backer!
Original set artwork intricately involved in the storyline.
2 Nights/3 day at a cabin at a vintage resort in Greenport, Long Island
Original 'Ordinary People' still autographed by Judd Hirsch
'Altered Minds' Tshirt or Hoodie
Original 'The Red Robin' Poster signed by writer/director
Autographed 8x11 of entire cast
Sinister Bird Tapestry from the film
NEW BACKER REWARDS-SPORTS COLLECTIBLES
One of our producers has generously donated the following incredible sports memorabilia:
2014 Patriots Pennant signed by Brady and Grownoski and Stephen
Signed Manny Pacquiao glove
San Francisco 49ers Football helmet signed by Jerry Rice
Shaquille O'Neil Jersey signed
Magic Johnson Lakers Jersey signed
Sugar Ray Leonard boxing glove.
These one-of-a-kind are all certified and authenticated! Check out the rewards panel for more information!
AGAIN, this is just a FRACTION of the cool shwaggerific backer rewards I've compiled. There's also opportunities to view the film on a private viewing link before everyone else in the world, Skype with writer/director/producer Michael Z Wechsler, attend opening night red carpet in NYC or LA with cast and crew, a screening in your home town attended by the director, and even a chance to become an associate producer before the film opens on Nov 20th!
How else can I help?
Kickstarter projects succeed when people know about them. You can really help by just sharing this page on the social media venues of your choice. You can also follow 'Altered Minds' on Twitter and like it on Facebook.
Even better, you can go to our 'ALTERED MINDS' WEBSITE and sign up to get the latest updates
Risks and challenges
As always film is a risky business. One challenge that we may face is that it will require more time and additional expenditure during the QC process. WE believe we can mitigate this.
A risk is that creative differences can arise among the key creative team. In our case, the key creative collaborators have known each other for a long time and worked together in various capacities, a significant mitigating factor. The project has a clear protocol and agreement about decision-making if such differences arise.
A standard risk is “force majeure” as unforeseeable technical mishaps, act of god or health issues. We have a contingency in place (it does involve a bit of praying).
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