"Two strangers wake up in the middle of the desert, with no memory of anything - including their names. Are they dead, or did they just party too hard at burning man?"
So goes the logline for our little film. A little film with some pretty big themes, anyway.
Mister Limbo is decidedly a two-hander in the absurdist style of WAITING FOR GODOT, funneled through the modern sensibilities of a director like Richard Linklater, as written by a humanist like Alexander Payne. Take that and toss in a disorienting dash of just enough spiritual sci-fi to keep it from becoming a little too familiar, and - PRESTO! - that's the film we're setting out to make.
Mister Limbo is a dark comedy, but also very much a human-scaled drama... so pretty much in line with writer/director Robert G. Putka's previous work in features like MAD, as well as his extensive short film catalogue. It's a warm buddy film at heart, but hopefully also a rumination on existential themes such as regret, cynicism, faith, empathy, and, well... it might just be easiest to say it's about "Life and death. And stuff." With "stuff" being things like the short-lived tv series "The 4400," angels getting high on psychedelics, salacious, boredom-induced orgies, moose heads, parachutes, muscle cars, and inebriated uncles walking in on people in Burger King bathrooms, just to name a few.
We promise, it's not anywhere as crazy as it sounds.
Now, the story behind the story...
Like every great breakthrough, this started with a breakdown.
Back in the fall of 2016, my body and mind betrayed me, and I had a longform nervous breakdown. After years of panic attacks and generalized anxiety, it all came to a head as I was about to release my first feature film, MAD. What should have been a moment of vindication, turned into my own personal hell in a hotel room in Las Vegas.
I had the mother of panic attacks. A real nasty one lasting at least 5 hours, after which I finally, thankfully, passed out due to a heavy dosing of Xanax. But during those five hours, I alternated pacing the floor and curling up in the fetal position on the bed. I felt like I was going to die or, at the very least, collapse and start seizing. For real. This panic attack was different from all the other ones I'd encountered and learned to cope with.
Upon returning to Cleveland a few days later, the realization that I was far from out of the woods became painfully apparent.
I started to exhibiting some disturbing physiological symptoms reminiscent of Multiple Sclerosis, which, due to it running on both sides of my family, didn't feel to be an unfounded fear at all. While waiting to be approved for Medicaid, I had a lot of idle time alone with my thoughts. During this time, I thought a lot about death - the finality and inescapability of it mirroring and going hand in hand with the disease itself - and how the life I've led up until that point would reflect back to me on my eventual deathbed. Dramatic, right? But at the time it felt dire. I felt a deep sense of regret, that if my life were to take a major turn into the unfortunate, I'd need to begin rectifying my mismanagement of time and attitude with great haste. While morose, this experience helped me prioritize things that would positively impact the world around me, as well as my interpersonal relationships. Maybe more importantly, it also helped me compartmentalize my own spiritual beliefs as I desperately tried to make sense of a divinity that needlessly causes both outward strife and inner struggle.
After seeing a neurologist and having an MRI, the born-again-Christian doctor decided that heightened anxiety was at the root of my symptoms. She rather coldly, if humorously, prescribed me a Joyce Meyer seminar as a way to put my anxiety into perspective - who, quote "had it way worse than me." She also gave me a referral for counseling sessions to help cope as I dug my way out of the hole I found myself at the bottom of.
Two years later, I still haven't fully healed from that experience. I still deal with physical remnants of that bottoming out, some of which have become chronic. I also still struggle trying to maintain a healthy mind, as anxiety is a daily stumbling block to living a "normal" life, whatever that even is anymore. But with that said, I'm in a good place spiritually and philosophically. I feel this has given me the type of clarity necessary to take my own crises of faith, fear, and regret, and inject these ideas into a story that I hope is both personal and cathartic as it is reflective and universal.
In a lot of ways I'm the same person I was. In some cases worse. But in a few ways, I'm better than I ever was. I'm certainly more hopeful, and that counts for a lot.
Robert G. Putka
What We Need & What You Get
Quite simply, we're already overextended and attempting to make this film very cheaply. We've been lucky enough to have a number of people privately support our projects over the years but, unfortunately, we've hit a bit of a roadblock this time around. We need money! We also need champions and allies! If you can somehow provide both, we'll love you forever.
- We want to make a great film that actually stands a chance of gaining exposure. Our prior films have all done well on the festival circuit - screening places like SXSW and Slamdance, among others - and our aim is to launch this film in a similar manner. We'd also like to procure distribution eventually as a means to get the film out to as many people as possible.
- If you make movies, oh boy - our perks fill a niche we've yet to really see. We'll be offering all types of community project support. Whether you're in pre-production, or post, a little bit of money will gain you access to our eyes and ears - so instead of a grab-bag of well-meaning-but-ultimately-useless perks, you'll be sure to find something that could actually be of service to YOU AND YOUR OWN PROJECTS.
- Our track record of completing films is sterling. Your support won't be lost on a project that becomes mired in uncertainty or complacency. Our goal is to have this film ready for festivals within TWO years.
If you've loved our work in the past, your support will help on on our path to continue to make films the way we feel they should be made: With honesty, passion, and a focus on rich characters, all while ensuring the safety and integrity of our tight-knit unit of friends and collaborators.
Speaking of which...
It's important to us to make films with people we believe in and respect, whom also feel the same way about us. We've leaned heavily on our relationships, and maintained a lot of them over the course of a decade, and through multiple projects.
This is our core team for MISTER LIMBO going forward:
Sandra Cóias (Executive Producer)
Ern Gerardo (Executive Producer)
Joe Battaglia (Producer)
Jennifer Antoinette Kennedy (Co-Producer)
Hugo de Sousa (Executive Producer/Lead)
David Norris (Producer/Lead)
Robert G. Putka (Writer/Director/Producer)
We'll be announcing more core members of our cast & crew via exclusive KS updates, so donate now for some of that piping hot insider info!
Risks and challenges
This is the film industry, and making a film at this scale and level provides plenty of potential risks, and many challenges. Of course, the entire project can fall apart at any time due to any number of reasons. We've now made two prior microbudget features, so we feel confident in being able to handle most of what comes our way. Being properly funded goes a long way in being able to support our creative problem solving.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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