Hell's Belles is a mockumentary, set in the 1970s about the 4444 Cult, which consisted of 4 women that had left society to live in the desert, and then disappeared in the 1940s. The women had attempted to control reality with their minds in a series of exercises or "spells" to manifest objects and life forms, travel through space and time, and possibly transcend the physical realm altogether. Evidence of their abilities, which they believed all humans are capable of, was found in the form of photographs, film reels and other various objects, locked in a trunk on the bottom of the ocean.
In Hell's Belles, scientists and other experts analyze the footage and eye witness accounts of terrifying encounters in the desert, leading the filmmaker to take a expedition to the desert to find the church.
I was inspired by regular trips to Joshua Tree National Park with friends. It's easy to come up with crazy stories when you are surrounded by interesting people in that environment. It would be harder to come up with a boring idea there. I am totally fascinated with physics and science and how it could be used to explain the mysteries of existence, which is partially what this film is attempting to do. I have also been inspired by UFO and Bigfoot documentaries as a kid, most specifically in this case by a film called Overlords of the UFO. I love their dead serious delivery of "facts" about UFOs that are just silly at times, but still intriguing to watch.
I have been working on the concept for the film Hell's Belles for 5 or 6 years and was finishing another film, Goodbye Sun, which is kind of a sequel to Hell's Belles. When Urban Outfitters announced the Creative Grant for someone who needed funding for a project, I was all over it. I had the concept fairly fleshed out and the thought occurred to me to make a trailer for a crowd-sourcing campaign to raise money for the feature film. I made a video proposal, sent it in, and ended up winning! I received $1500 and 3 weeks paid time off, which paid for most of the wardrobe, props, travel, and food for actors. Everyone else donated their time and efforts for the project, which was amazing! I spent the 3 weeks off editing and organizing and shooting scenes for the trailer.
I went to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, CA. and got a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art in 2002. I worked in many mediums including painting, drawing, and sculpture, and was showing in galleries with some great artists around LA almost once a month for a while. Although I was making so much art, I honestly felt a bit limited. Films just seemed more visceral and really had the power to move me. While it is true that Art and film are meant to convey different types of things to a viewer, I never felt that way standing in a gallery, and I really wanted to. I began making skateboard videos and abstract art videos with semi-plots on a camcorder and editing on betacam cassettes. Over time, my films began having more and more story driven premises, although I still feel like film is another extension of the art I've always done. In fact, I always make paintings to prepare for and capture the tone of my films.
These are the original art pieces by Samuel Michael Casebolt that are part of the rewards at the $4444 and $2222 levels:
I love the challenge of making my thoughts become reality. It's something I am really passionate about. To do this I have enlisted the help of Jennifer Sindon, a talented artist, to design some of the creature effects; Jeremy Albert Ringermacher will be designing an limited, original, hand drawn, silk screened Hell's Belles poster; and Eric McNiel of Starlite Coffins, Winfred E. Eye, and Nerak Slip, among others for the soundtrack.
Risks and challenges
I intend to interview the some really interesting people during the filming of Hell's Belles. This is more of a documentary with a fictional main story. Part of the fun of all documentaries is capturing the quirks of the people being interviewed. This will be the easiest part.
The challenge comes in with the special effects required to make the 4444 Cult's powers seem convincing. I do have several amazing artists on board to create the creatures and bring the haunting imagery to life, but the bulk of the funding will need to go to Hollywood caliber special effects. While some of the effects will need to be campy to fit the time period (especially in the "re-inactments"), there will need to be a few scenes with extremely realistic and intense visuals.
I will find a way to shoot this film, because I need to. But I need to fund the special effects or the film will not have the production value it needs to be a success. This is why your donations are so crucial.
GET YOUR COPY OF THE FILM! You will secure your very own digital download of the film (after it's through the festival run). Of course you will also be thanked on our Facebook and Youtube pages and get a SIGNED STILL PRINT from the film!
FULL DIGITAL FEATURE PACKAGE! Receive all of the above rewards, plus DOWNLOAD THE SCORE OF THE FILM, including original music from Eric McNiel of Sanity Muffin's Sarlite Coffins! You will also be able to download the OFFICIAL HELL'S BELLES SCRIPT.
FULL ANALOG FEATURE PACKAGE! Limited edition Hell's Belles Score cassette tapes and VHS or DVD copy of the film. Plus, since this is a HUGE gesture on your part, all of the above awards will be yours as well as a SPECIAL THANK YOU CREDIT in the film!
SEE THE FILM FIRST! You will be invited to see a rough cut of the film and give your feedback on the edit, making you an even more important part of making this film a reality. A limited edition, silk screened, SIGNED HELL'S BELLES POSTER will also be yours, along with all of the above rewards!
BE IN THE FILM! You look good and I want you to be an extra in the film (and maybe even have a speaking role)! Be immortalized and have your name in the credits and on IMDB! This will get you access to anything those involved in the filmmaking process have access to, including exclusive parties and screenings (transportation not included). Of course you will get all of the above awards as well (while supplies last).
BE AN ASSOCIATE PRODUCER! You will get a HUGE HUG (or a hand shake or a high five on skype) from me the next time I see you, where you can ask me anything about the film! Because you have great taste and you look good too, Associate Producer credits in the film as well as on IMDB are yours, along with all of the above rewards (while supplies last).
BE AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER! A beautiful gesture on your part. Take a chance on this film. I am absolutely determined to make this film reach it's full potential. Let's will this thing into being! You will be immortalized with EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT in the film and on IMDB as well as all of the rewards above (while supplies last).
ORIGINAL CONCEPT ART by Samuel Michael Casebolt. These are part of a series of art pieces I made while in the early stages of thinking about the film, including collage "portraits" of the women in the story. You will, of course receive all of the above rewards and my deepest gratitude.
ORIGINAL CONCEPT ART by Samuel Michael Casebolt. This painting is part of a series of pieces I made while in the early stages of thinking about the film, and features the infamous steeple. This is a one of a kind multi-media and acrylic painting on 42" x 42" hardboard. You will, of course receive all of the above rewards and my deepest gratitude.