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A black as tar comedy following a commune of recovering drug addicts in 1990 suburban New York.
244 backers pledged $20,077 to help bring this project to life.

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$20,077

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**Thank the stinking stars above and all you fine people: we've reached our goal! $20,000 is the bare minimum we need to shoot the movie, so anything above this will go toward making the production run that much more smoothly.

*Check out this profile of director Nathan Silver in the New York Times!

STINKING HEAVEN is the portrait of a group of people on the verge of a synchronized nervous breakdown.

Married couple, Jim (30) and Lucy (22), run a commune for recovering drug addicts. In the spring of 1990, there are seven motley members in the house ranging in age from 17 to 50. They spend their days preparing ritualistic meals, doing housework, playing games and bathing together. Every evening they take turns acting out the lowest points of their addictions as part of their recovery. Although there's constant bickering and plenty of fires to be put out, Jim and Lucy have managed to establish something of a haven for these outcasts.

With the arrival of Ann (20), recovering addict and ex-girlfriend of one of the members, the harmony of the house is thrown out of whack. Members flee, relapse, and start to question the very foundations of the commune as Jim and Lucy struggle to maintain their power.

Drawing inspiration from the documentaries WARRENDALE and STREETWISE and mixing in the black humor and absurdity of Luis Buñuel's films, STINKING HEAVEN is the portrait of a group of people on the verge of a synchronized nervous breakdown.

Allow chaos in! Allow life in! 

I want to see human behavior in all its glorious misery and miserable glory on screen. As I did on my features EXIT ELENA and SOFT IN THE HEAD, I will be working without a script or storyboards  – instead, we’ll be working with people! The actors and I are developing the characters; the cinematographer will improvise along with the actors. There will be an outline, of course, but the point is to create an environment that will allow chaos and life to rule the movie.

Filmmaking is the one place where you can capture accidents and unexpected behavior in real time, and yet it has somehow become the most regulated medium out there. I want to exploit what is inherent to filmmaking and take full advantage of chance.

Films that experiment with "chance" aren't supported by traditional avenues for financing, which is why we're looking to you and Kickstarter. This project will be created communally among the actors and crew; we need funders who support this kind of risk taking to help us make STINKING HEAVEN.

Why the 90's?

I was born in 1983. Recently, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the early 90’s. Coming into consciousness at that time, I had the nagging feeling that things would end at any moment and they certainly wouldn’t end well. I’m sure part of it had to do with the fact that I was an extremely anxious kid, but I’ve been re-watching documentaries and TV shows from back then, and there’s definitely something gruesome about that part of that decade…and it’s not as simple as illness or politics…it seems like the world was about to have a nervous breakdown.

Over the last year, that nagging feeling has returned, and so it seems like the time to explore early 90’s anxiety -- it might just tell me something about my current state.

Why a commune?

I’ll never shake the quote: “Hell is other people”. Every movie I make is a wrestling match with this statement. A commune seems like the perfect stadium for the next match.

But what's it about?

The need for family, love, and humiliation. 

Director: Nathan Silver 

Nathan graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2005. Since then, he has written and directed three feature films and four short films. Nathan’s short, ANECDOTE, premiered at Slamdance Film Festival 2008. His first feature, THE BLIND, premiered at the Torino Film Festival in 2009 and had its North American premiere at Cinequest 2011. His second feature, EXIT ELENA had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012. It opened at New York’s reRun Theatre and has been praised by The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Filmmaker Magazine. His third feature, SOFT IN THE HEAD, premiered at Sarasota Film Festival and is about to have a week-long run at New York’s Cinema Village. He is in post-production on his fourth feature, UNCERTAIN TERMS, and in pre-production on his fifth feature, STINKING HEAVEN.

Watch trailer for SOFT IN THE HEAD.

Watch trailer for EXIT ELENA.

Style:

We will be shooting on Betacam to mimic the look of documentaries from the early 90's. This will help make the movie feel more like an authentic document of the commune and less like a stylized recreation.  Expect zoom lenses, shallow focus, dirty frames, and muted colors. 

What are we doing with your money?

We’re shooting STINKING HEAVEN this summer on Long Island, and though most of the cast and crew will be generously working for free, we still need your help to make Nathan’s fever dream a reality.

  • $$ =Transportation to and from set
  • $$ = 90’s props and styling
  • $$ = Beta tapes!
  • $$ = Meals for the Cast & Crew
  • $$ = Production Insurance
  • $$ = Editing & Post Production to finish in HD

Starring: Deragh Campbell as Lucy

Deragh Campbell is an actor and writer. In 2013 she starred in I USED TO BE DARKER (dir. Matthew Porterfield) that had its North American premiere at Sundance and its international premiere at the Berlinale. The film was released theatrically and on DVD by Strand Releasing and also had a theatrical run in France, Spain, Austria and Germany. Deragh recently starred in the short PERSON TO PERSON (dir. Dustin Guy Defa) that premiered at Sundance and won the DAAD short film prize at the Berlinale. Deragh holds a degree in Creative Writing from Concordia University in Montreal. She is currently in post production for a yet untitled short film that she wrote and directed.

Starring: Keith Poulson as Jim

Keith Poulson is a New York City-based musician, actor and filmmaker. He has spent several years working behind the scenes in the sound, casting and camera departments for independent filmmakers such as Andrew Bujalski, Joe Swanberg and Bob Byington. As an actor, he has worked with Byington on three films, including SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, co-starring Nick Offerman, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. He can be seen in Alex Karpovsky's RED FLAG and Alex Ross Perry's THE COLOR WHEEL. Upcoming releases include LISTEN UP PHILIP, written and directed by Alex Ross Perry and the feature film HELLAWARE, directed by Michael Bilandic. Poulson is a touring multi-instrumentalist for the New York-based bands Bishop Allen and Air Waves.

Starring: Hannah Gross as Ann

Hannah Gross was born in Toronto, Canada. Her film credits include I USED TO BE DARKER (dir. Matt Porterfield), LYDIA HOFFMAN, LYDIA HOFFMAN (short, dir. Dustin Guy Defa), UNCERTAIN TERMS ( The Sixth Year: Episode 5 (short, dir. Dustin Guy Defa), BEACH WEEK (short, dir. David Raboy), CAT DADDY (short, dir. Chloe Domont), VALEDICTORIAN (dir. Matthew Yeager). Hannah is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied theater.

Starring: Jason Giampietro as Al

Jason Giampietro went to Kim's Video instead of film school. He formed Magic Square Films with Jason Grisell in 2012, and their shorts THE SUN THIEF, WHIFFED OUT and I WILL PAINT YOUR SPIRIT have been selected for the Maryland Film Festival.

Starring: Jason Grisell as Fred

Jason Grisell is a musician, painter, and actor who began working in street performance, pantomime, and theater. He is the lead singer of New York City synth pop band Bubbles. He was a band member and vocalist, singing in duet with Karen O for her psycho opera STOP THE VIRGENS which performed at St. Ann's Warehouse and Sydney Opera House. He is the co-founder of Magic Square Films which has produced works that have screened at Maryland Film Festival and BAM Cinemafest. He co-starred with Kim Gordon in UNE DANSE DES BOUFFONS by artist/director Marcel Dzama which premiered at 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and had an extended exhibition at MOCCA Toronto.

Co-writer: Jack Dunphy

Jack Dunphy is a writer, filmmaker and animator based in Brooklyn. Raised on the glorious south side of Chicago, Jack recently fled the Midwest to pursue a lucrative career in independent filmmaking. His work blends documentary with fiction, animation with live action, and comedy with dark stuff that bums his mom out.

Producer: Rachel Wolther

Rachel Wolther is a producer based in New York City. Her film SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY (Drew Tobia, 2013) won "Best Narrative Feature" at the Sidewalk Film Festival, screened at BFI London and BAMcinématek and was named one of the best undistributed films of 2013 by The Village Voice and Indiewire. She was a co-producer on Josephine Decker's THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY, which premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, and associate producer on RICHARD'S WEDDING (Onur Tukel, 2012). 

Upcoming projects include the second season of Ingrid Jungermann's hit web series, F TO 7TH, and director Angeline Gragasin’s feature film LUZON.

Producer: Richard Peete

Richard Peete is a New York City based producer. He is the owner of Neighborhood Watch Films, a production company focusing on producing short films, commercials, music videos and feature films. In 2013 he produced Jeremy Saulnier's second feature film, BLUE RUIN, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it received the International Critics Award, and has since played at TIFF 2013, Sundance 2014 and will be released by RADiUS/Weinstein Company theatrically in April 2014. He is now in post production on Nathan Silver's fourth feature film UNCERTAIN TERMS (2014).

Co-Producer: Blake Ashman-Kipervaser

Blake Ashman-Kipervaser is a New York based film producer. He recently co-produced RIVER OF FUNDAMENT, artist Matthew Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler’s nearly six-hour long magnum opus. Its cast includes Paul Giamatti, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ellen Burstyn and Elaine Stritch. Hollywood Reporter called it “a beast of a film” and “six hours of jaw dropping cinematic art”. It is currently being presented in opera houses and proscenium theaters internationally on a two year tour organized by Manchester International Festival. Prior to that, he produced STARLET, directed by Sean Baker, which received the Robert Altman Award for best ensemble cast, and was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award for best film produced for under $500,000 at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in 2013. He recently wrapped production on Boyd Holbrook’s directorial debut, the short film, PEACOCK KILLER, starring Shea Whigham, adapted from a Sam Shepard short story.

Press & Quotes

EXIT ELENA

  • "Whisper-quiet and weirdly endearing" -The New York Times
  • "Delicate observance and domestic chaos meet head-on in this gem-like character piece" -The Wall Street Journal
  • "Silver locates the ordinary madness bubbling just beneath the surface of his own life, and flickers of lunacy abound" -The Village Voice
  • "An exquisite gem of a movie" -Filmmaker Magazine
  • "A testament of achievement with a shoe string budget" -Ioncinema
  • "Beautifully observed and charming" -Indiewire
  • "It's as though Silver is not in complete control of his own dramatic situation, which gives his film a very unusual sense of aliveness" -Cinema Scope

SOFT IN THE HEAD

  • "Nathan Silver's raucous, disturbing new film is a shrewdly conceived yet emotionally unhinged blend of uproarious situations and devastating outcomes" -The New Yorker
  • "SOFT IN THE HEAD confirms Silver’s talent and his status as one of the most interesting emerging directors in U.S. indie film" -Filmmaker Magazine
  • "...the audience must sink or swim. The sensation is at once maddening and, for its daredevil embrace of naturalism, absolutely thrilling." -The Wall Street Journal
  • "Silver does something like deconstructing love to the bones only to reconstruct it again, unpredictably and powerfully, at the end of the film" -Cinema Scope
  • "Another noteworthy film from Nathan Silver, whose cinema of discomfort is a welcome aside in the realm of independent cinema" -IonCinema

Risks and challenges

Making a low budget independent film is always difficult. Even a small project like STINKING HEAVEN requires a huge investment of time and energy from the cast and crew.

That said, this will be Nathan’s fifth feature and even though it’s never easy, he always delivers.

We thank you for your support and contributions!

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Funding period

- (28 days)