About our Film
Independent film is a great medium for facing humanity's greatest issues from an intimate and personal perspective. We don't do that in this one at all- We're just a comedy set in Beijing. In fact, you probably won’t even learn very much about China from watching our film, but what you will certainly do is laugh- and, hopefully, laugh rather a lot. Our movie is a comedy made on an ultra-low budget, with most of the people working on the film receiving no, or very little payment.
Despite our limited resources and inexperienced crew, we have managed to pull together a quality, funny movie- Proven by our recent invitation to stage our World Premiere as an official selection at one of the world’s most important A-list film festivals The Toronto International Film Festival 2013, and we hope to go to many, many more festivals over the year.
This is Sanlitun is a comedy celebrating Beijing and its people, both expat and locals.
Gary has arrived in Beijing to make it big, after failing to impress his Chinese investors he soon takes up teaching English and gets life lessons from Frank, an incompetent mentor. Gary's real reasons for staying become apparent when his son and Chinese ex-wife enter the picture. Can Gary outsmart this city of cynics and repair his relationship with his family? Or will he have to fly home in disgrace as Frank predicted all along?
an Icelander, an Englishman and an Australian walk into a bar...
Robert Ingi Douglas (Director/Writer) was raised in the village of Mosfellsbaer (we don't know either) and worked in a video rental store before deciding he would rather make movies than rent them out. This is his fourth feature film. He currently lives in Beijing.
Carlos Ottery (Actor/Writer) became involved with the film while drinking beer one evening with his friend Robert Douglas. After a chicken curry and a few pints in the pub, Robert started dispensing Carlos with career advice, telling him, “You need to do something with your life, you can't just teach two days a week and sit in a bar drinking the rest of the time” Carlos asked “What am I supposed to do?” Robert replied, “Come do a movie with me." So that's what they did.
Originally Chris Loton (Actor/Writer) was not slated to be in the film, but his friend was auditioning for the part and he tagged along for the ride. As ever, Loton was force of comedic nature that day, and within a few minutes of arriving, Douglas and Ottery told Loton that the part was his if he wanted it. Loton was smug and victorious as his friend looked on into his pint, quietly seething, only later accepting a smaller role in the film.
Maureen Sherrard is of Irish- Chilean descent and first met Robert Douglas, when she asked him for a cigarette on a rainy London street a decade ago. She is currently based in Beijing and works in advertising: She agrees that smoking is bad for your health and would in no way condone selling cigarettes to minors.
Some of the actors
Cromwell Cheung met the director at a mutual friend’s 40th birthday party and, as then head of the Nokia Asia sales, tried to sell Robert Douglas a Nokia smartphone. A few months later when Robert was looking for actors, he called Cromwell in the hope that he would be willing to help out. Cromwell, by then retired from Nokia decided to jump at this opportunity in the movie business and hasn’t looked back since. Both Robert Douglas and Chris Loton own Nokia smartphones today. Cromwell also serves as an Associate Producer of the film. Nokia in no way paid us to mention them by name.
Hu Gaoxiang’s role in the in the film was another unexpected turn. Arriving at casting to lend moral support to a friend auditioning, director Douglas thought Hu had just the right look and style he needed. A few days later HE called her to audition. Improvising her audition, she was given the part there and then.
Ai Wan became involved after a chance meeting with the director at a Beijing Film Festival party in 2012 where Douglas asked her to audition for This Is Sanlitun. After the audition she was hired and also became a co-producer, helping the mostly foreign crew navigate through the Beijing filming. Ai Wan is the only professional actor involved in the movie.
What we need and why we need it
Film festivals cost money. There are submission fees, posters, travel expenses, marketing, additional screening fees, etc. So while it is great to be accepted, making the most of it is not so easy. The film needs to invest in the short term to ensure long-term benefits.
We have been officially selected to have our World Premiere at The 38th Toronto International Film Festival 2013.
We know our film is good enough to be accepted to most of the festivals we submit it to, and we are very proud that probably the biggest film festival in North America want us to have our premiere with them but it won’t be much of a premiere if nobody in the film gets to go.
As things stand the festival pays for the director and the director alone to go to the festival. This is great but we really want our film to have a bigger presence than that. Our two main actors are not pro actors and have suffered for over a year doing this movie with me ... they are genuinely funny and talented and would be over the moon to have the chance to push their film as far as they can. To give our film the maximum chance of success and to give the as many people as possible the chance to see it, we need our main actors and producer to be able to go to the festival to promote our movie. We are very proud of what we have made and want to share our baby with the world!
The funding will be used towards expenses for our first major film festival, such as printing costs, marketing, accommodation, etc. not to mention submission fees for future film festivals too.
Stills from This is Sanlitun
More information about us
The directors IMDB page (with information about his previous films): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0235238/?ref_=tt_ov_dr
This is Sanlitun on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2728286/
Our Facebook Page (which includes more video and information): https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsSanlitun
Risks and challenges
Unlike a lot of great kickstarter projects, we feel there is no risk with our project. The film has already been made. We spent months taking our script and demo around to everybody and anybody in an attempt to raise a small amount of private investment (if only we knew more about kickstarter then!). On getting the money we immediately set about putting together a cast and crew. We made the film, not only that but people actually like it a lot and major festival programmers are inviting us to their festivals. So, no risk- we just need your help to have a great festival run and get the word out!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)